Concepts for a huge airport being built in the Middle East, a landmark economic development for the region that aims to position itself as an artistic benchmark by commissioning artworks that reflect the cultural identity of the country and the area.

David Harber was asked to come up with ideas for several different areas within the airport. A giant pendulum was the concept which found favour and is in development now.

Model of the proposed pendulum for Middle East airport

Brief for the Art Commissions
Concept theme: space-time:
Suggested themes: Dualities in space-time, place and non-place, finite-infinite space, the deconstruction of visual space, cosmopolitan and globalization, Islamic space/sacred spaces, memory and monuments, Islamic Heritage, five continents, from earth to the moon.

David Harber Ltd was asked to submit ideas for three different areas within the new airport. This row shows proposed sculptures taking inspiration from dandelions for a part of the airport that is to feel like an exterior space. The following two rows show public art ideas sparked by black holes and by a flock of birds.

Inspiration from dandelions
Dandelion inspired sculpture Dandelion inspired sculpture

Example concept - The Black Hole

  • The embodiment of man’s non understanding of time and space
  • A lattice work of stainless steel rods and cables weaving a 3 dimensional pattern and model of a vast vortex hole
  • The rods will be bright stainless steel and will be lit with a rolling wave of light, disappearing down to the furthest end, at which point there will be a pulse of light bouncing back. This represents the journey from one time space to another
Inspirations for public sculpture based on black hole
Cube design idea for landmark artwork Cube design idea for airport

Practical Considerations:

  • Artworks to be produced in hard wearing materials
  • Dust is an issue and so the concepts need to be designed so as to minimise the effects of dust
  • Low maintenance
  • Artworks are required in three zones
Sculpture inspired by a flock of birds

The concept that found favour was for a giant pendulum, a complicated structure that will need to power its own swing and cannot be too heavy despite its large size. The pendulum will also light up the time (in five minute increments) with each swing.

Design variation with coloured floor