Heritage Destination Branding

Capturing the soul of a city


Shurooq was charged with leading the overall development of a 15-year historical preservation and restoration mega-project for the Heart of Sharjah, the historical heart of the emirate where the first settlers started and the traditional homes of some of the most prominent families still stand. The largest project of its type in the region to date, Shurooq was given a long timeline to seed the Heart of Sharjah as a true destination, establish a sense of place and communicate the vision of the transformation.

MBLM designed a discovery center that would allow visitors to get a real sense of place, understand the plans for the district and experience authentic hospitality. We created a brand around the “place of a million stories,” capturing the notion that stories of the founding families could be found around every corner and in every house, alleyway and building in the district, and also alluding to the new stories to be told as existing homes were restored and repurposed into boutique hotels, cafés and galleries.

We developed a comprehensive way-finding system to guide guests around the maze’s development, based on a study of the natural flow of foot traffic and the various locations. We developed a naming protocol and information hierarchy to help people enjoy the area and navigate it easily, as well as a guided tour map for visitors and a brochure aimed at those interested in investment opportunities.


The discovery center is set to open by the end of 2012.

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