An urban public seating and spatial design concept ‘Desert Ribbons’ explores different ‘seated’ positions of the body and a variety of social situations that seating can create while the design references regional nature, such as the topography of desert dunes, the desert camel, and the ghaf tree, in its concept, form, and materiality.

The concept also incorporates a play on the type and orientation of chairs to study how ‘seated’ positions can respond to – as well as create – different acts of social engagement. The installation features a two-seat version with an ‘UPRIGHT’ chair and ‘STANDING’ chair.

The design references nature and the region - the curves of the body, like the curves of sand dunes, become the form of the chairs. Camel leather is moulded to capture fluid impressions of the body in different positions and the resulting complex shapes are used to form seating; a technique borrowed and adapted from shoemaking.

Camel leather is well-suited to furniture, durable, and can perform well in outdoor applications. Its unconventional use in outdoor furniture and spatial installations elevates the experience of urban public seating by adding a luxurious, organic quality. The installation seeks new applications – in terms of function, design, and construction – for camel leather that advance the art and craft of this robust, natural, biodegradable, locally available and under-utilized material in the UAE.

About Bishoy Girgis

Bishoy Girgis is a Material Fabrication Specialist in the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) Labs at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). Outside of this position, Bishoy is a practicing architect and independent designer.


About Tania Ursomarzo

Tania Ursomarzo is an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Interior Design in the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) Labs at the American University of Sharjah (AUS). In addition to her academic position, Tania is a practicing architect, independent designer and founder of the multi-disciplinary design studio, ETCETERAcreative, and fashion product brand, TRIPTYCH.