Page 1

I N T E R I O R S A N D A R C H I T E C T U R E F R O M T H E G U L F, L E V A N T A N D B E Y O N D

OPTICAL ILLUSION Studio Job creates mindbending tiles for Mirage

FULL STEAM AHEAD Transport Education Centre plan gets the green light

February 2017

MIRACLE GARDENS Moss + Myrtle makes terrariums trendy

F O S T E R + PA R T N E R S I N M A K K A H | K O A C A N VA S | S H A N G R I - L A H O T E L D U B A I


50 26




Out on the tiles


Keeping it fresh




Studio Job has created a quirky ceramic concept that is both radical and refined. The Dutch design house’s cofounder Job Smeets talks about its work with upscale tilemaker Mirage The couple behind Amman-based design practice Uraiqat Architects discuss the fluidity between interior and building design

Full steam ahead

Italian practice One Works has won a bid to design Doha’s Transport Education Centre. Managing partner Giulio De Carli tells us more

Work, rest and play

Housing scheme KOA Canvas offers Dubai’s young professionals something different – a coworking space and a sense of community February 2017



44 32 40

The making of a metropolis

Three furniture designers have made unique pieces inspired by urban living for exhibition The City on Display



Miracle gardens


Work-life balance

Moss + Myrtle is a lifestyle brand that’s making terrariums trendy. We take a peek inside these whimsical miniature landscapes Gerhard Hecker, general manager of ShangriLa Hotel Dubai, reveals how interior design practice HBA helped it appeal to diverse guests



5 8


34 2|

February 2017


Welcome News

Foster + Partners reveals its Makkah hotel plans, a design documentary comes to Netflix and House of Design by Mr. G opens a base in Dubai Design District

Wish list

The products we’re coveting this month

Hot ticket

Trade fairs and exhibitions for your diary, including Design Days Dubai

CEO Wissam Younane Managing director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Group publishing director Diarmuid O’Malley Group sales director Joaquim D’Costa +971 50 440 2706

Business development director Rabih Naderi +966 50 328 9818

Editor Lauren Steadman Art director Ifteqar Ahmed Syed Sales manager Michelle Rebelo

Welcome The emergence of Alserkal Avenue in Al Quoz, Dubai Opera and, latterly, d3 is a testament to the strength of the UAE’s creative community. As galleries, art studios and theatres open their doors, the country is shaking off its unfair reputation for vacuity, with scores of arty young professionals transforming the city’s cultural scene. One young entrepreneur is tapping into the vibe by launching a housing scheme with this long-ignored demographic in mind. Canvas features apartments in a staggering 41 varieties, affording buyers the freedom to personalise their pads, plus an intriguing mix of leisure amenities. On page 34 you’ll find our feature on the inspirational scheme featuring interviews with Zaal and lead architect Tarik Zaharna. Fine art and industry can be like oil and water, but an inventive new range has emerged from one such pairing. The PoPJob collection by Italian tile maker Mirage comprises quirky ceramic wall and floor coverings that playfully mimic the look of wood and brick. It was created by Studio Job, a Dutch design house best known for its provocative, cartoonish sculptures, and its cofounder flew to Dubai for the line’s international launch. On page 20, the company’s cofounder Job Smeets tells us more about the project. In this issue we meet Basma and Basel Uraiqat, the couple behind the eponymous design and architectural firm in the Jordanian capital, Amman. The boutique studio’s work illustrates a shift towards multidisciplinary practice in which building, interior and product design converge. Read more about them and their impressive body of work on page 24.

Marketing executive Mark Anthony Monzon Contributor Rima Alsammarae


Cover image: Wave City table by Mousarris

SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates T +971 4 420 0506 | F +971 4 420 0196 For all commercial enquiries related to Design Middle East contact T +971 50 504 0182 All rights reserved © 2016. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Design Middle East and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Design Middle East. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Images used in Design Middle East are credited when necessary. Attributed use of copyrighted images with permission. Prices are quoted in US dollars. Printed by International Printing Press

AIRY: Light and space characterise the minimal buildings by Amman-based Uraiqat Architects

February 2017


Connected Connectedtotomy mybusiness business anywhere anywhereininthe theworld? world? The Theanswer answerisisyes. yes.

A business-class A business-class mobile mobile planplan thatthat understands understands youryour travel travel needs needs andand gives gives youyou thousands thousands of minutes, of minutes, roaming roaming datadata andand a free a free smartphone smartphone of your of your choice. choice.

The TheExecutive Executive Plan. Plan.


PICTURES: Foster + Partners

Foster + Partners unveils its winning Makkah hotel scheme Foster + Partners has revealed its plans for a luxury hotel and serviced apartment scheme in Saudi Arabia. It won a competition set by Jabal Omar Development Project for the complex, in the heart of the Muslim world’s most sacred spot. Luke Fox, head of studio and senior executive partner at the practice, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won the competition. “Makkah is one of the most unique cities in the world. As the home of the Holy Kaaba – the holiest site in Islam – it presents a special challenge and honour for any developer and architect. “Our design sets out to create an innovative building form that will be respectful to the scale and importance of the Grand Mosque.” The mixed-use development will form a new gateway along the route to the mosque for pilgrims from all over the world. Taking cues from the Kingdom’s traditional architecture, the development recreates the dense building clusters of old Arabia, creating a modern vernacular that is respectful of its sacred location, while its cascading vertical elements are in harmony with


February 2017

the area’s mountainous terrain. In a statement, Foster + Partners said the interior design had been developed “from the inside out” with the aim of offering an antidote to the bland, insipid style of many a modern hotel. Each guest room and flat will have a dedicated spot for private prayer that provides direct views of the Grand Mosque and Holy Kaaba, the main focal point for pilgrims. Located on the axis between the sacred site and the new Haramain high-speed rail station, the scheme will also form a key part of the spiritual journey, with a streamlined pedestrian ramp leading people through ethereal naturally lit spaces. Fox added: “Our endeavour has been to make the experience special and appropriate to its unique location. The design follows a philosophy of ‘luxury with humility’ with an understated elegance throughout the development. “On behalf of all the design team I would like to thank Jabal Omar Development Company for choosing to work with us. We are incredibly eager to begin work on the next stage and look forward to a successful collaboration.”

February 2017


NEWS STYLE-SAVVY: House of Design by Mr. G is influenced by catwalk trends

Fashion meets furnishings Interiors inspired by the latest catwalk looks are the trademark of one of Dubai Design District’s newest kids on the block. House of Design by Mr. G specialises in bespoke products and concepts with a distinct style-savvy slant. The company’s founder, George Foster, said: “The influence of fashion on interior décor has always been prevalent but more recently, incorporating a client’s lifestyle or a brand’s DNA

has become the key to transforming a good interior design concept into a successfully designed space. Nowadays, an interior designer is a communicator, a visual communicator.” Foster, who was formerly head of design at Ethan Allen UAE, describes the practice’s signature style as “a sleek, modern and minimalist look with a touch of California cool.” Services span conceptualisation, space planning and full turn-key interior design, as

well as event styling and set design. It also offers custom-made home furnishings and an in-house line of candles, plus a number of global brands. Foster added: “Interiors are visual. I take great pride in not only understanding a client’s vision but also in delivering on it and introducing new design aspects along the way. “Interior design is dynamic, consistently evolving and, at times, chaotic, so House of Design is my way of bringing clients through this journey.”

Lecturer challenges ‘plague’ of bland designs A lecture on the Middle East’s approach to modern architecture took place in Doha’s Education City. The talk, titled Exploring Architectural Frontiers Contemporary Design in the Middle East, was organised by Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) and was delivered by Dr Hassan Radoine, director of Morocco’s National School of Architecture in Rabat. He argued that standardised international forms of architecture are a blight on Arabian


February 2017

cities, with the often-uninspiring buildings constructed seemingly at odds with the areas’ cultural, ecological and geographical significance. Speaking prior to the event, on 1 February, Dr Radoine said: “The rich architectural diversity and uniqueness of the region, which once offered the world architectural wonders, has frequently been substituted with monotonous designs. “Architecture in the Middle East is trapped between the corrective measures of its own

tradition and of imported forms. “Therefore, the complexity and diversity of the region’s cultural and geographical environments require not only smart designs, but also engrained knowledge in order to conceive comprehensively sustainable projects.” Dr Radoine’s book Architecture in Context: Designing in the Middle East, will be published by Wiley International later this year.

ON TRACK: Bechtel is working on lines 1 and 2 of King Abdullah Financial Centre metro station

Picture: Zaha Hadid Architects

Bechtel teams up with Riyadh college for graduate scheme Bechtel has launched a major graduate recruitment scheme with Riyadh College of Technology. The engineering, procurement and construction conglomerate will hire 75 trainees in the fields of architecture, survey technology and civil engineering, with the first intake set to start the three-month training programme this March. As part of the initiative, each will undertake a work placement at one of Bechtel’s projects in the Kingdom. Abdulrahman Al-Ghabban, the company’s deputy country manager, said: “Bechtel’s partnership with Riyadh College of Technology

shows our commitment to the community and to improving workers’ skills in Saudi Arabia. “Together we are creating better career opportunities, quality infrastructure and economic growth.” Riyadh College of Technology’s dean, Dr Abdulrahman Al-Ghanim, said: “We are delighted to have partnered with Bechtel on this unique programme, which will see 75 graduates receive practical training, develop and improve their professional skills and then be hired by Bechtel. “Our ambition is to see our students

contributing towards Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision. Developing their skills and careers at this prestigious company will help them to achieve this success.” Bechtel has worked in the Kingdom for more than 70 years, developing infrastructure and megaprojects from oil and gas facilities to airports. The company is currently working on lines 1 and 2 of Riyadh’s King Abdullah Financial Centre metro station, designed by Zaha Hadid. It’s also providing programme management at Jubail Industrial City, the world’s largest civil engineering project.

February 2017



EDGY: An eclectic living room set-up at the annual design fair in Milan

PHOTO: Salone del Mobile

Students get a chance to shine at Salone del Mobile Design students and recent graduates could showcase their ideas at this year’s Salone del Mobile exhibition in Italy. Undergraduates and recent graduates in artrelated subjects could win a trip to Milan courtesy of the German Design Council. The international contest ein&zwanzig (‘21’) targets students and recent graduates of interior design, product design and related subjects. Twenty-one products and product ideas will be selected during Tortona Design Week in Milan and their creators awarded prizes. Winners will be supported with an extensive marketing campaign to showcase their creations; financial help towards travel to Italy is also available. The German Design Council describes itself as an international centre of excellence for design. In a statement, a representative of the Frankfurt-based organisation said: “The ein&zwanzig competition provides design students and graduates with a platform on which to present themselves effectively to the public. “The high-calibre jury drawn from the fields of economics and design honours those who will be presenting their works in Milan to an international audience. Moreover, winners will benefit from a comprehensive service and support package.”

10 |

February 2017

Entrants must be enrolled on a design-related degree-level course or have finished such studies within the past three years. As well as individuals, groups of up to three people may register, each of whom must meet the entry requirements. Furniture, home accessories, lighting, flooring, wallpaper and textiles can be submitted. Pieces should be under a year old and must not be available on the market. Entries must be made at by uploading information about the product and up to three printable images. The deadline for submissions is 3 February. Winners will be expected to attend the event in person and must be able to supply the organisers with prototypes or 1:1 models of their products from March onwards. Entry is free of charge. Entries will be judged on the overall idea as well as its “autonomy, originality, conceptual and visionary quality, functionality, quality of use, design and presentation quality.” A shortlist will be drawn up in mid-February. Twenty entrants will be named ‘Winners’ and one crowned ‘Best of the Best’, and their creators invited to Milan. The prize-winning works will be exhibited in Milan as part of Tortona Design Week 2017, which will be held from 4 to 9 April. Salone del Mobile itself runs from 1 to 6 April.

VERDANT: Aspire Park in Doha, Qatar

Eco construction conference set for autumn return Qatar Green Building Council plans to hold a week-long initiative to promote environmental responsibility this October. The Doha-based body will hold various initiatives to help stakeholders from the public and private sectors promote the country’s sustainability vision. It will also highlight the community’s role in advancing its long-term ‘green’ agenda. Central to the event is Qatar Green Building Conference 2017, to be held from 29 to 31 October. The annual gathering’s third edition will invite industry leaders and sustainability experts to showcase their solutions to the Gulf region’s environmental challenges – last year’s forum attracted more than 300 delegates from 51 countries. Qatar Sustainability Week will run from 28 October to 4 November in Doha, Al Wakra and Al Khor. See for updates.

‘Starchitect’ Ingels to be profiled in new Netflix series on designers Danish architect Bjarke Ingels will appear in a new documentary series on Netflix that aims to shine a spotlight on some of the international design scene’s leading luminaries. Abstract: The Art of Design starts on 10 February and will explore the ways in which creativity influences everyday life – by following eight innovators operating in different fields. Outspoken Ingels, the founder of Danish practice BIG, has redrawn notions of scale and tradition with his provocative and revolutionary work. Known for is forthright views, he’s been profiled by Vogue, Rolling Stone and the New York Times and his TED Talks have been viewed online more than two million times. In his native Copenhagen, Ingels created the VM Houses – affordable housing structures that encourage a sense of community while dazzling the eye – and a ski slope/public park that sits on top of

OUTSPOKEN: Bjarke Ingels makes an appearance in Abstract: The Art of Design

a power plant that burns ‘clean’ fuel, both of which appear in the programme. Other projects of his include the long-anticipated 2 World Trade Center in New York, London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilion; Vancouver House – a dramatic cyclone-shaped residential tower in Canada, Google’s headquarters in California and the soon-to-be-completed Lego House in Denmark. “Infrastructure can have positive environmental side


effects, which is where poetry and possibility come in,” Ingels said. A sense of effortlessness anchors these eclectic designs, which Ingels says “seem to emerge from a dream world.” The series was produced for Netflix by Wired editor-in-chief Scott Dadich. Interior designer Ilse Crawford will also appear, as will illustrator Christoph Niemann, Nike sneaker supremo Tinker Hatfield and set designer Es Devlin.

HBA Dubai to create interiors for The Langham, Jeddah hotel The Dubai office of Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) has won a contract to design the interiors of a forthcoming luxury hotel in Saudi Arabia. Led by David T’Kint and his team, the practice will work on The Langham, Jeddah, an offshoot of one of London’s most prestigious hospitality brands. The scheme will feature “classic yet elegantly contemporary furnishings”, a practice spokesperson said. Each of the 238 rooms and 39 suites will be equipped with

motorised curtains and separate largeformat rain showers, while the two-bedroom Royal Suite, spanning 295 square metres, will feature separate sitting, dining and cooking areas that allow for private entertaining. Langham Hospitality Group’s CEO, Robert Warman, said: “We are delighted to introduce the Langham brand to Jeddah as we have been searching for the ideal location in the Kingdom to add to our portfolio. “The creative design of the hotel’s façade

and interiors along with the luxury facilities of The Langham, Jeddah, underlined by our legendary award-winning service, will provide an exceptional destination for our guests.” The hotel will be Langham Hospitality Group’s fourth Middle East venture – it has two properties in UAE and one in Qatar. To be managed by Advanced Hotels Company, it is expected to open in the summer of 2018.

February 2017

| 11

Wish List

Morning Sun rug Cecilia Setterdahl Geometric forms feature strongly in Cecilia Setterdahl’s work. The artist creates bold, abstract paintings which are then rendered on soft furnishings. Her Dubai studio, Canvas Carpets Cushions, sells statement rugs which are hand-knotted in India; no more than 10 pieces of any item are produced.

12 |

February 2017

Bean Bag ashtray Giobagnara This unusual windproof piece is ideal for balconies and terraces. Designed by Giobagnara (formerly named B.Home Interiors), the Laurence ashtray is handmade in Italy from premium leather. The inset brass tray is finished in tough palladium, while the base is weighed down with 1kg of stuffing, enough to withstand the most savage shamal.

Flask Fressko This Australian brand has launched a colourful new line of vessels, which are free from harmful, hormonedisrupting chemicals such as bisphenol A. Coming in five colours – onyx, blush, stone, midnight and reef – it’s a stylish way to transport your coffee to work.

February 2017

| 13

Wish List

Zattelite pendants Schema Available in black or in this copper tone called Florentine, the lamp was created for Schema by Bangkok-born Anon Pairot. After graduating with a degree in mechanical engineering, he shifted his focus to industrial design “because he wanted to design a whole car, not just car parts”. Pairot says: “I used to think that engineering means designing everything. I didn’t even know industrial design existed.”

Dream 1 chair Rouge Cerise Design Described by its creators as an ‘indoor deckchair’, this piece was made by heating oak and bending it over the steel frame. The head restraint is leather. Rouge Cerise Design is one half of Atelier Rouge Cerise, the Provence, France-based forge and furniture studio headed by brothers Olivier and Jean-Benoît Biscarrat.

14 |

February 2017

Mila table and bowl Pulpo

Mallow chair Hawini

Sebastian Herkner is continuing his longstanding collaboration with Pulpo and displayed his playful new products for the brand at Maison&Objet and IMM Cologne last month. Mila comprises three coffee tables and two bowls, each of which is ceramic. Available in blue, grey, yellow and rose, their surfaces feature small bubbles and streaks, making each piece unique.

The triangular rack used to arrange snooker balls before a game was the unlikely inspiration for this bold geometric chair. To explore this concept further, Hawini covered one seat in green felt, mimicking that used on a pool table; they’re also available in black python snakeskin and mauve ostrich leather. The Lebanese design studio’s three members follow the philosophy that “Our work is our art and our art is what we make of it.” Taking inspiration from everything around them, they say they aim to explore “the relation of the paradox between pragmatism and pure creativity.”

February 2017

| 15

Wish List

Calypso and Tilt cushions The Rug Company The Al Quoz showroom’s Calypso and Tilt cushions are the latest additions to its Studio Collection. Bearing with the label’s signature geometrics, they are hand-finished in crewelwork, a 15th century embroidery technique involving the use of thin, loosely twisted yarn.

Konsair desk R Weidemann Made of glass, cherry wood and steel with a rusted finish, the austerity of this asymmetrical table is tempered by the use of richly coloured cherry wood in the drawer unit on one side. Each of R Weidemann’s sculptural sideboards, tables and light elements is produced as a limited edition.

Charlie chair Nayef Francis Made from a single laser-cut sheet of aluminium, the springy Charlie chair is designed to fit the contours of the body. Nayef Francis studied interior architecture in Lebanon and honed his skills in several Middle Eastern and North African nations. He returned to his native land in 2009 to establish his own design house and pursue his passion for product design. Now based in Beirut’s trendy Mar Mikhaël district, Francis’ eponymous boutique offers a distinctive, unique line of handmade furniture and homeware.

16 |

February 2017

Shelving units Sebra Sold in sets of four, these functional yet versatile storage racks were designed for children’s rooms but would also work in more sophisticated settings. Available in mate blue, white, grey and pink, they come in rectangular and square versions and can be wallmounted or stacked.

February 2017

| 17


On the tiles Design Middle East meets provocative Dutch designer Job Smeets

18 |

February 2017

February 2017

| 19



he PoPJob collection is unlike any other product within the ceramic surfaces sector. The tiles’ shiny, smooth surface and vibrant colour intensity is obtained through a technique called ‘twin surface’, which involves coupling a pre-vitrified layer of high-density technical porcelain with a thick layer of crystalline glass, while the pigmented and decorated layer is kept on the inside. The result is a highly glossy product with an intense pigmentation that enhances the chromatic saturation effect, and the layers that make up the PoPJob tiles are clearly visible when the piece is cut crosswise. Smeets is full of praise for Mirage’s production standards and attention to detail. For instance, the brick-effect wall tiles appear to be crumbled around the edges. “Those thing, they make it Pop – they make it archetypal and iconic, I think. And what I also like are the colours. A pink floor – come on! I mean, who has a pink floor?” Smeets says he and Tynagel tried to create the most crazy colours possible” within the constraints of the brief of having to make a mass-produced, commercially viable product. A variation on the theme had already been used in Paris catwalk shows and by Dutch National Ballet.

20 |

February 2017

February 2017

| 21


22 |

February 2017

DESIGN DUO: Job Smeets and Nynke Tynagel stand on the flooring they created for Mirage

Fame doesn’t really mean anything but sometimes you can use it for creativity “To be honest, we already had these designs and had used them for different exhibitions around the world,” Smeets says. “We kind of altered them to make an industrial product for Mirage.” Smeets says he doesn’t set out to shock people, but feels it’s nevertheless good to push the boundaries of acceptability. “I think, in the world of tiles this will be a very extreme collection. For me, it’s quite normal but for a ceramic tile company it must be really like edgy work. You know, ‘Will this work?’”

While Studio Job is most famous for its sculptures, he stresses he’s not averse to surface pattern design. “We’re not afraid of two dimensions. Whether it’s one dimension, two dimensions, three or 25, dimensions, I’m OK as long as the product’s good.” He adds: “I always think in spaces. When you have a bronze sculpture standing in a room, how is the rest of the room looking? And that floor underneath, the walls, the wallpaper, the tiles. It’s how we play. That’s why we are designers.

February 2017

| 23


24 |

February 2017

Keeping it fresh The Jordanian duo behind Uraiqat Architects discuss maintaining a spirit of innovation

February 2017

| 25



t was all very open and dreamy,” says Basel Uraiqat. “We wanted to start a multidisciplinary practice that wasn’t just about architecture, or just about interior design. It was – for us – going to be about the process of creating things.” Uraiqat Architects, now an architect and design boutique firm in central Amman, started off as none other than a “cliché basement-office”, asserts Basel, who co-founded the company with his wife, Basma, in 2009. The two had just returned to Jordan upon completing their postgraduate studies in the UK and hoped to contribute to the capital’s growing design scene. He adds: “When we started, it was a struggle for us – trying to be minimal. But now people are adapting and they’re following more contemporary trends.”

Steady growth At first, Basel and Basma worked under the studio name Atelier Uraiqat, which still exists today but functions as Uraiqat Architects’ multidisciplinary arm. From wall objects to sculptures and installations, the atelier’s function seems, at the very least, to keep the team from falling into a creative rut. It allows them to research, experiment and explore, with the artworks often exhibited in galleries and design shows. Uraiqat Architects, on the other hand, is a steadily expanding business that was spun off in 2012, and has been turning out project after project in Jordan and across the Middle East ever since. In the space of just five years, the firm has delivered more than 30 projects (no small feat for a team that until recently numbered just five), with each one more powerfully cohesive than the last.

We like concrete, stone, wood – materials that are natural “We don’t specialise in a certain type of project,” says Basma, “but we specialise in a certain typology that involves many innovations. We focus on projects that require different approaches.” And, true to her word, Uraiqat Architects’ growing portfolio currently includes a wide variety of building types, from office spaces to mosques, residences to cultural centres.

26 |

February 2017

“We’re currently working on a couple of innovation centres, too,” she adds. “Really, they’re just spaces where you have a lot of people working together producing prototypes. They’re like technology incubators, so we have a couple of these, which we like working on because they involve a lot of innovation in terms of the design of the space. It’s design for creative people, which is a big challenge that we love.” And while Uraiqat Architects never reproduces the same design, there is an element of continuity between its projects – perhaps in the team’s approach to space and their ability to apply the sixth design sense: light. From cafés to shops, each design allows the space to have its own experience, while remaining breathable. Forms appear geometric yet sinuous, and opposing sides of a room are joined together with fluidity. Uraiqat Architects’ work is, simultaneously, overwhelming and absorbing.. “The things we always look at are light and material,” says Basma. “We like concrete, stone,

wood… materials that are natural. And actually, all of our work in the atelier is based on light. Whatever pattern we use or sculpture we do, in the end, it’s about how light reacts to it. And that’s a guiding principle in our work.”

A busy year ahead With lots of projects coming in, Basma and Basel have decided to expand their office for a second time (the first time was in 2012, when they took on additional staff and moved into a new space). This time, though, they’re inching closer to their dream office (an old Amman warehouse) and have chosen a place on Mecca Street, near the market where the team collects materials for projects. “It’s a step forward, not the final destination,” says Basel. Basma adds: “We’re really focusing on designing our company this year. We’re looking to expand and find some really, really talented people and create a system that allows us to take whatever work we’ve done so far to the next level in terms of volume and quality.”

February 2017

| 27


28 |

February 2017

We have to realise our ideas without losing the spirit of innovation Although the team now consists of 10 people, Basma and Basel are looking to grow considerably this year, and their new space allows for such development. For both, the future feels like a blank canvas – despite their many years of experience. Going from Atelier Uraiqat to Uraiqat Architects seemed almost like a graduation, and the graduates are now regrouping, and looking at how they want to work without losing their founding principles. Maintaining a general methodology that adapts for each project’s requirements, the architectural practice is nothing if not serious about staying true to its atelier roots. The yin and the yang are at constant play, pushing them to grow while pulling them back from the corporate edge. “It’s now more about building an innovative machine that creates architecture and interiors,” says Basel. “At the beginning

it was more personal and it was more of a project. And now it’s a company and we have to look at all these aspects, not just the design. We have to realise our ideas without losing the spirit of innovation.” In addition to the centres the team is working on, Uraiqat Architects takes on a couple of residential projects each year and 2017 will be no different. According to Basma, they’re very specific about the type of work they accept and often look for the ones that allow them room for play. “There are things we always say, like ‘never take anything for granted’. We have to question things every day, from the process to the method to even the rules of architecture and design,” says Basma. “We focus on the ability to grow, which is very important. If you’re unable to change and grow and [become] better, you’ll eventually fall behind – and this guides us at the office.”

February 2017

| 29


A tribute to sustainable travel Giulio De Carli, managing partner of Italian architects One Works, explains how the practice’s experience in of interchange design helped it develop a winning concept for Qatar Rail’s Transport Education Centre


atar’s Transport Education Centre is an ambitious initiative to change local perceptions of how we get around. The facility, which will combine an exhibition space with educational and recreational facilities, is due to open in 2020 – in time for the FIFA World Cup and coinciding with the roll-out of the country’s metro network. In December, Qatar Rail awarded the design contract to Italian architects One Works. For the practice’s managing partner, Giulio De Carli, it’s an opportunity to create a landmark building that represents Qatari heritage while embodying a

30 |

February 2017

forward-thinking approach. The practice, which integrates architecture, infrastructure and urban engineering, has extensive experience of major transport interchanges, from railway and metro stations to shipping terminals and airports. The firm has an office in Dubai and was already working on Doha Metro when it was invited it to submit its entry last spring. The initial idea was to open a museum of transport, but De Carli says the focus soon changed. “Instead, they decided to go for a place where people could meet, to explain how the public transport network will operate in Qatar and across the entire

Gulf area,” he says. “Qatar has a mission to educate the population in everything from culture to sport – that’s their attitude.” While car use in Qatar is currently a necessity – it has no water taxis and its patchy bus service mainly serves male labourers – persuading both expatriates and Qatari nationals to embrace the new metro network will be a vital step towards sustainability. De Carli adds: “Qatar Rail has a very interesting mission on the transportation side but also for how the new transport mode is presented to the population in Qatar, in this region.”

Multipurpose venue The centre will be sited between Lusail Boulevard and Al Qassar Metro Station, one of the most important stops on the network. Accessible by metro, car, on bicycle and by foot, it will serve Doha’s central business district of West Bay and cultural hub Katara. Set in landscaped grounds of 20,000 square metres (the building itself occupies 10,000 square metres), the cylindrical structure will resemble a traditional Arabian fort, with the traditional wind tower shape offering natural ventilation to complement mechanical modern air conditioning, keeping the space cool and thus minimising energy consumption. The centre will be built predominantly of sandstone, the material traditionally used to build forts on the Arabian peninsula and one that’s used extensively in nearby cultural complex Katara, home to art galleries, Doha Film Institute and Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. “It’s very similar,” De Carli says. “The idea is to have continuity with the Katara landscape.” Each part of the interior will offer panoramic views of its surroundings; the sinuous space will also utilise interactive screens and virtual reality technology. An internal courtyard will house a permanent exhibition, while the landscaped area surrounding the building will house changing displays. De Carli adds: “For the exhibitions, the idea is to integrate the external and internal areas.” The internal exhibition space will occupy a

horseshoe-shaped area overlooking the courtyard outside. Lighting projections and marks on the walls will delineate it into 24 sections representing the hours of the day. Its main, fort-shaped building will house offices, a theatre and a rooftop restaurant. Speaking in December, Mohamed Timbely, senior director of Qatar Rail, said: “One Works has perfectly interpreted the spirit and the goal we set for ourselves from the competition’s outset. “Its unique experience in transport infrastructure architecture, combined with its ability to interpret it as a founding and strategic element of urban development and thus social and cultural evolution, allowed the architects to develop a concept for Transport Education Centre that achieves a perfect synthesis of what Qatar Rail is developing for its country and architectural and cultural legacy.”

Tight schedule One Works must complete the design by the end of this year. In order to hit this daunting target, several teams are working in tandem on the training centre concept, materials, MEP, accessibility and connection with Al Qassar station. The architectural, MEP and civil engineering staff are based in Italy, with other employees based in Doha liaising directly with Qatar Rail. De Carli says: “We have the main production team in Italy but we also have the local team based in Doha and we do a workshop every two weeks with Qatar Rail

to assess the progress of the programme, the brief, and analyse the concept design. “The idea is that at the end of April the schematic design will be completely approved by Qatar Rail and we will start to develop the detailed design in the summer and to finalise it before the end of November. Then it will tender for the construction by the end of this year in order to start the works at the beginning of 2018. Two years of works and then – by 2020 – an opening with a big exhibition. “I know perfectly well that it seems a very tight programme and also a crazy schedule, but it’s also realistic. From a technical point of view it’s feasible and Qatar Rail’s motivation is, of course, the hype – because the idea is to open the centre together with the metro, with an exhibition on the metro project.” De Carli adds: “It’s exciting to work in parallel on metro stations and also on a cultural building like this. “We had some experience on exhibition buildings but we are mainly experienced in infrastructure – our focus is on areas such as infrastructure build, passenger terminals, stations for rail and metro, the bus, interchange stations, buildings like this. “We have also a real estate department which is focused mostly on retail and shopping malls, and we often combine our expertise between real estate and infrastructure. So Transport Education Centre is, for us, the perfect integration between the different worlds on which we focus.”

February 2017

| 31


32 |

February 2017

Work, rest and play An apartment scheme in Dubai caters to the city’s creative community with studio spaces, a screening room and a coworking hub at its heart

February 2017

| 33



isillusionment with Dubai’s faceless blocks of flats prompted Mohammed Zaal to reimagine the way the city’s residents interact. Canvas, the first offering from his real estate firm, KOA, is aimed at the type of cultured, designsavvy young professionals who appreciate art and architecture – and are seeking a settled community in which they can get to know their neighbours. “I really felt there was an opportunity for me to introduce something different,” the entrepreneur said. “A lot of people are not interested in property in Dubai and first-time buyers just settle for whatever there is – there’s not anything that people really fall in love with.” Canvas is different. Located off Emirates Road, near Mohammed bin Rashid Gardens, the uncommonly verdant development will offer relief from the urban jungle just 20 minutes’ drive from the city. The 70-flat scheme include studios and one, two and three-bedroom apartments, as well as a single four-bedroom penthouse. Forty-four went on sale last month, priced $272 to $327 per square foot, and the project is scheduled for completion in December. Affording the end user personalisation was of paramount importance. No fewer than 41 layouts are on offer to cater to the diverse tastes of its future residents. “We don’t even publish out floor plans,” Zaal says. “The idea is that you sit down and find something that’s suited to your needs instead of having generic A, B, C, D, or whatever this is, or Spanish-style – this is not what we’re about. “We’re more of a boutique developer focusing on craftsmanship and soul. Those are two of the pillars of the development. Canvas is literally that – it’s your canvas.”

OUT OF OFFICE Central to the scheme is a coworking hub. Such spaces offer a welcoming, supportive atmosphere for the increasing number of professionals who work outside the office, whether they’re self-employed or merely

34 |

February 2017

The city is changing; the way people think about design and the spaces they live in is evolving, and we wanted to be part of that in need of a break from colleagues. Canvas will house photography studios and even a screening room; art exhibitions may also be held within the grounds. Zaal says: “There have been one or two attempts at coworking spaces in Dubai, but not of this scale. We’re looking at people who appreciate design, art, creativity, which is evident in the younger generation. “The amenities are extensive. It’s a members’ community, so when you’re a resident you’re automatically a member, if you sign up for the coworking space you get to use all of the grounds as well.” Other facilities will include a daycare centre, a restaurant and a gourmet market. More conventional leisure facilities aren’t overlooked – there’s a gym, salon, hammam and three swimming pools. “The worst thing for me was living in an apartment block and going down to the swimming pool or the gym and you’re there by yourself, which is the case everywhere – they’re just these sort of amenities that are a must in a building and no one ever uses them,”

he says. “People like to be in surroundings that are sociable. Even if you’re at the gym, if there are people there you’re inspired; if they’re running next to you, you want to run – it’s natural. We wanted to create a community where it’s not just residents, it’s members.”

A team effort The designer for Canvas is T.ZED Architects, a young, award-winning practice also based in Dubai. T.ZED Architects is an awardwinning architecture and design practice based in Dubai. Founder and director Tarik Zaharna has produced a diverse portfolio of work encompassing residential, retail, hospitality and culture, including schemes for art gallery Manarat Al Saadiyat and restaurant N.57, both in Abu Dhabi; JLT bar Cocktail Kitchen and the Al Quoz-based photography hub 8th Street Studios. He previously co-owned Anarchitect, also based in Dubai, and is a founding member of Design Ras Al Khor (DRAK), an initiative founded by pioneering regional

February 2017

| 35


Craftsmanship and soul are the pillars of the development

creatives. He teamed up with Zaal last July. “Our visions were very much aligned,” Zaharna says. “What Mohammed is doing in the real estate world, we’re trying to do in the architectural realm as well. “With KOA Canvas we’re really trying to reimagine and reinterpret the way people think about buildings and the way they live and design in general, and to start taking a more creative approach to all these things that we really just take for granted. “The city is changing; the way people think about design and the spaces they live in is quickly evolving, and we really wanted to be part of that.”

planting seeds Conservation is at the forefront of Canvas, particularly with regards to safeguarding biodiversity. Prior to launching KOA, Zaal was the CEO of Al Barari, the firm behind the eponymous community on the edge of Dubai. The vast development, 80 per cent of which is green space, was created by his father, Zaal Mohamed Zaal, who has pioneered sustainable building and horticulture in the country. Canvas is set within serene landscaped grounds in which four-fifths of plants are indigenous. Two disused office buildings were incorporated into the project instead of being knocked down. “They weren’t being used and we thought it was an opportunity for us to do something different in Dubai instead of just using a greenfield site or demolishing something old,” Zaal says. “There’s been a lot of press recently about old architecture and what people are

36 |

February 2017

doing to the city’s old structures, so it’s an opportunity for us – we’re upcycling this development. The new generation really appreciates that.”

Unusual materials Canvas is characterised by an innovative use of materials, the selection of which was inspired by the rich ecosystem surrounding the scheme. One of the more unusual ones is thermally modified tulip wood. Zaharna says: “It’s the first time this material has been used in the Middle East. “It can be used outside in this climate – it can endure humidity, extreme heat, rain, sunshine, all of it. We don’t have to deal with snow here, but it can deal with that too!”

He adds: “It’s been treated in such a way that the next step would be combustion, if it was to become a single degree hotter.” From an architectural perspective, it was important to embed nature into modern residential areas and leverage the neighbouring natural scenery to create continuity throughout the various spaces. Water features, open courtyards and natural light have been used to enhance the wider landscape, and stone and timber have been used inside and out. “Using a stone on a façade is something that’s not typically or commonly done here. It’s about playing with textures and thinking about how the building will look like in 50 years’ time. We’re building for the future.”

February 2017

| 37


The making of a metropolis An exhibition coming to Dubai will showcase work by three designers – all inspired by city living

38 |

February 2017


or as long as people have lived in cities, the built environment has inspired artists’ work. An exhibition coming to Dubai next month was conceived to offer a fresh perspective on the steel and concrete conurbations we call home. Three furniture designers from different personal and professional backgrounds were tasked with creating collections inspired by urban living for exhibition The City on Display. Newcomers Stelios Mousarris and Tarek ElKassouf will join veteran product designer Nada Debs at Design Days Dubai, a fourday celebration of high-end furniture, collectibles and objets d’art, to unveil their latest work. They were commissioned to create the pieces by Cities Boutique, a design-led homeware store with branches in Riyadh and Dubai. Mousarris was born in Cyprus in 1988 and earned a degree in modelmaking at England’s Arts University of Bournemouth. After graduating, he returned to his home city of Larnaca and focused on small interior design pieces. His work soon drew the attention of British product designer Christopher Duffy, who hired him for his firm, Duffy London. Mousarris has recently relaunched his own eponymous brand, to which he has brought the wealth of experience he gained while in the UK.

At Design Days Dubai, he will display his table Wave City, a dramatic piece in which a single sheet of metal is bent into the shape of a letter ‘U’ turned on its side. It’s made of steel covered in two layers of maple wood, and a plastic silhouette of a cityscape curls around its underside. Created using 3D printing technology, the intricate form is juxtaposed with the sleek tabletop above. “Two thin layers of maple were bent over a steel frame, obscuring the metal so the table looked as though it was made of solid wood. The cityscape is made of polylactic acid (PLA), a biodegradable plastic derived from renewable resources,” Mousarris said. “Each table is same but different. The wood is always a different shade – we use custom paint for each table and once it’s the right colour we apply it to the buildings by brush. “We paint a wood-grain effect onto the plastic with very fine brushes – and a lot of patience!” Mousarris will present two tables at the event, one maple and one in matte black made only of steel and plastic. Just 25 pieces will be sold worldwide, each of which will be numbered. He adds: “We use the same buildings each time but every table has a different layout – it’s an imaginary city.”

February 2017

| 39


INTERACTIVITY “All design, whether of a city or house or lamp, has to be human-centric. If it’s used by a person, it needs to create a sensation and to seduce the senses.” So says Tarek Elkassouf, an architect, town planner and, latterly, product designer. In 2014 the Lebanese national launched a line of furniture called The Edge, for which he won a silver A’ Design Award in 2015. Describing his work as “functionalsculptural”, Elkassouf makes futuristic pieces with an industrial feel. Light Structures, his collection for The City on Display, comprises lamps named Intersect, Lean and Fractures. ElKassouf said: “I tried to fuse craftsmanship with technology by putting engineers and artisans under the same roof to produce pieces that connect to the time and

40 |

February 2017

space, to the here and now. The piece I’ve called Fractures is human-scale – it goes up to 2m high. It’s a set of two lamps, the taller of which dominates the second.” Lean is a table lamp, so called because it tilts to one side, while a small floor lamp, Intersect, “stands on the margins, creating a dialogue between lines, planes and volume.” ElKassouf has used several kinds of metal, including stainless steel and brass in both brushed and shiny finishes. Each is touchsensitive and can be illuminated by tapping; holding one’s hand on the stand causes the bulb to progressively dim. “You can decide how long to touch it for according to how dim you’d like it to be,” he adds. “My work is interactive, so I look forward to seeing how the crowd at Design Days Dubai will respond to it.”


42 |

February 2017

Miracle Gardens Popular in Victorian times, terrariums are back – thanks to a green-fingered entrepreneur who’s reworked these miniature landscapes for the modern age

February 2017

| 43



passion for interior design inspired a Dubai florist to revisit an age-old art. Cheryl Ann Cox is the owner of Moss + Myrtle, a boutique lifestyle firm whose bespoke terrariums have a distinctive modern touch. “The original concept of a terrarium is an enclosed miniature garden and in the old days they would be completely closed, so you wouldn’t really have to water them at all,” she says. “As living organisms, plants exhibit warmth, so even if there’s an opening you’ll find condensation on the top of the glass. When it’s completely enclosed, that condensation rises to the top, reaches the glass and with the difference in temperature it condenses and drops back in, as though it’s raining inside.” Cox is no stranger to arid climates. The Australian national, who was raised in Dubai, studied floristry at the Floral Art School of Australia. Fifteen years on, she’s designed plant habitats for corporate and residential interiors, as well as designing floral arrangements for weddings. She spent a year learning about terrariums and was encouraged by the positive response to her work. “I started giving them as gifts to my friends, who really received them well – they encouraged me to produce them on a bigger scale, as did as my children. So that planted some seeds!

44 |

February 2017

“Also, my son Nicholas, who owns a landscaping and irrigation company, has been talking about doing terrariums for a while. That, along with the encouragement from friends, made me think: ‘Why not?’” Cox’s boutique lifestyle brand Moss + Myrtle started trading two years ago as a subsidiary of her son’s 25-year-old garden design and build firm, Fleur. “We launched just before Valentine’s Day – it was just a coincidence, really – and I had such a good response!,” she says. “So it’s just grown steadily from there.” While most commissions come from private individuals, Moss + Myrtle is reaching out to corporate clients. It’s recently produced bespoke pieces for the premises of fertility clinic Conceive and PR firm Spread Communications, both based in Dubai. Moss + Myrtle specialises in adding a personal touch, tailoring pieces for special events, to reflect the recipient’s personality or reflect the ethos of a brand. While a few other UAE firms can supply terrariums, she believes Moss + Myrtle’s ability to customise its products sets it apart from the competition. “With Spread we customised it completely to make it unique,” she says. “It was just a round bowl, but it had a little coffee cup and a newspaper on the table.”

February 2017

| 45


She adds: “The corporate clients wanted a particular style and for each terrarium to be the same, but, you couldn’t put two side by side and say they were exactly alike, just because of the colour of the plants and the way they were shaped. “Every one of them is different and, in a sense, each terrarium is unique anyway. Every plant is shaped differently. Obviously, when you’re placing plants in the vessel you go according to the shape – it’s like any form of design, whether it’s pottery or sculpture. You’re creating as you go along, so in that sense no two terrariums are alike.”

Tender loving care Terrariums can last for years if looked after properly – if kept in cool, air-conditioned surroundings, they only need watering every 10 days or so. While Moss + Myrtle gives its customers “some pretty clear instructions” on plant care, Cox makes a point of speaking to them beforehand to find out more about where they intend to place them. “Anyone can bring in their terrarium – even two or three months later – and we will service it for them free of charge,” she adds. “We’re happy to carry out general maintenance such as trimming, although that can easily be done by the owner using a pair of scissors.” Nimble fingers are needed to ensure the plants’ delicate roots aren’t damaged as they’re arranged within its glass container. “You do have to be careful because a plant is a living organism. Often you need to separate the roots, so it is quite delicate work –I think you’d need to be a gardener or something similar. “If you have that skill I don’t think it’s difficult, but at the same time it’s something I had to learn – I took that year to learn which plants to use and how to handle them. Some roots can’t be separated if you

46 |

February 2017

want the plants to live, so you’ve just got to use the whole thing, while others are very hardy and can take that sort of abuse!” Finding plants that thrive in the UAE’s harsh climate is a challenge in itself. While Moss + Myrtle uses some succulents – plants with thick, fleshy leaves or stems which can store a lot of water – Cox isn’t too keen on cacti, adding: “A cactus terrarium can be lovely, but I just feel it’s not my thing.” Instead, she favours fittonia. “They come in a variety of colours, which is lovely, and some of them have little furry feel to them, so there’s texture also. And they come in a lot of variegated colours.” She adds: “People just love to look into them. It’s like another world.”

A brief history of terrariums As early as 500 BC, plants were displayed underneath bell-shaped jars. But the terrarium in its modern form was invented by accident almost two centuries ago. In 1827, Dr Nathaniel Ward, a London medic with a passion for botany, built a fern rockery in his back garden, but the plants kept dying, poisoned by pollution from nearby factories. At the time, he was studying moths and caterpillars and, while experimenting with a cocoon in a covered jar for observation, he noticed that several plants had grown in the soil at the bottom of the jar. Among the them was a fern and, unlike the sorry-looking ones in his garden, it looked healthy; Dr Ward concluded that plants could flourish in London if they

could be protected from the smog enveloping the city. Ward put his theory to the test, building miniature greenhouses, now known as Wardian cases or terrariums. The cases enabled horticulturalists to transport tropical species across the sea as they were shielded from salty air and changes in temperature throughout the lengthy voyages. Back in England, the concept caught on among rich and poor alike, spreading to America by the 1860s. These days, terrariums serve a different purpose. The dry atmosphere of air-conditioned buildings can make plant care challenging, and many fail to thrive. Terrariums aren’t only decorative – they provide an environment in which plants need very little care.


48 || February February 2017 2017

Work-life balance When catering to a diverse clientele, getting the decor right can be tricky. Gerhard Hecker, general manager of Shangri-la Hotel Dubai, reveals how interior designers struck the right tone

February 2017

| 49


ARTWORKS: This collage was created by Lebanese artist Imad Bechara


hen Shangri-La Hotel Dubai opened on Sheikh Zayed Road back in 2004, it had little to fear from its competitors. Thirteen years on, the emirate’s hospitality climate is cutthroat, to say the least, and the property is in the midst of a $19 million upgrade. “Anywhere else in the world, you wouldn’t really renovate a hotel lobby after just 13 or 14 years. But when the hotel opened 13 years ago, it was one of five 5-star hotels in town – now it’s one of 95. “It was time for us to review and to look, as well, at our guest rooms, as they do have to correspond to what our competitors are coming up with.” A key objective was to ensure the hotel appealed to corporate clients without alienating holidaymakers. “If you look at our client base, half come for business and half come for leisure, and

50 |

February 2017

they’re 50/50 from the Middle East and other parts of the world,” the dapper German says. “You want to do something that appeals to tourists having afternoon high tea and suits the businessman who comes in to hold his meetings, as many gentlemen do – they treat it as their office and they’ll sit here half the day.” We’re sipping coffee in Shangri-La’s freshly refurbished lobby lounge, recently redesigned by hospitality design specialist Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA). The California-based firm has transformed the property’s public areas, extending the lounge and café while providing increased privacy in the form of partitioned-off seating areas. Steel and gold-toned chandeliers hang directly overhead, created by HBA’s in-house lighting

consultants and made in Czech Republic using hand-blown Bohemian crystal. “Our entire lighting scheme has been overhauled – these give a completely different atmosphere,” says Hecker. By the lifts is a striking light installation, from a collaboration between HBA and chandelier specialist Lasvit. Intended to represent the ocean, the 700kg structure is a mesh of metal rods encasing spirals of champagne-coloured crystal and suspended by 39 strands of wire. “The lights used to be very high up, right at the top, and by night-time it was quite dark down here. Having these big pendants hanging down just adds the warmth you want in the evening.” While a neutral palette of cream, blush and grey predominates, the space is enlivened by dashes of

February 2017

| 51


colour on the boldly patterned carpet. Its paintspattered appearance, reminiscent of an abstract painting, features daring swirls of ruby red, black and blue, a hue also found in the space’s semiprecious quartz tabletops. “It’s nice to go up to the first or second floor and look down,” Hecker says. “That’s when you see the whole story coming out – it’s quite daring from an interior design perspective.” Work on the public areas – the groundfloor lobby lounge, check-in desk and café – was completed last winter. Central to the scheme are the specially commissioned artworks by Lebanese painter Imad Bechara. His work has hung in the hotel since it opened, so the new pictures provide a touch of continuity with the original interior. One piece, on prominently display in the lobby, is a substantial montage of pages ripped from paperback books. Containing text in numerous languages, it pays tribute to the city’s cosmopolitan

52 |

February 2017

nature and to the many thousands of globetrotters passing through. Online booking systems have rendered hefty check-in desks redundant, and Shangri-La’s has been scaled back considerably. By making the front desk smaller and doing away with a couple of gift shops, the hotel has been able to extend the lounge and introduce more furniture, including some seriously plush armchairs. “In the old days you built huge reception desks, almost like little fortresses, with 1.5m between the staff and customers,” says Hecker. “It’s like anywhere you have a counter – it’s a barrier, you know, ‘You’re not coming on my side!’ In hospitality there should be only one side and that’s the guests’ side.” He adds: “Nowadays you get paperless check-in systems and we can check people into the guestrooms directly, so we see more proximity. If you look at the counter, it’s more shallow, so staff can come out to greet guests and take them to the lifts. Creating this interactivity is, for me, very important.”

Dunes Café also has a fresh new look, with patterned bronze walls inspired by marine life, mixed with vibrant yellows and more touches of blue. The space is flooded with sunlight during the day, while adaptable mood lighting sets the scene for a relaxed after-dusk atmosphere.

A tranquil sanctuary Renovation of the 302 guest rooms is being implemented in a phased approach and is due for completion in April next year. Asian-influenced wooden latticework is a subtle nod to the company’s Hong Kong owners, while a neutral palette of white, blush and pastel blue predominates – restrained enough for corporate clients, yet sufficiently warm to make design-savvy tourists feel at home. Dated features such as bedside control panels will be replaced by Bluetooth and touchpad technology, enabling visitors to synchronise their smartphones, play music, recharge batteries and

You want to appeal to tourists having afternoon tea and the businessman who comes in to hold his meetings stream content to the rooms’ flat-screen TVs. These are housed discreetly within wooden cabinets, affording Bechari’s paintings pride of place on the walls. Some rooms have custom-built dressing tables that also serve as desks – design features in their own right – while window niches feature specially built-in sofas from which to relax and watch the

world go by. Chandeliers casts light in all directions, bouncing off mirrors and enhancing the sense of spaciousness. The revamp will continue into 2018, although Hecker hopes to expedite work on two to four floors over the quiet summer months. HPA has completed its redesigned both the ground floor and the guest rooms, but Shangri-La has yet to appoint an agency for the next phase of redevelopment. He adds: “We’re already working on signing up the interior design consultant for the serviced apartments. We also have to do the spa – we haven’t touched it yet, so it’s just in the development pipeline.” The name Shangri-La was borrowed from the utopia described in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon. Tranquil, harmonious and shielded from the bustling traffic metres from its doors, the hotel’s transformation is a fitting tribute to its namesake.

February 2017

| 53


Prime position Marina Home Interiors has opened its first store in Doha – at the city’s mammoth new Mall of Qatar. Design Middle East takes a look around…


hen Marina Home decided to open its first Doha showroom, Mall of Qatar seemed the ideal location. The mammoth $1.2bn structure, designed by retail specialists Chapman Taylor architects, opened on 10 December to hordes of shoppers, and with a floor space of half a million square metres, leaves its local competitors in the shade. Ekta Solanki, marketing manager at Marina Home, said the setting was the perfect spot in which to launch the upscale furnishings

54 |

February 2017

showroom. “Architecturally, it’s an impressive building,” she says. “Mall of Qatar is a really big, prestigious development and a destination in its own right.”

ON-BRAND MESSAGE The new store’s interior is in keeping with Marina Home’s industrial-meets-rustic luxe vibe – all exposed, charred-effect brickwork and polished concrete floors. Lighting pendants hang from a lattice attached to the lowered

Mall of Qatar is a prestigious development and a destination in its own right

ceiling and internal partitions of metal and glass help separate product areas without making shoppers feel claustrophobic. While some aspects of the design are pared back, colourful pop art and the preponderance of plush upholstery add a homely touch. When it’s time to pay, the prominent cash desks make purchases straightforward, and shelving units strategically placed behind the cashiers showcase smaller items such as picture frames and vases, to help propel impulse purchases. The unit’s generous size suited the company,

which requires its franchise branches to occupy a minimum of 2,000 square metres. And with the shopping centre – the country’s largest by some distance – expecting to welcome 20 million customers a year, its corner location will help the business capitalise on footfall. Adjacent to the five-star 200-bedroom Curio by Hilton hotel, Mall of Qatar houses hundreds of shops, a bowling alley and an IMAX multiplex cinema. At the development’s heart is the Oasis, a 5,000-square-metre landscaped education zone

complete with a revolving stage and sheltering under a substantial glass dome. Chris Lanksbury, a director at architects Chapman Taylor, says: “The Mall of Qatar is one of the largest shopping centres to open anywhere in the world in 2016 and Chapman Taylor is immensely proud to have designed this world-class retail and leisure destination. “The Oasis pushes the boundaries of ‘experience’ retail by bringing the concept of ‘retailtainment’ to life. It sets a new standard for shopping malls in the Middle East.”

February 2017

| 55


Hot ticket Trade fair dates for your diary Design Days Dubai 2017

14-17 March Dubai Design District (d3), United Arab Emirates

Returning for its sixth edition, and with 50 exhibitors the largest event to date, Design Days Dubai is the Middle East and South Asia’s only annual fair dedicated to collectible modern design works. The fair provides an international platform on which the Middle East’s emerging design studios and solo designers can present their furniture, lighting and design objects in parallel with displays from major international galleries. Known for its eclectic global selection of products and broad range of price points (from below $500 through to upwards of $75,000), the event appeals to aspiring and established collectors alike. Design Days Dubai’s head of programming, Rawan Kashkoush, says: “Reflecting Dubai’s unique position as a global meeting point, Design

Tunis Furniture Exhibition 3-12 February Tunis, Tunisia Modern, traditional and rustic furniture, kitchen and bath furniture, wrought-iron furniture, office furniture Stockholm Design Week 2017 6-12 February Stockholm, Sweden Meeting place for Scandinavian furniture and lighting design. Budma 2017 7-10 February Poznan, Poland Kitchen furniture and related furnishings. Northern Light Fair 2017 7-11 February Stockholm, Sweden

56 |

February 2017

Days Dubai showcases design from around the world and we keep design diversity as one of our main features this year. There is exciting, and often experimental, work being produced by designers who aren’t necessarily represented by galleries and the fair offers an opportunity for solo designers and independent studios to exhibit at an international level. “For design enthusiasts, Design Days Dubai is an annual fixture to meet designers from all over the world and acquire collectible design not seen anywhere else.” A record number of design galleries and studios based in the Emirates, GCC and wider region will exhibit at next month’s event. Newcomers from the UAE include Ayah Al Bitar, AYKA Design, CarpetsCC by Cecilia Setterdahl, Jafar Dajani, Michael Rice and Nader Gammas. Also exhibiting for the first time are Apical Reform from India, Jordanian firm Aperçu Designs, Lebanon’s Marie Munier and Saudi Arabia-based Dahr Design.

International lighting for domestic and public spaces. Electrotech.Light 2017 7-10 February Minsk, Belarus Electrotechnical equipment, illumination equipment, energysaving technology, lighting fixtures. HORECA 2017 10-13 February Athens, Greece Hotel, restaurant and cafe show. Ambiente Frankfurt 2017 10-14 February Frankfurt, Germany Homeware and furniture show incorporating World of Table, Kitchen & Houseware, World of Gifts and World of Interiors.

Interior Design Oman 2017 13-16 February Muscat, Oman Interiors, décor and furniture. SibBuild 2017 14-17 February Novosibirsk, Russian Federation Exhibition of building and finishing materials. EXPORT Home 2017 InterDecoração 2017 15-18 February Porto, Portugal Two fairs held concurrently focusing on Portuguese furniture, decor and homeware. Interior Mebel 2017 15-18 February Kiev, Ukraine International furniture, lighting

and interiors exhibition. Held concurrently with Kiev Build. Antikmässan 2017 16-19 February Stockholm, Sweden Antiques and interior design fair. Expo Mueble Internacional Invierno 2017 15-18 February Guadalajara, Mexico International Furniture Expo Life Instyle 2017 16-19 February Sydney, Australia High-end and design-led homeware and fashion. FOAM expo 2017 28 February-2 March Novi, MI, United States

February 2017

| 57

Events Exhibition and conference for the technical foam industry

furniture and house decor exhibition.

Batibouw 2017 16 February-26 March Brussels, Belgium Building show for building, renovation and decorating.

Fensterbau/ Frontale India 2017 23-25 February Bangalore, India International trade fair on windows, doors and façades.

Strategies in Light USA 2017 28 February-2 March Anaheim, United States Events for the global LED and lighting industry Cevisama 2017 20-24 February Valencia, Spain Architectural ceramics, bathroom and kitchen equipment, natural stone, raw materials, glazes, colours and machinery. Espacio Cocina SICI 2017 21-24 February Valencia, Spain Kitchen design fair.

BuildEx 2017 24-27 February Tehran, Iran Building materials, construction machinery and equipment. TIFS 2017 (Taipei International Furniture Fair) 25-28 February Taipei, Taiwan Furniture.

Kiev Build 2017 and Kiev Interiors 2017 1-3 March Kiev, Ukraine Concurrent international trade exhibitions for interiors, decor, design and building. Modeko 2017 1-5 March Izmir, Turkey Furniture decoration and office furniture fair

HoReCa Plovdiv 2017 22-26 February Plovdiv, Bulgaria Equipment for hotels, cafés and restaurants. ExpoCasa 2017 25 February-5 March Torino, Italy International household,

58 |

February 2017

WoodShow Dubai 2017. 7-9 March Dubai, United Arab Emirates International wood and wood machinery show. WoodBuild China 2017 7-9 March Shanghai, China International exhibition of timber and wood products for the furniture and building industries.

Delhi Wood 2017 1-4 March New Delhi, India International exhibition of woodworking machinery, tools, fittings, accessories, materials. HI Design MEA 2017 Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Oman Business forum for the hotel interior design industry.

Ceramex 2017 22-25 February Istanbul, Turkey Ceramics, bathrooms, kitchens.

MebelExpo 2017 1-3 March Tashkent, Uzbekistan Exhibition devoted to furniture, production technology and interior design.

R + T Turkey 2017. 1-4 March Istanbul, Turkey Roller shutters, doors, gates and sun protection systems. Infacoma 2017 3-6 March Thessaloniki, Greece International exhibition of construction, insulation, door and window frames, sanitary ware, preconstruction and technology.

Maison & Objet Asia 2017 7-10 March Singapore Design-oriented homeware, furniture and objets d’art. EcoBuild 2017 7-9 March London, United Kingdom The world’s biggest event for sustainable design, construction and the built environment. WoodShow Dubai 2017 7-9 March, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Wood and wood machinery. LF Lighting Fair 2017 7-10 March Tokyo, Japan Door Expo 2017 8-11 March Istanbul, Turkey International door, shutter, lock, panel, board and partition systems and accessories fair. Singapore Design Week 2017 3-12 March Singapore Contemporary interior design

exhibition presenting the latest furniture, lighting, bathroom/ kitchen, floor and wall coverings for interior designers, architects, retailers and specifiers. EcoBuild 2017 7-9 March London, United Kingdom Sustainable design, construction and the built environment. Architecture + Construction Materials 2017 7-10 March Tokyo, Japan Building materials. Istanbul Window 2017 Glass Expo 2017 8-11 March Istanbul, Turkey Concurrent shows covering windows, window shades, facade systems and accessories, machinery, insulation materials, raw materials and auxiliary products. Uzbuild 2017 1-3 March Tashkent, Uzbekistan International exhibition building and construction, interiors, heating and ventilation. Malaysian International Furniture Fair 2017 8-11 March Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Furniture. Door Expo 2017 8-11 March Istanbul, Turkey Doors, shutters, locks, panels, boards, partition systems and accessories. EFE 2017 (Export Furniture Exhibition) 8-11 March Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Furniture. Lighting Expo 2017 8-11 March Shanghai, China LED and OLED lighting, commercial lighting, architectural lighting to home lighting and hotel lighting.

MADE expo 2017 8-11 March Rho, Milan International event for projects, architecture and building.

(International Furniture Fair Singapore – ASEAN Furniture Show 2017 9-12 March Singapore

Build Ural 2017 14-16 March Ekaterinburg, Russia International architectural and building exhibition.

SILE Shanghai International Expo 2017, Good Design Biz, Unicera 2017 8-12 March Istanbul, Turkey Ceramics, bathrooms, kitchens.

PIFS 2017 (Philippines International Furniture Show) 9-11 March Manila, Philippines Furniture.

Home Decor and Luminexpo 2017 14-17 March Poznan, Poland Interior decoration and lighting.

Inventa 2017 10-12 March Karlsruhe, Germany Homeware.

Indecor Ural 2017 14-16 March Russia Interior and decor items.

Mozaik 2017 10-13 March Jakarta, Indonesia International trade event for lifestyle interior and design.

ISH 2017 14-18 March Frankfurt, Germany Bathrooms, building, energy, air-conditioning technology, renewable energy.

VIFA 2017 (Vietnam International Furniture and Home Accessories Fair) 8-11 March Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Furniture and homeware. DecorExpo Azerbaijan 2017 9-11 March Baku, Azerbaijan International furniture, home textile and homeware exhibition. Windoor Tech 2017 March Poznan, Poland Windows, doors, gates and façade systems, laboratories.

International Furniture Fair Singapore 10-13 March Singapore Furniture. IFEX 2017 (Indonesia International Furniture Expo) 11-14 March Jakarta, Indonesia Furniture. ne – The Kitchen Show 2017 11-19 March Tunis, Tunisia Kitchens and household goods. The Big Show 2017 13-16 March Muscat, Oman Building materials, construction equipment, interior furnishings.

House I 2017 9-12 March Riga, Latvia Architecture, design, planning, building, reconstruction, building machinery and materials, plumbing and thermal engineering, lighting and wiring, home technology and equipment, environmentally safe construction. NOOK Asia 2017 9-12 March Singapore Interior sourcing platform.

Bulgaria Building Week 2017 15-18 March Sofia, Bulgaria International fair for construction equipment, machinery, tools, insulation, building materials, window frames, doors, windows, sanitary equipment, green building and energy efficiency. KIFF – Kiev International Furniture Forum 2017 15-17 March Kiev, Ukraine Furniture, lighting, decoration and interior exhibition; MTKT innovation, furniture technology, components, textiles

ISH 2017 14-18 March, Frankfurt, Germany Bathrooms, building, energy, air-conditioning technology, renewable energy.

Shymkent Build 2017 16-20 March Shymkent, Kazakhstan regional trade event showcasing the latest products, technologies and services for the building, interiors, window technologies, ceramics, stone and HVAC industries.

Meble Polska 2017 14-17 March Poznan, Poland International trade fair with an emphasis on for office furniture and furnishings, interior design and home furnishings, lighting and light technology, interior finishing and renovation.

Mega Build 2017 16-19 March Jakarta, Indonesia Architecture, interior design and building exhibition. featuring six key segments: bathroom and kitchen, design lighting, doors and windows, facility security and fire, HVAC+M&E, roofing

and flooring. International Famous Furniture Woodworking Machinery and Material Fair 2017 16-20 March Houjie, DongGuan, China Keramika 2017 16-19 March Jakarta, Indonesia Ceramic tiles, sanitary ware and bathroom furnishings. Furnidec Business 2017 17-19 March Athens, Greece Professional exhibition of furniture and design objects. Raksa 2017 17-19 March Lahti, Finland Construction sector event CIFF Office Show 2017. Phase I. China International Furniture Fair 18-21 March Guangzhou, China Furniture trade show. SBIE 2017 (Saudi Building and Interiors Exhibition) 18-21 March Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Interiors and construction. Showroom del Mueble 2017 18-21 March Barcelona, Spain Furniture fair.

February 2017

| 59


The last word Mohammad Abu Seer, cofounder and managing director of Lamar Interiors, shares his three-point checklist for novices aiming to execute interior design concepts


ith the abundance of innovative ideas presently available for interior design, one has to ensure they are opting for an experienced fit-out company that will help bring their concept to life. Interiors contracting can vary from a basic fit-out job for a smaller space involving decorative painting, to major decoration and civil work for a building that involves the wall, floor and ceiling finishing.

without a professionally prepared budget. This has led to unforeseen additional costs arising during the project. While you shouldn’t comprise on quality, bear in mind that the most expensive materials aren’t always the most appropriate for your needs. Consider the pros and cons by consulting a licensed contractor to establish a balance between quality and price, a practice we call ‘value engineering’.


Image and branding

Do employ environmentally friendly building materials. Some products can be toxic to humans, making this an important factor to consider when designing a space. Don’t fall into the trap of using poor-quality products, especially when laying your foundations or for features that aren’t in immediate view. For example, a client may offset the expense of buying fancy tiles by purchasing a cheap but ineffective glue, which could lead to problems over time. We encourage our customers to stick to reputable suppliers for a durable result and lower maintenance costs in the long run.

Ensure the design concept you are creating reflects the message you’d like to deliver to stakeholders, not just the employment of innovative techniques. For example, for our client Kitchen Nation, which offers business support to F&B entrepreneurs, we created an industrial environment for the incubator concept to represent the idea of a factory producing food. Don’t overdo the design of a space – remember that less is more. There’s many a case in which it’s obvious that a lot of money was spent but the result just wasn’t up to scratch.

Budget Discuss and prepare a budget for your project in collaboration with your interior designer and fit-out contractor before they begin the work.

60 |

February 2017

Try not to exceed the budget and always have a contingency plan. We’ve observed that most people start their project with a certain figure in mind and

Lamar Interiors is a design practice consultancy specialising in the core disciplines of contracting, fit-out, project management and interior design. It has operated in the UAE and Jordan for 13 years

Design Middle East | February 2017  

Foster + Partners in Makkah // Uraiqat Architects Amman // Studio Job PoPJob tiles for Mirage // Design Days Dubai // KOA Canvas // Moss +...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you