Sonuslexica, an installation designed for the Design Days Dubai 2017 intended to capture the spirit of Dubai as a city and the people who posses it. Upon research on Dubai as a progressive and successful city, the most contributing factors in the swift rise of the city in the world would be, like most successful cities, the effort put in by the people.
Dubai, though being an Islamic State, houses a mixture of cultures and a very diverse population. People from around the world migrate to the city to earn resources and improve their quality of life. These people of various backgrounds, working in the city has contributed to its development and through the governance they have achieved growth, peace and harmony. These words, Peace, Harmony and Growth sum up the idea of Dubai as a city, how it is perceived and the people that reside in it and their integrated lifestyle as one large community in itself.
Taking the metaphor of an iceberg as a concept, the installation attempts to translate the essence of Dubai. The iceberg is used to signify the formation of a developed city. The metaphor being the shape of the iceberg, how only a very limited part of the entire formation is visible and the relatively larger content is hidden under water. Similarly, a city is much more than what can be conceived of its physical form. The physical form, as the metaphor says, is only the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more that goes in the building and functioning of a city, that is not visible which includes the efforts put in by the people and the moral and existential values that drive them.
The Studio launched a campaign on Instagram inviting people of Dubai belonging to any ethnicity to speak the words Peace, Harmony and Growth in their language. Each word spoken produced a sound wave. The sound waves were then visualized in three dimension by revolving it and this form was then segmented. Each sound wave is represented with different sizes of discs. All these modules of the representation of the sound waves collectively formed the foundation of the installation, the lower part, indicating the part of the iceberg that is hidden, symbolic of the endeavors of the people and their values. In the upper part of the installation, the design uses sound waves to create the profile of Dubai. The central part is the majestic skyline and the around the edges the abstract representation of the contradictory terrain of sand and water.
The installation has multiple detachable parts and a combination of materials were used in making them. The base that holds the whole artwork together is made of two layers of birch ply, the bottom one with circular perforations in it that are not through but have magnets at the end. The upper part that symbolizes the skyline is made of aluminium. The lower part with the sound waves is made of plywood discs stringed together with a brass stud on one side and tightened using bolt on another. It is supposed to be placed in the holes where the brass stud adheres to the magnet at the end.
During the expo, the installation was suspended from the roof using a 4mm stainless steel cable and a 4 feet diameter tray, covering almost the entire horizontal outline of the installation, was filled with desert sand and was placed underneath giving the idea of the city rising from its origin, the desert. On the last day of the exhibition, a mirror was placed underneath the artwork instead of the sand filled tray as an experiment to tap into another dimension of how it can be comprehended.
The installation was perceived by visitors as a very immersive experience. As artists, the story of the creation of an artwork is very important but what is also important is that the artwork relates to the people at the receiving end and the people dive into their cognitive abilities through the experience and sentiment created by it. The people at the expo did feel a connection with the installation, they were able to translate the skyline of Dubai and the representation of the lower part to be depicting the roots. When they were told the actual story of the thought behind the design and how it came about they were awestruck and one could see that in their eyes.
What makes Sonuslexica remarkable is that it is a symbolic expression of virtues and ideals that are the basis of the sustainable progress of not just Dubai but of the world.