OMA and Inside Outside have collaborated on a design for “Ethar – Honoring Generosity”, a field of columns engraved with stories from Arabic scholars, scientists and thinkers, unified in a monumental landscape embodying generosity and knowledge. The installation celebrates the unique culture of charitable giving in the United Arab Emirates with a physical installation that is part of the urban landscape of Dubai.
1,680 triangular shaped aluminum columns, arrayed like a magnetic field, point towards a rectangular Plaza in the heart of the installation. Walking through, visitors first encounter a field of small pillars at the boundary of the site, which further inwards turns into a street with dramatic perspective effects as the columns grow taller, opening up in a public square in the center.
The density of columns creates a pleasant micro-climate further enhanced by shading devices through which the installation will become a playful social space. The ambition is to make these columns out of recycled aluminum, a building material that is 100 % recyclable.
At night, a spectacle of illumination enhances the dynamics of the column landscape with lights gradually shifting from wide to sharp and cold to warm. Rows of stainless steel lightning fixtures mark the plaza, and enhance the gesture of movement in the design.
“Ethar – Honoring Generosity” will be located on Jumeirah Beach, but its character can also adapt to different contexts: groups of columns can also be dispersed throughout the city, appearing in key urban locations as a symbol for Emirati culture. The project emphasizes the importance of valuing talent and education, and will be realized under the patronage of leading governmental charity organizations. Funds raised by the sponsoring of individual columns will be used to support charities with a focus on education in the UAE. Ethar is initiated by the YBK Group, Mr. Yasser Bin Khediya, and will be carried out by the Dubai based Ethar Foundation.