Gharfa

Riyadh, Saudi Arabian

Gharfa ©️2019
Gharfa ©️2019

STUDIO STUDIO STUDIO, the new interdisciplinary lab founded by Edoardo Tresoldi, presents Gharfa: an experiential pavilion installation within the temporary creative project “Diriyah Oasis”, designed and curated by Dubai-based studio Designlab Experience, and located in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh.

Gharfa ©️2019
Gharfa ©️2019

This project, commissioned by theDiriyah Season Committee, is situated in close proximity to the At-Turaif District; a UNESCO World Heritage Site about to undergo a major developmental upgrade that includes the opening of a plethora of museums and cultural institutions. Furthermore, this entire initiative is taking place in a period of major changes for the country, which has only just opened its doors to international tourists for the first time last September.

As the artistic director of STUDIO STUDIO STUDIO, Edoardo Tresoldi worked on Gharfa in collaboration with designer Alberonero, musician Max Magaldi, and garden designer Matteo Foschi, the founder of Odd Garden Studio. Their site-specific installations use different mediums to create distinctive spaces in which visitors can meet, rest, and meditate.

Gharfa ©️2019
Gharfa ©️2019

Gharfa stages the intimate relationship between man, landscape and architecture through the reinterpretation of the human relationship with cultural archetypes. Visitors experience a theatrical world where technique, reality, and illusion are all intertwined.

Night view ©️2019
Night view ©️2019

Inspired by the local ruins, the installation presents itself as a large, complex sculpture peaking at 26 meters at its highest point. Within Gharfa, Edoardo Tresoldi’s Absent Matter makes use of his signature wire mesh, though this time combined with cork to outline and carve out intimate spaces and narrow paths, inviting the visitor to come in and discover it all. For the first time in his career, Tresoldi creates a work of ephemeral architecture that is not reliant on melding visually with its surrounding. Rather, he creates a structure that is an architectural fortress, offering mere glimpses of what is happening within it.

Cork ©️2019
Cork ©️2019

Duna, the semi-transparent fabric-based installation by Alberonero, dialogues in a complementary way with Gharfa, symbolizing a white horizon, a journey into the void. Right on the threshold of the visible and the invisible, this work explores space as a place in which one can disappear – stepping away from sightand its tangible perception, creating a subtle limbo that isolates the visitor from the outside world.

Duna, the semi-transparent fabric-based installation ©️2019
Duna, the semi-transparent fabric-based installation ©️2019

Inside the space, a video installation created by Tresoldi virtually recreates fire and its inherently human aggregation force. Adding a touch of traditional Arabian cultural heritage, the use of a carpet in another installation acts as a counterpart to a sky made of artificial clouds, suggesting a metaphorical connection between traditional and contemporary worlds.

Video installation ©️2019
Video installation ©️2019

The complexity brought by the involvement of Arabian style decor, often characterized by symmetrical yet delicate features, gets sublimated by Tresoldi and Matteo Foschi’s green installation, in which the greenery is made to intertwine with industrial materials. In Max Magaldi’s sound narration, each musical segment is simultaneously independent yet interconnected. The composition can only be heard in its entirety from the center of the structure. This way, the particular spatial arrangement of the installation allows visitors to experience their own personal audio “mix”.

The greenery is made to intertwine with industrial materials ©️2019
The greenery is made to intertwine with industrial materials ©️2019

By creating a multi-disciplinary environment through the interplay of digital and analog, anthropic and natural, geometric and organic, Gharfa shapes an expressive experience that first shatters and then restores the thin line between collective imagination, individual imagery, and narrative fiction.

Cork ©️2019
Cork ©️2019

The theatrical artifices and scenic materials are not hidden, but proudly exhibited. Projectors and scaffolding become an integral part of the installation. The result is a narrative of different surfaces, which in turn become a stage for personal perceptions, while highlighting the structure’s backstage anatomy. Each element of Gharfa has a life of its own but was thought and conceived as part of an orchestral composition that interprets cultural contaminations as a reference point for future artistic languages.

Night view ©️2019
Night view ©️2019

Editing and translation: Chuichui, ©️FULLDES authorized publishing, copyright from the Author, Image copyright from the photographer or Company

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