Temporary ExhibitionsFestival, Local History

Qasr al Hosn

Location
Abu Dhabi, UAE
Client
Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority
Surface area
850 m² / 9149 sq ft
Completion date
2013
Overview

In the heart of Abu Dhabi, an ancient palace that was once central to the community is now dwarfed by the city’s skyscrapers. GSM Project was given the mandate to create, design, and build a temporary exhibition celebrating the history of this iconic structure for the Qasr Al Hosn Festival.

Awards

Numix 2014- Grand Prize: Museum Exhibition

Origins

Over the course of the history of the Emirate, the Qasr al Hosn (from qasr, meaning palace, and hosn, meaning fort) has been a watchtower, a seat of power, a home to royals, a government office, and, originally, the first structure on Abu Dhabi Island, built to guard an important source of fresh water.

Celebrating two Emirati traditions

Central to the exhibition were two Emirati traditions: oral storytelling and Al Sadu. The Sadu is an ancient Bedouin weaving tradition, now protected by UNESCO and valued for its important role in bringing members of the community together.

A single collective artefact

At the end of the exhibition, visitors were invited to weave their own narratives into the Qasr al Hosn story. Using touch screens, visitors chose an icon to represent Abu Dhabi. A professional weaver working on-site with a digital weaving machine then incorporated that icon into an ongoing Sadu tapestry. By the end of the festival, the result was a single collective artefact celebrating the cultural identity of Abu Dhabi.

Summary

GSM Project was given the mandate to create, design, and build a temporary exhibition celebrating the history of this iconic structure for the Qasr Al Hosn Festival. Although the festival lasted just ten days, the exhibition was considered such a success that it remained open for another four months.