It’s 2019, we’re already living in yesterday’s future. A quick glance at the headlines dispells any doubts with excited talk of flying cars and robot chauffeurs – and that’s just the RTA’s new taxis.
But what does the future look like in Dubai already one of the world’s most futuristic cities? These are some of our favourite local projects and events scheduled for completion or launch over the next 12 months.
We’ve heard earnest promises that Mohammed bin Rashid Library will be opening at some point this year. It’s being constructed in Al Jaddaf and when finished, will be the biggest in the Arab world, with more than 1.5 million printed books in over eight separate interior libraries. We sincerely hope they call them chapters. It’s even been designed to look like an open book, which is, of course, is the best sort.
We know we’re not supposed to judge the contents by its cover – but it does look pretty epic doesn’t it?
Cityland Mall, the AED 1.1 billion, 2.2 million square feet retail space, will feature a sprawling open-air central park. You won’t even have to enter a health & safety non-compliant boardgame to use it; just head along the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road (close to Global Village). Excitingly, it’s being groomed by the team behind Dubai’s Miracle Garden.
There’ll also be a 3,000-seat amphitheatre for hosting theatre shows and a track will circle the whole outdoor area, so if you visit wearing the standard mall uniform of leisure wear, there is literally no excuse to get those gains in.
We’ve been obsessed with the TopGolf project since we first heard about it from a little birdie back in 2017). It’s us to a tee. We’ve already tried it out in its original home in the UK, and can confirm it’s (w)hole load of fun, in one. We’re green with envy about our future selves being able to experience it now, even though completion at Emirates Golf Club isn’t too much of a fairway in the future (if rumours can be putt to reason, first quarter 2019).
Let us pitch you the idea; it’s essentially a driving range (where golfers go to hit basketfuls of balls from a static position), given the full futuristic, Ready Player One treatment. We’re talking lighting rigs, mini-games and videogame-style scoring. Even if you’re not a golf fan, you’ll come ‘a round’ to the idea.
Get your gig on
We’ve been watching the 17,000 capacity gig space climbing up behind City Walk across the year and Dubai Arena should be complete in 2019. Once finished, it’s set to be the largest all-purpose, air-conditioned indoor arena in the Middle East and North Africa. This means it can play host to a variety of events all year round – from tennis and basketball to gala dinners and festivals – and major tours and global events as they make their way around the world.
Need to know – its roof weighs the same as seven A380 aeroplanes.
Say hello to cinema?
We were sad to hear that the much-loved Dubai Film Festival (DIFF) wasn’t going ahead in 2018, but turn those frowns upside down. A 2019 relaunch was promised for the long-running event, which is in its 14th edition. At the time organisers said the one-year hiatus was so they could “adopt a new strategy to support the growth and evolution of the film and content industries in the region.”
A bigger, better DIFF? Get your popcorn ready for an official announcement.
The new Bluewaters Island off JBR looks set to become home to Madame Tussaud’s Dubai. Millions of people visit the waxwork museum’s locations around the globe and soon Dubai could be pulling in those look-a-like loving visitors. What will they see here? Sporting legends, political big hitters, music stars and A-listers all know they’ve hit the big time when Madame Tussad’s creates an ultra-lifelike wax figure of them.
If you’ve ever wanted a photo with Angelina Jolie or Einstein, this could be your chance.
Eccentric experimental chef Heston Blumenthal brings business to the Middle East for the first time when he opens Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the under-construction The Royal Atlantis Resort & Residences.
At the London branch of Dinner, British chef Blumenthal, who’s known for blending science with straight up wizardry in the kitchen, serves dishes inspired by recipes dating back to the 1300s. Book up in, asap for a taste of dishes like ‘meat fruit’ – looks like a mandarin, is actually chicken liver parfait.
If that isn’t exciting enough, the resort’s edgy design plans to boast 231 residences, 795 guest rooms, 16 other restaurants and 90 pools.*
*Updated 15/1 to reflect updated info from the hotel’s PR team.