Bahrain’s fishing heritage inspires Dubai Design Week installation

Rawaa Talass

DUBAI: Bahraini architect Sara Alrayess is in the final stages of setting up her exterior installation before the 2022 edition of Dubai Design Week opens to the public on Nov. 8. For her, it is a personal achievement.

“It’s my first time,” she told Arab News. “I used to be a visitor. Now it’s my first time being a participant.”

Having recently launched a concept studio, Orient Design Studio, her first project is showing at the Dubai event, which is being held under the theme of “Design with Impact.”

A render of Bahraini architect Sara AlRayess’s ‘Gargoor.’ (Supplied)

Her work, “Al-Gargoor,” is a public space that pays tribute to Bahrain’s fishing heritage.

The name of the installation is inspired by a traditional type of dome-shaped fishing cage called gargoor, which is rooted in the Gulf region’s maritime culture. It is usually made of metal wires and comes in several sizes. 

“I just took a drive in the car across Bahrain and what caught my attention was the gargoor,” said Alrayess. “It’s something we see a lot in Bahrain…I took a used gargoor and started to observe it. It was worn out, but it was still strong enough. Whenever I bent it, it would take its shape again. I thought that if it could handle the underwater environment, it can definitely be used for something else on land.” 

These former economy-boosting cages are now only limited to license holders and are otherwise being banned in the region. “They’re piling up, and they don’t know what to do with them. So, what we’re doing is basically upcycling,” AlRayess said.  

Her installation at Dubai Design Week is composed of large semi-spheres that open up to each other. Comfortable seating is accommodated within the curvature of each area, which is made of gargoor, allowing visitors to contemplate their surroundings.

“This whole concept was to create something totally new that no one has seen before,” said Alrayess. “I wanted to expose the newer generation to older customs and traditions, to the way our grandparents lived…Another thing is that people can experience a beautiful outdoor space. My dream is that there will be interaction.”