As an island nation, Bahrain is inextricably and forever linked with the sea. Despite being a modern city state, the nation also has a long maritime history, which the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) wanted to highlight with its first-ever Sea Festival. As part of the Authority’s wider strategy to promote and preserve the Kingdom’s heritage to residents and tourists alike, the event was designed to celebrate Bahrain's historical link to the sea, the heritage and traditions of dhow making, pearling and fishing and the enormous contribution of these activities to the early growth and success of Bahrain.
Pico was asked to help make this event a success by providing event conceptualisation, proposal and design services, event planning, organisation and management, custom construction, installation and operational maintenance, as well as software production, and the sourcing and hire of international performers, artists and installations.
Held on a 4,000 sq. m. site on the Bahrain Bay waterfront, the bulk of the event took place in a dome-shaped tent which held an exhibition of sea-based activities crucial to Bahrain’s history, including exhibits and activities focused on dhows and boats, the pearling industry, fishing, traditional crafts, stage performances, and sea-themed activations.
Inside, the exhibits were brought to life by a professional stage backdrop, interactive walls and floors, an aquarium, lighting systems and huge screens. The latest technology added further depth to the exhibition through virtual reality elements and an underwater simulator which allowed visitors to explore the 3D animated underwater world and enjoy an immersive 360 degree five-minute underwater experience. Outside, augmented reality simulators helped the participants learn and discover the history and origins of dhows.
The history of pearl diving was presented using a multimedia photo gallery display, videos and authentic historic diving equipment. The festival also featured traditional sea-related handicrafts, seashells collected from Bahrain’s shores, and real dhow makers actually constructing their dhows on-site while pearl jewellers and merchants also showcased their pearls and gems.
Complementing the festival were a number of water sports activities and illuminated dhows and boats sailing on the Bay itself which created a colourful floating display for all to see.
When all was said and done, the client was very pleased with the result and intends for the project to happen annually on a much larger scale.
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