x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Meet Wendy, the curious art installation that clears the air

The installation, known as Wendy 2.0, is able to purify the air around it and has arrived in time for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which starts on Sunday.

The installation, known as Wendy 2.0, is able to purify the air around it and has arrived in time for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.
The installation, known as Wendy 2.0, is able to purify the air around it and has arrived in time for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

ABU DHABI // A curious object is already turning heads on the Corniche but when it is up and running, it will do much more than just catch the eye.

The installation, known as Wendy 2.0, will be able to purify the air around it and has arrived in time for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which starts on Sunday.

The sculpture is able to clean the capital's air because it is made from a fabric treated with titania nanofilm, an environmentally friendly chemical spray that neutralises airborne pollutants.

The spiky arms of the solar-powered contraption also shoot out blasts of cool air, music and even water.

The piece was designed by HWKN (Hollwich Kushner), a New York architecture and design office.

"The design for Wendy was a study in how far we could push the envelope of architecture to capture the public's imagination and demonstrate what architecture can do for the built environment," said Marc Kushner, a partner at HWKN.

"Wendy 2.0 is an opportunity to touch an even broader audience and raise awareness about the potential of the architecture that surrounds them."

The name Wendy was not a random choice. It was chosen in the United States, where the installation made its first appearance last summer at the New York-based art institution MoMA PS1, after winning its young architects programme.

"We believe that lots of architects can design beautiful buildings but it is not about beauty anymore, it is about character and personality – and Wendy is exactly about that," Mr Kushner said.

"With Wendy, we focus intently on creating a project that people can relate to emotionally – and the name helps to foster this relationship."

The installation, which the public can walk into, opens on Sunday and will remain at Al Sahil Maydan on the Corniche until February 6.

Known simply as Wendy in the US, it is now Wendy 2.0 after Masdar converted it to use solar energy.

The project was supported by the Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation.

"We are delighted to be supporting Wendy and offering this unique experience to the people of the UAE during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week," said the foundation’s executive director, Dr Salvatore LaSpada.

About 30,000 people from 150 countries are expected in the emirate for Sustainability Week, which runs from January 13 to 17 and is said to be the largest gathering on sustainability in the Middle East.

ecleland@thenational.ae