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The Etihad Union Museum

The Etihad Union Museum recounts the history of the United Arab Emirates, with a key emphasis on the period between 1968 and 1974, through photos, film footage and other exhibits. Located inside a magnificent new building in Jumeirah 1, the museum offers a series of experience-driven pavilions where visitors can explore the history of the United Arab Emirates before the nation’s founding fathers signed the agreement to unite the seven Emirates – a move that gave rise to the UAE’s extraordinary economic growth. The historical value of the museum is amplified by the fact that it is located near Union House, the place where, in 1971, the agreement was signed.

The building was designed by the Canadian architects, Moriyama and Teshima, in the form of a manuscript, with seven pillars located inside the structure to recall the pens used to sign the original declaration. The Etihad Museum houses a library, an educational centre, a hall for temporary exhibitions and a restaurant. iGuzzini participated in this project in various ways, including designing a special Typha family pendant luminaire that has been so widely used in the museum that it has become both an essential element in the structure’s design and a hallmark of the entire lighting system. To offer superior comfort in the reading room, iGuzzini IN60 luminaires were installed, whereas in the exhibition rooms, the lighting designer chose to use a combination of recessed Reflex and Pixel Pro luminaires. The former guarantee general lighting, while the extractable and adjustable Pixel Pros are used to direct accent lighting wherever necessary. In some cases, the accent lighting effect is reinforced by Palco spotlights fitted with superspot optics.

The architectural space is a harmonious combination of straight and curved lines that is repeated in the auditorium, which is illuminated by Laser Blade High Contrast luminaires. This combination of forms, the relationship between indoors and outdoors and the careful balance of natural and artificial lighting all help make this museum one of the main attractions for the increasingly large number of visitors now coming to Dubai.

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  • Year
  • Client
    RTA / Dubai Culture & Arts Authority
  • Architectural project:
    Moriyama and Teshima Architects
  • Lighting project:
    Consullux Lighting Consultants
  • Photographer
    Oliver Jackson

Project Quote

"For Etihad Museum, the lighting strategy had to, in a discrete manner, accentuate the powerful sculptural forms that defined the building’s Architecture, and guide the natural flow of the visitors through the museum. Simple and elegant, the lighting systems adapted to changes in concepts and materiality of the design; articulating white curving planes expressing paper gently folding, accentuating sandy forms inspired by the desert, and heightening the perception of darker calligraphic elements throughout the space. "

Mohammed al Riffai, Moriyama & Teshima Architects

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