Sabeel Fountains, an Art Jameel open call design contest, unveiled across Expo 2020 site
The Sabeel Fountains, a series of almost 40 drinking fountains designed to both refresh and wow visitors to the world’s biggest cultural gather can now be found across the public spaces of the Expo 2020 site.
The initiative between Expo 2020 and Art Jameel began in September 2019 with the Sabeel 2020 open call – a design contest which received more than 100 proposals. An internationally renowned jury selected and awarded two design collaboratives – UAE-based creative studio Architecture + Other Things, and design team Faissal El-Malak and Alia Bin Omair.
One fountain is designed to resemble a beautiful letterbox, complete with an embossed letter by its artist, while another features a mini ‘natural world’. All the Sabeel Fountains are contemporary artistic interpretations of the traditional Emirati drinking fountain – sabeel – and reflect the country’s heritage and its spirit of hospitality, tolerance, and generosity.
The winning designs – Water in the Green by Architecture + Other Things, and Nahel, by Faissal El-Malak and Alia Bin Omair, are collectively known as Signature Fountains, with 37 located throughout the public spaces of Expo 2020. Water in the Green combines robust materials with plants that highlight Expo 2020’s aim to be the most sustainable World Expo in history, while Nahel features motifs of humankind, nature and technology connecting in harmony, illustrating Expo’s subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.
Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Experience Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, said:
“Through these beautiful and innovatively designed drinking fountains, we invite visitors to take a moment to pause as they quench their thirst and consider their own connection to this most precious resource. The Sabeel Fountains also offer an unmissable opportunity for the public to discover UAE and regional design talent.”
The Sabeel Fountains invite millions of visitors to discover the centuries-old tradition of how, through public drinking fountains, Emiratis share their water with people in need. The fountains will leave a lasting impact as part of the next World Expo’s legacy, living on after Expo’s doors close as part of the human-centric future city of District 2020.
Antonia Carver, Director, Art Jameel, said:
“It is exciting to see our collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai come to fruition. Alongside our exhibitions and learning programmes at Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai (and soon at Hayy Jameel, Jeddah), Art Jameel has a commitment to supporting artists and creative communities through collaborative projects. Water – and water and food futures – are embedded within our curatorial threads, shaped by a number of long-term, multi-year themes that manifest in commissions, among many other initiatives.”