Look: Stunning installation blends UAE history and modern architecture using mother of pearls

The Bahraini architect and interior designer has intrigued visitors that pass by her creation


SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 5:10 PM

Last updated: Fri 10 Nov 2023, 5:53 PM

The Dubai Design Week has many creative installations by artists from all across the the region, transforming the place into one of the most Instagram-worthy places in the city.

However, an installation by the Bahraini architect and interior designer has intrigued visitors, instilling interest in knowing more about her creation, where she has combined Arabian tradition and history.

Sarah Al Rayyes wowed visitors with her installation, ‘Blessings of Iridescence’ and ‘Attay ar Rahman,’ in Arabic, meaning ‘God's divine gift,’ which brilliantly combines Arabian history with contemporary architecture.

The installation is made in the form of a sail, crafted by fusing mother-of-pearl shells, which symbolises the rich tradition of pearl diving among Arabs.

Al Rayyes drew inspiration from what the vast ocean has to offer and thought of repurposing the often-wasted material. “I did some research about what they do with the mother of pearls, as most of it is being wasted. I wanted to utilise the mother of the pearl itself with less modification of its shape,” said Al Reyyes.

The installation aims to showcase the beauty of creation without extensive modification. Al Rayyes said she is committed to preserving cultural heritage and propagating it to the younger generation through art. “I am in the direction of fusing the past into modern-day architecture. If it wasn't for our history, we would not be here today,” said Al Reyyes.

The colours of the mother of pearl, retained in their natural state, range from whites and pinks to rainbows. Al Rayyes has integrated them into concrete, allowing for the creation of a unique architecture. “Such integration can be used on tiles, wall panels, and much more,” said Al Reyyes.

The installation immerses visitors in a pearl diving experience, with the feeling of a traditional dhow that once ventured into pearling. “The Installation here gives you a pearl diving experience. The structure represents the dhow, the ship that used to go for pearling. The pebble-like seating represents the pearls themselves, providing an interactive and symbolic touch,”

“This Installation can be set up anywhere, depending on the space, either outdoors or indoors. Indoors, it can be used in the living area as well as bedrooms and it can also be used outdoors as a seating area, it depends on wherever the user wants,” said Al Reyyes.

She graduated from American University in Dubai, and now has her own company, Orient Design Studio, with offices in Bahrain and the UAE.

Her innovative approach to design, blending history with modernity, has found a perfect platform at Dubai Design District, where she aims to inspire younger generations to value and preserve their cultural heritage.

“Dubai Design District is a great exposure and a perfect place to showcase my creation and to show the younger generations to value and preserve our culture and tradition,”


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