Scots design team create new Kuwait national museum

A Scottish design agency has played a pivotal role in the creation of the new national museum in Kuwait.

Edinburgh-based Studio MB has spent five years helping transform the former Al Salam Palace into a new, immersive national museum and visitor experience.

The newly opened Al Salam Palace Museum tells the 300-year plus history of Kuwait through the achievements of its 15 rulers who have led the country since 1718.

Studio MB was commissioned by the Amiri Diwan, the royal household of the Emir of Kuwait, to transform the shell of the former Al Salam Palace into a new, immersive national museum and visitor experience.

This has been Studio MB’s first landmark project in the Middle East and the studio’s largest project to date.

Before its restoration by Studio MB, the iconic Al Salam Palace once hosted world leaders and heads of state from 1964 until it was badly damaged and abandoned after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The restored and repurposed palace now delivers 26 exhibition galleries in two immersive museum visitor experiences, a suite of temporary exhibition galleries, an underground courtyard with a café, shop and education centre, a digital library complex, and a suite of VIP reception facilities.

Charlie Barr, founding director at Studio MB, said: ‘We are incredibly proud to have been part of this amazing and unique project in Kuwait. The restoration, research and creative design process has transformed the palace, retaining its original aesthetic, but now with immersive storytelling and display environments.

‘The history of Kuwait through the achievements of its fifteen rulers required significant research to source contemporary accounts of people who travelled to Kuwait throughout its history. Studio MB, with historian Allan Carswell, supported the client by searching and locating original documents, photographs and film content from this time and then helping to map this narrative across the gallery spaces.’

Craig Mann, founding director at Studio MB, said: ‘The project at Al Salam has been one of our largest projects to date and we’re delighted to announce that it is now open to the public. We were thrilled to be chosen as the agency to design this experience and we believe that it is going to be a massive success.

‘The innovative, interactive exhibitions communicate the history and heritage of Kuwait in a way that engages all ages, and we can’t wait to see people’s reactions. Studio MB has designed over 15,000 square metres of space within the museum. It also houses an astonishing 96 separate AV deliveries!’