It is the first time 3D printing has been used on such a large scale as a part of an exhibition
DHAHRAN, SEPTEMBER 21, 2023. ACCIONA Cultura, a pioneering company in the realms of museums, exhibitions, interiors and events, is the creative force behind the Net Zero exhibition for Ithra. Located at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), the exhibition is opened until October 2024.
Net Zero presents a transformative journey of discovery that brings to life the exhibition theme through its creative essence and design elements, encompassing the curation of artworks, spatial communication and graphic design.
ACCIONA Cultura’s design challenge lay in crafting a holistic creative concept that consistently communicated the theme across all facets of the exhibition. This approach intertwines the physical and graphic aspects of the exhibition, ensuring a cohesive and legible message.
The theme, the artworks and the exhibition space ensure that the concept design, as well as the sustainable materials and construction processes, are in perfect harmony with the exhibition’s message. To this end, various creative principles guided the design language: organic, natural, open, immersive, authentic and sustainable.
The exhibition showcases 27 artworks curated by Ithra, featuring a selection of international and local artists who share a professional focus on addressing issues like sustainability, the climate crisis, geopolitics and environmental discourse.
The exhibited artworks, ranging from local artists like Dina Haddadin, Mohammed AlFaraj and Zahrah Al Ghamdi to international artists like Bright Ugochukwu Eke, Superflex and Philippe Parreno, among many others, reﬂect the state of the artist’s conceptual approach, providing an exploration of our world’s multifaceted reality and addressing the aspects of living on this planet and our consequential impact on it.
ACCIONA Cultura has created a unique exhibition space consisting of 3D-printed concrete walls inspired by nature and art. These walls serve as a captivating backdrop, weaving around the gallery columns to create a fluid, immersive series of canyon-like spaces where artworks are presented sequentially.
This marks the first instance of 3D printing being employed at such a grand scale as a backdrop for an exhibition. As ACCIONA Cultura’s Project Manager, Claudia Vivas, explains: “Using 3D printed concrete presented an added layer of complexity in this project. This new material is not usually used in exhibitions due to the need for on-site printing. In this case, we printed off-site and created a modular system that can be taken inside and outside the gallery. In this way, the walls can be transported and reused in different locations.”
To convey the net-zero concept, all the elements designed and delivered by ACCIONA Cultura will have a second life when the exhibition finishes, adhering to a zero-waste philosophy. Materials, design components and installation elements are reusable and/or produced in a sustainable manner. This commitment extends beyond materials to embrace sustainable production techniques and transportation, encompassing everything from large pieces such as the exhibition walls and artwork supports, to the smallest details like labels and the accompanying tote bags, catalogues and other printed materials. Furthermore, in line with this message, the physical parts of the exhibition have been strategically planned for future use, ensuring their longevity and reuse in future exhibitions.
As Daniel Orti, ACCIONA Cultura ME Director, emphasizes: “From day one, as a carbon neutral company since 2016, it was paramount for us to be fully committed to the sustainability standards that we have in all our projects during all the steps of the process. To this end, we began by calculating the long-term carbon footprint of all exhibition elements.”
The works developed by ACCIONA Cultura also include the complete set of exhibition literature, comprising a full catalogue with essays, a condensed version for those merely seeking a deeper understanding of the artworks, a children’s activity guide to the exhibition and a leaflet providing essential information about each artwork.
Creating a net-zero exhibition by both name and nature also means sustainable investment in and impact on the community—a key commitment shared by Ithra, ACCIONA Cultura and the broader Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.
The CO2 emissions generated by the Net Zero Exhibition will be offset by the Oaxaca project, one of the biggest wind power complexes in Latin America with 306 MW of operational capacity. They produce electricity to cover the consumption of 700,000 Mexican homes, avoiding the emission of 670,000 metric tons of CO2, equivalent to the cleaning effect of 33.5 million trees on the atmosphere through the process of photosynthesis.
The certificate of voluntary cancellation obtained as a result of the completion of the process is issued by the United Nations Climate Change Office.
The United Nations Carbon Offset Platform features UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) certified projects that reduce, avoid or remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. The projects are implemented in developing countries and are rewarded with Certified Emission Reductions (CERs), a type of carbon offset measured in tonnes of CO2 equivalent. The full contributions go directly to the projects.
ACCIONA Cultura has a strong presence in the Museums, Exhibitions and Events sector in the Middle East. In Qatar, ACCIONA Cultura has undertaken the museography works for the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, the world’s largest museum dedicated to Olympics and sport. ACCIONA Cultura has also been responsible for 150 media productions for the National Museum of Qatar; the museum implementation of Msheireb Museums, and the production of various temporary exhibitions for Doha’s Museum of Islamic Art and the Orientalist Museum.
Elsewhere in the Middle East, ACCIONA Cultura has worked for the National Museum of Oman, the Dubai Expo 2020 (Sustainability Pavilion, UAE Pavilion, Spain Pavilion, Youth Pavilion, Expo Live Pavilion, 46 Thematic Pavilions and Micro-museums) the Al Shindagha Museum in Dubai, and the Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace in Abu Dhabi.