WATG has won the contract for the interior design of the Royal Opera House in Oman due to open in October, 2011.
The project was first announced in 2001 and, 10 years on, is progressing smoothly towards its targeted grand opening.
When complete, the opera house will be only the second of its kind in the Middle East and occupy an area of 80,000m², half of which will be set aside for landscaped gardens. It will also have a mini-theatre, restaurants and stores.
The only other opera house in the region is in Cairo, established in 1988.
“We are thrilled to be doing the interior design for the Royal Opera House in Oman,” said Connie Chen, WATG.
“Unfortunately, we can’t say too much at present because the client is trying to keep the interior design under wraps until the project opens.”
Designed by WATG and commissioned by Sultan Qaboos, the building imitates an Italian-style opera house but sits in the surroundings of Muscat’s diplomatic quarter alongside a number of government buildings, including the foreign ministry.
WATG’s involvement began in 2003, when the Royal Court Affairs of the Sultanate of Oman invited firms to compete for the design of the project.
After a number of competitive stages, it won the contract and was invited to lead the team for the complete design and supervision services.
This included master planning, architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, as well as design management of the decorative lighting, kitchen design, graphics, signage, all the engineering services and those involved with the acoustic design consultants.
The architectural character of the building was influenced by the grand style of modern Omani palaces, and reflects their outward design features and circulation patterns.
The front entrance is an expansive palm-tree piazza backed by five tall, arched entryways into a hall that forms the central focus of a colonnade designed to create a grand feeling of opulance at the entrance.
The building is clad in light-coloured stone and complimentary stucco, which was all locally sourced.