DUBAI – No doubt the Abraham Accords have inspired Israeli travelers to explore the Persian gulf emirates, which were a dream visit just a year ago. Reports anticipate that Dubai in the United Arab Emirates will be the number one destination for Israelis this coming Passover.
A new glistening structure, which was inaugurated only a few weeks ago, may do for Dubai what renowned architects and art designers have done for other cities.
Bilbao in Spain has become a pilgrimage town, thanks to California architect Frank Gehry with his Bilbao Guggenheim Museum gem. Baku, capital of Azerbaijan, was put on the map with Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid’s Heydar Aliyev Center, with its flowing, curved style.
Dubai is now proud with its monumental breathtaking Museum of the Future, designed by Shaun Killa. This structure simply blows one’s mind as a futuristic, timeless landmark. One will never understand, until visiting it, that the Arabic calligraphy used on the structure are actually its windows. The words curved on the museum’s exterior are quotes of the Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone,” “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create” and “Innovation is not an intellectual luxury: It is the secret behind the evolution and rejuvenation of nations and peoples.” A true optimistic vision.
KILLA’S INSPIRATION was to create a form that represents a vision of the future, where the physical building with its exhibition floors represents an understanding of the “future” as we know it today. This is indeed a challenge.
When we embarked on the ground floor space shuttle, taking us to the space station orbiting the planet, my thoughts were with Captain James Kirk of Star Trek. The legendary space warrior, played by William Shatner, held a communication device that was rather futuristic in the 1960s. With time it looked like a dubious toy. But we definitely need the dreamers to help us visualize how our world will look in the year 2071, the year the Museum of the Future focuses on.
The upper, dark floor is a space station with futuristic exhibits, dominated by a fascinating idea that a gigantic structure observes the energy of the sun’s beams. This source of power is transmitted to Earth to designated electrical farms, solving our energy problems. Visitors are requested to apply for positions in the station, imagining how space recruitment will take place in the future. Fascinating.
The space shuttle takes you back down to earth, and immediately challenges the visitor with one of our greater future missions – The Amazon rain forest. Demolishing the trees has myriad horrible consequences, with the most obvious ones possibly not the worst. The museum is doing an important job to put this topic on the top of the bucket list. An appropriate wake up call.
The most fascinating area of that floor is the library of thousands of transparent colorful holograms in capsules, in which all of the Amazon’s living organisms – animals and vegetation – are mapped and stored. A guide strolls between the visitors with a small device. At your request, he points at a creature of your choice and the device tells its story like a Wikipedia page. We believe that in a short time, visitors will be able to make a similar inquiry with their mobile phones. Stay tuned.
THE FLOOR below is a surprise. You are called to enter a peach colored ancient shrine that focuses on the spiritual – human beings’ minds. On the way in you are handed a tray with small plastic coins, to be used to make a wish at the end of the floor’s journey. Obviously, the focus on the mind is a prime objective, according to the Museum of the Future’s visionaries.
In the next half an hour you can exercise harmony between people, focusing on an exciting variety of meditation forms. That was an amazing experience, even for those who are skeptical in their day-to-day lives.
The remaining floors are totally down to earth with a variety of unbelievable ideas showing what our daily lives day to day life will look like. There are sophisticated drones, independent vehicles, hidden wireless charging tracks under the roads instead of petrol stations, cyberdogs, robotics to replace human bodies and endless surprises. All having one common goal – a peaceful, harmonious world for the better future of our children.
No doubt the structure of the Museum of the Future itself is the most fascinating. You will easily find yourself taking endless pictures with your mobile device from the plaza, where the iconic formation is placed on a green hill. Rubbing your eyes will not help – it’s real.
Booking tickets online is a must the moment you book your trip to Dubai, at least 14 days before your arrival. Families with infants may enjoy a lovely futuristic nursery, however we believe that children above 10 years old and adults will surely enjoy every minute of the visit. If by any chance you do not have tickets, walk around the museum to at least enjoy its beauty from the outside. Don’t miss it.
Architect Shaun Killa has been based in Dubai for many years. His firm is no stranger to the Middle East’s monumental designs. His Museum of the Future creation is not only a visual and artistic beacon, it will definitely set a new benchmark for building architecture of the future.
The writer is the Travel Flash Tips publisher.