Aidah, a Landscape Installation Made of 50 Black Balloons

Aidah – An Invisible City

Illustration by Maria Eugenia Beizo

Boano Prismontas + Ricardas Blazukas
Dubai Design Week 2017

Aidah – a collaboration between London based architectural firm Boano Prismontas and Kuwait based artist/architect Ricardas Blazukas.

“In Arabic culture Aidah means “one’s who returns”. We chose this name to build an a-temporal city where the cyclical idea of returning was present and celebrated. In a symbolic way, we want to highlight how the future of Dubai and the whole region cannot rely on temporary present conditions.”

Aidah is a landscape installation made of 50 black balloons, 500m of black ropes and 50 foam bricks. These elements are combined together generating a floating landscape that belongs to and is in dialogue with the desert, the origin of Dubai. These flimsy structures evoke a sense of transient fragility and at the same time inform Aidah’s bold and distinctive character.

With respect and humble admiration, the project homages Italo Calvino “Invisible cities” imagining an additional chapter to the famous book. This time, the emperor narrates the story of Dubai to Marco Polo. Words can be liberating, they can explore the concepts without any demand for reality.  “Starting the project by creating its story, allowed us to focus on the concept, using architecture purely as a medium, as a “three-dimensional illustration”.” says the designers

“We really enjoyed turning the usual architecture-illustration relationship upside-down. By writing a story first and then creating an architecture about it we used architecture as a tool, as a form of three-dimensional representation, as a medium to express a narrative, which allowed the concept to retain its powerful role.”

Aidah is a provocative representation of a process, a diagrammatic illustration of a portion of Middle Eastern history translated into architectural forms. Most of all, Aidah is a dream, a suggestion, an immaterial city that aims to investigate what makes a city a city. Our intention is to use a temporary installation not as a self-referenced narcissistic display, but as a device that positively contributes to a debate about the future development of the Middle Eastern Metropolis.

The floating spheres are the foundational element of the city (ref. Dubai’s oil) but at the same time its Achilles heel. Much like the bubble of wealth created by the finite resource of oil, the city might burst or float away and it needs ballasts to anchor it firmly on the ground. The economic stability of the Middle East is granted by its foreign investments, that are here represented with black foam “London Bricks” we especially crafted for this installation.

By building in the desert, Aidah also aims to question the idea of “land value”. The installation shows that the occupied square meters might have zero “land value” from a real estate point of view, but they generate a fascinating space, adding a qualitative, symbolic and artistic value to the deserted land.

Night and day time lapses for the installation


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