About the Art Cell

The Art Cell is the name chosen for the arts and crafts exhibition that was part of the Made In Jordan Festival.

The Festival was organized by Chamber of Commerce and the Chamber of Industry. The 10-day event provided a platform for Jordanian industrialists to showcase their products to local and international visitors.

Held at Expo Land on the airport road (24 minute drive from heart of Amman), the festival, which ran until September 5, featured products by Jordanian companies and handicraft artists and books by local authors from across the Kingdom.

The festival, was open from 5pm until midnight, and was expected to attract more than 20,000 visitors daily, and featuring 400 companies in the fields of industry, commerce and service according to organizers.

Find Made In Jordan Festival in local news.

The Event Venue

Master-plan of venue, in red the main entrance, circled to the south: The Art Cell.

The venue is a flat asphalt surface with an approximate area of 85,395 square meters.

The location of The Art Cell in relation to the master-plan posed a challenge of attracting enough foot traffic to the the art exhibition. The proposed installation in the center of the cell had to be a visually attracting element visual from surrounding functions.

The entrance of the cell is flanked by two student exhibition booths. In the center is the location of the proposed installation, and to the south of it an amphitheater was created out of wooden shipping pallets stacked.

The Booths

The booths

The exhibition booths were designed to display work of selected Jordanian artists and craftsmen. Booths were designed with scaffolding jacks and reclaimed wood planks used previously in concrete casting as formwork.

The planks alternated the jacks and were fixed in place using wires. Longest planks were fixed vertically with their ends left untrimmed.

On the inside artists used the planks to hang their work on. Hexagonal nylon kites were then used as shading elements for the booths, kites were seen as an Ammani symbol that populates the sky of Amman in the summer.

The booths weren’t fixed to the ground by any means, the organizers wanted minimal disturbance to the venue, hence the structures were designed to be self-supporting .

The Installation Elements

– Height
– Stability
– Support

– Attention
– Livability
– Activity support

– Color
– Enclosure
– Space making
– Interaction

Challenges/Problems.

Challenges: the installation had to be temporary, easily constructed and deconstructed. Alteration of the venue wasn’t permitted, any anchoring, casting or drilling was to be avoided. The design had to accommodate a fixed budget. Total design and build period was 10 days only.

Problem: the location of the Art Cell meant visitors would have to walk for at least 200 meters from the entrance to arrive at the exhibitions. This yielded a design that isn’t only a landmark, but is actually rewarding to those who walked all the way.

Following deliberation the team agreed on a simple design that compliments the materiality and composition of already constructed booths. The height of the structure had to be at least 6-7 meters to be visible from adjacent zones.
Lighting and structure were in place, the fabric element was yet to be installed.

Observations

How did the public interact with the unfinished installation?

The Hammocks installed raised foot-traffic and retention of visitors by an estimated 500%.

  • Client iJordan/ Chamber of Commerce / Project team Murad El Zagal, Abdullah Assadi, Dana Haddad, Suhaib Attar. / Year 2015