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The museum of the future (MOTF, Dubai, United Arab Emirates) is one of the most complex and challenging projects in modern architecture. Opened in February 2022, it is described as “the most beautiful building in the world” by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who conceived the museum as an incubator for innovation and invention.

The museum features seven floors, each dedicated to a different exhibition space, as well as ongoing research and development (R&D)

Its interior lobby is iconic and enabled by composites. DailyArt magazine describes entering the spacious and impressive lobby as “an adventure” this unique experience is made possible by Dubai-based ADVANCED FIBERGLASS INDUSTRY (AFI), which was tasked with the construction of a complete lobby façade, including the calligraphy-embedded ceiling and walls and cladding for its three spiral staircases, one of which extends up to the seventh floor. All told, the museum’s interior consumes a total of 7,700 square meters of composites.

AFI also supplied 238 GRP oval light structures for the parking decks. Like the exterior cladding, the interior panels feature Arabic calligraphy cutouts with inset LED lighting and also integrate sound dampening. They also are certified for fire resistance (FR) per ASTM E-84 class A and EN 13501 regulations — a challenge in itself.

Key elements in overcoming these challenges include the use of Sicomin (Chateauneuf-Les-Martigues, France) FR epoxy, Adapa’s (Aalborg, Denmark) reusable, adaptive mold system, and AFI’s long history of developing innovative, cost-effective composite solutions for demanding innovative, cost-effective composite solutions for demanding projects.

The technology that we used allows much higher FR content and performance to meet the requirements of the ASTM E-84 and EN13501 regulations demanded by this project. The main fire resistance was achieved by using SGi 128 bio-based FR epoxy gel coat. The second tier of protection was SR 1122 FR hand-laminating resin, which has a low viscosity of 500 millipores at 25°C – about half that of a conventional FR epoxy hand lamination resin.

AFI used this system with a laminating machine to wet out 800-gsm glass fiber quad axial fabric from Metyx Composites (Istanbul, Turkey) was then applied to the Adapa molding system using a small team of laminators.

Sicomin and Metyx assisted AFI throughout fire testing. The panels that AFI prepared were tested at Thomas Bell-Wright Construction Testing Laboratory in Dubai and passed all FR requirements.