TeamLab Phenomena is the latest addition to the already dynamic Saadiyat Cultural District, Abu Dhabi. Strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading cultural centre, teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi will sit alongside Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and other major landmarks comprising the Saadiyat Cultural District, adding to the area’s innovative offering by creating a bridge between history, culture and ingenuity and immersing visitors in an innovative art experience. Conceived as a ‘home for infinite curiosity’, the building will host immersive artworks designed by the Japanese collective.
The Saadiyat Cultural District is an ambitious undertaking that will be one of the world’s pre-eminent cultural destinations. Through its museums, cultural centres, and educational institutions, the district will boast one of the highest concentrations of cultural experience in the world. The area is already home to Louvre Abu Dhabi, the globally celebrated universal museum, and Manarat Al Saadiyat, a cultural centre that contributes to the region’s vibrant arts scene with internationally relevant exhibitions and events, workshops and creative programming. The Saadiyat Cultural District will soon also include the Zayed National Museum, the national museum of the UAE; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, focusing on global modern and contemporary art; and the Abrahamic Family House, which will comprise three religious spaces in one complex—a mosque, a synagogue and a church—to inspire and nurture acceptance and peaceful coexistence among people of all faiths.
“At teamLab Phenomena, visitors will be immersed into a world that organically changes and evolves through the participation and actions of the people in it, and it is precisely this physical experience that can expand our sense of value. The future is built upon the grand sum of people’s creations. Curiosity drives people towards a deeper understanding of the world and leads to creativity. We believe that imagination decides the direction of this creativity. Our hope is for teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi to create opportunities for curiosity and imagination to be born,” says Toshiyuki Inoko, Founder of teamLab.
teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi is based on the Japanese collective’s new concept in which the existence of the artworks is created by the phenomena produced by their environment. The artworks in teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi do not exist independently but are created by the environment, which produces the various phenomena, stabilising their structure. “Stones and man-made creations maintain a stable structure on their own. Unlike these, the existence of the artworks in teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi is dependent on their environment. The environment produces phenomena and stabilises their structure; these stabilised phenomena are what create the existence of the artworks,” says Inoko as he explains the design philosophy of the unique, immersive space.
The Built Form
Envisioned as a white sculptural block, teamLab Phenomena is set to be built on the waterfront in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based studio MZ Architects. Except for several entrances, the building is devoid of any windows. The building comprises several independent galleries which will showcase artwork by teamLab. “In designing the architecture, we focused primarily on incorporating the characteristics of a life form to create an organic shape. The space has been designed both from the inside out and from the outside in, creating a structure that wraps around experience as opposed to forcibly compressing it inside. The architecture is like a living being created by lining up and connecting internal organs and covering it with an exterior skin. The exterior does not possess a symbolic nature, and is something indefinite or nebulous, like a cloud. This creates an architecture whose indefinite internal and external form is connected by the architectural skin,” elucidates Inoko.
The installations at the gallery will regularly change, and according to the artists, will be based on “environmental phenomena”. “At teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi, visitors will immersed into a world that organically changes and evolves through the participation and actions of the people in it, and it is precisely this physical experience that can expand our sense of value,” says Inoko. “The future is built upon the grand sum of people’s creations,” he said. “In time, people’s consciousness will expand from existence itself to the environment. A stone can continue to exist in a closed box, sealed off from the outside world, but life cannot sustain its existence in such a box because it is created by its environment. Life is a miraculous phenomenon that emerges from the flow of a continuous world.”
Render credit: teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi