after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude's monumental 'mastaba' will be built

after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude's monumental 'mastaba' will be built

christo and jeanne-claude’s colorful and colossal ‘mastaba’

 

christo and jeanne-claude had first conceived ‘the mastaba’ in 1977. 45 years later, and almost two years after christo’s passing, it is finally set to be realized. the monumental sculpture will stand in the deserts of abu dhabi, around 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of the UAE‘s city of liwa. it will be built with 410,000 multi-colored barrels, lending a 60-degree slant to the overall volume, and generating ‘a colorful mosaic, echoing islamic architecture.‘ measuring 150 meters (492 feet) high, 300 meters (984 feet) long, and 225 meters (738 feet) wide, it will mark the artists’ largest permanent artwork worldwide.

 

the planned public artwork recalls the london mastaba, which was recreated in augmented reality (see designboom’s coverage here) just before christo’s passing in may 2020. the christo and jeanne-claude foundation has not yet announced an expected date for the self-funded construction, though economic and structural studies continue to be carried out.

christo mastaba abu dhabi
images © christo and jeanne-claude foundation

 

 

design conception to structural proposal

 

christo and jeanne-claude (see more here) originally designed the mastaba over the course of many years. while the concept was first envisioned in 1977, it was not until 1979 that the pair first visited the united arab emirates and decided upon the colors and the orientation of the steel barrels. finally in 2007 and 2008, tokyo’s hosei university presented the most technically sound proposal for the mastaba’s construction after studying its structural feasibility.

 

actually, christo had initially reached out to ETH zürich, university of illinois at urbana-champaign, cambridge university, and hosei university, noting that ‘all four teams worked independently and did not know of each other.’

 

the team explained the structure, noting that ‘the entire substructure, as well as the layer of barrels, will be assembled flat on the ground. ten elevation towers will make it possible to raise the entire structure on rails to its final position in about two weeks.’

christo mastaba abu dhabi
christo in his studio with a preparatory drawing for the mastaba | new york city, 1984

 

 

the christo and jeanne-claude foundation continues to describe the journey of the mastaba:in 2012, christo commissioned pricewaterhouse coopers and albright stonebridge group to conduct analyses on the social and economic benefits of the mastaba. like all of christo and jeanne-claude’s projects, the mastaba will be self-financed and will not require government funding.

 

‘christo and jeanne-claude’s relationship with abu dhabi goes back to 1979 when they first visited the emirate. they have returned many times since, creating a longstanding friendship with the people of abu dhabi.

 

the mastaba will be christo and jeanne-claude’s only permanent, large-scale public artwork, and also their final project. per christo’s wishes, the mastaba will be carried out by his nephew vladimir yavachev, who has worked with the artists for over three decades and most recently directed l’arc de triomphe, wrapped (see designboom’s coverage of the ‘l’arc de triomphe, wrapped’ here)’

christo mastaba abu dhabi
the mastaba of abu dhabi (project for united arab emirates) | scale model 1979

christo mastaba abu dhabi
the mastaba (project for abu dhabi, united arab emirates) | collage 2017

after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude's monumental 'mastaba' will be built
jeanne-claude introduces the mastaba project to a UAE official | united arab emirates, may 1980

christo-jeanne-claude-mastaba-largest-installation-abu-dhabi-UAE-designboom-06a

after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude's monumental 'mastaba' will be built
christo during the first scale model test at the proposed site of the mastaba | united arab emirates, november 13, 2011

after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude's monumental 'mastaba' will be built
the mastaba (project for abu dhabi, united arab emirates) | drawing 2013 in two parts

christo-jeanne-claude-mastaba-largest-installation-abu-dhabi-UAE-designboom-08a

the mastaba (project for abu dhabi, united arab emirates) | drawing 2012 in two parts

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the mastaba in comparison to the great pyramid of giza (pyramid of cheops), egypt
the mastaba in comparison to the great pyramid of giza (pyramid of cheops), egypt
after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude’s monumental ‘mastaba’ will be built
 
after 45 years, christo and jeanne-claude’s monumental ‘mastaba’ will be built
 
jeanne-claude working on the mastaba project | united arab emirates, february 1982
jeanne-claude working on the mastaba project | united arab emirates, february 1982

ARCHITECTURE IN THE UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (118)

CHRISTO AND JEANNE-CLAUDE (20)

DBINSTAGRAM (1978)

PUBLIC ART (450)

SCULPTURE (214)

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