CLIENT: SHUROOQ – SHARJAH INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
LOCAL: SHARJAH, UAE
PROJECT: HEART OF SHARJAH
TYPE: DESIGN & BUILD
Events & Attractions
Informative & Play & Socialize
The sea has played a key role in Sharjah’s development and was the primary reason for the first settlers choosing this site over 6.000 Years ago. Later on, from the time of the early trading with the east into the first half of the 19th century, Sharjah became the most important port on the lower Arabian Gulf, and one of the wealthiest towns in the region. At that time pearl diving accounted for as much as 95% of the region’s income. The maritime importance of Sharjah, most especially pearl fishing is in focus on this interactive playground and the main theme.
For the development of this project Play Planet creatives had to study the whole process and history of the pearls fishing in Sharjah, in order to fully and trustworthy represent this on the available working space, a rectangular area with approximately 672m2.
The playground was divided in two main areas, the sea, where pearls were collected, and the land, where pearls were traded. The main feature is an impressive replica of “Sambuq”, the typical Dhow of the region, formerly used in pearl fishing, riding through big waves caused by the “Shamal” (North wind). Inside the boat several surprises await the users, like a special barrel full of oysters. By approaching and touching the barrel you will activate the hidden audio content disposing interesting information about pearl fishing or the chants of the fishermen. To add on some more spirit and realism we have recreated some of the characters, like a pearl diver wearing the typical wooden nose plug to keep his nostrils closed, working together with a strong powerful rope puller, responsible for heaving up the baskets of oysters and the diver. Some of the biggest dangers for divers such as the stingray and jellyfish were also represented.
At the shore we can find more characters and themed objects: the merchant, presenting the pearls in a red cloth and negotiating them with another man, a woman wearing traditional clothes, a treasure chest, a cook grilling fish, and on the beach, several palm trees and fishing baskets.
By exploring the equipment and the various interactive information points embedded in the products, users can learn all about pearl fishing, their crew, the Spartan lifestyle of pearl hunters, the methods that have hardly changed in centuries, the dangerous marine creatures to which they were exposed, the myths and legends associated with pearls, trade and many other interesting information about the maritime heritage of Sharjah. A perfect example of learning through play.