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TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi art gallery

TeamLab reveals "home for infinite curiosity" on Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island

Japanese art collective TeamLab has revealed the design for its TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi gallery, which will be a permanent venue for its digital art on Saadiyat Island.

Conceived by TeamLab as a "home for infinite curiosity", the building will host immersive artworks designed by the Japanese collective.

As the latest cultural venue to be built on Saadiyat Island, it will be located alongside the Natural History Museum Abu Dhabi by Mecanoo and near Jean Nouvel's Louvre Abu DhabiFoster+Partners' Zayed National Museum and a trio of multifaith temples designed by David Adjaye.

TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island
TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi is set to be built on Saadiyat Island

TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi is set to be built on the waterfront in a white sculptural block envisioned by TeamLab in collaboration with Abu Dhabi-based studio MZ Architects.

The main entrance will be located through an arched opening on the ground floor, while a ceremonial staircase will rise up the building to meet a raised plaza on its roof.

With the exception of several entrances and a small first-floor terrace, the large building is devoid of any windows. The internal spaces will contain a series of galleries of different sizes for TeamLab's digital art.

Entrance to TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi
It will contain interactive digital art designed by TeamLab

"At teamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi, 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 senses of value," said TeamLab founder Toshiyuki Inoko.

"The future is built upon the grand sum of people's creations," he said.

"Curiosity drives people towards a deeper understanding of the world and leads to creativity," Inoko continued.

"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."

Saadiyat Island cultural district
It will be the latest cultural building on Saadiyat Island

The installations at the gallery will regularly change and, according to the artists, will be based on "environmental phenomena".

TeamLab previously created interactive whirlpools inside the National Gallery of Victoria and a virtual vortex as the inaugural installation for Helsinki's Amos Rex gallery.

Set to open in 2024, the building will be the second cultural venue to open on the island, which is located to the east of downtown Abu Dhabi and has been under development by the Abu Dhabi's Department of Culture and Tourism for over a decade.

"Adding yet another outstanding experience to our world-leading cultural destination, the teamLab Phenomena experience will be unique to Abu Dhabi, reinforcing the emirate’s position as a destination of distinction," said Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism.

"Providing a journey which will trigger the senses, nurture curiosity, spark imagination, and awaken a thirst for knowledge, TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi fully supports our commitment to inspire a new generation of innovators and creators in the emirate and beyond."

The cultural development of Saadiyat Island was first announced in 2007 with architects Gehry, Nouvel, Tadao Ando and Zaha Hadid set to design cultural buildings on the island.

Nouvel's Louvre Abu Dhabi completed in 2017 and it was recently announced that Gehry's long-awaited Guggenheim Abu Dhabi is set to open in 2025, 14 years after construction began. Hadid revealed the design for the Abu Dhabi Performing Arts Centre in 2007, but this building appears to have been abandoned with TeamLab Phenomena Abu Dhabi being built on its site.