House of Wisdom is a leading cultural destination dedicated to learning, knowledge, and technology that marks the UNESCO World Book Capital year for The Emirate of Sharjah. The architectural project was realized by the famous studio Foster + Partners and recently completed. Shurooq, the Sharjah Investment, and Development Authority, engaged withInjazat, an industry-recognized market leader in the GCC region for digital transformation, cloud, and cybersecurity, as the end-to-end technology partner to transform their vision into reality. Injazat then turned to Alkemy and Design Group Italia to design, create and implement an engaging set of “phygital” experiences integrating physical spaces and objects with digital interfaces and solutions. Together, they set out to reimagine the traditional library for the 21st century. Sigurdur Thorsteinsson, Partner of Design Group Italia, said “House of Wisdom reinterprets the classic library, expanding it to a place for meeting, learning and growing. To do so, it was essential to bring together the design of physical spaces and phygital touchpoints”.
The Fab Lab is a workshop equipped with 3D printers, a large-scale touch wall and other tools that allow visitors to create things. The shelves used as spatial dividers also serve as a gallery to display the projects created at the Fab Lab. Architects selected materials like unbreakable surfaces for the tables to ensure durability, and a flexible, modular design for the space to allow for many different kinds of activities. The kids area is designed for children of different ages. It includes a soft play and reading area for younger children, a Fab Lab that serves as a stimulating and inspirational space to foster artistic, building, and crafting skills while hosting classes. There’s an interactive kids table that includes educational games, a reading area, and gift shop, and a reading area on the mezzanine for older children.
The digital experience created for House of Wisdom integrates seamlessly with the physical, bringing the library to life. Visitors can use their smartphones to interact with all touchpoints of the library. With the House of Wisdom app, visitors can access all the content, services, and experiences of the library. There are smart totems across the building for advanced book searches, bookings, order placements, and additional information through touchless, direct scans with QR codes. All the UX/UI of the touchpoints (website, mobile app, digital screens) are designed to meet the needs of the customer archetypes’, with the principles of human-centered design applied across the board. The design is mobile-first, with the same functionalities for all touchpoints to guarantee a uniform experience.
In addition to several dozen internal project streams, creating the House of Wisdom experience involved coordination and collaboration with an extraordinary number of outside partners, suppliers, and stakeholders from all over the world, a large and geographically dispersed ecosystem, in order to achieve project goals on schedule and budget. This allowed the experience designers, spatial designers, and digital designers to collaborate closely with the technology team and the customer, delivering an efficient and flexible co-creation process. The result is an entirely integrated experience where technology and digital empower the physical to create an engaging omnichannel destination experience. For further information, please visit www.designgroupitalia.com.
PROJECT House of Wisdom LOCATION Emirate of Sharjah YEAR 2021 CLIENT: Shurooq DIGITAL PARTNERS: Injazat, Alkemy PHYGITAL EXPERIENCE STUDIO: Design Group Italia, Alkemy
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