Audiovisual design brings the world’s largest museum to life
Sheikh Abdullah al Salem Cultural Centre is the largest museum project in the world covering 22,000 sq. m hosting four innovative museums; Natural History, Science Centre, Space and the Arabic Islamic Science Museum. With over 800 exhibits and interactives, the museum is set across 23 dynamic galleries.
To deliver this landmark project, Electrosonic designed all the AV exhibits across all four museums, working together with Cultural Innovations to turn design concepts into audio visual solutions. Electrosonic was then appointed one of the audiovisual integrators, chosen due to our capacity and ability to take on a project of this enormity. Electrosonic delivered on the audiovisual hardware, fit out and integration for the three of the six blocks, Transport and Innovation, Human Body and Mind and the Arabic Islamic Science blocks of the Museum.
At the Robotics gallery, visitors are met by a 3-meter-tall animatronic host robot who explains the interactive journey they are about to embark upon.
Using leading-edge technology, immersive environments, large-scale models and compelling interactivity across all four museums, the Sheikh Abdullah Al Salam Cultural Centre learning approach for Kuwaitis. Some of the exhibits used a mix of professional scientific and medical equipment to ensure interpretation was accurate - one of the installs was a smell machine that emitted different scents which took six months to make. Another exhibit in the Healthy living gallery, called Race against the Stars’, used sixteen 80” screens mounted side by side, in portrait mode, to create a virtual running track allowing participants to race against the world’s elite athletes. All entrants are accurately timed with the fastest posted on a daily leader board to encourage participation, healthy competition and excitement.
Electrosonic installed over 250 exhibits including a 20-seater spherical dark ride theatre, with a 6-metre immersive screen and 4D full motion seating, part of the human body experience to adventure through the human body.
Electrosonic was awarded the project in May 2016 and given just under two years to deliver the audiovisual element of the project. The primary challenge of working on such a large scale international project in Kuwait was ensuring that we had adequate staff based there over long periods of time. We also needed to be flexible and responsive in terms of how many engineers were required and when. Electrosonic had an onsite team of over 20 Installation Engineers for eight months working in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. Our team coordinated with ten different Set Works manufacturers, sending AV samples all over Europe and the Middle East to ensure a smooth installation once we were on site.
The second equally important challenge was to optimize engineering to achieve consistent results throughout whole project milestones. We needed to guarantee different Set Works contractors and an on-site team are provided with the latest actual technical information which would be automatically synced 24/7. Throughout the entire project we were applying LEAN methods and automation to simplify commissioning and save resources.
A project this size required a dedicated full-time team led by a senior project manager, a full-time site manager, supported by a group of project engineers, fabrication engineers, installation engineers, commissioning engineers and specialist programmers, coordinating with over 90 other specialist sub-contractors to ensure successful project delivery. The museum’s in-house technical support teams continue to be locally supported by Electrosonic’s Middle East office situated in Dubai.
Having opened its doors in March 2018, Electrosonic seamlessly delivered the audiovisual design and installation. This museum will help a country to diversify, inform, educate and inspire future generations, in the fields of technology, innovation, science, history and culture.
The museum is now the biggest innovative museum in the world, and will be a major tourist attraction – encouraging and supporting tourism and the Kuwait economy.
The museum’s in-house technical support teams continue to be locally supported by Electrosonic’s Middle East office situated in Dubai.
Photos Courtesy of © David Copeman Photography