Middle East, a new Eldorado for cultural players
In recent years, there has been a significant trend in the field of art and culture, marked by growing demand from the states of the Arabian Peninsula. This growing interest is reflected in a variety of ways, including major investments in the construction of buildings dedicated to culture. Let’s take a look at this context, in which dUCKS scéno has played a leading role for over 15 years.
A transformation has been taking place over the past decade in the countries of the Middle East, particularly the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Sultanate of Bahrain. These territories, traditionally isolated from the international cultural scene, are showing a growing interest in arts and culture.
How is this transformation taking place? Through massive investment in cultural institutions, international festivals, art exhibitions and, above all, the creation of spectacular museums. The beginnings of this cultural ambition can be traced back to 2007-2008, with the creation of Ieoh Ming Pei’s Museum of Islamic Art in Doha, the announcement of the creation of a “Museum Island” on Saadiyat, and the subsequent inauguration of the Qatar National Museum in Doha.
Since then, there has been an exponential increase in demand in this part of the world. In this way, the Persian Gulf states are seeking to broaden their artistic horizons by building new, increasingly impressive venues, while creating synergies with the world’s most prestigious museums. It’s a way of strengthening dialogue with the rest of the planet through art and culture, while developing their own artistic identity. It’s also an opportunity to promote their heritage. Finally, of course, this expansion of museography is an opportunity to develop a significant creative economy.
dUCKS scéno: a leader in museography in the Middle East
For over 30 years, dUCKS scéno has been working on museography and scenography projects for prestigious facilities, in partnership with renowned architects. These include Ateliers Jean Nouvel (AJN), the Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA), Henning Larsen, Eric Maria Architectes (EMA), Hala Warde, Shigeru Ban, Kengo Kuma, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), Lina Ghotmeh architecture and Herzog & De Meuron.
The story of dUCKS scéno in the Middle East began in 2005, when the company participated in its first competition in this part of the world, in partnership with Ateliers Jean Nouvel, for the Dubai Opera House. In 2008, it won its first major project in the region, once again in collaboration with AJN, for the construction of the New Qatar National Museum.
Over the past two decades, dUCKS scéno has taken part in almost 25 competitions on the Arabian Peninsula, including 11 in Saudi Arabia. These competitions have resulted in 9 projects, either successfully inaugurated or still under study.
New Qatar National Museum & Louvre Abu Dhabi: focus on two major projects
Inaugurated in March 2019 in Doha, the New Qatar National Museum won dUCKS scéno the “Best Future Project” award at MIPIM 2018. The company was involved in the design of this 53,000m2 museum. Set around the former Palais Royal, it includes 10,000m2 of permanent exhibition space, a 215-seat auditorium and a “food forum”.
The museum houses collections dedicated to the country’s history, flora and fauna, nomadic tribes and Qatari architecture, as well as an important collection of Islamic art.
dUCKS scéno’s mission in this project? Museography consultancy for the exhibitions in the initial design phases, complete scenographic project management for the auditorium and food forum, and multimedia equipment for the permanent exhibition.
Prior to this, in 2017, the French company was involved in the construction of the Louvre Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. A grandiose project, since the museum extends over 97,000 m2, including a dome 180 m in diameter, right in the heart of the bay. On the program: 6,400 m2 of permanent collections, with works ranging from antiquity to the modern period, via the Middle Ages and the classical period. The site also offers 2,000 sq. m. of temporary exhibition space, with 168 motorized beams on the ceiling to support invited collections. Finally, a Children’s Museum is located in the Lower Plaza, where there is also a 270-seat auditorium, a restaurant and a bar. The collection currently comprises some six hundred works ranging from Antiquity to the 20th century. In 2020, 27 works will be added, including two bronzes by Auguste Rodin, paintings by Chagall and Georges de La Tour. Finally, the Centre Pompidou is lending the Emirati museum 18 artworks.
dUCKS scéno’s role in this gigantic project? To carry out the scenographic and engineering studies for the auditorium and its ancillary spaces, as well as for the temporary exhibition area and the children’s museum. The company then took on the role of prime contractor for the multimedia equipment in the permanent exhibition spaces, and was involved in fitting out the Lower Plaza.
This boom in the fields of museography and scenography is opening up new prospects for companies in the sector, as is the case for dUCKS scéno. By participating in this cultural dynamic, the company is helping to create and maintain links between countries and their heritage, as well as promoting art and culture in the Middle East and around the world.