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design-middleeast .com

DESIGN MIDDLE EAST | MAY 2021

Interiors and Architecture from the Gulf, Levant and Beyond

PATTERNS OF LIFE

FINDING TECHNOLOGICAL SOLUTIONS IN BIOLOGICAL PROCESSES

Plus

ARCHI TECTURE

DESIGN FOR HUMANITY

DAAN ROOSEGAARDE

A HOME AFFAIR

CASA MILANO

CATALYST FOR CHANGE

GENSLER

blends technology with art

fills the market gap in luxury sanitaryware

New studio at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai


MARBLE MARBLE GRANITE GRANITE QUARTZITE QUARTZITE ONYX ONYX TRAVERTINE TRAVERTINE QUARTZ QUARTZ PRECIOUS PRECIOUSSTONE STONE

Surface Solutions, Surface Solutions, Designed By Nature

Designed By Nature

www.glaze.ae/

www.glaze.ae/


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MICHAEL PAWLYN, founder of EXPLORATION ARCHITECTURE, focuses on designing high-performance buildings and solutions for the circular economy

BIOMIMETIC/ ARCHITECTURE Nature-inspired technology is gaining popularity all over the globe- and there’s an unlimited world of sustainable concepts and processes to learn from.

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INTERVIEW Catalyst for change

OP-ED Design for humanity

DECOR REVIEW A balancing act

A workplace that offers choice and variety, that’s what Gensler’s new office at Alserkal Avenue is all about.

Daan Roosegaarde blends technology with art in a unique manner.

Ancient materials and techniques meet contemporary clean lines in this Sodic Villette project in New Cairo.

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INTERVIEW A home affair Azhar Sajan, director of Casa Milano, reveals how they are filling the gap in the market for luxury sanitaryware.

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FIT-OUT Proportion, scale, & harmony Leading fit-out specialist Khansaheb Interiors delivered Vox Cinemas in Sharjah. Know more about this journey from start to finish.

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EVENT On the bright side By highlighting emblematic sites and architectures across the capital, Noor Riyadh’s festival brings hope of a post-pandemic cultural future.

DESIGN MIDDLE EAST

Image © Exploration Architecture

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DECOR REVIEW Nothing spells drama like red Our team takes a design tour of the newly-opened AKA, a new cyberpunkinspired eatery in the prominent Palm Jumeirah, The Pointe.

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PROJECT Modern and minimalist

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Key Concept Interiors’ Huna Library in Riyadh is a space to ideate, socialise, and work in an urban environment.

How decorations can help set the mood for a memorable event.

WISHLIST Decor that dazzles

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Editor's note

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ere comes the May issue, it’s vibrant and inspiring! On the cover, we are discussing Biomimetic Architecture in detail. It is a contemporary philosophy of architecture that seeks solutions for sustainability in nature by understanding the rules governing those forms. This multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable design follows a set of principles, rather than stylistic codes. Biomimicry can work on three levels: the organism, its behaviours, and the ecosystem. The story explores this and more! Then, we are covering Gensler’s new studio at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai. What’s surprising is that how Gensler’s wonderful design team turned a warehouse upside down and converted in into a space that’s flexible, uber-cool, spacious, well-lit, and unlike the traditional set-up. In short, we all scream for such space! A must-read journey from the warehouse to the workspace. Moving on, an exciting feature on a fit-out project— Vox Cinemas at City Centre Al Zahia Mall in Sharjah by Khansaheb Interiors. It compromises 16 auditoriums including two MAX screens and three GOLD screens. It also includes foyer and concourse areas, public toilets, back of house areas, three kitchens and two F&B outlets. Know more about it in this issue. Our team also took a design tour of the newly-opened AKA, a new cyberpunk-inspired eatery in the prominent Palm Jumeirah location The Pointe. It’s all red and the food is divine. Amazed by the attention to detail!

CEO WISSAM YOUNANE

wissam@bncpublishing.net DIRECTOR RABIH NAJM

rabih@bncpublishing.net GROUP PUBLISHING DIRECTOR JOAQUIM D’COSTA

jo@bncpublishing.net +971 50 440 2706 BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR RABIH NADERI

rabih.naderi@bncpublishing.net +966 50 328 9818

The project of this month is the modern and contemporary Huna Library in Riyadh by Key Concept Interiors. It is a space serving and showcasing an array of F&B concepts, experiences and events that cater to the community for the entrepreneurs and self-starters of Saudi Arabia. This month, I am crushing on Sarah Jessica Parker and Novogratz’s latest collaboration— functional decor items, perfect for the backyard of all those who love sun and design. Check it out in our ‘Pick of the Month’ segment. Stay safe and happy reading! Roma Arora Editor roma@bncpublishing.net

EDITOR ROMA ARORA roma@bncpublishing.net CREATIVE LEAD ODETTE KAHWAGI

design@bncpublishing.net ART DIRECTOR SIMONA EL KHOURY MARKETING EXECUTIVE AARON JOSHUA

aj@bncpublishing.net DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCER ALEXANDER BUNGAS

Alexandar@bncpublishing.net

SUBSCRIBE subscriptions@bncpublishing.net 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 our Group Publishing Director JOAQUIM D’COSTA jo@bncpublishing.net | T +971 504402706 All rights reserved © 2021. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Design Middle East is exclusively licensed to BNC Publishing. 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.

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News

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The Shams Al Riyadh project is located in a strategic area north of Riyadh, on King Khalid Road. Extending over an area of more than 5 million square meters, the location offers easy access to the city’s most important landmarks

Dar Al Arkan brings the world’s first villas with Versace Home interiors at Shams Ar Riyadh

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ar Al Arkan has announced a unique collaboration that will bring the world’s firstever villas with interiors by Versace Home to the Kingdom’s Shams Ar Riyadh project. Versace Home’s outstanding design and craftsmanship will augment the extraordinary ‘Upside Living’ design of the limited-edition luxury villas which will be built overlooking the historic and natural setting of Wadi Hanifa. In an exclusive model of innovative design, the entrance and living areas will dominate the first floor, together with floor to ceiling windows which will flood the living space with light and make a feature of the spectacular

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views over Wadi Hanifa, meanwhile, the bedrooms and family rooms will be repositioned on the ground level, creating an overall space that combines elegance and practicality. The villas have also been designed for a smarter life incorporating the latest hi-tech throughout and setting a new benchmark for residential technology. Lighting, heating and air conditioning will be engineered to provide a more enhanced, ambient lifestyle controlled by motion sensors, a sophisticated security and surveillance system will be fully integrated, together with a smart home entertainment system including a home theatre and smart kitchen appliances will be standard. The emphasis will be on creating luxury

and sophistication in every detail. Situated overlooking Wadi Hanifa with easy access to the city’s prime lifestyle destinations and top attractions. The villas have been designed to make the most of their natural setting and offer a new way of living in comfort, luxury and privacy. On announcing the collaboration with Versace Home, Yousef Bin Abdullah Al Shalash, Chairman of Dar Al Arkan, said: “We could not be more proud to partner with such a world-famous brand as Versace on this unique project. To have a design house of such a high calibre create the interiors of these very special homes encapsulates the high level of luxury living we are striving for with Shams Ar Riyadh.”


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“THIS COLLECTION STEMS FROM THE DESIRE TO PAY HOMAGE TO IDEAL STANDARD’S DNA WITH AN EYE TO THE FUTURE. FOR US IT MEANT STUDYING THE HISTORICAL COLLECTION AND RETHINKING THE DESIGN WITH AN UPDATED VISION. WHEN YOU CHOOSE A MODEL TO INSPIRE YOU, YOU ALSO TAKE ON THE VALUES IT REPRESENTS, NOT JUST THE PHYSICAL DESIGN. WE STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT THE FOUNDATION FOR TIMELESS DESIGN IS GROUNDED IN VALUES, RATHER THAN TRENDS, AND THIS WAS AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION FOR US WHEN IT CAME TO LINDA-X.”

Roberto and Ludovica Palomba design-middleeast.com


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deal Standard has launched the first in a unique series of theatrical events, merging design, art, and architecture. Taking a creative and thoughtprovoking approach, the event in Milan on the April 21, 2021, encouraged attendees to consider the impact that interior design has on modern living. The Together World Tour, created by Ideal Standard, is an event series linked to six iconic cities. Each destination provides a unique visual and cultural backdrop for the launch of a new product collection from the brand. Through an intriguing, cinematic digital format, each event in the series takes a unique approach to combining cultural and lifestyle trends with architecture and design. Speaking about the Together World Tour Series, Torsten Tuerling, Chief Executive Officer at Ideal Standard said: “We wanted to create an immersive experience for our customers that really challenged

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Ideal Standard inspires bathrooms of the future with premiere of unique event series

and inspired the way we think about bathroom design. We are proud to have a long legacy in driving design innovation in the bathroom industry and the Together World Tour takes a unique, theatrical format to bring to life some of our latest ranges. These new lines combine modern design principles with inspiration from some of our most iconic pieces, to create aspirational products that are helping to shape bathrooms of the future.” “Together World Tour is a dynamic experience enabling us to explore the values of our brand in the MENA region and resulting in what we believe to be a journey of unforgettable moments of inspiration and delight.” added Ahmed Hafez, Chief Executive Officer at Ideal Standard MENA. A tribute to the Linda collection created in 1977, by A. Castiglioni, the new collection, Linda-X, designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba, proudly takes inspiration from the original piece, celebrating the brand’s cultural heritage, while incorporating modern influences to create a contemporary collection which reflects the future of bathroom design. “This collection stems from the desire to pay homage to Ideal Standard’s DNA with an eye to the future” – said Roberto Palomba. “For us it meant studying the historical collection and rethinking the design with an updated vision. When you choose a model to inspire you, you also take on the values it represents, not just the physical design. We strongly believe that the foundation for timeless design is grounded in values, rather than trends, and this was an important consideration for us when it came to Linda-X.” One of the key visual elements of this collection is the ultra-thin edges of the basin. Linda-X is made with unique ceramic blend Diamatec®, which not only results in a fine ceramic which is visually appealing, but also guarantees extra durability, as well as reducing the use of raw materials in its production. The result is a piece that meets the expectations of modern-day design: sustainability and grace. The platform on which the basin stands is a key part of the design, which gives the visual impression the basin is almost weightless and ‘floating’, while also creating a space-conscious solution for the needs of modern lifestyles, as it means you can place the basin on narrow furniture. Registration is now open for the next stop on The Together World Tour in Berlin on June 16, 2021, which is followed by appearances in London, Paris, Dubai and Shanghai.

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and we look forward to hosting events here to share creative ideas. We maintained the open, ‘warehouse’-feel promoting open spaces with meeting pods under a simple mezzanine for privacy if needed.

Images courtesy of: Chris Goldstraw

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The Runway Inspired by the opportunity to engage in community events and share our expertise, we created a space large enough to host events and showcase design. We called this The Runway

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Catalyst

CHANGE WORDS ROMA ARORA

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OVID-19 has changed the world forever. It has changed the way we are living. When it comes to workplaces, it has changed the way we run, visit, and function in such spaces. The focus is more than ever on employee health and sanitisation. One of the leading architecture and design firms, Gensler when recently opened its new office at Alserkal Avenue in Dubai, strategically reinvented a warehouse and planned for a workplace where the ‘emphasis is on how people feel and engage in a space.’ During this time of global transformation, Gensler decided that it was the perfect time for the firm to implement its design ethics and beliefs in its new studio. Joyce Jarjoura and Natalie Mansoor, Gensler’s workplace design consultants, gathered data and provided the findings which enabled Design Directors Diane Thorsen and Jose Faine to create a space focussed on the needs of the team. >>>

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A workplace that offers choice and variety, that’s what Gensler’s new office at Alserkal Avenue is all about. Let’s find out how market challenges created an opportunity for the Gensler design team to react with positivity and reinvent this space

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FOR

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"We ensure there is a variety of open/ closed spaces as well as flexible userconfigurable set ups within each space."

In discussion with José Fainé, Principal, Workplace Design Director and Joyce Jarjoura, Associate, Senior Interior Designer at Gensler, as they unfold their design Process from planning to execution. What was Gensler's design concept for its new office at Alserkal Avenue?

Our brief was to create an inspiring and flexible space that celebrates the community we are now part of. The design team approached the space as we would for any client by first understanding the needs of the users. We asked ourselves “what if the office of the future could flatten structures and embrace diversity as our lessons learned since there’s no corner office on a Zoom meeting and virtual work means work anywhere anytime?” Our space speaks to the Gensler vision that design has the power to influence and shape. The fluid, industrial, and experimental character of our space define us in terms of constant change. The architect envisions the office as a place where workers want to go. What was your plan in this regard?

We approached our new studio design as a catalyst for change and considered our space as an integral part of our operating system, delivering a meaningful, engaging, rewarding, valuable, and sustainable employee experience. design-middleeast.com

How did you incorporate Gensler's brand and culture into their new space?

As designers, we asked ourselves, “how can we not only create a flexible working space that supports our different ways of working but also, how can we look at repurposing and adapting an existing building to create unique, sustainable experiences?” The key when we first thought about Alserkal Avenue as our new home was to interact with the community at the street level. To become a place where you can just stop by, becoming a part of a pedestrian community was a major driver. A simple finishes palette of concrete screed floors, white painted walls, circadian rhythm lighting, and flexible sustainable furniture creates a beautiful, well-lit, creative space. A space that reflects our values and focusses on being a part of a creative community where the emphasis is on how our people feel and engage in a space. THE GENSLER PORTAL

A Gensler red portal was created to frame the entrance. It sits proudly at the entrance of our warehouse corrugated façade to identify our location. We simply can’t be missed.


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The most exciting thing about a warehouse is that it has lots of height and space, allowing space to be utilised ‘upwards’ as well as ‘horizontally.’ Our floating breakout space on the mezzanine allows people to always be connected. The lounge-styled breakout area also allows us to host meetings in a more informal, ‘café’ kind of a setting within the comfort of our studio.

The design has been at the centre of solutions to the world’s most challenging issues. As a leading global design firm, Gensler is uniquely positioned to contribute to how we use design for those who are in need of well-informed workspace design and to be able to adapt very quickly. This is one of the most exciting times in workplace design in terms of how we can rethink design, its impact on the human experience and the purpose of the office. The question is: what will really attract employees to go back to the office and how do community and culture play a role to encourage change and a hybrid work environment?

Today’s sense of openness and freeflowing space present acoustical problems. How do you deal with that?

Acoustics is one of the largest problems we hear about. We carefully consider different activities within the workplace and ensure there are both fixed and flexible acoustic solutions matching high standard dB levels to cater to those activities. Furthermore, ensuring users have the choice and flexibility to move in or slide over an additional acoustic panel or two will always add value within an open space. >>>

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THE CLOUD

What is the most vexing issue in workplace design today?

What is one thing that every workplace needs?

Choice and variety. We ensure there is a variety of open/closed spaces as well as flexible user-configurable set ups within each space. Creating variety ensures different user profiles have a space to meet their different work styles.

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Inspired by the opportunity to engage in community events and share our expertise, we created a space large enough to host events and showcase design. We called this The Runway and we look forward to hosting events here to share creative ideas. We maintained the open, ‘warehouse’-feel promoting open spaces with meeting pods under a simple mezzanine for privacy if needed. Warehouses are great for their size, height, and their flexibility and we elected to keep the design simple, minimal, and unassuming.

DESIGN MIDDLE EAST

THE RUNWAY

"The fluid, industrial, and experimental character of our space define us in terms of constant change."

The Meeting pods: The open, ‘warehouse’-feel promoting open spaces with meeting pods under a simple mezzanine for privacy if needed.

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The Breakout Area: Our floating breakout space on the mezzanine allows people to always be connected. The lounge-styled breakout area also allows us to host meetings in a more informal, ‘café’ kind of a setting within the comfort of our studio.

The stock of office assets featuring sustainable attributes is growing, but are these characteristics enough to ensure the safety of the work environment? What initiatives have you taken in consideration for this new office?

We decided to approach sustainability and create a healthy space by repurposing a warehouse, reusing furniture, and simplifying finishes. Here the community becomes the key driver and how we can connect and contribute to the successes of others. Lighting and natural light as well as walkable areas is something, we are working with the community to create. design-middleeast.com

The pandemic period will likely continue well into 2021. What do you envision as the main design trends for offices, considering all the changes 2020 has brought?

Employees would like more flexibility, not only in when they come into the office but also in how they work and what they do when they come into the office. The collaboration will be key, along with connecting and socializing with colleagues. Spaces and company cultures will need to adapt to accommodate a lot of the trends we were seeing before but now have been accelerated due to the pandemic. There is a lot of buzz around the hybrid model. How will this affect the overall design of the workplace?

The preference for a hybrid model suggests that our time at the office may become more deliberate, targeted, and collaborative.


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Joyce Jarjoura, Associate, Senior Interior Designer at Gensle,

Do you see the pandemic influencing developers in how they build apartments and single-family homes? Will the home office become an essential amenity?

More and more companies are looking into providing employees with a hybrid work model which will be split between home, the office and even a co-working hub, so essentially yes - the home office will likely become the norm at least for part of the work week.

people to be in the office together, at the right time. Health and wellness, indoor-outdoor micro hubs or meeting points, scrum area design, touchdown areas for designated homeworkers, and segregable neighbourhoods of 50-100 people for future pandemic readiness are all becoming part of the future workplace planning conversation. Food and beverage spaces are being reconsidered as serviced touchpoints in the office, along with hoteling spaces for client collaboration. Technology can improve not just processes but overall safety and wellness. Which technologies currently stand out?

Technology around user experience stands out. Companies are focussing a lot more on employees and how their experience will be from entering the building, finding a space to sit, booking in meetings or training and even finding and interacting with team members.

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We asked workers (through our Global Workplace Surveys), what their primary reasons are for coming into the office, and in all countries, socializing and collaboration items ranked first, followed by individual work. That means the core purposes of the office persists, but its power as a social and collaborative place are primary. Those in a hybrid model are already benefiting from the “best of both worlds.” When compared to workers who are either at the office or their home full time, workers currently in a hybrid model are more likely to report positive impacts on creativity, relationships, productivity, communicating, and problem-solving. Ultimately, one more universal point does emerge from our research — in every country, we’ve seen a fundamental shift in how and where work happens. Whether through focussed work or social activities, the goal is to create value for synergistic groups of

The future of work hinges on a flexible arrangement that balances working from home and the office, giving rise to a hybrid workplace model. The pandemic has accelerated many pre-COVID workplace trends like mobility, choice, health, and well-being. The longer we work remotely, the more it not only affects how we work but also shapes our future expectations for the office. This is an opportunity to rethink the physical workplace. As we look to a better future and a post-pandemic world, the new workplace should support new ways of working, new technologies, and new reasons for coming into the office. This opportunity raises a series of questions that will be unique for every organisation depending on their business and mission, how they work, and their organisational culture.

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What does the future look like for the workplace?

"As we look to a better future and a post-pandemic world, the new workplace should support new ways of working, new technologies, and new reasons for coming into the office." design-middleeast.com


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Interview

A home affair/

Azhar Sajan reveals how they are filling the gap in the market for luxury sanitaryware

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THE DIRECTOR OF CASA MILANO

Tell us about Casa Milano.

We launched Casa Milano in October 2019 to fill in a gap in the market. We realised that there was a lack of quality fittings, sanitaryware and tiles, and that is when we thought of catering to this segment, keeping in mind the luxurious environment in UAE. I was still in university when the responsibility fell on my shoulders to build the brand. It was a great opportunity for me as my family is in the construction business, and this was an extended vertical. Casa Milano is a concept that caters to 360-degree luxury bathroom requirements. We offer sanitary ware, tiles, parquet flooring, and recently we've branched out into landscaping and swimming pool solutions. The showroom is 20,000sqft and showcases the latest in the industry. The past 18 months have been challenging for the team, the hurdles have helped us grow. Every day is a new learning curve. Until December 2020, I was juggling work and university. It has been good so far, can't complain. >>>

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"THE PAST 18 MONTHS HAVE BEEN CHALLENGING FOR THE TEAM, THE HURDLES HAVE HELPED US GROW. EVERY DAY IS A NEW LEARNING CURVE. "

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Interview

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differentiate us from the competitors. Design is another aspect; we feature some of the most sought-after patterns and compositions. We showcase products from around the world, including the popular European materials. As personal choices differ, Casa Milano showcases a wide collection of luxury ware, from modern to vintage, luxurious to economic, and rich gold to subtle rose golds, among others. At the store, we aim to offer a 'wow' experience to anyone who walks in. I've received a lot of feedback from people who walk in that they love seeing the mock-ups, it’s something they have not seen before. Each touch point in the showroom has been designed to inspire with various display setups such as hotel rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms to showcase its offerings.

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Where does most of your products come from?

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What differentiates Casa Milano from its competitors?

Price is always a factor regardless of the segment. Whether it be luxury or affordable, we all like to get our money's worth. The first step was collaborating with international brands and making partnerships work, to understand them, see if they are in sync and whether they have a similar mind-set as ours. The same goes for our customers with whom we want to build a solid and long-standing relationship. What we are offering is value for money and that

"The first step was collaborating with international brands and making partnerships work, to understand them, see if they are in sync and whether they have a similar mind-set as ours." design-middleeast.com

We do have products from around the globe, however a lot is from Europe particularly Germany, Paris, Italy, and Spain. We have tiles from India. Moreover, we have solid surfaces from DuPont US. We have a diverse mix of uniquely designed washbasins, showers, mixers, tiles, slabs and solid surfaces manufactured by over 40 of the world’s top brands including Tonino Lamborghini, Versace, Roberto Cavalli, Villeroy & Boch, Maison Valentina, Grespania, Corian, Quartz and Corà. We want to see the viability of selling local items in the future.


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"People want to create beautiful home gardens, change their bathrooms, put in a new slab on the wall and so on. Being confined to the house brought out the creative side in many of us."

Tell us how hygiene takes precedence at Casa Milano?

Every 30-45 days we have a proper, top to down disinfection of all touch points because we have products that people want to touch and feel. We also have a disinfection and sanitising tunnel at the entrance so all people walking in get disinfected prior to touching our products. Most of our staff are vaccinated and get tested regularly to ensure we're ticking all the boxes from our side. What's Casa Milano's digital strategy?

What are your most popular products?

In terms of demand, tiles and slabs are our most selling items. Slabs are trending these days. People are also loving the new faucet designs, massage bathtubs and vanities. The Salva bathtub is our fast-selling item in the bathtub range. What makes is so popular is its aesthetic design and price range. In the tile range, our Calacatta Gold range is a fast seller. It has a stunning aesthetic feel to it. It is a bit busy and not to sober, I personally love it.

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It’s been pretty interesting actually, with people stuck at home and spending more time indoors, they've had time on their hands to give their homes an uplift. People needed an outlet, hence we also started offering landscaping and pool solutions. Many people looked at renovating their homes, creating studies in their villas as work-from-home is here to stay. People want to create beautiful home gardens, change their bathrooms, put in a new slab on the wall and so on. Being confined to the house brought out the creative side in many of us. Our footfall has steadily gone up, even with it being Ramadan, at 9am we get customers walking in until 1am in the night.

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Has the pandemic affected the buying pattern?

With construction projects back on tracks. Is there interest from the B2B sector?

With us in our second year of business now we've been getting inquiries and have a dedicated outdoor sales team that looks into that side of the business. It's picking up and it will take some time as we have to prove our worth to the market and people have to start believing in the brand, and in what we're offering.

While we are not offering eCommerce services yet, we are voraciously marketing our products online. We are working towards selling our products online and building our website to those specifications. I've realised over the months, during the lockdown, the importance to re-strategize and branch out into the e-commerce sector. We are currently increasing our social media presence - we're very strong on Instagram. Every day we showcase our products and engage with our followers. We are also on Tiktok. I'm using the music trends to reach out to people featuring our different mock-ups. design-middleeast.com


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ON THE

BRIGHT SIDE

By highlighting emblematic sites and architectures across the capital, Noor Riyadh brings hope of a post-pandemic cultural future

A WORDS CHANTAL SACRE

rchitectural lighting brings emotional value to structures by enhancing textures, colours, and shapesit helps architecture achieve its true purpose. With workshops, cinematic and musical events, discussions with artists and educational activities, the Noor Riyadh Festival places the Kingdom once again on the tourist map, enhancing work opportunities to

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the pool of local talents and encouraging creativity, design, architecture and innovation. An interactive journey of light installations and multimedia projections, the open-air gallery kicked off last March and made the city glow Under One Sky: the inaugural theme conveyed a crucial message in the middle of a pandemic, bringing people back together to celebrate art. For 17 consecutive days, the city was bathed in colors, shapes and emotions. Local and international artists from more than 20 countries expressed their creativity and expertise through mesmerizing sculptures, lighting displays, interactive performances and outdoor installations.

Recurrent Anaximander by Rafael LozanoHemmer is a 2x2metre circular screen that shows the turbulent activity on the sun's surface. Every day, the piece connects to the NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) servers and uses the most recent images of the sun's, which are mixed with mathematical generative algorithms such as reactiondiffusion, Navier-Stokes and Voronoi. Images courtesy of Riyadh Art Images courtesy of Riyadh Art

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is taking place at the King Abdullah Financial District Conference Center (KAFD), and will be on display until June 12th featuring 30 masterworks from a range of artists who explore light in the form of installations, sculptures and video works. Noor Riyadh also includes a program of over 270 special activities accessible online, allowing the festival to be enjoyed by a wider global audience.

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Participants from the Kingdom are Ahmed Mater, Lulwah Al-Homoud, Ayman Zidani, Rashed Al-Shashai and Maha Mallouh. Prominent international artists taking part are Daniel Buren, Carsten Holler, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Yayoi Kusama and Dan Flavin. One of the festival’s landmark exhibitions was commissioned by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City: Light Upon Light: Light Art Since the 1960s

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SOLVING

THROUGH

COMPLEX HUMAN PROBLEMS S T U D I E S O F NATURAL DESIGN PROCESSES + SYSTEMS

WORDS ODETTE KAHWAGI, CREATIVE LEAD, BNC PUBLISHING

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BOMIMICRY WAS INITIALLY CALLED ‘BAU-BIONIK’, COINED BY TWO INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED FIGURES: ARCHITECT GÖRAN POHL AND BIOLOGIST WERNER NACHTIGALL.

is an applied science that derives sustainable solutions for human challenges by observing and replicating biological design strategies and patterns for clean, efficient technologies.

The earth’s biological materials and the processes through which they’re generated are the results of successive improvement through natural selection. By emulating life, biomimicry favours choices tested by nature for the past 3.8 billion years: WHAT WE SEE AROUND US TODAY IS THE KEY TO SURVIVAL.

The word “biomimicry” originates from two Greek words: bios, which means “life,” and mimesis, which means “imitation.”

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[ OR BIOMIMETICS ]

The proposal was to grow a building through electrodeposition of minerals in seawater using the BioRockpatented technology developed by Wolf Hilbertz and Tom Goreau. This would be the first time that a building had been grown from minerals. __ Architect Exploration __ Biologist Professor Julian Vincent __ BioRock expert Tom Goreau __ Structural engineer Arup __ Theatre consultant Charcoal Blue

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BIOMIMICRY

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Left: The BioRock Pavilion by Exploration Architecture

BIOMIMETIC ARCHITECTURE is a contemporary philosophy of architecture that seeks solutions for sustainability in nature, not by replicating the natural forms, but by understanding the rules governing those forms. It is a multi-disciplinary approach to sustainable design that follows a set of principles, rather than stylistic codes.

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28 Biomimetics

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- Janine Benyus

answers to our questions are everywhere; we just

need to change the lens with which we see the world.”

Beyond shape, human bones make for great architectural models, as they’re made from a composite, a 50-50 combination of calcium and collagen. In an interview with the American Society of Landscape Architecture, scientist and author Janine Benyus,

“The

rchitects have long been inspired by nature, and early signs of biomimetic architecture can be found in the work of Renaissance architect Filippo Brunelleschi. After studying the strength of eggshells, Brunelleschi designed a thinner, lighter dome for his cathedral in Florence, completed in 1436. In 1883, Antoni Gaudí transcended mainstream modernism and opted for an organic style- after taking over the design of the Sagrada Familia, the world-renowned Catalan architect got rid of all straight angles and designed his masterpiece to represent nature, in which bonelike columns twist their way to the ceiling, branching out from ellipsoid knots and reaching upwards, defying common construction practices and carrying on the character of a living organism. Casa Batlló, Gaudí’s second masterpiece, has a similar organic quality with more visceral and skeletal attributes, which is why it is also known as Casa dels Ossos, i.e. House of Bones.


In 2006, she co-founded the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit dedicated to making biology a natural part of the design process. The Institute hosts annual global biomimicry design challenges on massive sustainability problems, mobilising tens of thousands of students and practitioners through the Global Biomimicry Network to solve those challenges, and providing those practitioners with the world’s most comprehensive biomimicry inspiration database, Ask Nature, to use as a starting place.

\ BEHAVIOUR LEVEL \

The Eastgate Centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, uses a passive energyefficient mechanism of climate control by employing a temperature regulation approach inspired by the self-cooling mounds of African termites. The termites create a system of adjustable convection currents in which air is sucked in at the bottom of the mound, and then is vented up to the top

through various channels in the mud. The ventilation system of Eastgate Centre functions in a similar way: outside air that is drawn in is either warmed or cooled by the building mass depending on which is hotter: the building concrete, or the air. It is then vented into the building before exiting via openings at the top. >>>

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as a model for green air conditioning

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TERMITE MOUNDS

EASTGATE CENTRE, ZIMBABWE The Eastgate Centre is a shopping centre and office building in Harare, Zimbabwe, designed by Mick Pearce in collaboration with Arup engineers. The complex consists of two buildings separated by an open space covered by glass. Largely made of concrete, it has a ventilation system that operates like a termite mound. The office building is pretty close to the equator and works without any air conditioning.

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In 1998, Janine co-founded the world’s first bio-inspired consultancy, Biomimicry 3.8 (formerly the Biomimicry Guild), bringing nature’s sustainable designs to more than 250 renowned clients (including Boeing, ColgatePalmolive, Nike, General Electric, Herman Miller, HOK architects, IDEO, Interface, Natura, Procter and Gamble, Levi’s, Kohler, and General Mills.)

suggests looking to nature as a "model, measure, and mentor," and emphasises sustainability as the main purpose of this cross-disciplinary approach. With new technologies available to help recreate complex structures found in nature, biomimicry applies today to several aspects of the architectural and engineering field, and can be seen at three levels: the organism, its behaviour, and the ecosystem. Here are few notable examples of architectural construction fully generated by algorithms based on the biomimetic approach:

Termite model Natural ventilation system for high-rise buidlings

Heat core

Heat accumulation box

Image © Mick Pearce

Image courtesy of Biomimicry 3.8

Janine Benyus is a biologist, author and innovation consultant. She may not have coined the term biomimicry, but she certainly popularised it in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, where she names an emerging discipline that emulates nature’s designs and processes (e.g. solar cells that mimic leaves) to create a healthier, more sustainable planet. Since the book’s 1997 release, Janine has evolved the practice of biomimicry, speaking around the world about what we can learn from the genius that surrounds us.

co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, explains how research in bone structure led to a software programme that lightweights structures. “One of the major optimising technologies for buildings right now is a software called OptiStruct, which is based on a bone algorithm,” she said. “The technology mimics how bones lay down material where it's needed along lines of stress, and take the material away from where it's not needed. These bone algorithms are now seen in bridge and building beams, and they were used to lightweight Airbus’ new rib and wing assembly by 40%.” Benyus, who popularised the field in her 1997 book Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature,

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30 Biomimetics

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Zaha Hadid Architects | Elastika | Miami District

Construction on Antoni Gaudi's Sagrada Familia began in 1883 and was never completed. Jordi Faulí, the basilica’s current architect, took over the project in 2013.

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“Biomimicry

- Janine Benyus

l i t e r a l ly t ry i n g t o e m u l at e w h at you l e a r n .”

i s b a s i ca l ly ta k i n g a d e s i g n c h a l l e n g e a n d t h e n

f i n d i n g a n e c o s y s t e m t h at ’ s a l r e a dy s o lv e d t h at c h a l l e n g e , a n d

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\ BEHAVIOUR LEVEL \ Above: The Birdsong Pavilion is a new project that will explore the potential for 3D printing to get closer to the remarkable efficiency of biological structures. Exploration Architecture proposes to assemble a structure, based on the bird skull, that can be used for musical performances and for projecting sound installations. It will be made from polygonal units, 3D printed from a biologically-derived raw material (PLA / potato starch). Pictured above is the skull of a crow which has been studied in detail, modelled and printed at approximately 100 times actual size. The crow skull displays one of the most important aspects of biological structures– the idea that "in biology materials are expensive and shape is cheap" (Professor Julian Vincent). A bird skull is made from extremely thin layers of bony material connected with struts so that it combines the efficiency benefits of a dome and space frame technology.

Images © Exploration Architecture

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\ ORGANISM LEVEL \


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COUNCIL HOUSE 2, MELBOURNE Designed by Mick Pearce and DesignInc, this office building also uses strategies from a termite mound: the facade is animated in direct response to external conditions and takes inspiration from the skin system. The process used by termites to control and mound temperatures was replicated through natural convection, thermal mass, water cooling, and ventilation stacks.

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\ BEHAVIOUR LEVEL \

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Images © Dianne Snape

" T H E R E A R E T H R E E T Y P E S O F B I O M I M I C R Y- O N E I S C O P Y I N G F O R M A N D S H A P E , A N O T H E R I S C O P Y I N G A P R O C E S S , L I K E P H O T O S Y N T H E S I S I N A L E A F, A N D T H E T H I R D I S M I M I C K I N G A T A N E C O S Y S T E M ' S L E V E L , L I K E B U I L D I N G A N A T U R E - I N S P I R E D C I T Y . " - JANINE BENYUS

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32 Biomimetics

CORAL REEFS

as inspiration for carbon-neutral cement Oceans absorb vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, some of which is then extracted and turned into solid calcium carbonate by coral reefs and marine microorganisms called coccolithophores to create their exoskeleton. After studying how coral reefs are formed, scientists developed a way to form calcium carbonate by capturing the carbon dioxide and dissolving it in seawater. In architecture, biomimicry is often used to seek sustainable measures by understanding the principles governing the form, rather than replicating the mere form itself. According to Michael Pawlyn, author of Biomimicry in Architecture and founding principal at London-based Exploration Architecture, biology would “solve the problem of climate change by making a lot more stuff out of atmospheric carbon.”

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\ ECOSYSTEM LEVEL \

BioRock Pavilion by Exploration

BioRock, a technology originally developed by marine scientists and used in the restoration of coral reefs, grows limestone in seawater by running a lowvoltage current through steel filaments; the current causes a chemical reaction that deposits carbonsequestering limestone along the armature.

Atmospheric recyclable carbon materials could very well be used for construction to help tackle pressing environmental issues. The BioRock Pavilion, Exploration’s most ambitious project to date, plans to do just that: grow a building from minerals through electro-deposition of minerals in seawaterusing the BioRock technology developed by Wolf Hilbertz and Tom Goreau. In an interview with the Biomimicry Institute, Pawlyn explains how Biorock allows for “greater control of the forms that you can create. It’s a way of growing structures in seawater using electrodeposition of minerals. It’s mainly calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide. And it’s simple– you put a steel frame in the seawater, you pass a very low-level electric current through it, perfectly safe for wildlife, and you get fairly rapid deposition of minerals on that steel frame. After about a year, it can be 20-25mm thick, and it can be as strong as reinforced concrete. So, we’ve proposed growing a whole building that way.”

To survive in the arid wilderness of southwestern Africa, the Namib Desert beetle harvests water from thin air by leaning on its bumpy body into the wind, letting droplets of fog accumulate and drip down its wing case into its mouth.

The Sahara Project implemented in Qatar

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“ I F W E CO U L D L E A R N TO M A K E T H I N G S A N D D O T H I N G S T H E WAY N AT U R E D O E S , W E CO U L D A C H I E V E FAC TO R 10, FAC TO R 10 0, M AY B E E V EN FAC TO R 1 ,0 0 0 S AV I N G S I N R E S O U RCE A N D EN ERGY US E.” — M I C H A E L P A W LY N

“ORGANISMS DON’T THINK OF CO2 AS A POISON. PLANTS AND ORGANISMS THAT MAKE SHELLS, CORAL, THINK OF IT AS A BUILDING BLOCK.” - JANINE BENYUS


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Images © Exploration Architecture

Another highly ambitious undertaking by Exploration is the Sahara Forest Project, which sets out to create new architectural spaces in harmony with the desert, by combining salt water-cooled greenhouses (inspired by the Namibian fog-basking beetle) with solar power energy and desert revegetation technologies. In 2012, the firm managed the construction of the first built version of the project: a one-hectare pilot facility in Qatar including a parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) collector and a photovoltaic array. The next stage is proposed as a 20-hectare test and demonstration centre, with the greenhouses having achieved productivity levels equal to commercial greenhouses in Europe, with

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Prior to setting up the company, Pawlyn worked for ten years with Grimshaw- the firm behind the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020. He was central to the team that radically re-invented horticultural architecture for the Eden Project, by leading the design of the warm temperate and humid tropics biomes and the subsequent phases that included proposals for a third biome for plants from dry tropical regions. He has lectured widely on the subject of sustainable design in the UK and abroad. In 2007, he delivered a talk at Google’s annual Zeitgeist conference, and in 2011, his book Biomimicry in Architecture was published by the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is currently working on a range of biomimicry-based architectural projects.

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MICHAEL PAWLYN IS THE FOUNDER OF EXPLORATION ARCHITECTURE.

half the amount of fresh water of conventional approaches. A facility with 60 hectares could provide all the cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines currently imported into Qatar. Exploration jointly initiated the Sahara Forest Project in 2008 and assembled the initial group of collaborators, which later became formalised as a stand-alone company, Sahara Forest Project AS, based in Oslo. Pilot projects in Jordan and Tunisia are also being initiated now. Pawlyn founded Exploration in 2007 to focus exclusively on biomimicry. In 2008, Exploration was shortlisted for the Young Architect of the Year Award and the internationally renowned Buckminster Fuller Challenge. design-middleeast.com


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\ ORGANISM LEVEL \

BACK TO BASICS One of the most recognisable structures on earth, the Aldar headquarters in Abu Dhabi is the world’s first circular skyscraper. It relies on a diagrid to transfer the weight of to its foundation. The key challenge in bringing the massive circular concept to life was to find the two points where the building should pose on the ground– and for that, the development of the volume began by using one of the oldest rules in architecture: the rule of proportion based on the golden ratio, or phi (Φ). Known also as the Fibonacci sequence, this ratio has been used by mankind for centuries in architecture: from the Pyramids of Giza to the Parthenon in Greece, architects leveraged phi to create balance between structural elements. To apply the golden section ratio to the circular facade of the Aldar headquarters, the circle was divided into a pentagram, which then had Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man juxtaposed on it, with the head and four limbs at the five points of the geometric shape. Accordingly, the architects were able to locate the two points of stability thus creating the perfect balance. Developed by Marwan Zgheib and his Lebanon-based firm MZ Architects, the circular skyscraper, voted as the Best Futuristic Design of 2008, has also been inspired by the shape of a clamshell. Using grids of steel shaped in a diamond framework to create a curved glass skin, the building was completed in 2010.

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Images © MZ Architects

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The golden ratio


Images © Aedas

Adaptability in nature is the ability of organisms to cope with the changing climatic variables such as temperature and humidity. In adaptive architecture, parts of the structure manipulatively change and transform at certain times of the day to manage the variation of climate. The galanthus nivalis flower, also called snowdrop, has special mechanisms of cooling. Physiological and morphological attributes of the petals have been mimicked to design retro-reflective building facades. This is the principle that Aedas Architects used to design a double facade system for Al Bahar Towers in Abu Dhabi to avoid the blazing sun of the UAE desert. The exterior facade is kinetically designed to open and close in response to the movement of the sun, dropping solar gain by up to 50%. The folding motion of the facade system panels is inspired by the adaptive snowdrop flower, as well as the mashrabiyas as a shading screen.

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Adaptive architecture

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CUSTOMISED COOL

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\ BEHAVIOUR LEVEL \

“ B i o m i m i c ry i s i n n ovat i o n i n s p i r e d by n at u r e . I n a s o c i et y ac c usto m e d to d o m i n at i n g o r ‘ i m p r ov i n g ’ n at u r e , t h i s r e s p e ct f u l i m i tat i o n i s a r a d i ca l ly n e w a p p r oa c h , a r e vo lu t i o n r e a l ly . Unlike the Industrial Revolution, the Biomimicry Revolution introduces an era based not on what we can e x tract fr o m nature, b ut o n what we can learn fr o m her.” Janine Benyus

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36 Biomimetics

MITCHELL JOACHIM

DREAMS COME TRUE

The living treehouse

T

Terreform ONE

[Open Network Ecology] is a nonprofit architecture and urban design research and consulting group that promotes smart design in cities. Through its projects and outreach efforts, Terreform ONE aims to illuminate the environmental possibilities of cities across the globe. The group develops innovative concepts and technologies for local sustainability in energy, transportation, infrastructure, buildings, waste treatment, food, and water.

Buildings account for 25-40% of the world’s total carbon emissions, and this number is expected to rise dramatically in the next decade. So, in a way, this childhood dream turned into a living treehouse could be a path to true sustainability, after all.

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Images © Terreform ONE

- Buckminster Fuller

erreform ONE brings a fairy tale perspective to the concept of sustainability: for Fab Tree Hab, three MIT designers, Mitchell Joachim, Lara Greden, and Javier Arbona, came up with a radical concept of creating a home from a tree, and the trio have found ways to create a symbiotic relationship between the house and the surrounding environment. “Pleaching,” a gardening technique in which tree branches are woven together to form living archways, has been used to build the arboreal frame. Trees such as elm and oak bear the heavier loads, while vines, branches, and plants shape a lattice for the walls and roof of the house. The interior walls, consisting of packed straw covered by a smoothed layer of clay, create a moisture barrier from the outside. But the house’s idea of sustainability goes beyond just the structure- a gravitational eco-plumbing system collects and distributes rainwater throughout the home. Wastewater would be purified in an outdoor pond with bacteria, fish, and plants that consume organic waste- and the trees that form the frame and the plants that grow on the external walls are meant to provide sustenance for the inhabitants and other living creatures who interact with the structure.

"You never To change

something, build a new mode.”

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change things by fighting the existing reality.

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\ MULTIDIMENSIONAL LEVELS \

is co-founder of Terreform ONE and an Associate Professor of Practice in the Gallatin School at New York University (NYU).


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discover

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At Arada, we build high quality communities. Diverse neighbourhoods that come to life when people share, exchange and celebrate.

arada.com design-middleeast.com


38 Op-ed

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Design for humanity/

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Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde, founder of Studio Roosegaarde, blends technology with art in a unique manner

Daan Roosegaarde’s latest artwork GROW is an homage to the beauty of agriculture. In the world film premiere GROW appears as a luminous dreamscape of red and blue waves of light over an enormous field.

W

e have an obligation to be positive" are wise words spoken by Daan Roosegaarde, the Dutch artist and founder of Studio Roosegaarde who develops projects that merge technology and art in urban environments. design-middleeast.com

Design is drastically shifting on its axis by moving from simply solving problems to an approach that draws attention to social issues by predicting the future and connecting with business, politics, sustainability and environmental issues. Roosegaarde has a critical awareness that enables him to manifest solutions in art form. It’s well known that cities are being choked by smog, remote island countries will be forever submerged if temperatures rise, and countryside air and riverways are irreversibly polluted. Uniquely, Roosegaarde approaches solutions to these issues with prophetic art and speculative design. Roosegaarde created the ethereal projection WATERLICHT to raise awareness of rising water levels and the urgent need to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing ecosystem. >>


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Images courtesy of Daan Roosegaarde

under development by Studio Roosegaarde as a symbol of hope, shines a large circle of far-UVC light into public spaces, sanitising coronavirus at cultural gatherings, sporting events, public squares, and schoolyards. URBAN SUN aims to inspire hope and combat the negative impact of social isolation. Inspired by the sun, its specific light safely cleans up to 99.9% of the coronavirus and offers a supplementary layer of protection to enhance world government pandemic regulations. Research shows that the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers can sanitise viruses safely. Roosegaarde understands that the new world is full of barriers and

restrictions, and family members reduced to computer pixels. He says, "let’s be the architects of our new normal and create better places to meet”. Leading authorities are enthusiastic about the project and are describing it as hopeful, promising and full of courage. Roosegaarde is a traditionally trained artist, but he grew up surrounded by scientists and technology. Behind all of his unconceivable projects is ‘schoonheid’, a Dutch word that fuses ‘clean’ with ‘beauty’. The word resonates with all of his work. Clean outer space, clean air, clean energy, and clean water. Each of these elements is given form through visually stunning aesthetic expressions of sound and light. Satisfyingly, Roosegaarde feels that he is at a point in time in which people's thinking is changing. He believes that man is becoming just like other living beings and adapting to merely be part of nature, the environment and the universe and not at the epicentre of it all. He understands with a verve that to have a sustainable presence within the world; people must change their outlook. Driven by an environmental mission, Roosegaarde's work precisely embodies this spirit of the times. Whether we like it or not, technology is our language.

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URBAN SUN, an extraordinary project

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He combined LED and lenses to form shifting layers of wafting blue light above the heads of viewers. Roosegaarde describes this installation as “a dream landscape about the power and poetry of water”. He aims to encourage positive thinking about building floating cities and providing power through water generation. 2018 saw WATERLICHT launch Jameel Arts Centre that houses solo and group exhibitions, large-scale installations and sculptural work on the glorious Jaddaf Waterfront. Roosegaarde’s most recent GROW pays homage to the beauty of agriculture by creating a luminous dreamscape of red, blue and ultraviolet waves of light over an enormous field. Not only is this surreal installation of dancing light thoughtprovoking, but its scientific properties improve the growth and resilience of plants and reduce pesticide use by almost 50%. Roosegaarde questions, “how can we make the farmer the hero?”. It is a call for enlightenment during these dark times.

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WATERLICHT is the dream landscape about the power and poetry of water. As a virtual flood WATERLICHT shows how high the water could reach and raises awareness about rising water levels. WATERLICHT creates a collective experience to share the importance of water innovation. Winner of LIT 2017 Lighting Designer of the Year USA and The Best Lighting Environment Design China.

URBAN SUN, a project in development by Studio Roosegaarde as a symbol of hope, shines a large circle of this far-UVC light into public spaces, cleaning those spaces of the coronavirus. URBAN SUN aims to inspire hope.

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40 Fit-out

Proportion,

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scale,

& harmony

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Ross Trivet, general manager, Khansaheb Interiors

Fergal Reilly, project manager, Khansaheb Interiors

Leading fit-out specialist Khansaheb Interiors delivered Vox Cinemas at City Centre Al Zahia Mall in Sharjah. Know more about the fit-out journey to this project from start to finish.

In conversation with Ross Trivet, general manager and Fergal Reilly, project manager at Khansaheb Interiors, as they discussed the VOX Cinemas project at length: Could you tell us more about the VOX Cinemas project from fit-out point of view?

What are the design principles you follow for a cinema/multiplex?

The project is the fit-out of a shell and core cinema complex totalling approx. 5400sqm split across 3 levels within the new City Centre Al Zahia Mall in Sharjah (largest mall in the Northern Emirates). It compromises 16 auditoriums including two MAX screens and three GOLD screens. It also includes foyer and concourse areas, public toilets, back of house areas, three kitchens and two F&B outlets.

Proportion, scale, and harmony are key principles to achieve. The project was self-delivered by all of Khansaheb’s specialist divisions (MEP, Joinery, Metals and Interiors) allowing greater collaboration and maintenance of these principles.

Images courtesy of Khansaheb

Explain the scope of work?

Scope of work compromises of all screeding and waterproofing, acoustic gypsum partitions and fire-lids, all floor, wall and ceiling finishes, fixed joinery counters, cabinets, servery counters and balustrades, marble and tiling works and decorative metals and mirrors. Works also considered all electromechanical fit-out works with approx. 14000sqm of AC ducting and HVAC services to be installed.

What about safety considerations?

By their nature, auditoriums are usually quite large with ‘working at height’ a key safety consideration for the team. Appropriate management of material procurement and men working safely during summer working hours in mass acoustic boxes was a highly important safety consideration for the project team. As the mall was also a live construction site, the delivery of our materials to site through a constantly evolving environment was an element of work which required careful appreciation and forward planning identifying all possible risks to materials, existing works and our people. >>> design-middleeast.com


42 Fit-out "VOX Cinemas City Centre Al Zahia exceeded expectations with regard to quality

of finish and ease of mobilisation

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for the Client’s Operations team."

What was the most challenging part of this project?

The key challenge was maintaining concurrent progress for both ID and MEP works considering the vast amount of birdcage scaffolding on site, also ensuring as much works were completed to negate the need to re-erect scaffold at a later date. Building the team mindset that individual trades should not be looking to revisit works and areas post-handover ensured continuity of work fronts and ensured progress was maintained and aligned with client and programme expectations. How important is the client’s feedback for you?

The VOX Cinemas team and Majid Al Futtaim have a very clear vision of what their guests require from the end-product. Their involvement throughout the design and delivery stage was essential to ensure the project completion was achieved. Khansaheb believe that the satisfaction of the end user is a gauge for how successfully a project has been delivered– and VOX Cinemas City Centre Al Zahia exceeded expectations with regard to quality of finish and ease of mobilisation for the Client’s Operations team. design-middleeast.com

How different was this project compared to previous projects that you led?

Extremely challenging given the immense amount of technical coordination to be undertaken and the quantity of material to be installed. It requires strong site management and progressive scheduling of different trades to allow continuity of works in all areas. What would you say are the defining philosophies of Khansaheb?

We are a family business with family values. Our guiding principles are: First and foremost, delivering an excellent service for our customers, looking after our people which means keeping them safe, investing in training and development and enabling and encouraging our employees to have a long and happy career with Khansaheb. Looking after our suppliers and subcontractors is also very important to us. We try and ensure that they are treated fairly. We provide a professional service and aim to be fair and reasonable and easy to do business with. And at all times, in everything we do, we aim to live our values.

Have you got any upcoming projects in the pipeline that you’re able to share with us? Some of the significant projects we are

working on are Dubai Mall lower ground floor enhancement and atria upgrade and fit out works at One Zaabeel Link bridge – the largest cantilever link bridge in the world.


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44 Project

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Having a multi-functional space that could be turned into a multitude of set-ups, it was idealised that the project needed to become more of a place rather than just space

MODERN

MINIMALIST

Key Concept Interiors’ Huna Library project in Riyadh is a space to ideate, socialise, and work in an urban environment

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Mansour Bakheet, creative director, Key Concept

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"THE PROJECT NEEDED TO BECOME MORE OF A PLACE RATHER THAN JUST SPACE."

T

he libraries of today are highly impacted by modern times in terms of design, feel, and overall ambience. As Huna's second venture into creating a unique destination, Huna Library is the first phase to launch from the bigger Huna Takhassusi master plan. It is a venue serving and showcasing an array of F&B concepts, experiences and events that cater to the community for the entrepreneurs and self-starters of Saudi Arabia. "Huna" in Arabic, literally means ‘here’. Mansour Bakheet, creative director at Key Concept, says: “Key Concept designed Huna Takhasusi launches its first phase in Riyadh." Bakheet further shares: “The Huna Library contains a speciality coffee bar, retail, and social space that could be turned into an events space. Having a multi-functional space that could be turned into a multitude of set-ups, it was idealised that the project needed to become more of a place rather than just space. It was imagined where the city intellects gather to discuss ideas, socialise, and work. It would become a facilitator for deriving ideas, revolving around an atmosphere of the amiable design.” >>> design-middleeast.com


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46 Project

The Huna Library contains a speciality coffee bar, retail, and social space that could be turned into an events space

A play on rhythm and repetition on the different elements gave the simplistic and minimalist interiors some sense of movement and unrelenting visual quality. There are four zones, each divided by planes on different levels. Pockets of light are introduced to gain and reduce volume as one goes deeper into the destination. A connection is drawn from the urban and architectural past of the city to bridge the present and its future. Elements of the Nadji Architecture in the region inspired the solid masses of the façade. The social space is likened to a covered street or a courtyard. A play on rhythm and repetition on the

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different elements gave the simplistic and minimalist interiors some sense of movement and unrelenting visual quality. The much-needed negative space that is present is likened to the city's introverted personality. However, the new and modern design vocabulary speaks across different times. The distinct tone of the textured paint is taken from the native material of the clay, sundried bricks. The streamlined lines and forms are cut through with the MS steel panels that contrast as a material that weathers over time, a sign that it is transformative over the lifespan of the venue. Once woven together, all these elements and interests created one special canvas that inhibits a self-nurturing and growth-inducing multi-layered stepping stone to many original success stories.


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48 Decor review

A

ncient materials and techniques meet contemporary clean lines in this Sodic Villette project in New Cairo. Conceived by renowned interior design firm Abou Samra Group, these exclusive apartments have a common reception, where guests are welcomed by a unique piano that contrasts the marble floor with elegant touches of glass and gold. The living room fuses an earthy palette with the metallic surfaces of the floor, while the gold brass center table contrasts with the blue sofa and pink armchair. Evoking the fine lines of high jewellery, with tempered smoked glass resting on a perfectly curved stainlesssteel base, the striking Aquarius table by Boca do Lobo blends a certain delicacy with its bold design, perfectly balancing colours, textures and materials. >>>

Images courtesy of Boca Do Lobo

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A balancing act

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50 Decor Review

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Supernova Soleil Sconce was born from the cataclysmic explosion of a massive star. The instant of a bright star burst that was suspended into a fascinating lighting design.

Side by side Influenced by the impressionism and paying tribute to one of the era’s greatest painters, the Monet side table features contrasting shapes and materials- from a geometric acrylic base to an organic surface made from cast brass, the Monet is an exclusive piece that stands out.

Mid-century modern

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Aquarius is a unique center table, ready to set a tone in your living room look. It sets up a strong contrast between the gold plated structure and the smoked glass surface- a perfect fit for either classic or modern living rooms.

Intentionally imperfect Imperfectio Sofa praises artisanal work as the ultimate form of art that is quite intentionally imperfect. Through its unique existence and shapes, this piece determines its own history. The irregularities and flaws of this unique sofa expose the beauty of imperfection.

Availability bocadolobo.com

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52 Decor review

NOTHING SPELLS DRAMA LIKE Colours and textures were crucial of this project, as the colour theme of the brand and restaurant are red, which attributes to the Japanese meaning of AKA meaning, red.

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RED


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VICTOR DABU, INTERIOR DESIGNER, CO-FOUNDER \ DIRECTOR OF PROJECTS AT STUDIO 2020

IN CONVERSATION WITH VICTOR DABU Talk us through your creative process, how did you approach AKA project?

Authenticity is and always will be the defining marker of my designs. Before I get creative on the drawing board, I always make sure that the client and I have had a couple of meetings and, most importantly, site visits. I believe a designer should establish rapport with the client to understand best their vision for the design and the overall concept. Once I have gathered my thoughts about the project concept, I start the design process. For AKA, I integrated architecture and interior design, as the client had a particularly unique idea of what they wanted. We achieved this through eclectic design, unusual materials, silhouettes and sophisticated colours. Inside AKA, the traditional Sakura trees and the rich, red velvet fabric instantly grab the guests’ attention. I used intricate lighting, craned murals and backgrounds to create an authentic Japanese experience. AKA’s space is limited, so we had to work meticulously to ensure the design would be operational.   AKA is influenced by Japanese aesthetics. Explain briefly a few of the highlights.

D

ubai is no stranger to Japanese cuisine, so what makes AKA special? This new cyberpunk-inspired eatery in the prominent Palm Jumeirah location The Pointe boasts not just an incredible menu but bright and funky interiors. Inside, patrons are treated to massive blossoms of rich fuchsia floral décor that instantly transport you to Roppongi, Ginza or Ebisu in Japan. What makes it even more attractive is its prime location, right across the spectacular Palm Fountain and the Atlantis The Palm, where diners are entertained by the dancing waterworks every 30 minutes. 

DESIGN MIDDLE EAST INTERVIEWED VICTOR DABU, INTERIOR DESIGNER, CO-FOUNDER/DIRECTOR OF PROJECTS AT STUDIO 2020 AND MIRZO HAFIZOV – ORZU HOSPITALITY GROUP FOUNDER TO KNOW MORE ABOUT

The dark feature wood is from “Yakisugi”, a traditional Japanese method for wood preservation of burnt timber. The symbolic Sakura tree is one of the exotic design elements of AKA that offer guests al fresco dining with the comfort of being indoors. Eccentric structural walls and ceilings were inspired by traditional Shoji and Fusuma designs. To top it off, the bright red fabric on the sofas and dining chairs complete AKA’s picturesque design and add plenty of character.   Which is most important to you in restaurant seating, design or comfort?

I would say they are both significantly important. Design and comfort should always complement one another in creating a successful restaurant design and experience - classical or contemporary, intimate or casual. Are you seeing any particular style requests trending amongst your clients?

Absolutely, yes. We live in a digital era, and in a world of camera phones, the most common request from our clients is that the venue should always be picturesque. Hence, emphasis and zoning are imperative in creating a design and ensuring every area has a story to tell. >> design-middleeast.com


54 Decor Review

"The whole experience is very visual, so we’ve put beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms around the dining booths to create stunning photo opportunities for when our diners capture the live entertainment."

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How COVID-19 has changed the mindsets of designers and their designs?

I think the global pandemic has taught us that, now more than ever, interior design matters. Public, private and commercial spaces across every industry are now more flexible and conscious about the effects of design and health and safety. Under quarantine, with more free time, I was able to learn more skills to add to my cram. With the introduction of remote work and social distancing, I believe that there will be a rise in the interior design industry, as there is already an increase in demand from clients who would like to renovate new and existing

properties. I think that post-pandemic interior design will become even more creative and might even encourage designers to venture out of their comfort zones to become even better.

IN CONVERSATION WITH MIRZO HAFIZOV What’s different about AKA?

When creating AKA, I knew that the jewel in the crown would be our performers and detailed interiors. The whole experience is very visual, so we’ve put beautiful Japanese cherry blossoms around the dining booths to create stunning photo opportunities for when our diners capture the live entertainment. What’s the key to successful restaurant design?

Details are always the most important thing to consider when creating a restaurant brand, as you need to be clear on what makes your brand stand out from the rest. Social media is so deeply embedded into our society that people look for unique photo opportunities when dining out, as much as they look at the menu.

AWESOME FOOD The menu on offer is a contemporary mix of Asian popular dishes such the Korean wings, chilli edamame and baby crispy squid. The green salad with avocado and sweet plum sauce is one item you shouldn’t miss out on. The mocktails are snappy, matcha passion and mango maracuya punch are highly recommended. The Nigiri platter offers salmon, tuna, smoked eel, shrimp, and salmon roe on a bed of ice, and is a sensory treat. For the main course, the miso salmon is a clear winner. The teriyaki and yuzu daikon flavour brings out the best in the meal. Also, on offer is the spicy seafood noodles, not very spicy in my opinion. The udon noodles are slurpy, while the mixed vegetables and mixed seafood add the crunch.  As in all cases, the best is always reserved for the last – the assorted mochi platter is finger-licking delicious. Strawberry, raspberry, vanilla, passion fruit and chocolate flavoured, these mochis are easily some of the finest the city has to offer. 

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AKA’s nightly array of mesmerizing performances stands as the brand’s main pillar as a special cast of artists expresses a dazzling sense of talent and creativity.

Through founding my hospitality group, Orzu has given me a platform to bring all my ideas to life, this has been an interesting and exciting journey. Since we launched in December, we’ve opened ZOR, a traditional Uzbek restaurant, AKA that serves a delicious pan Asian menu, and Bramble, a quirky bar in the licensed Food District, all located on The Pointe. Each concept offers something unique. For example, ZOR offers Uzbek cuisine, something most people haven’t tried.

"Going forward I predict that we’re going to see restaurants trying to be as creative as possible with their designs to allow diners to create unique content. "

"Guests look for the details in design as they often look not only for a place to dine but somewhere picturesque to get the perfect pictures." Bramble is also located in a licensed food court, which isn’t common in this region. Last but not least, AKA will feature live entertainment like no other.   How has technology impacted and influenced design, and how might it continue to in the future?

As I mentioned, guests look for the details in design as they often look not only for a place to dine but somewhere picturesque to get the perfect pictures. Going forward I predict that we’re going to see restaurants trying to be as creative as possible with their designs to allow diners to create unique content. I’ve also read some restaurants are considering trialling robotic waiters in their teams as a novelty for guests. I prefer to keep service as personal and hospitable as possible, but should this become the ‘norm’ in years

DESIGN MIDDLE EAST

What has been the most interesting project you’ve taken on recently, and why?

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Mirzo Hafizov, Orzu Hospitality Group Founder

to come, then the design will need to be carefully considered to ensure that this option is fully functional. How has the pandemic changed the hospitality industry forever?

The hospitality industry is versatile and resilient, so once restrictions are lifted, I believe the industry will thrive under the new ‘normal’. Two things that I’m sure most outlets will now consider carefully are delivery and remote dining. During the pandemic, even uber-luxury brands adapted to offer to dine at-home options. I think it would be wise to continue doing so if they’ve invested time and money perfecting the service to meet luxury standards. Before the pandemic, it wouldn’t have been on certain brands peripheral to deliver, yet now it’s normal. design-middleeast.com


56 Wishlist

ATTRACTING POSITIVITY Adding a dash of glamour to your home with stunning accessories like this peacock figurine Availability Across all Chattels & More stores

SAY HELLO TO ECO-FRIENDLY CANDLES

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Kind By Design candles purify the air, using a custom beeswax blend that burns four times longer than standard alternatives Availability kindbydesign.co

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HOW DECORATIONS CAN HELP SET THE MOOD FOR A MEMORABLE EVENT

GREEN WITH ENVY Get home some statement pieces to create that chic setting Availability royalfurniture.ae

TOP-NOTCH Poltrona Frau presents the most iconic pieces wearing the finest fabrics by Loro Piana Interiors Availability Across all Poltrona Frau stores

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BRING HOME THE BLING! Give your home a glamorous facelift by incorporating statement metallic pieces and accessories from Lifestyle

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Availability Across all Centrepoint stores

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58 Wishlist

HOME CENTRE Set the perfect tone with stunning accessories for an elegant home during the festive season

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Availability Across all Home Centre stores

SUNBURST MIRROR Whether you’re looking for some everyday functionality or going for a bold new look, Marks & Spencer’s homeware range is a musthave this season

FOR A STYLISH SETTING Jazz up your space with latest Kashta collection from aura

Availability marksandspencerme.com

Availability auraliving.com

GO GOLD! Patterned serving plates, trays, coasters, and china for intimate gatherings Availability bloomingdales.ae

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YOU CAN DO THE MAGIC Turn everyday moments into warm memories, just like this simple decor rack can spruce up your dinner table

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Availability aceuae.com

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60 Pick of the month

Eclectic

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Essentially

Interior designer duo Robert and Cortney collaborate for the first time with fashion icon and actress Sarah Jessica Parker and the results are flawless. SJP Collection and The Novogratz is a capsule collection of outdoor furniture and accessories inspired by Sarah Jessica Parker, her embrace of bright hues and fun, and of course, inimitable chic! An ode to retro design, SJP Collection and The Novogratz features pastel lawn chairs, lots of stripes and happy prints, outdoor umbrellas with fashionable scalloped edges, and must-have including rolling bar carts, perfect for any backyard soiree or to simply sit back and bask in the new season. Availability: shopthenovogratz.com

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Profile for Design Middle East

Design Middle East May 2021  

Our May cover explores the world of Biomimetic Architecture, it's a contemporary philosophy of architecture that seeks solutions for sustain...

Design Middle East May 2021  

Our May cover explores the world of Biomimetic Architecture, it's a contemporary philosophy of architecture that seeks solutions for sustain...

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