Qasr-al Hosn

Abu Dhabi’s new cultural quarter

Where did we start?

Focused on the old fort which, until the latter part of the 20th Century had been the palace of Abu Dhabi’s rulers, Qasr al-Hosn Cultural Quarter, aims to promote the national culture of Abu Dhabi while making the city a centre for the culture of the United Arab Emirates. Jane Wentworth Associates, Pentagram Design and Brunswick Arts, working as a strategic partnership, were commissioned by ADACH (Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage) to create the brand strategy, visual identity and communications plan for this ambitious cultural project. Qasr al-Hosn aims to reconnect the Emirati people with their own rich cultural inheritance, much of which focuses on intangible arts that include poetry, oud-playing and falconry.

What did we do?

Through an intensive programme of interviews, site visits and workshops we recognised that Qasr al-Hosn should be a place where culture will be made as well as seen, providing everyone with the opportunity to unleash their own creativity in a vibrant and contemporary environment. The notion that encountering, and participating in, traditional arts and skills will inspire a cultural renaissance in the Emirates is encapsulated in the brand idea: ‘Living history. Creative futures’. To build and communicate a compelling brand we began by defining what would differentiate Qasr al-Hosn from Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi’s other cultural district, with its internationally recognised cultural brands and iconic new architecture.

What's the impact?

As the architectural spaces begin to take shape, the brand strategy is driving an international communications campaign as well as helping staff to prepare for the opening, expected in 2013, of a unique visitor experience that will entertain, inspire and educate - embodying authentic Emirati heritage and becoming a cultural beacon for the whole region.

Design: Pentagram