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The Wind Portal © Najla El Zein Studio

The Wind Portal © Najla El Zein Studio


As part of the London Design Festival 2013, Lebanese designer, Najla El Zein, created The Wind Portal, a dramatic gateway constructed from 5,000 paper windmills turning in the breeze. This walk-through installation created a playful airway, drawing wind and light into the galleries beyond.

Based in Beirut, Najla el Zein takes an experimental approach to design; blurring the lines between art and design and using ordinary materials in unsuspecting contexts. For The Wind Portal she used thousands of paper windmills, a toy familiar from childhood, to create a gigantic moving structure. The portal was imposing in scale, yet largely made of paper it also delicate and ephemeral. El Zein was inspired by the V&A’s day-lit gallery which is home to the Museum’s collection of Medieval and Renaissance urban architecture. By introducing the element of wind into this naturally lit gallery, she emphasised the concept of this artificial outside space within the Museum. Walking through The Wind Portal, visitors experienced a heightened transition from an inside space to an ‘outside’ space within the gallery setting.

Supported by Aramex, Joumana Asseily, Maurice Asso and Hilights, Abir Assi, the Association for the Promotion and Exhibition of the Arts in Lebanon, Boghossian Foundation, British Airways, Amin El-Maghraby, Melek and Rami El Nimer,  Rima and Youssef  El Zein,  Carl Faker, Alexis Habib, Nader Hariri, Martine Harmouche-Tabet , Zaza Jabre,  Cherine Magrabi Tayeb and House of Today,  Mikati Foundation, the Mosaic Rooms, Middle East Airlines, Paul Raphael,  Mazen and Michelle Rishani,  Dania Sakka, Maria and Malek Sukkar,  SOLIDERE and the Beirut Exhibition Center,  Abude Omari and Melanie Cartier-Bresson and others who wish to remain anonymous.

Video: The Wind Portal

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