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Limbo Accra

Limbo Accra / © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe

Limbo Accra

A collaborative spatial design practice, founded in 2018 by Dominique Petit-Frère and Emil Grip.
more information below

Super Limbo. 2023
Mixed-media installation

Collaborators: Anne-Lise Agossa (Architectural Designer), Rym Beydoun (Founder of Super Yaya)

Venue: Sharjah Mall
about this venue, location

Sharjah Mall © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe

Super Limbo is a public architecture and art pavilion that stands as an eloquent response to the many incomplete and unfinished building projects in the Global South through the occupation of Sharjah Mall. With approximately 64,753 m2 of retail, entertainment, and culinary spaces, Sharjah Mall stands as one of the emirate's largest unfinished building projects. This vast area stands in stark contrast to the city's developed landscape, and it is within this labyrinth of liminality that Super Limbo emerges, aiming to reshape the narrative of this space. Limbo Accra’s mission is to transform this structure into a symbol of abundance, reversing the stigma associated with unfinished spaces and celebrating their untapped potential.

Drawing on the significance of storytelling in desert cultures spanning West Africa to the Middle East, and its ability to invoke imagery, the pavilion is soft yet impactful. Spatial software consisting of yards of draped fabric, designed in partnership with Anne-Lise Agossa and Rym Beydoun, founder of Ivorian fashion label Super Yaya, invites visitors to partake in this world-building exercise. As in the ‘mushaira’, a space where poetry and stories actively live, the pavilion becomes a collaborative exercise with visitors, empowering them to create their own stories and develop a unique relationship with the shell of Sharjah Mall. Beyond the triennial, the pavilion and the story it tells will live on — the curtains of fabric woven from bands will be repurposed into cherished objects.

Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Limbo Accra © Foto: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe

The Liminal Archive. 2023

Limbo Accra with contributions by Thomas McLucas (Digital Design) and Ọlájídéa Yeni.

Across the world, incomplete property developments continue to be key city landmarks. These structures were intended to showcase the grand potential of a prosperous future, but their current state signifies infrastructural failures and mismanagement. What if we were to reinterpret their meaning? What if they could be transformed into symbols of prosperity, opportunity, inspiration, and hope?

The main objective in constructing The Liminal Archive is to explore how collaborative efforts can embrace the concept of liminality and extend beyond its transitory nature. Utilizing the technique of photogrammetry, Limbo Accra captures the skeleton of these structures, creating a digital world dedicated to their existence and potential.

Limbo Accra extends an invitation to practitioners from diverse fields to actively contribute to this evolving archive throughout the triennial. This effort aims to reflect on how these sites of failures can be transformed into models of spatial justice and be re-integrated into the urban fabric.

Imagination as Spatial Justice, 2018 - 2023. Photography by Emil Grip with contributions by Oláiídéa Yeni, in collaboration with Sascha Lewit.
© Photo: Haupt and Binder, Universes in Universe
Imagination as Spatial Justice, 2018 - 2023. Photography by Emil Grip with contributions by Oláiídéa Yeni, in collaboration with Sascha Lewit.
Repro: Universes in Universe
Imagination as Spatial Justice, 2018 - 2023. Photography by Emil Grip with contributions by Oláiídéa Yeni, in collaboration with Sascha Lewit.
Repro: Universes in Universe
Imagination as Spatial Justice, 2018 - 2023. Photography by Emil Grip with contributions by Oláiídéa Yeni, in collaboration with Sascha Lewit.
Repro: Universes in Universe
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Imagination as Spatial Justice

2018 - 2023
Photography by Emil Grip with contributions by Oláiídéa Yeni, in collaboration with Sascha Lewit.

This photographic exploration emerges from a deep curiosity of the often overlooked and underappreciated facets of our urban environment. In it, the photographer challenges us to contemplate the enduring legacy of modernist ideals within contemporary society.

Venturing into the unrealized and abandoned remnants of construction projects from West Africa to the Middle East, the boundaries between imagination and reality become blurred. The exhibited images, from Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, and the UAE, represent the first step in Limbo Accra’s digitization and archival process. It draws inspiration from the philosophical framework of Albert Camus' “The Myth of Sisyphus,” urging us to both acknowledge and re-envision the inherent absurdity within the built environment that surrounds us.

In this space, guests are invited to contemplate a pivotal question: How do we imbue meaning in a world teeming with untapped imaginative potential? Do we persist in reimagining what might be, or do we find solace in accepting the present state of affairs, embracing the essence of its current manifestation?


About Limbo Accra

Limbo Accra is a collaborative spatial design practice founded in 2018 by Dominique Petit-Frère and Emil Grip, to work on architectural and urban design projects and public art installations. Much of their work emerges from research, interdisciplinary engagement, and experimentation with the aesthetics and cultural significance of unfinished, decaying concrete structures in West African cities. Inspired by the principles of inclusivity, otherness, and futurity, Limbo Accra often works with other creative disciplines in the formation of innovative and intuitive approaches to new design opportunities. Limbo Accra has exhibited across Europe and recently worked on the design for Virgil Abloh’s Freedom Skatepark in Ghana. The practice was a recipient of the inaugural Black Design Visionaries program granted by Instagram Design, Meta Open Arts, and the Brooklyn Museum in 2021, and won the Monocle Design Awards in 2022. In 2023, it was awarded The Obel Foundation prestigious grant to support the development of Africa's first digital archive of incomplete brutalist structures.


About Sharjah Mall

Location on map

With approximately 64,753 m2 of retail, entertainment, and culinary spaces, Sharjah Mall stands as one of the emirate's largest unfinished building projects. During SAT2023 it will be transformed by Limbo Accra into a symbol of abundance, reversing the stigma associated with unfinished spaces and celebrating their untapped potential.


© Texts: Sharjah Architecture Triennial.
© Photos: Haupt & Binder, Universes in Universe.

2nd Sharjah Architecture Triennial

11 November 2023 – 10 March 2024
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

The Beauty of Impermanence: An Architecture of Adaptability
Curatorial statement

Curator: Tosin Oshinowo

President of SAT: Hoor Al Qasimi

List of participants

Curatorial advisory board

SAT 2023 Exhibition Tour

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