Architectural Digest's ART OF LIVING design show at Abu Dhabi's Jubail Island

hvíla editions is honored to have been part of ART OF LIVING, an immersive design show curated by Architectural Digest Middle East. The 10-day event took place in October 2022 in Jubail Island, a new nature-bound luxury development in Abu Dhabi.

Architectural Digest's Art of Living Design Show Graphic
AOL - an immersive Design experience
Graphics © AD Middle East

AD Middle East invited a diverse mix of established and emerging talents to express their creativity unhindered and to imagine unexpected, dreamlike scenographies. Featuring 20 original and never-seen-before installations, ART OF LIVING (AOL) brought together over 35 creatives from the UAE, Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and beyond.

Detail of Way Home light object by oh-licht for hvíla editions at AOL
'Way Home' by Setbyol Oh from oh-licht
Image © Architectural Digest Middle East (photographed by Aasiya Jagadeesh)

Exploring the dual themes of New Traditions and Nature Connection, the show took over two villas in the exclusive district of Jubail Island, presenting visitors with fresh takes on historic craft and the perspectives guiding creative expression.

Special thanks to Mariana and her team of Mariana Wehbe Public Relations (MWPR) who was appointed by AD as project consultants to bring its vision to life and to Jubail Island for being such a gracious host!

The ART OF LIVING event and installations in a nutshell
Video courtesy Jubail Island

Jubail Island
Nestled within the capital of the UAE, Jubail Island is a new luxury mixed-use development located within a protected natural environment: the mangroves of Abu Dhabi. The AED10 Billion mega-project envisioned and managed by LEAD Development, a leading real estate development company, will be home to an idyllic collection of six residential village estates located between Yas Island and Saadiyat Island. The settlement is seamlessly woven across natural landscapes and marine waterways and thus provides a welcome habitat for a diversity of wildlife.

Mangrove Park at Jubail Island, Abu DhabiJubail Mangrove Park
Image © Jubail Island

Jubail Island Mangrove Park Sunset
Beautiful scenery of Jubail's natural landscapes and marine waterways
Image © Jubail Island

With its focus on community building, Jubail Island provided a space for artists, visionaries, and leaders from across the art and culture scene to meet. ART OF LIVING is where art, design, architecture and emotion came together in one exclusive event, celebrating the region’s vibrant creative scene. It also marked the official launch of Jubail Island’s Street of model homes which consists of 7 show villas that can be visited from now on.

Show Villas at Jubail Island, Abu DhabiJubail Island’s Street with show villas that can be visited
Image © Jubail Island

Selected especially for the ART OF LIVING event, hvíla editions displayed objects that blend in with the natural surroundings of Jubail Islands and its stunning landscape. Created through material innovation and experiments with artisanal techniques, the installation called NEW TRADITIONS featured art pieces by Berlin based Korean craft artist Setbyol Oh (oh-licht) and Sculptor designer Steven Haulenbeek from Chicago, USA. Each object tells the story of its individual making process, the distinct characteristics of its material and conveys the emotions of its maker.

Way Home light object by oh-licht for hvíla editions at AOL
NEW TRADITIONS installation by hvíla editions at AOL
Image © Rabih Rechdan 

'Way Home' by Setbyol Oh from oh-licht
The core of 'Way Home' - an eight meter long light object tied into a knot - is made of mulberry paper (Hanji) that is wrapped around a self-made wicker structure. Made from the fibers inside the stems of one-year-old mulberry trees, Hanji has been used for hundreds of years in Korea for (sliding) doors, windows, wallpaper and to make lamps in traditional houses. Since Mulberry trees are strong and resilient to moisture, they can resist high humidity and large temperature differences.

Way Home light object by oh-licht for hvíla editions at AOL
For the installation at AOL hvíla editions selected art works by Setbyol Oh and Steven Haulenbeek
Image © Rabih Rechdan

During the drying process of the mulberry paper tube, very thin sheets of white pleated paper are individually turned into a leave shape by twisting one end of the rectangular shape. As a final step, almost 2000 of these single leaves are being glued onto the tube's surface. Attached to another they create this magical, organic shape. Finally an LED light strap is installed inside the tube which can be controlled with smart light apps to either change color, dim or turn off the light.

It takes about a month to complete the art piece and is a sort of mediative process for the artist. 'Way Home' symbolizes a path that shows where Setbyol Oh comes from and where she is going. It embodies sophisticated craftsmanship and the artist’s interpretation of Korean tradition within European culture.

Collage with impressions of the VIP opening night at Jubail Island
Collage with some impressions of the AOL opening event
All images © hvíla editions

Resin-bonded sand series (RBS) by Steven Haulenbeek
Conceived through working in a foundry, Chicago designer and artist Steven Haulenbeek developed a very unique technique for his RBS series. Solid cast blocks of resin-bonded sand — which is a typically disposable byproduct of the metal casting industry — are carved, shaped and textured from the inside. Haulenbeek has created his own tools in order to obtain the various shapes he is striving for.

After this subtractive process of hand-sculpting, the inner shape is selectively soaked with a coating of color and resin that penetrates into the outer layer. Once cured, a process of excavation separates the uncured sand from the sculpted form, to reveal a textured hardened shell, which in this case is a vessel.

RBS Bubble Vessel #63 by Steven HaulenbeekRBS Bubble Vessel #63 by Steven Haulenbeek
Image © hvíla editions

Haulenbeek utilizes multiple variations of this experimental process to create sculptural objects, furniture and lighting inspired by coral, cactus, rock formations and other natural forms. The artist's work passes by the ordinary and seeks to invent unique production methods to let the rawness of the objects he works on emerge organically. By interjecting uncontrollable variants within his techniques, Haulenbeek experiments with the balance between control and serendipity.

The colors and shapes of the two vessels presented at ART OF LIVING naturally blended into the landscape of Jubail Island. Reflecting the island's energy and beauty, it almost seemed like they have been created on-site.

RBS Marbled Vessel #1 by Steven Haulenbeek
RBS Marbled Vessel #1 by Steven Haulenbeek
Image © hvíla editions

Art of Living featured in Architectural Middle East Print edition January 2023
ART OF LIVING is featured in Architectural Digest Middle East Print edition January 2023
Words: Pratyush Sarup | Photos: Aasiya Jagadeesh

Architectural Digest Print Cover - Art of Living
Cover of Architectural Digest Middle East Print edition January 2023 featuring the Scenography 'Sahra' by COLLECTIONAL X GEORGE GEARA

Collage of the participating designers at Art of LivingCollage of selected designers and artists for the ART OF LIVING event
copyright MWPR

All participants:
Carla Baz | The Collectional X George GearaCollectus Studio | Designkraft | Zeina Bacardi | VERHAAL | Chafa Ghaddar | Iwan MaktabiAnoud Al Zaben | Design Point Egypt | Nader Gammas | Jihad Khairallah Architects (jka) | Atelier NadeenNAKKASH Design Studio | MODUOmar Al Gurg | Adrian PepeRawdha Al Ketbi (r.ks) | Renam DesignTamara BarrageKAHHAL 1871FROMM.goshá | iris art advisory | Afra Al Suwaidi | Juma Al HajGregory GatsereliaThe Great Design Disasterhvíla editions 

Some of the artists about the AOL event
Video courtesy Jubail Island

DJ in front of Way Home light object by artist Setbyol Oh
VIP evening with DJETTE in front of hvíla editions space with the 'Way Home' light object by Setbyol Oh in the background
Image © Rabih Rechdan

Thank you all for this memorable event. Hope to see you very soon!

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