OVER THE PAST DECADE HOW HAS SVENM GROWN?
To evolve we feel it is important to get things made, so we work with project partners and clients that value realising our concepts. The week we set up the company we got a call from John Martin (Co-founder of Art Dubai), who asked us to deliver a new approach to the fair's master-plan. We went from there to designing our first residential retreats by winning clients at Abraaj's Celebration of Entrepreneurship (2009).
We diversified the portfolio gradually, complementing our architectural and planning experience with furniture production. Now, with our new Alserkal Avenue studio, we are able to host material and product exhibitions too.
WHAT MADE YOU MOVE TO ALSERKAL AVENUE?
We moved from a Sheikh Zayed Road office and opened at Alserkal Avenue because the location and the cavernous space our studio is currently housed in optimizes access to our services. The transparency of an accessible, creative atelier means more people discover our work, and this is invigorating.
PLEASE TELL US MORE ABOUT 'EVERYDAY MASTERPIECES: THE ART OF BUILDINGS' YOUR CURRENT EXHIBITION.
We approached members of the public, and contacts of the company asking them for 50 – 100 words in response to the same question: 'What is your favourite building, place or space in Dubai?'. The responses we got are distributed along the walls of our space (H79), interspersed with images by a local photographer who has recorded raw materials on building sites across the city over the past few years.
HOW ARE VISITORS ENGAGING WITH THIS EXHIBITION?
Responses fall into two halves, one group is concerned with the processes of design and architecture communicated in the display, and then ask about our work in this context. People in the second group read each story carefully and ask for their stories to be included too.
ARE YOU INCLUDING NEW STORIES THEN?
Collating oral and written histories for future generations to explore is one reason we began this project, and this archive of stories about Dubai's buildings, places and spaces is continually growing at www.architecturalbiennale.com.
WHAT IS THE ARCHITECTURAL BIENNALE?
The Architectural Biennale is a summit for architecture that will launch in September 2017 in Dubai. SVENM is part of the organising committee, which is why our first exhibition was based around urban spaces and buildings in Dubai.
The Biennale was created to be an open-platform by sector professionals and city inhabitants wanting to explore, discuss, and learn about our built environment. Inaugural activities will include a symposium, open-house tours, city-walks and partner exhibitions.