Oman’s Growing Mall and Museum Culture

Oman’s cityscape is quietly unfolding a mall and museum culture, with some of the biggest names in the industry, expanding their bases with newer and unique concepts in retail shopping, dining experiences and entertainment options.

Renaissance Museum 

Located at Nizwa, in close proximity to Hisn Al Shumoukh landmark in the Wilayat of Manah in Al Dakhiliyah Governorate, the new Renaissance Museum Project will be a cultural and educational hallmark for all visitors to Oman, when completed in 2020. The project titled ‘Oman Museum Across Ages’ is a joint venture of leading regional construction solutions provider Shapoorji Pallonji Middle East LLC and Oman Shapoorji Co LLC. Australian based multidisciplinary architectural, planning, urban and interior design firm COX is the lead consultant for the project, which has been developed under the supervision of Royal Court Affairs.

Oman's Growing Mall CultureSet on an area of around 40,000sqm, the distinctive design of the ‘Oman Museum Across Ages’ has been inspired by the geometric profile of the majestic Hajar Mountains crisscrossed by ravines. Within its precincts, the exhibits aim to trace Oman’s momentous journey from prehistoric times to the present day with a specific focus on the gains of the nation’s modern renaissance led by His Majesty since 1970.

The proposal is centred on creating a unique journey, with a set of experiences like no other; it will be a place of memories and enlightenment. It aims to present the story of Oman’s history, growth and development and offer an insight into the Oman of tomorrow through a comprehensive, layered narrative. The concept fundamentally works with the unique landscape to craft a museum bred out of the earth of Oman. It harmonises the landscape with the stories of human enlightenment and achievement.

The 2-storey will have a gallery for temporary exhibitions, a storage area that can be visited, a conservation space and a children’s classroom. It will represent the history of Oman through ancient ages in both sound and picture. The museum also comprises of the achievements accomplished after 1970. It will include an interactive way of expressing the modern narrative description techniques which depicts the geographic diversity of Oman.

Commissioned by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said, the museum is intended to be a celebration of the country’s economic, cultural and social renaissance since the 1970s.

 History of Science Center

The History of Science Center, which was formally opened at the German University of Technology Oman (GUtech), recently, creates a link between art and science with nature and geometry while symbolising infinity and divinity. Designed and supervised by the Omani-German architectural and engineering consultancy, Hoehler + alSalmy (H+S), the building will be open to public soon.

Oman's Growing Mall CultureThe star shaped entrance leads the way to the hall faced with the endless staircase resembling an architectural journey to the international artefacts museum on the first floor. Here, a sundial is found telling the time of day using the ray of sunlight coming through the mashrabiya façade. The lower level of the exhibition space is a free-standing box protected and wrapped by the facade. The space includes a children’s play area, a temporary exhibition area and a heritage research library, as well as a coffee shop overlooking a dhow placed in the shallow water resembling a marina. The space can also be used as a cultural events venue.

The structure was developed according to the sun ecliptic, sectioned in 3 widths for divers, providing shading effect for the entire building and creating both a transforming and morphing effect throughout the structure. It acts as a mediator, bringing past Islamic sciences of the ‘golden age’ with the current university studies at the GUtech.

Since completion, the project has already gained international attention from around the world – winning the World Architecture community awards in 2017 February, followed by being named as the national winner for Building Project of the Year at MEED quality project programme awards in March 2017.

Mall of Muscat

Palm Mall, which was officially rebranded to Mall of Muscat by developers Al Jarwani and Tamani Global for Development and Investment last November, is expected to open as scheduled in the last quarter of 2018.

Oman's Growing Mall CultureLocated in Mabela, the Mall will house the much-anticipated Oman Aquarium covering 8,000sqm and a 5,500sqm Snow Park. The Mall of Muscat will bring in 23 brands, which will occupy a total area of approximately 11,000sqm. Some of these brands, such as PF Chang, Debenhams, Pottery Barn & Pottery Barn Kids, Muji and West Elm, will be available for the first time. Lulu Group has also confirmed their presence with the opening of the biggest Lulu Hypermarket in Oman, with a total area of approximately 22,000sqm. The Landmark Group has also signed up with 3 brands, occupying an impressive total area of 5,420sqm.

Al Othaim Group from KSA will introduce their family entertainment concept Faby Land to Oman for the first time. Faby Land will spread on a total area of 7,500sqm and offer an array of the latest amusement rides, attractions and games. Extreme Zone concept by Al Othaim will also offer a unique experience to the adventurous youth of Oman.

Mall of Oman

Scheduled to be completed by 2020, the mall will host an expected 350 outlets, with a retail space of more than 135,000sqm. Located near the Muscat International Airport, the Mall of Oman is planned to be the largest retail project of its kind in the sultanate. It will feature a giant snow park, a largest Vox Cinema and Magic Planet in the region; it will also include the Sultanate’s first Abercrombie & Fitch store in addition to several other brands.

Oman's Growing Mall CultureThe Mall of Oman is part of a wider $1.33bn (OMR515m) investment in the country by Majid Al Futtaim, which has also announced the construction of City Centre Sohar and My City Centre Sur in the Sultanate. The mall will be constructed through a joint venture between contractors Shapoorji Pallonji Middle East and Consolidated Contractors Company Oman (SP-CCC). In addition to major earthworks and utility diversions, the contract will also entail the construction of road infrastructure, providing major access to site, which is just off the Muscat Expressway.

The development also includes energy centre, substations, plant rooms, landscaping and infrastructure. The built-up area for cinema is 9610sqm, for snow park is 14513sqm and for hypermarket is 13428sqm. The total built up area of the car park is 161313 square meters with a capacity of 5200 cars. The project will also include a hotel offering 292 rooms.

My City Centre – Sur

Majid Al Futtaim Properties’ newest community mall, My City Centre Sur in Oman, with Oman Shapoorji Company LLC (OSCO) & Shapoorji Pallonji Mideast LLC (SPML) as the project’s main contractor, is expected to be complete by the end of 2018. Oman's Growing Mall CultureThe RO15.2 million project will offer 177,605sqft of gross leasable area with a tailored mix of practical and lifestyle-oriented stores and services. The shopping centre will feature a 73,195sqft Carrefour Hypermarket as well as 50 select stores including F&B outlets and Oman’s first City Centre Clinic and a Magic Planet.

The new mall will be ideally located on Sur’s main commercial road, and is set to be a key destination for both residents and the growing number of tourists visiting this coastal city for a dekko of its dhow yards, beaches and wadis.

Sohar City Centre

Majid Al Futtaim will grow its existing portfolio of malls in Oman with City Centre Sohar. The mall, located in the Northern Governorate’s historic capital Sohar, is due to open in late 2018. Sohar, a port city and major industrial hub, has seen substantial economic growth in recent years.

Oman's Growing Mall CultureWith an investment of RO45 million, City Centre Sohar, conveniently located on Batinah Highway, will add 40,000sqm of gross leasable area to the Sultanate’s booming retail sector. The construction contract for City Centre Sohar has been awarded to the Oman-based company Al Turki Enterprise.

City Centre Sohar has set a target to achieve LEED Gold status – the coveted energy-efficient design certification – within three months of opening. This will include implementing sustainable building best practice with enhanced insulation, LED lighting and solar panels that will contribute to the centre’s energy requirements. Besides, condensation from air-conditioning and ventilation systems will be used for irrigation.

Read how the How the hospitality sector is scripting a new phase in Oman.

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