Concrete and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to bring While We Wait installation to Dubai from 6-18 November 2017

Concrete and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to bring While We Wait installation to Dubai from 6-18 November 2017


Image: Concrete in Alserkal Avenue. Image credit Mohamed Somji, courtesy Concrete.


Dubai, 16 August 2017 – Concrete, a multi-disciplinary space located in the heart of Alserkal Avenue, will bring While We Wait, a meditative, immersive installation, commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, to Dubai from 6-18 November 2017. The artwork has been designed by Palestinian architects and designers Elias and Yousef Anastas (AAU ANASTAS). The exhibition will be supported by a curated public programme led by the architects. Prior to its time in Concrete, While We Wait will be shown at the V&A’s Simon Sainsbury Gallery from 16-24 September 2017 as part of the London Design Festival.

“The vision behind Concrete has always been to create a multi-dimensional platform that is ideal for museum-grade exhibitions across the spectrum of art, performance and design. While We Wait inhabits the intersection of contemporary art and design while also being relevant to the diverse audiences in Dubai. We hope that this will be the first of many such collaborations,” says Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, founder of Alserkal Avenue. 

Salma Tuqan, Middle East Curator in the V&A’s Asian Department says: “We are very excited to have commissioned Elias and Yousef Anastas for this edition of the London Design Festival at the V&A. Their ongoing work demonstrates a deep dedication and understanding of local traditions and innovation of technique. Their roving intervention stands as an ode to the natural landscape, and will resonate beyond its iterations in London and Dubai, eventually settling in the Cremisan Valley where it will become a space for collective meditation and gathering.”

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. While We Wait will be on view in Concrete in Alserkal Avenue before it moves to the Cremisan Valley where it will represent a celebration of the relationship between nature and architecture in the context of the Palestinian landscape.

Concrete, a multi-disciplinary public space located in the Avenue, was conceptualised by Abdelmonem Bin Eisa Alserkal, Founder of Alserkal Avenue, and was designed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), which was founded by Pritzker Architecture Prize-Laureate Rem Koolhaas. Concrete opened to the public in March 2017 during Dubai Art Week, and is the first building to be completed by OMA in the UAE.


APPENDIX – IMAGES                

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Press Contacts:


Local media enquiries

Charlotte York, Alserkal Avenue

Tel: +971 56 418 7999


International media enquiries

Julia Lukacher, SUTTON

Tel: +1 212 202 3402


Editor’s Notes:


About the Artists

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 Archtecture (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 the 40 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. 


About Concrete

A multi-discplinary space conceptualised by Alserkal Avenue, Concrete is the first building in the UAE to be completed by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Rem Koolhaas. Located in Alserkal Avenue, Dubai, Concrete is an adaptable venue whose ability to metamorphose to bring creative visions to life makes it suitable for international, museum-grade exhibitions as well as events across art, design, fashion and the performing arts.

Facebook, Instagram: #Concrete


About Alserkal Avenue

Located in Al Quoz, Dubai and established in 2007, Alserkal Avenue is the region’s foremost contemporary arts and culture district. Alserkal Avenue hosts sixteen galleries and over forty creative businesses, cultivating a vibrant community of visual and performing arts organisations, designers, and artisanal spaces that has become an essential platform for the development of the creative industries in the United Arab Emirates.

In March 2017, Alserkal Avenue opened Concrete, a new space in the Avenue and the first building to be completed in the UAE by the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), founded by Pritzker Architecture Prize-Laureate, Rem Koolhaas. Concrete provides a flexible, multipurpose venue for international arts and culture initiatives ranging from performances, to exhibitions, lectures and various other public events.

In Fall 2017, Alserkal Avenue will launch the first Artists’ Residency on the Avenue, further enhancing the organisation’s commitment to cultivating artistic talent. Located in Alserkal Avenue, Alserkal Residency will run three cycles over the course of the year and is open to emerging and mid-career artists with an emphasis on socially engaged and research based practices, in addition to curators, writers and researchers working in related disciplines.

At the intersection of art, culture and commerce, Alserkal Avenue is more than just a neighbourhood, it is the driving force that brings the community of Dubai together to support and encourage a creative economy.

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: #AlserkalAvenue, @Alserkal Avenue


About the V&A

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance with collections unrivalled in their scope and diversity. It was established to make works of art available to all and to inspire British designers and manufacturers. Today, the V&A’s collections, which span over 5000 years of human creativity in virtually every medium and from many parts of the world, continue to intrigue, inspire and inform.


About London Design Festival

Established in 2003 by Sir John Sorrell CBE and Ben Evans, London Design Festival celebrates and promotes London as the design capital of the world. London Design Festival has since earned the reputation as a key calendar moment of London’s autumn creative season, alongside London Fashion Week, Frieze Art Fair and the London Film Festival, attracting the greatest thinkers, practitioners, retailers and educators to the capital, in a citywide celebration.