"The Wind Portal tries to grasp and emphasise
common emotions and senses"

| 2 comments

London Design Festival 2013: Lebanese designer Najla El Zein has sent us this movie showing her 5000 spinning paper windmills being installed in a doorway at the V&A museum in London (+ movie).

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The Wind Portal installation by Najla El Zein comprises an eight-metre-high gateway made of paper windmills that were each folded by hand and attached to upright plastic tubes with custom-made 3D-printed clips - read more about the design in our previous story.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

In the movie, Zein says that the installation aims to make visitors feel and hear that they are transitioning between two spaces. "It defines an exaggeration of a specific sensorial moment that each one of us experiences throughout our daily lives," she says.

"The wind portal tries to grasp and emphasise common emotions and senses that are often forgotten," she adds.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The film also shows the designer creating each of the windmills by hand-folding paper and fixing them in place with hand-sculpted wooden joints. Each windmill is then attached to the vertical poles with 3D-printed clips.

A computerised wind system controls which windmills spin at any time by letting air escape through tiny holes in the uprights. "Different speeds of wind were programmed, resulting in different speeds, sounds and feelings," explains the designer.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Later in the film, visitors can be seen walking through the two parted gates, which although static, appear to be shut when viewed from certain angles. "According to the angle you are positioned, one would perceive the gate as being closed. As soon as you approach it the gate seems to open up," Zein says.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The Wind Portal was commissioned by the Victoria and Albert Museum for London Design Festival and will be on display until 3 November 2013.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Also at the museum for the festival, a giant chandelier of 280 colourful glass bauble lights was installed in the main hall and a still life of a dinner party in progress was arranged in one of the galleries.

See more installations »
See all our stories about London Design Festival 2013 »

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Photography and films are courtesy of Najla El Zein Studio.

Here's a full project description from the designer:


The Wind Portal

The Wind Portal is a walk-through installation that represents a transition space from an inside to an outside area. It defines an exaggeration of a specific sensorial moment that each one of us experiences throughout our daily lives.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Wind and sound are the elements that makes us understand our environmental context.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The Wind Portal installation is shaped as a monumental gate of eight metre-high and composed of thousands of paper windmills that spin, thanks to an integrated wind system.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The aim was to make visitors feel, hear and become aware of transitioning through two spaces.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The wind portal tries to grasp and emphasise on common emotions and senses that are often forgotten.

Its architectural shape works as an illusion effect where, according to the angle you are positioned from, one would perceive the gate as being closed. As soon as you approach it the gate seems to open up.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

The installation blends in different technologies and materials such as hand-folded paper windmills, hand-sculpted wooden joints, 3D printed clips, and a complex wind and light computerised system.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Different flows of wind are programmed resulting into different speeds, sounds and feelings. The light, which seems to play with the wind flow, gives us an impression of a breathing piece. Indeed, the gate breathes in and out, where wind is its main source of life.

Wind Portal by Najla El Zein Studio at the V&A

Studio team: Najla El Zein, Dina Mahmoud, Sara Moundalek, Sarah Naim
Lighting designer and automation: Maurice Asso and Hilights

Film by: Tarmak Media

  • Simon

    Nice installation, senseless description.

  • Michael Swanson

    Not all of the pinwheels want to spin.
    Should someone speak to them?