Picture Perfect
The city of superlatives recently added another achievement to its long-list of world records with the opening of the 'World's Largest Picture Frame' earlier this year – the Dubai Frame.

Nestled within Zabeel Park, the Dubai Frame is the culmination of a project almost ten years in the making. Its design is the winner of the 2009 ThyssenKrupp Elevator International Award for which participants from all over the world were invited to submit a design that would promote “the new face for Dubai".

From the 926 proposals submitted, the minimalistic structure of what is now the Frame was the clear winner to the international panel of 11 judges due to the designer, Fernando Donis, recognising that Dubai is already filled with statements, and thus choosing to propose a design that frames them all.

Built out of glass, steel, aluminum and reinforced concrete, the Frame is one of the more surreal silhouettes that dot Dubai's busy skyline with its glistening, spiral like golden patterns. It stands 150 metres tall, featuring two columns joint together by a 93-metre gallery sporting a panoramic view over the city – Old Dubai on its North side and New Dubai on its South.

Starting at the bottom

Upon entering, visitors are treated to the Dubai Frame Exhibition which tells the story of how the Frame came to be. After this, and walking through a sea of mist, visitors are met with the Past Dubai Gallery which is an interactive and immersive exhibition – projections, mist effects and smells - outlining the city's history from the simple fishing village it once was to the bustling metropolis it now is.

View from the top

After the past, it's time for a look into the present. The Frame accepts only 200 visitors an hour with set batches being set up at specific times so expect to wait until the next available elevator pops down to whizz you up 48 floors.

'Present Dubai' doesn't need as many interactive displays, as an all-glass room awaits atop with Dubai stretching out in front of you, although there a few augmented reality screens on-site to help visitors identify landmarks as well as learn some interesting facts. Landmarks like Emirates Towers and the Burj Khalifa can be seen on one side (New Dubai), while the other end – Old Dubai – showcases neighbourhoods such as Deira, Umm Harare and Karama.

There is also a 25 square metre transparent walkway that runs alongside the gallery which looks deceptively like frosted glass until you near it and see Dubai sprawled out beneath. It might seem scary at frst, but you'll be Instagramming it in no time.

Looking ahead

To keep the crowds rolling, you only have 20 minutes to enjoy the view on top before having to come back down to Earth – albeit 50 years into the future.

After stepping off the elevator and through a swirling tunnel (possibly a time warp portal), you'll find 'Future Dubai' spread out in front of you using an immersive 3D presentations and virtual reality. Not to spoil the surprise too much about what the future holds – but you may need a license to fly.
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