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Alghata’s figure variations at Jai & Jai pop-store in Los Angeles.

Alghata’s figure variations at Jai & Jai pop-store in Los Angeles.

Bahrain architect goes global with exhibit

May 2017

A young Bahraini architect has challenged the notion of the lack of originality and uniqueness in mass production, by exhibiting figure variations at Jai & Jai pop-store in Los Angeles, US, which have been created using nine designed cutting tools.

The ‘FIG. 288’ is a pop-store style exhibition by Zaid Kashef Alghata, lead designer of the House of ZKA that showcases 288 3D printed models and 288 corresponding axon drawings. 

It was opened in March and will run until May 20. The closing will correspond with a panel discussion that will include Dora Epstein Jones, executive director of the Architecture and Design Museum in Los Angeles.

The models have been arrayed in formation to occupy the length of the gallery floor, with 288 corresponding framed drawings across the walls. Although they are presented all at once, their differences demanded singular attention. This isolates them from the collective, and creates a tension between the reading of a heterogeneous collection of individual objects and a homogeneous mass of similarity.

Alghata discusses the exhibition with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne.

Alghata discusses the exhibition with Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne.

 

In moving through a potentially endless series of objects, the audience is invited to slowly understand the language of the exhibition, creating a build-up of a visual glossary of differences that allows them to start isolating and categorising the objects into smaller families.

“FIG. 288 invites us to indulge in the pleasures of an infinite discovery of difference in similarity,” says the 26-year-old Alghata. 

He says the intention is neither to impose nor inquire into the conditions of industrial production within art. “However, there is a recognition that architectural tools can produce objects that can be viewed as art; concurrently the nature of mass production touches upon the field of commerce, this re-engages the gallery goer as both a critic and consumer.”

Alghata says he is not an architect posing as an artist or a manufacturer, rather a worker producing unique objects in-mass. “Modelling and fabrication makes it easy to create ‘one-off’ objects, so why continue with the identical xerox copy?”

Calling Alghata a global citizen for a new era, Tom Wiscombe, Southern California Institute of Architecture undergraduate chair says: “These carvings of mass, like digital rock, create spectacular silhouette drawings that exist in a 2D to 3D state.”

House of ZKA is a collection of architectural explorations that started in London and is currently based in Los Angeles. The house attempts to frame its focus towards existing architectural climates.




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