Emirati architect Abdalla Almulla made the Of Palm pavilion at Dubai Design Week by using all parts of the palm tree, including ceilings constructed from woven leaf mats and palm-wood furniture.
The architect was commissioned to create this year’s Abwab pavilion, which is named after the Arabic word for “doors” and is the central installation at the annual Dubai Design Week festival.
He aimed for Of Palm, which was made from local palm trees, to draw attention to how sustainable architecture and design can help humanity find solutions to mitigate climate change.
The resulting pavilion was almost entirely made out of wood and palm fronds, with bark-clad trunks acting as pillars to support a ceiling made from patterned palm frond mats.
“In some parts, we had to use reinforcement,” Almulla told Dezeen. “But other than that it is entirely made out of palm wood.”
Darker wood panelling made from the tree was used to create furniture pieces for the circular pavilion including stools and display cases.
“The flooring is also made out of the wood and the furniture as well,” Almulla added. “We just stained it in different colours so it can ‘pop’ around the pavilion.”
As well as wanting to use a sustainable material, the designer also chose to make the pavilion out of palm trees because of their ubiquitousness in the United Arab Emirates.
The country has been using parts of the tree for shelter, food and energy for centuries.
“I think it’s important in various ways because of the way it was used in architecture to build houses, for food, for fuel and many other things like creating ropes,” Almulla said.
“I like this notion of using one source to create many things,” he added. “And that’s what I wanted to recreate here, to think: how can we take that but with today’s tools, how can we repurpose it in different ways?”
While the pavilion is temporary and will be taken down now that Dubai Design Week has come to an end, Almulla hopes that the work that went into the installation can be built on in future projects.
“This was an initial research and experimentation with this material, at least for the furniture part, and whatever we have learned this time around we’ll take and develop more, for sure,” he concluded.
Of Palm was just one of several pavilions made from biomaterials at this year’s Dubai Design Festival, including a teahouse made from food waste.
Also in Dubai, local studio Roar has created a showroom for rug brand Jaipur Rugs that features Escher-esque stepwells.
Dezeen was a media partner of Dubai Design Week, which took place from 7 to 12 November. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.