Time travel is now brought to life with Dubai’s most innovative concept yet – the glittering Museum of the Future, a proud symbol of the UAE's commitment to a bright future soaring above Sheikh Zayed Road
Dubbed the most beautiful building in the world, Dubai’s Museum of the Future is now open. The city’s latest attraction nestled in the bustling heart of the emirate looms high over Sheikh Zayed Road and is the latest architectural marvel to stand proudly amongst Dubai’s glistening skyline.
The fascinating structure – with Arabic calligraphy adorning its facade – made waves around the globe even before it officially opened its doors. Now, this seven-storey pillarless structure has become a glittering new symbol of Dubai’s future-focused philosophy.
What is the Museum of the Future?
Unlike the traditional museum concept which offers glimpses into ancient and modern history, cherishing bygone eras, Dubai’s Museum of the Future invites visitors of all ages to “see, touch, and shape our shared future”.
But more than simply the quirky gadgets such as robotic falcons and self-driving cars, exhibits are immersive and inspired. In fact, through immersive displays, the museum takes visitors on a journey to 2071, where they can inhabit the skies, discover new worlds in outer space, witness the wonders of nature, explore a unique library of flora and fauna specimens, revive their senses and see the world through new perspectives.
The journey is designed as such to encourage visitors to bring this knowledge back to the present and apply it to their everyday lives to bring about change in the world. As such, the museum aims to become a platform to study the future and a living research centre, with exhibits that constantly evolve to mirror a rapidly changing world against a brighter future that’s yet to come.
The entire experience blends science, art and architecture, which makes this concept truly at home in Dubai – a city where no aspiration or idea is too ambitious and nothing is predictable.
On the surface
The building’s unconventional torus shape makes it one of the most complex construction projects ever attempted. At 77 metres, with seven floors and no internal pillars, the museum is an engineering miracle, designed by Dubai-based architect Shaun Killa.
A model of sustainability, the entire surface of the building is made of developed glass, manufactured with new technologies to improve the quality of the interior and exterior thermal isolation.
The enormous stainless steel façade of the building extends over an area of 17,600 square metres, and in keeping with its ethos of innovation, the 1,024 facade panels were produced using automated robotic arms, a tribute to the very digital technology the museum stands to celebrate.
The icon is etched with 14 kilometres of Arabic calligraphy designed by Emirati artist Mattar bin Lahej and spells out some of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's quotes which pay homage to the past, present and future.
Among the quotes, some of his famous words carved on this new world wonder include: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.” Another such quote reads: “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it… The future does not wait… The future can be designed and built today.”
In yet another genius move, the script doubles as the windows of the museum, casting light through the interior by day and illuminated by night to create a surreal, dreamy effect.
The symbolism in its design is also intrinsic to its philosophy. The exterior of the museum forms a human eye, or rather, the eye that sees tomorrow, as its designer explains, and the void in the heart of the structure represents the unknown that humans seek to discover.
A world of experiences
The Museum of the Future employs the latest technologies of virtual and augmented reality, big data analysis, artificial intelligence and human-machine interaction to provide visitors with exciting experiences that answer many questions about the future of humanity, urban life, societies, life in outer space and the future of planet Earth.
While there is plenty to experience, here's what you can expect from your visit.
Become an astronaut for a day
Board a spacecraft and launch into space, roughly 600 kilometres above Earth. En route, enjoy stunning views of Dubai’s coastline through screens designed to act as windows. Once the spacecraft docks with the OSS Hope Space station – named after the UAE’s Hope Probe Mars orbiter – visitors will have the chance to discover what life will be like inside a giant space station in the future and essay roles such as ambassadors of the human colony on Mars. They can also try on space suits or simply enjoy the magical star-filled sky.
See the Amazon come to life
Tackling the challenges of climate change, the museum’s Heal Institute brings the wonders of nature to life with a digital recreation of the luscious tropical Amazonian rainforest. A large screen shows the DNA of the Amazon, with footage actually filmed in the rainforest, and visitors can discover the interplay between hundreds of species that thrive in this environment and observe details that are otherwise invisible to the naked eye.
Access a DNA Library
Another part of the Heal Institute is the DNA library. Here, more than 2,400 models of live species found on Earth are on display inside glass cases. This colourful presentation allows visitors to learn more about the creatures – both big and small – that have walked the planet since the beginning of time, including mammals, annelids, molluscs and flora.
The immersive component of this display includes the ability to “collect” a few species on display using a device available at the museum and then release them at the Heal Observatory, where these species are grown in a nursery. Once these samples are released, visitors can see the progress these creatures make, how they behave and how the ecosystem heals with their presence.
Step into a futuristic spa
Mental health takes centre stage at the Al Waha, designed to resemble a futuristic spa. Here, visitors are invited to switch off and experience the restorative effects of movement, sound healing and meditation. There is also a digital floor with a special carpet that gives the illusion of walking on a beach.
Going above and beyond its role as a museum, the Museum of the Future also serves as an incubator for global visionaries. While exploring and foreseeing changes in the fields of science, human development and economics, the landmark will also serve as a hub for regional and international talent. Visionaries from various fields will be invited to its stunning surrounds to showcase their artistic and scientific advancements in everything from future technologies to smart cities, thus contributing to the world.