While We Wait

While We Wait, a meditative, immersive installation, commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will be on show in Concrete from 6-18 November 2017. 

The artwork has been designed by Palestinian architects and designers Elias and Yousef Anastas (AAU ANASTAS). The installation is comprised of pieces of stone quarried in various regions of Palestine, which fit together to form a large, lattice-like, self-supporting structure. The resulting sculptural installation is visually porous, allowing viewers to see their surroundings from inside, whilst listening to evocative sound and video components. While We Wait was designed digitally, cut by robots, and hand-finished by artists. Using ‘stereotomy’, the art of cutting stones for assembly, the installation was produced in Palestine, and elements of the process have employed traditional techniques from the region

While We Wait is inspired by the Cremisan Valley, near Bethlehem, where the separation wall is currently being built, threatening to sever the historic link between the valley and its eponymous monastery. In contrast to the concrete wall, which dominates and divides the landscape, this installation will venerate extreme natural beauty and evoke the Cremisan Valley, its eventual home. Following its display at Concrete, While We Wait will move permanently to the Cremisan Valley, where it will represent a celebration of the relationship between nature and architecture in the context of the Palestinian landscape



Elias Anastas is an architect and designer. He studied architecture at l’Ecole d’architecture de Paris Val de Seine where he received a Masters in 2007. In 2009, he won a prize for the design of the Edward Said National Conservatory in Bethlehem and led the construction of the building. In 2011, Elias founded Local Industries -a project born from the desire to put direct collaboration with local artisans at the heart of the industrial design production process and to look for ways to minimise energy consumption for the creation and production of industrial design. He is currently a partner and projects director at AAU ANASTAS. In 2014, he was awarded the 40 under 40 award for young European architects (International Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Urban Centre for Architecture). In 2016, he was awarded the Hassib Sabbagh and Said Khoury Engineering Award.

Yousef Anastas is an architect and civil engineer, who studied at l’Ecole d’architecture de la ville et des territories, from where he received a Masters of Architecture in 2011. He then pursued a Masters of Civil Engineering and graduated from l’ Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in 2014. He is currently a PhD candidate at Geometrie Structure Architecture (GSA) research lab in Paris, working on the resistance optimisation of stone vaults through advanced stereotomy. In 2014, he conducted research at the Form-Finding lab of Princeton University on biomimetic building skins. In 2014, he was awarded the40 under 40 award for young European architects. (International Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Urban Centre for Architecture). He is currently leading AAU ANASTAS’ research department, SCALES -a research laboratory that is consistently enhanced by linking scales that are otherwise opposed.


Image copyright Edward Sumner.