final issue 30 web - Flipbook - Page 59
Technology serves to foster collaboration and empower partners to hold open discussions while disregarding territorial borders and time zones.
It’s evident that when planning a museum or gallery in
the Middle East, it is the case to start with ‘the ambition’
and work backwards. Rather than compromising on the
final product, there is significant investment in research
and development with a view to bring the initial vision
to life, with innovative solutions taking precedence over
cost or time-saving alternatives.
What are the cultural differences between the UK
and Middle East?
One of the standout factors with Middle Eastern
projects is a fierce commitment to their respective
cultures. Each element is carefully considered in order
to respect social, cultural and religious traditions –
from the design and decoration, to the exhibits and
It’s safe to say that for those who work alongside Middle
Eastern firms on a regular basis, they will never cease to
be amazed by the contents of a design brief. Each concept
strives to challenge everything that has gone before,
usurping the competition, and pushing the envelope to
make the seemingly impossible – possible.
As such, while developers will look to appoint leaders
in their field, they also source suppliers with a proven
ability to marry up the all-important cultural sensitivity with forward-thinking innovation – something
which is a skill in itself.
How to find the right supplier for my project
The same sentiment applies when it comes to appointing suppliers to deliver these ambitions. You only need
to look at some of the architects involved in standout
developments across the Gulf to see that in action;
Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art was designed by I. M.
Pei – the architect of the pyramid at the Louvre –
while Guggenheim Abu Dhabi was the brainchild of
world-renowned Frank Gehry.
There is, of course, the long-standing discussion around
the use of migrant labour. While UK working restrictions
protect workers on our home soil, the Middle East has
been under the microscope in recent years when it
comes to construction.
Our own experience during a museum scheme in
Oman, saw investment in ‘Omaninisation’, whereby the
developer encouraged locals to work on the structure,
in order to support the local economy and upskill
Oman’s own population.
In the Middle East, projects are led by vision and ambition, with collaborators appointed for their credentials,
history of success and cultural sensitivity capabilities –
seemingly, geography doesn’t factor into the equation.
Below, Bahrain National Charter Monument
Conservation & Heritage Journal