Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, UEA: House of Artisans, Qasr Al Hosn exhibition design

Category: Installations & Exhibitions; Entrant: Kossmanndejong and Tellart

For the redesign of its per­manent exhibition devoted to Emirati crafts, the House of Artisans briefed designers Kossmanndejong and Tellart to enliven its pre-existing exhibition and capture the artisans’ ingenuity. The former exhibition displayed crafts in a taxonomic and static manner, devoid of the creativity that shaped these crafts into being. Though artisans ­created crafts on site, they were relegated to the exhibition’s corners, as if their presence was an afterthought rather than the feature.

In Kossmanndejong and Tellart’s new exhibition, Emirati artisans practice their craft on site and welcome visitors. Placed at the heart of the exhibition, these demonstrations form the lifeblood of the exhibition. The visitor sees a wealth of the artisans’ work, from a video projection of hands at work, to the central pavilion woven from palm leaves, and a ­display of traditional and contemporary Emirati crafts.

Creating a space for artisans to craft directly connects them with the visitors, circumventing the museum as the mediator. Visitors can ask the artisans about their techniques and materials, and can also lend a hand and learn more about traditional Emirati weaving techniques by ­doing. The House of Artisans enables Emirati artisans and museum visitors to communicate with each other through their hands and words.

Graphic Design: Kossmanndejong
Concept, Interactive design, Media Design, Production: Tellart Executive
Creative Direction: Maf.Studio
Light Design: Heinz Loopstra
Build: Projex UAE
Project Photography: Mohamed Somji/Seeing Things