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Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto

Curators of the National Pavilion of the UAE

Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto, © Photo: Pavilion of the UAE

Architects Kenichi Teramoto and Wael Al Awar
© Photo: Pavilion of the UAE


waiwai is an award-winning multidisciplinary architecture, landscape, graphic and urban design studio with offices in Dubai and Tokyo.

Known for addressing the social, environmental, economical and technological aspects of architectural projects, the firm has worked on prominent cultural institutions including Dubai’s Jameel Arts Centre, Jaddaf waterfront sculpture park, Al Warqa’a mosque, Hai d3 and Jeddah’s Hayy: Creative Hub.

Formerly known as ibda design (‘start’ in Arabic), in 2019 the firm was renamed waiwai – a Japanese onomatopoeia which refers to the sound of a cheering crowd – to mark its 10-year anniversary.

Dubai and Tokyo each foster multicultural diversity, and the range of cultural backgrounds in the waiwai team inspires communication through a clear, simple and deliberate approach to architecture. The principals of waiwai’s Dubai office, WaelAl Awar (Lebanon) and Kenichi Teramoto (Japan), have unique stories that first led them away from their home countries, then later to collaborate in Dubai. They share an ability to observe a city up-close and intimately, yet also from afar, with the attentive eye of an outsider.

Their projects layer their individual design sensibilities into an architecture of natural light, time, structure and landscape. By aligning with natural phenomena, waiwai seeks to create an architecture that is more than man-made fabrication, but instead remains open to adaptation and appropriation. The spaces that emerge from this approach are site-specific provocations that encourage unexpected experiences, activities and behaviors.

Wael Al Awar founded waiwai in 2009 after moving back to the Middle East from Tokyo. With interests in natural phenomena, landscape and formless diagrams of relations, Wael has a multi-disciplinary approach to design and is always looking to challenge conventional processes to push the boundaries of design.

Kenichi Teramoto joined waiwai as a principal architect and partner in 2012. Teramoto's working experiences have trained him to develop an understanding of culture, geography and materiality. His approach to design is multi-disciplinary, and he has a deep interest in natural phenomena and structure. He is always re-questioning the design approach with the aim of delivering a distinctive design.

They share extensive experience in designing projects of various scales and programs, including art centres and parks, school and university campuses, mixed-use developments, private villas and mosques.

waiwai was named among the top 17 architects and top 50 influential designers of the year by Nikkei Magazine in 2019; recognised by Architectural Record's annual Design Vanguard issue as one of the top 10 emerging firms in the world in 2018; and included in Architectural Digest’s top 50 offices in the Middle East in 2017.

 

About Wael Al Awar

Wael Al Awar founded waiwai design (formerly ibda design) in 2009 after moving back to the Middle East from Tokyo. He has extensive experience in designing projects of various scales and programs, including art centres and parks, school and university campuses, mixed-use developments, private villas and mosques.

With interests in natural phenomena, landscape and formless diagrams of relations, Wael has a multi-disciplinary approach to design and is always looking to challenge conventional processes to push the boundaries of design.

Wael has worked in the Middle East, the West and for several years in Tokyo, working with renowned Japanese architects. He has developed a strong cultural understanding and geographical sensitivity to different project contexts, and offers the perspective of a permanent outsider working with no geographical boundaries.

Wael holds a B.Arch from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon.


About Kenichi Teramoto

Kenichi Teramoto joined waiwai design (formerly ibda design) as a founding partner in 2012.

Previously, Teramoto worked with renowned architects in Tokyo and Rotterdam, on local and international projects, building an extensive design experience in both Asia and Europe. His architectural design proficiency includes a diverse range of projects including art centres and parks, school and university campuses, mixed-use developments, private villas and mosques.

Teramoto's working experiences have trained him to develop an understanding of culture, geography and materiality. His approach to design is multi-disciplinary, and he has a deep interest in natural phenomena and structure. He is always re-questioning the design approach with the aim of delivering a distinctive design.

Teramoto holds a M.Arch from Tokyo University of Science, Japan.


From press information
© Photo: Courtesy of the National Pavilion UAE – la Biennale di Venezia


National Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates
17th International Architecture Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia

22 May - 21 November 2021

Title: Wetland

Curators:
Wael Al Awar and Kenichi Teramoto

Commissioner:
Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation
Supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Youth

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