Emirati designer Khalid Shafar and Czech lighting designer Lasvit will be unveiling a programmable dynamic lighting sculpture named Silent Call, at this year’s Dubai Design Week, taking place at Dubai Design District from 13-18 November 2017.
Integrating time and motion for a function beyond the aesthetic, Shafar’s sculpture showcases the eternal symbiosis of art and religion. His sculpture was inspired by the deep symbolism of the number five in Islam. Arising from the Five Pillars of Islam (declaration of faith, obligatory prayer, charitable giving, Ramadan fasting, and pilgrimage to Mecca), the particular focus here is on the beauty of the call to prayer.
Shafar comments: “The five daily prayers are among the most important obligations of Islamic faith. Today’s busy world poses challenges to a worship performed in times determined according to the sun. Prayer times are defined as near dawn, just after midday, in the afternoon, just after sunset and around nightfall, so the exact time changes throughout the season. Software-based Azan Clocks keep track of it for travellers and worshipers inside buildings where the call to prayer may not be heard. This led to the idea of programming a sculpture that would silently remind worshipers of prayer times using lighting effects and motion.”
The installation took inspiration from the crown of Islamic architecture – the mosque. It features stylised domes of five iconic mosques in five countries (UAE, Russia, Malaysia, Germany and Denmark). The shapes of their domes were transformed into silhouettes of the chandelier’s crystal components. Each dome is resized in several dimensions while all components are mounted upside-down for functionality and composition.
This multi-purposed installation may be uniquely preset to move according to its collector’s time zone and schedule. The chandelier can be programmed not only to indicate prayer times in the Islamic context, yet possibly adjusted to meal times, breaks or exact hours in other cultures or environments such as foyers, hotels, terminals and many other public spaces. Additional settings create varied light intensity throughout the day.
“It was our pleasure to work with someone as creative and dedicated as Khalid Shafar, and see the philosophical depth of his concept,” explains Maxim Velčovský, art director at Lasvit. “Although he’s notably versatile as a designer, his background is in furniture design and he primarily works with wood. This was his first major venture into glass design. We hope it’s not the last and that he will come back to us with new ideas, as many international designers do.”