Dubai: Dubai firm Amber Palm unveiled a $1-million “portable amber stone mosque” at the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel on Thursday night.
The “mosque” is essentially a small cabin mostly made from amber tiles and wood that can accommodate up to two worshippers.
As the translucent amber is backlit, the structure exudes a warm, soft glow of shades of yellow, orange and reddish-browns.
There is a dome-like central structure on top with a crescent — a typical feature of mosque architecture. The interior has carpet flooring and the central wall displays Islamic calligraphy.
The model was on show at its launch ceremony at the Al Falak Ballroom of the lavish Dubai hotel. Present at the event were Shaikh Mana Bin Hasher Al Maktoum, Shaikh Abdul Aziz Bin Ali Al Nuaimi, other VIPs and guests.
Andrew Sunko, operations manager of NY & Associates, which has subsidiaries including Amber Palm, said the company wanted to demonstrate the scope of its “innovative” and “patented amber tiles” that can used as luxury fittings and building materials.
He added that around three-quarters of the “amber mosque” was made from amber, saying the company aspires to “upgrade and build” mosques in the UAE with amber stone elements.
Sunko said Thursday’s display model costs around $1 million.
“This [amber] is a very rare stone and we’re using the best quality, and you can see 75 per cent of the [display model] is made from amber stone. This is why the value of it is so high,” Sunko added.
He said the company also plans to tie up with the “biggest hotel chains” to install such structures, especially in the Middle East.
Motif Interiors, a Dubai-based company, said it designed and built the mosque model for Amber Palm.
“It [amber stone] is actually a tough material, you can’t cut it so easily,” said Rayas Ali, director of Motif, adding that special equipment was used to create the amber components of the structure. Ali added that the amber stone is “much lighter than marble but it’s strong”.
Rana Lzeik, designer at Motif, said around 26 square metres of amber titles were used to make the display model.
“So the quantity of amber used and its size — and the fact that it’s portable — makes it a unique mosque,” Lzeik added.