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American Hardwood Cocoon Finds a New Home at Dubai Creek Harbour

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9 May 2017

‘The Cocoon’, a collaborative installation between T.ZED Architects and the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC), the leading international trade association for the American hardwood industry, is serving as an observation deck at the Dubai Creek Harbour Promenade. Originally built for Downtown Design Dubai 2016, the installation has found a new home at Dubai Creek Harbour (DCH), initially as a part of RiseDCH, a brand-new lifestyle experience, which brings ‘The Future of Living’ to Dubai, in a showcase of emerging trends and concepts from the world of music, retail, technology design and gastronomy. Following the conclusion of RiseDCH, ‘The Cocoon’ will remain on site and serve as a live test case for thermally-modified American ash and American white oak.

American Hardwood Cocoon Finds a New Home at Dubai Creek Harbour

“‘The Cocoon’ has been given a new use and therefore a new life. Positioning it in a modern man-made landscape along the waterfront really continues the narrative of challenge what users perceive as ‘contextual’. The new materiality brought through with the thermally-modified ash is also an experiment on how this natural material will weather. We are not worried about this - in fact we encourage it. Some of the original ideas behind ‘The Cocoon’ have also been translated in the new location. Now, the cityscape is framed in the distance along the waterfront in the horizon. Above, another moment of reflection is provided through the ‘skylight’. The brief is continued whereby we have given a new life to the thermally-modified ash and the pavilion,” said Tarik Al Zaharna, Founder and Director, T.ZED Architects

Using thermally-modified American ash that was previously used to clad AHEC’s pavilions at exhibitions in Turkey, in concert with American white oak for the structural elements, T.ZED Architects and AMBB Furniture Manufacturing have produced an installation that will provide an opportunity to test the durability and performance of thermally-modified ash and white oak in a climate and context that are very different from where they are more often used, and naturally sourced. According to Al Zaharna, the biggest challenge was to not only utilize a specific quantity of thermally-modified ash, but to also give new life through new usage whilst also ensuring the least amount of wastage.

“Designed to showcase the materials used, ‘The Cocoon’ attracted a lot of attention at Downtown Design last year while also providing a ‘quiet space’ within the bustling trade fair. Significantly, it gave AHEC the opportunity to highlight the possibilities offered by thermally-modified American hardwoods (TMT), as well as to stimulate discussion around the environmental benefits of working with U.S. hardwoods,” added Roderick Wiles, AHEC Director for Africa, Middle East, South Asia and Oceania. “Our aim with ‘The Cocoon’ was to showcase it at the fair and then ensure it had a prolonged presence in the public realm around Dubai and the UAE. Now in its new home at Dubai Creek Harbour, the installation is a welcome addition to the evolving DCH landscape and, significantly, is serving as a live test-case for the material.”

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