Todd Bracher's balustrade, Traces, creates a passage through time and space both literally and symbolically while linking Ithra's Etlala Restaurant, Etlala Lounge and Etlala Lounge Mezzanine via a continuous staircase that connects the upper floors of the building's core Knowledge Tower. The artwork materialises on the balustrade surface from a fragmented gesture into a defined pattern, progressing in ascension and drawing subtle references to Arabic culture and Islamic architecture through geometry and linear ornament.
Delivered in collaboration with UAP, Bracher's Traces creates a direct dialogue with Snohetta's architectural design intent for Ithra's core Knowledge Tower, which prolifically rises 16 floors above the ground to represent that very notion. The higher a visitor walks as they transcend the spatial volume of the staircase from floor 13 to floor 16, the more the pattern reveals itself, simultaneously evoking the passing of history and a future trajectory.
UAP joined the Ithra project team in 2010 in a curatorial capacity, to work alongside Mona Khazindar in the early planning stages of the integrated art program. Ithra and Mona’s vision was ambitious, to procure and commission twelve highly site-specific artworks that spoke symbiotically to Ithra’s core philosophy and architecture, designed by the Norwegian studio Snøhetta. UAP also worked with Aramco and the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture to oversee the delivery and install of these incredible projects.
Image credit: Cieran Murphy