ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #18 - Underground Phenomena - ArchiExpo e-Magazine

Underground Phenomena

On land or underground, humans require beautiful environments for their psychological well being. In this issue we exhibit a number of international subterranean projects for urban planning, and we offer a timeline piece on subway artwork found around the world to inspire future works.

Don’t miss other stories including the traveling Smog-free Tower by Roosegaarde–going to Beijing this summer–, an interview with UAE Designer Aljoud Lootah and a piece on Cevisama that takes you to the dreamland of ceramic tiles.

*Respects to Claude Parent, creator of Oblique Architecture, who has died at age 93.

If visitors enjoy the stand, the product’s value will increase.
Courtesy of Peronda Group


“Everything’s the same.” During the press conference at last year’s Cersaie fair in Italy, architects discussed their discontent of the selection of ceramics on display. Although we’ve been seeing the same trends a few years now–ceramics that look like fabric, wood, brick, marble or stone; ceramics with patterns,...

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Exploring the boundless and creative visions of underground public transportation.


The metropolitan public comes together underground almost everyday, yet it is often forgotten how complex and labyrinthine these subterranean portals really are. That’s why these spaces are continuously (re)imagined and constructed by artists, designers and architects. ArchiExpo identifies 8 amazing spaces that keep underground commuters in awe. Follow the timeline for the flow of underground events.



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A growing number of cities are now employing subterranean solutions.
Courtesy of JTC Corporation

Urban space is under pressure like never before. For the first time in human history, more than half the world’s population now lives in cities. According to the United Nations, this figure will soar to nearly 70 percent by 2050. This has led many cities to expand laterally, following the pattern of low-density urban...

MUCEM ® Lisa Ricciotti


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  • Courtesy of Aljoud Lootah


    In the land of mountainous golden sand, a certain ethnic heritage is on the verge of extinction. Bedouin women in rural communities of the United Arab Emirates would produce soft furnishings and decorative accessories for camels and horses. Their products portray a traditional form of weaving, known as Al Sadu in the UAE.

    Uwairyan Misnad Aljoud Loutah uae archiexpo carpets

    Uwairyan and Misnad. Courtesy of Aljoud Loutah

    To promote Al Sadu and the desert-dwelling Bedouin, to allow heritage to live on, UAE designer Aljoud Lootah launched her new products Uwairyan and Misnad in 2015. Produced with 100% natural dyed wool and weaved using the traditional Al Sadu technique, Lootah’s carpets play with forms and patterns.

    Aljoud Lootah speaks to ArchiExpo about these products, recently showcased at Abu Dhabi’s new cultural exposition platform Warehouse 421.

     ArchiExpo: What do the names “Uwairyan” and “Misnad” stand for?

    Aljoud Lootah: Uwairyan is a traditional Al Sadu pattern. The term refers to the two-toned triangles woven together to form an hourglass shape.

    Misnad is a small rectangular cushion that is mainly used as an armrest. Attached to a bench, the rug may be used as a seat or as a ‘Misnad’ that we may lean on while sitting on the part of the carpet that is on the floor.

    Originally, Al sadu Techniques are employed by Bedouin women living in the desert or small oasis villages in the UAE. My products “Uwairyan” and “Misnad” are woven by Afghani artisans.

    “Uwairyan” and “Misnad” are woven by Afghani artisans. Courtesy of Aljoud Loutah

    “Uwairyan” and “Misnad” are woven by Afghani artisans. Courtesy of Aljoud Loutah

    ArchiExpo: Do the Afghani makers master Al Sadu techniques in the same way as UAE craftswomen?

    Aljoud Lootah: No, as they work mainly with the traditional Afghani carpets. Having them work for me was quite challenging as they were used to a certain design and process of weaving. We had to concentrate on multiple small samples before we could finalize the design and go to full production.

    Uwairyan Aljoud Loutah uae archiexpo carpets

    Uwairyan carpet. Courtesy of Aljoud Loutah

    ArchiExpo: What is the meaning of geometric patterns in your interpretation of Al Sadu carpets?

    Aljoud Lootah: Usually the patterns of Al Sadu represent environment. Triangles imitate heaps of dates and sand dunes, other shapes may symbolize camels, palm trees etc. In my designs I mainly focused on triangles and lines as they are the most prominent shapes in Al Sadu.

    ArchiExpo: What’s the purpose of using traditional Al Sadu colours: white, brown, red, and beige?

    Aljoud Lootah: It is important to merge a little of everything to come up with a creative, unique piece. On the one hand, materials, colors and shapes create the aesthetics of a product, on the other hand, styles, functions and concepts play another role – they tell a story.

    Courtesy of Creative Group India


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    Already on the American market for over ten years, SageGlass was presented for the very first time in Dubai at the construction fair Big Five in November 2015.

    Its factory based in Minnesota produces glass that “tints on demand which helps save energy, reduce heat and glare and enables building occupants maintain a connection to the outdoors” CEO Alan McLenaghan explains on the company’s website.

    Its electronic control system automatically adjusts levels of tint throughout the day based on the position of the sun and can prevent the loss of up to 30% of heating and cooling compared to conventional glass, according to the US Department of Energy.

    Architects, glazing contractors and individual building owners can all benefit from its easy ‘set and forget’ capabilities, giving it a great many practical uses to a wide range of customers.


    Rory Gale

    Rory Gale is an English teacher, interpreter and writer.

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    Amelia Card

    Amelia Card is a freelance writer and author currently based in Los Angeles, California.

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    Olga Sterkhova

    Olga Sterkhova  writes and translates in three languages: Russian, English and French.

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    Erin Tallman

    American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including her first novel.

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    Alex Ulam

    Alex Ulam is a freelance journalist and design critic based in New York.

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    Erin Gigl

    Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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    Daniel Allen

    Daniel Allen is a writer and a photographer. His work has been featured in numerous publications, including CNN, BBC, The Sunday Times, The Guardian, National Geographic Traveller, Discovery Channel.

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