We love Florentijn Hofman's large art installations, especially the floating rubber duck that has visited ports across the globe, so we were very excited to see an oversized yellow duck sitting outside the ADNEC exhibition center in Abu Dhabi recently. In the city for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), we crossed the covered pedestrian bridge leading from ADNEC across 30th street to a small canal where the duck was tethered down by yellow rope. After snapping up a few photos, a security guard shooed us away. We didn't think much of it, but when we shared our find with a local person, he said the duck is a fake and that this is not the first time a rip off from China has landed in the region.
Last December a similar duck appeared on Dubai Creek. Turns out a company called GeoWash, which advertises a water-conserving mobile car wash device, installed the floating bird to generate awareness about water conservation. 7DAYS news reports that on November 27, 2013, GeoWash sent them an email which read, “On behalf of GeoWash, the UAE’s largest environment-friendly mobile car wash service, you are invited to a press briefing to announce the arrival in Dubai of the giant floating duck sculpture which has in the past toured Amsterdam, Lommel, Osaka, Sydney Harbour, Sao Paulo, Hong Kong and most recently, Pittsburgh, USA where over 1,000,000 people are reported to have visited the duck.
But it wasn’t Florentijn Hofman’s floating duck at all. Nor is the duck that briefly appeared outside of ADNEC, according to Kim Engbers from Hofman’s studio. “Please send us a picture, we are not aware of this and it’s not ours,” Engbers wrote in an email to Inhabitat. Hofman was not pleased to learn about the rubber duck that popped up in Dubai last year. “They used my project to benefit from the attention. They even referred to my duck on their facebook page and used my pictures,” he told 7DAYS last December. “The one in Dubai is a pirate version. My duck is in Taiwan.”
We have been unable to determine where this particular duck was procured. Nobody at ADNEC seems to know, though the call center acknowledges that the duck was on display during ADSW and the various eco summits that took place throughout the week, the Abu Dhabi municipality doesn’t know, and we are waiting for a response from REED Exhibitions, the event organizers. Stay tuned for updates. In the meantime, check out stories about Hofman’s real rubber duck, which has traveled from as far afield as France and Australia and suffered several setbacks along the way. Hopefully this latest will create no long term damage.
Images © Inhabitat