Dubai’s Museum of the future does not look to the past but aims to shape the present to design the world to come
The future is uncertain, but to face it at its best, we can imagine it. The Museum of the future (Motf) of Dubai was born on this simple and incontrovertible assumption. The city that symbolizes the wealth of the United Arab Emirates this time changes objective and target, because it does not draw attention by mixing spectacle and records, as it did with the Burj Khalifa skyscraper, but rather a constantly changing mare magnum that unravels taking on different forms to represent the leading ideas that could characterize our tomorrow.
There is no retrospective of the past at the Museum of the future, but rather the perspective of human evolution, which passes through the impact of science and new technologies on the predominant sectors of life: from health to wellness, from education to innovation, passing through smart cities, renewable energy and transport. And it does so by leveraging key contemporary technologies: virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data analytics, and human-computer interaction.
A shape never seen before
The essence of the structure conquers the visitor even before diving inside, because the unusual eye shapes strikes and intrigues, with the solution to the enigma that is gradually revealed during the visit. The look towards tomorrow is a blank page waiting to be written, which is why the building has an unexpected silver-colored facade, more like a funfair than a repository of knowledge. The three Arabic phrases that stand out along the entire exterior, summarize the vision of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the 71-year-old sheikh, the political and symbolic leader of the Emirate: vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates and sovereign of Dubai, with a wealth of around 18 billion dollars.
“The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. It isn’t something you await, but rather create”. And again: “We may not live for hundreds of years, but the products of our creativity can leave a legacy long after we are gone”. The third sentence: “Innovation is not an intellectual luxury. It is the secret to the evolution and rejuvenation of nations and peoples.” The Sheikh’s words are mottos that encapsulate the meaning of the work, designed to look to the future with confidence and spirit of initiative, so that the future can be written by shaping the present, with a view to following a path of widespread growth, which is the witness to be bequeathed to posterity.
Indeed, part of the Sheikh’s words are addressed to young people, whose aims are to inspire the new generations to be ambitious in pursuing their future endeavors, dreams and aspirations. This is also why the Museum of the Future will continue to hold surprises and will be “constantly adapting and open to metamorphosis, with interactive environments to evolve its offerings to visitors,” said Mohammed Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs of the United Arab Emirates since 2006.
Creating and recreating history, after all, is one of the missions of the structure, to look to the distant future, without losing touch with the near future, closer and more tangible. It took six years to create a futuristic space that is unique on the international scene. Already included in the list of the most beautiful museums signed by National Geographic, the Motf wants to emerge as a hub to stimulate the mixture of art, science and technology, with the meeting of inventors, creatives and designers to provide reflections and solutions to be experienced to participate in deciphering the future.
A museum to discover tomorrow
Set on a hillside populated by hundreds of tree species representing the natural differences that characterize the region, the Museum of the Future rises 77 meters alongside the Emirates Towers, spread vertically over seven exhibition floors, extending for about 30,000 square meters and is powered by 4,000 megawatts. The facade relies on panels produced using robotic and automated arms with a stainless steel coating (the panels are a tribute to the digital world: they are 1024, as the number of bytes that make up a kilobyte, the basic unit of the digital information storage system). The external surface of the structure is characterized by inlays in the Arabic language that come to life thanks to the programmable lei that unravel for 14 thousand meters, leaving a void in the center created by the designers of Killa Design to symbolize the unknown of the future.
To simulate the departure from the known world towards the unknown planet, the journey in the museum of the future starts with “Journey to the future”, with an elevator that like a rocket leads into space. We are in 2071, in a spaceship 600 kilometers from the Earth to observe the Moon and potential new renewable sources. Who knows that the hope becomes reality in the coming decades, with space tourism that may, perhaps, become a mass phenomenon and not just a luxury for a lucky few. Just to get an idea of life elsewhere, the trip also leads to imagine how it will be on Mars, a dream of Elon Musk and other visionaries who aim to bring a man to the red planet.
We then dive into the rainforest, not as in classic museums or open spaces to look closely at animal remains, but to discover the interactions between the hundreds of species mapped in the DNA library and reflect on how we can combat threats and ensure the protection of endangered plants and animals, as well as the environment at risk from global warming. After the meditative interlude in a dome where technology is banned, we enter the second section, “Tomorrow Today”, with technological innovations to mark time and space: flying cars, drone cabs, vertical gardens and skyscrapers-beehives, with an opening to future solutions that will be devised by designers and engineers. In addition to “Future heroes”, an exhibition space dedicated to children, the last step before returning with feet on the ground is to enjoy the terrace leading to the center of the structure, so you can admire the majesty and grandeur of the work.