Al Shindagha Museum, Dubai
W3A Culture of the Sea

Building restoration and adaptation to new uses; definition and creation of the museum’s exhibition narrative and content; design, production and installation of display elements and resources, audiovisuals and interactives, graphic elements and lighting.

Culture of the Sea is the largest and most important of the thematic museums that make up a vast museum located in the Shindagha neighbourhood. The museum takes visitors on a tour of Dubai’s maritime history, which begins with the discovery of the natural marine environment and its biological riches, surveys the principal activities related to that environment—the construction of dhows, traditional vessels used in the Gulf and throughout the Indian Ocean; fishing; pearling; and maritime trade—and concludes with a closer look at the seafaring peoples, the close-knit community that forged this maritime culture.

Respecting the original architecture of the residential complex that houses the museum, Empty sought inspiration in the natural environment, materials and objects typical of this seafaring tradition to design a diverse and dynamic museographic installation with various exhibition settings that narrate different historical moments where the human factor is always present in the form of oral testimony. These exhibition settings are framed by the sea and the shore, underscoring the bond between the people who forged that history and the settings in which they lived and worked.

This historical narrative is told using a balanced array of resources, from traditional archaeological and ethnographic objects or exhibits to virtual reality and immersive experiences, as well as illustrations and maps, animation, historic photographs, replicas of animal species and ship models. Every message finds its ideal medium, making the visit a cognitive experience as well as a participatory and emotional one.