The Pearl Divers 2019, United Arab Emirates, Dubai

Dancing with your shadow

A pavement brings to life an old emirati tradition in a way that gets pedestrians to create music together.

For centuries, Dubai fishermen made a living by diving into the sea looking for pearls, known as the “local gold”. Paying tribute to this ancient tradition, The Pearl Divers is an interactive plaza dotted with pearl-like sensors that play music with participant’s shadows. Participants trigger original Bayati and Hijaz melodies, bringing magic and connection to the heart of an emerging neighbourhood. Dawn or dusk, different melodies will be heard thanks to the movement of the sun changing the light throughout the day, transforming and stretching shadows, their orientation and intensity. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Daily tous les jours leads an emergent field of practice combining technology, storytelling, performance and placemaking to reinvent living together in the 21st century. Over the past ten years, the Montreal-based art and design studio has signed over 40 original artworks in more than 30 cities around the world. Daily works tirelessly to create urban environments that engage citizens as co-creators rather than passive audiences, creating context for vibrant social connections and care between participants, setting the stage for active citizenship.



Building or project owner : Emaar

Project artist/ concept/ design/ planning : Daily tous les jours

Facade design : Studio Dikini

Facade construction : Atelier B, Atelier Papineau

Display content/ visuals/ showreel : Blackmango Productions, Victorine Yok

Light hardware (LED hardware) : CEGA

Interaction design/ programming : Daily tous les jours


Urban situation : In the warmest areas of the world, the sun sets the pace of life. When cities become unlivable because of their scalding concrete, creating shaded areas in public spaces becomes a priority. The Pearl Divers show that another type of urban life is possible whatever the climate.

Participatory architecture & urban interaction

Community or communities involved : This project was designed to be inclusive of all people. By bringing music in public spaces, The Pearl Divers is an universal invitation to move the body and the mind, across barriers of cultures, languages, ages or origins. It was also designed for the street, a codified place where bodies move in a homogenous way and have little room for spontaneity. In this context, dancing becomes almost political, another universal language for people to feel a sense of freedom while also encouraging self-discovery.

Issues addressed : After various workshops and public consultations, we learned about the difficult coexistence between humans and the harsh sun in numerous areas of the world. In climates such as Dubaï’s, people seek shadows to protect themselves and have less opportunities to enjoy their public spaces. This tension informed our core concept: your own shadow would be the interaction interface to discover the work, embracing their reality.

Impact : The Pearl Divers is a permanent installation, embedded in the infrastructure and architecture of the city. It brings a new dimension to the plaza, stimulating the emergence of new gathering habits, and opportunities for people to move together, and take ownership of their public space.

Tools developed : Custom senor and sound software

Tools used : MaxMSP, Arduino


Daily tous les jours

Daily tous les jours

Daily tous les jours

Daily tous les jours

Daily tous les jours