Ramadan, the solemn month-long observance of the Muslim faith, has a tradition of understated decorations, particularly as compared with western holidays like Christmas that get extravagant décor even in the Middle East. "When we filled that space with lights, the cell phone cameras went up and so did the local Emirates' spirits. You could feel the satisfaction of their holiday getting the respect it deserves," said John Carter, Director of Parker 3D.
The move to a more substantial focus on Ramadan may very well be another ripple in the wave that emerged as the Arab Spring. Local sentiment in Middle East shopping center marketing has been building over recent years to transition toward a stronger focus on local culture. Ed Manner, Senior Designer at Parker 3D, said "I've been a student and a fan of Middle East culture for some time, and it's truly a privilege to be part of the west supporting the east in such an honorable way." Mr. Manner recently joined Parker3D and brought with him relationships from his previous work in the region. His projects include the Ramadan décor for The Dubai Mall, Dubai Marina Mall, Festival City and others. Plans are in place for many more projects in Dubai and in the region at large.
The décor program, which was developed on a rush timeline, was a collaboration of at least ten US states and four countries. Preliminary designs were done on 3D computer models in New Jersey and northern Ohio. Computer networking controllers were assembled in upstate New York. Prototypes of the inflatable elements were created in the US and rush-manufactured using high-tech computer-generated patterns in China. Parker 3D worked with a California consultant for business practices and customs shipping advice, and a German company for precision shipping and customs brokerage.
Parker 3D has long demonstrated a pride in diversity of background and religious beliefs. "It's always been a kick to be a Muslim designer working with Christians, Jews, and agnostics to create Christmas displays. We all really enjoyed honoring the Muslim holiday for a change," said Nawaz Tareen, lead graphic designer on the project.
The more subtle lighting for Ramadan was best described by Fuad Sharaf, Vice President of Mall of the Emirates: “In the US, you want to say "Wow!" In Dubai, for this holiday, we want to say "Ahhh."”
Rich Parker, president of Parker 3D, said, "With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 coming up, we are so happy to be doing work that is part of peaceful collaboration and religious understanding between these two amazing cultures."
"It was great to be part of a team that designed a display with such meaning behind it, and it's intriguing that it will reach people in another part of the world that we may never meet. Doing that on this sort of scale really makes it more than just décor." Gregg Nelson, Industrial Designer.
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Parker 3D is a Maxi Award-winning, technology driven holiday design team. Partner with us to create event-based programs that encourage repeat visits. We feature energy efficient, dazzling entertainment that has filled parking lots and has caused tenants to sell out of products. We build light and sound events that draw crowds and have documented results in building revenue. Our programs have caused their own viral marketing with thousands of hits on YouTube, as well as features on every TV network.