Intricate geometric patterns alluding to astrolabes, strands of DNA, the Fibonacci sequence and silicon chips were projected on to the stunning exterior of the Museum of the Future during an elaborate opening ceremony on Tuesday.
Inaugurating the city's newest landmark, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, said the museum was a “message of hope, a global scientific platform and an integrated institutional framework to shape a better future for all of us".
Portraits of Sheikh Mohammed, as well as the projects he has decreed, including the Dubai Metro, the Hope probe and Burj Khalifa, were also projected on to the building.
The visual spectacle concluded with the illumination of the calligraphy by Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej that wraps around the curved structure.
The museum “embodies the active human imagination and the Emirati will that continues to excel in the world,” Sheikh Mohammed said. “The museum will be a forum for great minds, scientists, thinkers and experts from around the world.”
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Dubai Future Foundation, said the museum is poised to become “an intellectual laboratory for cities of the future and governments of the future. It will play a key role in strengthening Dubai’s future position. The museum will provide a clear road map for Dubai’s vital sectors.”
The museum, which opens its doors to the public on Wednesday, aims to institutionalise future foresight and enhance the UAE's competitiveness, said Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Finance and Deputy Ruler of Dubai. “We seek to accelerate the transition towards a knowledge-based economy in the region, and explore practical scientific solutions to the greatest challenges of our times, both today and tomorrow.”
What is the Museum of the Future?
The museum was hailed as one of the most beautiful buildings on Earth in a 2021 list compiled by National Geographic magazine, and that was before its construction was even completed.
“The museum is a reflection of the ideas of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, and the passion he holds for the future,” Mohammad bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of the Museum of the Future, said at the inauguration.
It is, after all, the Dubai ruler’s foresight that put the city on the global map as a touristic and technological hub, said the chairman of the museum. “Nothing is impossible. This is a key component of His Highness’s ideology, that there is no thing greater than the will and dreams of human beings. This building is a testament to that.”
The 77-metre-tall architectural marvel houses a series of interactive exhibitions that give visitors the chance to experience the technologies and trends that promise to shape the future of humanity. Spanning an area of 30,000 square metres, the pillar-less structure is also promoted as a novel global intellectual centre.
The museum is designed to foster a spirit of collaborative innovation among the region’s leading scientists, to inspire out-of-the-box solutions to looming challenges and spur a new era of scientific discovery.
“The museum’s exhibitions will fuel the passion of present and future generations, and spark their intellectual curiosity for science, technology and the knowledge that will help humanity to thrive and prosper in the decades ahead,” said the chairman.
The museum will act as a global platform for pioneers, innovators and critical thinkers to exchange ideas, accelerating sustainable socioeconomic development and shaping “a fair future that works for everyone”.
He also said the Museum of the Future will host a series of international conversations and talks immediately after its inauguration.
What's inside the museum?
The building, which is located right next to Jumeirah Emirates Towers, close to the Dubai International Financial Centre, dazzles with its unique design and cutting-edge technological innovation.
Its torus-shaped exterior features Arabic calligraphy, designed by acclaimed Emirati artist Mattar Bin Lahej, that adorns the museum's curved exterior. These spell out quotes from Sheikh Mohammed, including: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone.”
Inside, it promises an immersive experience that helps visitors imagine all that is possible for the planet, with exhibitions touching on space travel and living, climate change and ecology, health, wellness and spirituality. The museum also uses advanced technology to represent art.
Product, media, exhibition and experience designers have crafted the content.
These experiences are spread over seven floors with six exhibition floors and one administration floor, sitting on top of a three-storey podium and a food and beverage deck.
Three floors will focus on possible scenarios for outer space resource development, ecosystems and bioengineering, health, wellness and spirituality.
Another floor will display near-future technology that addresses challenges in areas such as health, water, food, transportation and energy.
Each floor resembles a futuristic film set, which visitors can explore and interact with. There is also a dedicated children’s floor, where youngsters can explore and solve challenges “on their way to becoming future heroes”.
How was Museum of the Future built?
Sheikh Mohammed first announced plans for the Museum of the Future in 2015, with the motto: “See the future, create the future.” Construction began in 2016.
The building's calligraphy and unconventional shape made it one of the most complex construction projects ever attempted, with its exterior made up of 1,024 pieces that were manufactured by automated robotic arms and installed over the course of 18 months. The museum’s framework, comprising 2,400 diagonally intersecting steel members, was completed in November 2018.
The complex comprises three main parts: the building, the void and the green hill. According to local architectural firm Killa Design, which won the design competition, the torus shape represents humanity with its artistry and ability to create in harmony. The void represents the unknown future to which innovators can look towards.
The green mound it sits upon represents the Earth and the museum's rootedness in place, time and history.
At night, the calligraphy is dramatically illuminated by solar-powered LED lights that, if stretched, would be 14 kilometres long.
Sustainability is firmly at the heart of the project, as the museum is equipped with advanced building control solutions, greywater recycling systems and powered by 4,000 megawatts of electricity produced through solar energy by a new station connected to the museum.
The gardens, meanwhile, are set to be an attraction in and of themselves. Designed to house about 100 species of trees and plants, they are a reflection of the UAE's natural diversity and ecological heritage. Located on the large green plinth on which the building stands, native ghaf, sidr, palm and acacia trees are all growing in the space — trees that are well adapted to local environmental conditions. The gardens are also equipped with an automated irrigation system and support bee and bird populations.
How much do tickets to the Museum of the Future cost?
Entry to the museum costs Dh145 ($39.5), but is complimentary for children under the age of 3, people of determination and Emiratis aged 60 and older.
All visitors, including those eligible for free admission, must book a time slot to enter the museum. Tickets provide full access to the museum experience and amenities. They are available at www.motf.ae.
How to get to the Museum of the Future
The museum is right next to Jumeirah Emirates Towers, close to the Dubai International Financial Centre. Arriving by the Dubai Metro is the easiest way to get there. The Emirates Towers Station on the Red Line is closest and is connected directly to the museum by a bridge. Another bridge links it to Jumeirah Emirates Towers.
Public bus numbers 27, 29, and X22 also go straight to the museum.
For those arriving by car, there is free self-parking for ticket holders, limited to a three-hour period. There are very limited parking spaces and there is also valet parking available.
What are the opening hours?
The museum is open to the public from February 23 daily from 10am to 6pm. The last entry is one hour before closure. An annual membership will be introduced soon.
More information is available at museumofthefuture.ae