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Continuing the journey

Continuing the journey
The exterior of the museum is inspired by the desert rose.

Continuing the journey

One of the most interesting projects visited by Pro AVL MEA last year was the new National Museum of Qatar in Doha. The building is unique for many different reasons, from its unusual shape to the way it crafts a journey for visitors through its meandering walls and interwinding corridors. Not least, NMoQ boasts an audiovisual system unrivalled by similar institutions in the region. But at the time of our visit, there was even more work to be done. When it opened to the public in 2019, 10 of the 11 gallery exhibits had been fully realised, but there was an empty space left at the end of the tour.

Designed by celebrated, Pritzker Award-winning French architect and company Ateliers Jean Nouvel, the museum traces the history of the peninsula nation from its earliest times through to the modern day. Visitors take a journey through a labyrinth of large, irregularly shaped walls, ceiling and floor panels that characterise the overall museum design. Jean Nouvel’s inspiration for the unusual structure comes from the desert rose crystal, a flower-like aggregate of mineral crystals occurring only in arid coastal regions. But the result is a systems integrators nightmare. No two walls are parallel.

The installation's limited space and complex angles provided a challenge.
The installation's limited space and complex angles provided a challenge.

Involved with the project from its initial stages, AV integrator Techno-Q has overseen the installation of complex multi-channel audio, lighting and video displays with filmed themes depicting different aspects of modern Qatar that mutate dynamically across the walls, ceiling and floor, transporting the visitors across the realms of sensory elements. The latest exhibit, Gallery 11, was opened to visitors at the end of 2019 and highlights the saga of the country’s perseverant march into the future, as led by the ruler of Qatar, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

‘While the interior architecture is so typically asymmetrical – owing to the characteristically curved and interlocking discs meshed in cantilevered angles – the idea to impose multi-sensory museography imagery around large, mutating, mirror-finish panels of irregular dimensions posed a potential challenge for the us to achieve a seamless and immersive AV integration,’ explains Techno-Q project manager, Ahmed Marei.

The projection options considered by the architect – 4K rear projection and LCD panels – were reckoned unfeasible by Techno Q since rear projection required operable space behind, of which wasn’t there due to a typical interior. The LCDs did not allow for the desired brightness, seamlessness and scalability Techno-Q was after.

Techno-Q was also deeply involved in the other exhibitions at NMoQ (Pro AVL MEA July-August)2019.
Techno-Q was also deeply involved in the other exhibitions at NMoQ (Pro AVL MEA July-August)2019.

“For rear projection, even a UST model didn’t seem to work since it had the risk of projecting ‘hot spots’ and render the images unpleasant,” furthers Marei. “For LCDs, apart from limitations of resolution and fixed size, the bezel structure would undo the seamlessness of the image.”

Techno Q explored new technologies and examined the visitor paths experience concerning the content visibility guideline. Given the nature of the setting and client requirements, it was decided that bringing in modular LED display solutions appeared to justify the content exploit. The integrator, therefore, suggested deploying an LED screen solution with 1.9mm pixel pitch since it allowed, due to its smaller cabinet size offering, customisation to match the irregular surface dimensions, as well as meet the resolution specifications. Additionally, ease of install was superior to the previous options. However, the LED also posed a challenge for serviceability, as front accessibility was hindered by the with large mirror-glass panels. Techno Q devised a sliding “rail system” that allows movement of panels backward without having to be moved out. “It proved an effective service solution,” notes Marei.

The systems integrator collaborated with Daktronics to create a customised LED configuration using module-based displays, as well as staging experts Gerriets GmbH for the sliding mechanism. Four Dataton WATCHPAX 60 media servers with eight outputs each collaborate with 2SI and SQD pixel mapping technologies routed to the screens via a 64x64 I/O 3Gb/ss HD NVISION Grass Valley CR6464-3GIG system. The Dataton Master media server generated and distributed time codes for audio and lighting outputs ensuring the seamless flow of content.

Modular LED displays were favoured over rear projection.
Modular LED displays were favoured over rear projection.

Themed lighting form ROSCO was explored to accentuate the lighting ambience and was augmented by Crestron and Medialon systems via a DMX protocol. Meyer Sound’s D-Mitri platform was used to create the multi-channel audio affect providing the required flow in the immersive environment.

“With brilliantly glowing LED video from the front; aurally-pleasingly audio from the top and bottom and a mood-setting lighting from within, all working in tandem, in a very dramatic architectural setting, Gallery 11 is all about guiding the visitors through a multi-sensory experience and leaving them with a strong memories about Qatar and as it stands today and into the future,” concludes Marei. “The dramatisation of mirror-finish interiors, all-encompassing sounds and appeal using right amount and movement of light elevates the visitor experience from the physical into an imaginary realm while the blending of display content onto the floors and ceilings allure into an irresistible engagement.”

The visitor experiences as how the country is successfully negotiating the current times, and marching forward with the support of its Nationals & Immigrants

The exhibition is shown here under working lights for better clarity.
The exhibition is shown here under working lights for better clarity.

This article first appeared in the July-August 2020 edition of Pro AVL MEA. Subscribe at www.proavl-central.com/subscribe/mea.



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