x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Mystery dome on Corniche has beachgoers guessing

When people see the domed wooden structure that has suddenly sprouted on the Corniche, many have the same reaction: what on earth is that thing?

Two boys ride past a domed wooden sculpture comprising seven pillars at the Corniche in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
Two boys ride past a domed wooden sculpture comprising seven pillars at the Corniche in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

ABU DHABI // When people see the domed wooden structure that has suddenly sprouted on the Corniche, many have the same reaction: what on earth is that thing? Commissioned by the municipality and executed earlier this week by the Dubai-based Pierre Abboud Design company, the structure near the public beach comprises seven pillars of intersecting slabs of wood capped by a dome and surrounding a large, circular floor-painting of a map of the region.

The seven sides of the dome are meant to represent each of the seven emirates. But speculation abounds as to the meaning and purpose of the structure, prompting many beachgoers to engage in a fun seaside guessing game yesterday. "I come to these public areas of the Corniche with my family a lot and we notice how it is always changing and getting better, so it is not a surprise when there is a new thing like this dome," said Riad Abu Salameh, 33, a Jordanian working in an engineering company who has lived in the capital for five years.

"It looks like something that they are still working on, maybe? Right now you can't really tell what it is, but I don't think it's something that children can play on." Bria Murphy, 20, and her friend, Claire McNamara, 24, are visiting the UAE from Ireland and happened across the new structure by chance. "We have no idea what this is; there are no signs or placards or anything explaining what is it," said Ms Murphy.

"Maybe it's some sort of an art installation." The structure holds greater appeal at nightfall when spotlights and projectors cleverly hidden between the slabs of wood light up and turn the dome into a multicoloured spectacle. The words "Abu Dhabi 2010", in both English and Arabic, are also lit up atop the dome. Rakesh Agrawali, 41, from India, said that he and his family were impressed by the "interesting structure".

"It is a very nice location for it here in the middle of this public area of the Corniche, and it catches your eye when you are driving past," said Mr Agrawali. "We like it because it is one more distinctive thing to make the city stand out." The municipality commissioned the dome as part of its efforts to develop the Corniche and beautify the city with increased tourist attractions, according to the statement released yesterday by WAM, the state news agency. Municipal authorities could not be reached for comment yesterday.

It is not yet clear whether the structure is complete. @Email:hkhalaf@thenational.ae