Instigating change in an urban topography rife with political instability, the studio’s innovative social structures invite the local community and visitors to engage in public space.
The multidisciplinary architecture and design studio T SAKHI, whose hybrid works are often playfully subversive and provoke new modes of human interaction, unveil two new experimental urban interventions in Beirut in June 2019. In “Holidays in the Sun,” the cofounding sisters Tessa and Tara Sakhi adapt existing security barriers to function as stools and a place for greenery, while “Lost in Transition” offers a flexible site for rest and socializing. Both urban installations invite the community to engage in public space, while actively questioning the abundance of unfinished construction projects and security barriers currently punctuating Lebanon’s visual landscape.
Readapting prefabricated CMU blocks, metal wire mesh, and security barriers compromising their everyday topography, T SAKHI give the objects a new function as sustainable materials. As new, hybrid structures, “Holidays in the Sun,” present a new solution to improving the existing urban environment in Beirut. The two iterations, both pale blue, address the lack of greenery in city environments and the lack of public places for conversation or rest. The sisters adapt the hollow cavities of the CMU block and metal mesh as space for plants and vegetation, and introduce an encompassing surface on top of intertwining blocks of metal to create a seat, juxtaposing security with comfort.
Furthermore, T SAKHI’s urban chair “Lost in Transition,” now lives in the Piazza of Saint Elias Church, in the city center. Originally exhibited in Milan Design Week 2019 for Alcova, the eccentric installation features multiple metal seats that are interconnected through an encompassing arch. The functional sculpture invites face-to-face interaction, while periphery stools offer solitary moments of rest and relaxation. The urban chair is versatile, and the numerous spatial configurations allow for multiple uses, whether it is eating lunch with colleagues or reading alone. The short film animation “Lost in Transition,” vividly imagines the turbulent interactions taking place in the installation, and was created in collaboration with director Ely Dagher and musician Joh Dagher. T SAKHI often invite a variety of creatives to explore their work through film, creating further spaces for narratives, fashion, and cinematography, to embark on a larger dialogue about the structures we live in.
In September 2019, T SAKHI will also install the public garden intervention “Incomplete Pillars for Incomplete Beings” in Beirut. The sisters will create series of interactive public seating utilizing the hollow cavities of the prefabricated CMU blocks and metal mesh. The work is commissioned by NAFAS, an urban initiative project bringing together architects and designers to address Lebanon’s public spaces.
T SAKHI’s projects are diverse, interactive, and question our contemporary understandings of identity, home, and ways of living. Their synergetic projects are both permanent and ephemeral, and range from architecture, product design, art objects, installations, scenography and most recently, films. Drawing from the emotional and psychological experience of space, the sisters often incorporating memory and all five senses to heighten corporeal activity.