The Secret Abu Dhabi Project

Back in May of this year I got a message asking how much money I might charge to fold a massive amount of paper cranes, and how long it might take me.  I sent a quote and didn't think much of it at the time.  Soon after I was in full negotiations with a lighting design company in Dubai called TrueLux.  

TrueLux had been commissioned to design a light fixture for a new mall in Abu Dhabi - The Galleria Mall Al Maryah Island. They requested a sample of clear colored paper cranes in the four colors I had, and while that was traveling to Dubai, I did some research into the right type of material to use for the fixture. 

So, now I've been awarded this commercial project - a feature light fixture in The Galleria Mall Al Maryah Island! This is going to be amazing and I feel honored and super super super excited to be a part of such a project!

I've been devoting most of my time to working on this project over the past couple of  months, so I had to deactivate all my custom and themed mobile options in my Etsy shop, and marked all the custom and themed mobiles as sold out on my site.

The material I decided on for the cranes is certainly not easy to fold, but years of folding paper cranes helps me out with that. My regular desk couldn't hold all the materials needed for the project, so I had to expand my space. I've been using an 8 foot folding table as a folding surface as well as to hold my paper cutters and materials. It is literally the perfect size for everything and it’s worked wonderfully. 

The final product will be breathtaking - I can't wait to see it fully assembled and all lit up! I'm also excited for what other doors of creativity this project has opened up for me! I can't share all the details of the project yet, but it should be complete by the end of August, and I will be able to share all the detail and pictures at the beginning of September.  All the cranes are currently folded and now I'll be entering the next phase of partial assembly where I will be stringing them up in groups of four. 

August 28, 2019

Greetings from Abu Dhabi in the UAE - today the light fixture was completed.  On Saturday night I flew to Dubai and spent the night there - it was already night when I arrived because of the 8 hour difference.  The next morning I rode with Tom, the director of TrueLux, to the mall in Abu Dhabi where I would be working for the next three days.  

Everyone at the mall seemed to know who I was already by word of mouth and because of the videos and pictures of my work that they have been sharing with each other, and they were all excited to meet me, "the Bird Lady." It was non-stop work, and I even brought some “homework” with me to the hotel in the evenings, but it was so exciting to be a part of it all. 

My job here was to unpack the case of origami cranes that I brought, and prepare the models to be hung from the fixture. To prepare the models I had to open up the cranes as they had traveled here quite flat. Opening them wasn't too difficult but it started off a little slow, but soon I fell into stride with that, and Tom helped out to speed up the process. The hardest thing I found about being here was dealing with the jet lag. 

Jet lag is so real! I thought being tired would be enough for me to fall asleep and stay asleep at night... sooo not the case! I’ve been told that by day three I would be better adjusted, and here we are! Last night I had my best night so far, so I felt good this morning and was ready to go tackle the final day of assembly!

Working at the mall was amazing, and I met so many wonderful and talented people since I got here - beginning with Tom who runs TrueLux along with his business partner, Nik. It’s been so fun meeting and talking with them, and Bren, Erin, the other Nick, Alex, Sherif, and a few others whose names I forgot because I’ve met so many new people - as well as Marcus and Sean from the mall media and PR department. Sean actually interviewed me on camera yesterday which was a first for me!

An assembly crew of five, directed by Alex, were actually the ones who hung the cranes from the light fixture. After all the strings of cranes that I opened up at the hotel last night I was feeling pretty good about being able to finish by today. I worked on the tables in the food court area, from where I could normally see the light fixture, but today the banquettes were standing on their side and blocked my view of the fixture. Once I finally did walk over to where I could see it I was shocked by how beautiful it was - absolutely stunning!

I had to walk around it a few times to really soak it all in, and I am so amazed at how it turned out. I took lots of photos and made a few videos and I cannot wait to share them with the world, but I still have to wait a little longer. I'm only sorry that once I do share it with everyone, that I cannot share the experience of seeing it in person.  

I am beyond grateful to Tom and Nik, and their clients for giving me this opportunity to share my art with the world on such a grand scale. I do hope to work with them again one day if they ever require origami for their lighting again. Their kindness and hospitality during my time in the UAE has been above and beyond anything I expected when they invited me to assist with the assembly phase in person. Now it's time to sign off and get some sleep.  :)

By the way - thanks Bren, for this photo of the interview!

Make sure to check back again for more information - and if you follow along on Instagram you'll be able to see some of the behind the scenes of the trip.  See the new post about The Creative Process behind the Oculus Light Fixture here.

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