A hive of activity

The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Centre, or KAPSARC, is a centre for excellence in energy and environmental research. It is one of Saudi Arabia’s flagship scientific facilities and it plays a leading role in shaping the way that the world uses energy in the future. As well as being a campus for international researchers, it’s a space that welcomes in energy experts, students, international media, visiting politicians and government representatives.

KAPSARC’s pre-eminence is reflected in its breathtaking building. Designed by world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the building is a honeycomb structure composed of a lattice of hexagonal cells. It takes inspiration from the concept of connections – a place where researchers meet, ideas are sparked and policies spread around the world. Working with Zaha Hadid Architects, we designed a high-impact public exhibition space in the building known as the Energy Knowledge Centre.

Images: Hufton + Crow


Alive with connectivity

It was imperative that the exhibition space continued to express the idea of connections that can be read on the exterior walls. No momentum could be lost as visitors step from the outside in – there had to be perfect synergy between the architect and exhibition design, the two riffing off each other.

Our interpretive concept and design language put the idea of connections at its core. Mimicking the collaborative processes taking place in the centre, the exhibition encourages participation while displays open a dialogue between visitors and institution. A series of cell-like, geometric shaped exhibits mirror the honeycomb building. Each geometric pocket takes a new theme – from energy supply chains to carbon management techniques.


Art meets technology

The design is distinctively high tech, reflecting the centre’s forward-thinking, futuristic feel. Projection mapping, multi-touch interactivity and object recognition invite investigation. Real-time news and live videos feed into the exhibition. An illuminated glass scale model of the building completes the exhibition. It invites exploration of the energy production and conservation processes that have earned the KAPSARC building a LEED Platinum rating.

The statement piece is a towering nine-meter by five-meter media wall that celebrates KAPSARC’s mission and vision. A constantly regenerating, infinitely variable series of artworks dance around the screen in a captivating dreamwork that stretches from floor to ceiling. The ever-evolving artwork is inspired by local and global energy issues and weaves together the institution’s themes of nature, collaboration and exploration.


Drake and Scull International


Sysco Productions


Zaha Hadid Architects