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The Middle East’s interiors, design & property magazine


Jack of all trades: master of design Walk the plank: rustic woods and wools Out with the old: in with the new Dubai’s original: LW’s smorgasbord

ISSUE eightythree Year seven august 2010 A MOTIVATE PUBLICATION

dhs 15

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority

com I 800 TEKA

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Cover: Uzbekistan’s Palace of International Forums. Photography: Zooey Braun/ Andreas J. Focke.








18 Outside the box

52 The sound of silence

The fresh new design trends for living out-of-doors are bursting with innovative shapes, high-tech materials and original reinventions.

Light artist Bruce Munro and a fleet of volunteers planted a sea of CDs to create a gigantic interactive art installation that reflects the ebb and flow of colours and light.

22 Powered up

82 Pioneering spirit

Dance your mobile to power, withstand the fiercest blow in a straw house and drink organic coffee from a carbon neutral cup to live green and help preserve the planet.

Lars Waldenstrom began revolutionising design in Dubai ten years ago by introducing the sleek, clean lines of Swedish mimimalism to numerous restaurants and hotels in the Arabian Gulf.

28 Master minds An expansive vision provides German architects Ippolito Fleitz Group with the ability to incorporate an interdisciplinary approach to finish projects in record time.

August 2010










Gina Johnson | GROUP EDITOR

Catherine Belbin | FEATURES EDITOR

Dorothy Waldman |



Iain Smith |

Footnotes Stand out with the latest trends in flooring. Make a statement with the technological innovations that create the foundation for your space. Experiment with new colours, forms, patterns, shapes and materials for the ultimate underfoot experience.


Belinda Igaya | ART DIRECTOR



C Sudhakar |








Darryl Wiley |



Ashlee Beard | Steve Hill |Ruby Rogers | Richard Warren


id Property + Home for the holidays + Moulded from clay + Antennae + Portfolio

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+ Aqua compositions + Green insights + And much, much, more… All prices quoted in identity are correct at the time of going to press.

August 2010



Restructuring success

Clockwise from top left: Nicolò Rubelli; Michel Ducaroy; Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen; Michel Roset.


This summer there has been much focus on rescheduling, redesigning and restructuring finances in a bid to ensure the last quarter of the year is a dynamic and creative one for the sector. With the boom days and crazy shaped buildings a thing of the past, architects, designers, contractors and bankers are concentrating on creating a master plan for sustainable, long-term development. As such, many firms have undergone radical structural changes to make them financially viable. There are many who see this current challenge as a positive one and are investing in heightening their presence with a more aggressive approach to marketing. Nicolò Rubelli, of the Venetian Rubelli dynasty, was in town recently to plan a design event for the last quarter of this year, primarily to promote the new Rubelli Sahco collections, which include those produced in collaboration with Giorgio Armani for Armani Casa – examples of which can be found in the sleek Armani Hotel. Rubelli is also planning to open a showroom here soon. Similarly, the Italian Trade Commission is planning a major event in the emirate, which will include exceptional designers selected from the many talents in their home country to experience first hand the Italian influence on Dubai’s design scene. Squisito, led by Belgian design consultant Leen Vandael, is also spreading its wings and opening a 500 square metre office/gallery off Sheikh Zayed Road. Squisito will use the additional space and custom designed tent to host events, including a week-long open house in October, and to display their increasing portfolio of luxury brands, which now include Selva fabrics, mirrors by Deknudt and Val Saint Lambert crystal. Squisito are perhaps best-known for dealing with some of the finest wall covering brands, including Arte, Backhausen, Deltracon, Wind, Vano and Rash. Tivoli Audio is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a Global Design Challenge this autumn in collaboration with Designers, photographers and artists from all over the world are being invited to enter. The winning billboard design will be featured in Times Square, New York. Meanwhile, Ligne Roset, the only French designer, manufacturer and distributor of designer furniture, is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Now managed by the fourth generation of the Roset family, Pierre and Michel, the company which has been represented in the UAE by Aati, part of the Al Tayer Group, for almost 30 years, was one of the first contemporary furniture brands in this market. The anniversary is being celebrated with a special offer on the iconic Togo seating system designed by Michael Ducaroy, currently on show at the Ligne Roset store, Aati and Bloomingdale’s. Flamboyant British design guru and TV personality, Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, was in Dubai recently for the inauguration of the Matalan department store in Lamcy Plaza, where he presented his bedding and homeware accessories collection designed exclusively for the department store. Ramadan Kareem!

Group Editor Catherine Belbin.

August 2010


Outside the box The latest trends for enjoying the outdoors in all its glory are definitely beyond the ordinary. TEXT: DOROTHY WALDMAN A soothing array of cool loungers and chairs have ignited the market for easy living. Among the innovations introduced at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan were these new forms, which are perfect for enjoying the fresh richness of the outdoors. The latest trends in alfresco living include sculpted curves, chiselled angular planes and updated indoor classics re-engineered in high-tech materials for poolside decks. Whether designed by versatile award-winners or a design student, these new creations add a dash of personality and elegance for enjoying sea air and clear blue skies, making casual living a breeze.

Winner of numerous design awards, including Design Plus, the Geo 180, designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba for Kos, is the result of extensive ergonomic research to bring beauty and pleasure to the outdoors, especially when paired with a cascading rain shower.


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Barceloneta, by Raffaella Mangiarotti for Serralunga, is the first time the classic Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair has been redesigned for the outside, substituting the quilted leather of the original with the practicality of plastic made possible by a sophisticated rotating molding system.

Presented at the Salone del Mobile 2010 and made from 100 per cent recyclable materials, the Lazy Yacht collection of deckchairs by Serrallunga presents a minimal chic aesthetic in a variety of colours.

Inspired by Michelangelo’s David, Onur Mustak Cobanli, a student at Politecnico, Milan, created Nuova Testa del David (New head of David), a sculpture that functions as a stool, for OMC 2 design studios.

With the look of delicate lace, the artisan braiding of the Maia collection, designed by Patricia Urquiola for Kettal, gives the impression of openness, but the aluminium frame and new Porotex and chenille fabric of the upholstery create a cosy energy.

The classic American Adirondacks chair, first designed by Thomas Lee in 1903, has been refined by Pierre Stelmaszuk for Royal Botania’s New England Collection, introducing a more aesthetic balance, a variety of paint colours and a number of styles to choose from.

August 2010



Design sources:; tel: (971) 4 337 1870;; tel: (971) 4 339 5660;;; tel: (971) 4 282 6767;; tel: (971) 4 421 8022;

Rest, by architects JoaquĂ­n Torres and Rafael Llamazares for Vondom, is inspired by the Japanese art of origami to create simple, light geometric forms manufactured by rotomoulding technology.


Royal Botania’s D-Lux collection is a luxurious selection of garden furniture with organically curvaceous lines available in a spring bouquet of colours. The high-back dining chairs (left) co-ordinate with the aluminium supported table, while the unique sunlounger (right) sports the daring design ethos of a race car.

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Powered up Giant airships fuelled by farmed algae, disposable, compostable paper cups and a low carbon house made of straw that can withstand hurricane-force winds captain the eco imagination. TEXT: STEVE HILL

Lace Hill.


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Vincent Callebaut’s latest conceptual project imagines algae farms in the ocean that produce biofuel from seaweed and which act as hubs for environmentally-friendly airships that would double as floating farms. The Belgian architect claims that energy derived from farmed algae would be superior to any form of biodiesel or bioethanol currently available. Hydrogenase, designed for a site off the coast of Shanghai in China, would be self sufficient in every aspect, with this unique mode of transportation emitting zero carbon emissions. The airships would be capable of flying at a height of 2,000 metres and could carry 200 tonnes of freight at a speed of 175 km/h. Callebaut also envisages that they would be 400 metres tall, featuring housing, offices, scientific laboratories and entertainment facilities, and could also be utilised for humanitarian missions and rescue operations. Wind turbines and flexible photovoltaic cells would help power the airships, with 32 hydro turbines transforming tidal energy into electricity for the floating farms.

August March 2009 2010


Left to right: GotWind’s Orange Power Wellies; Villa Nyberg; Mark Langan’s three-dimensional artwork.


Music festival fans no longer have to stress about finding an electrical socket to plug in their mobile phone recharger thanks to the innovative Orange Power Wellies. Created by the UK mobile phone company in collaboration with renewable energy experts GotWind, the unique footwear features a power-generating sole that converts heat collected from feet into an electrical current. Twelve hours of walking will generate enough power to charge a phone for an hour, while bursts of energetic dancing will provide an even larger charge. Phones are plugged into a power output at the top of the boot after electric energy is collected via a process known as the “Seebeck” effect. The Power Wellies were unveiled at this year’s Glastonbury Festival. SUSTAINABLE SOUP

Mark Langan has taken inspiration from Andy Warhol’s 1960s’ rendition of the Campbell’s soup can to again put the focus on recycling. The Ohio-based artist’s three-dimensional work eschews paint and instead features branding and packaging from corrugated cardboard can cases to give this iconic artwork a new 21st century perspective. SOLAR COOLING

Scandinavian Cooling/Kylsystem and Paxkent have collaborated with ClimateWell and Kingspan Renewables to install a Solar Cooling solution in the new ESAB offices in Dubai. ESAB, a welding products supplier, needed to expand into new offices and was concerned about the environment and the operating costs of the air conditioning needed. So Scandinavian Cooling designed and installed a Solar Cooling solution based on ClimateWell equipment, and used experience in high-tech indoor cooling systems with energy storage concrete to provide the perfect performance conditions. Lars Olof Johansson of Scandinavian Cooling/Kylsystem said: “We have cut the peak power needed in half by using the building as an energy storage [facility] and we have cut energy consumption in half by using Solar Cooling by ClimateWell. The result is the best indoor climate installation that we have ever


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done in our more than 30 years as indoor climate solution experts. It opens a new world of possibilities in countries with good solar irradiation.” Gerard Whelan, the managing director of Kingspan Renewables, said: “This is a stepping stone towards massive global growth for Solar Cooling.” YOU’LL GO SPA

The Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay, on the northern Musandam Peninsula in Oman, was designed to blend in with its natural surroundings. The luxury get-away destination also features a long list of environmental and sustainable features that have helped it win “green” awards. The Six Senses Holistic Environmental Management Programme focuses on improving the spa’s ecological and carbon footprint while also raising awareness of green issues with hosts, guests and the local community. Monthly reports are compiled on energy and water consumption, waste generation plus the use of chemicals and paper products. All waste water generated on the resort is treated on site and reused to flush toilets and for irrigation. And it also purifies and bottles its own drinking water through reverse osmosis, UV light and re-mineralisation. Re-usable glass bottles have replaced plastic bottles while all paper, plastic, metal and glass is recycled. Rechargeable batteries are used at the resort while empty printer cartridges are sold to the Green Offices Campaign for reuse, recycling and correct disposal.



Left to right: BaleHaus@Bath building; Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay; PLAnet Cup.


A team at Bath University in England has created a low carbon house made of straw that is strong enough to withstand hurricane force winds, let alone any huffing and puffing. The BaleHaus@Bath building was recently put through its paces and passed the test with flying colours, further increasing interest in a home that also boasts impressive thermal insulation qualities. ModCell is the designer, manufacturer and inventor of the pre-fabricated straw bale panels which allow the quick and efficient construction of homes using renewable, locally sourced, carbon sequestering materials that save on transport costs and minimise a building’s carbon footprint. “If we are completely serious about being ‘carbon free’ we need to rethink the design of our buildings on a large scale,” says Craig White, director of ModCell. “The ModCell BaleHaus system is designed to deliver just such a sustainable method of construction, combining the lowest carbon footprint and the best operational CO2 performance of any system of construction currently available.” The two-storey home was completed last year and is being monitored for a 12-month period for its thermal performance, air tightness, sound insulation and humidity levels. CUP WINNER

The PLAnet Cup has been launched by Melissa Floreani, the owner of Espresso Syndicate, a company that supplies sustainable, organic fair trade coffee to cafes across Melbourne. The disposable, compostable paper cup – made from forest-friendly paper – is lined with biodegradable PLA (corn starch) that is harvested from renewable resources and can be composted after use. Where forerunners

have retained a plastic lid, the PLAnet Cup is entirely compostable, from the cup to the innovative bioplastic lid which is made from biodegradable plant-derived material. Floreani developed the product after identifying a gap in the market. “As a coffee supplier, I was frustrated that I couldn’t provide my customers with a genuinely eco-conscious disposable cup,” she says. “Modern consumers want to limit the impact they are having on the world, but they want this to fit with their lifestyles, too. With PLAnet Cup, cafés can provide their customers with an easy way to preserve their green conscience without sacrificing their treat-to-self.” PLAnet Cup can be supplied to any café, either pre-printed with individual branding or as a white cup with minimal branding, accommodating the current trend for white cups with an ink logo stamp. PASSIVE RESISTANCE

Architectural company Kjellgren Kaminsky has designed Sweden’s first series of passive houses, including Villa Nyberg which was recently completed. These homes are extremely well insulated buildings that are largely heated by energy generated by occupants and household appliances operating in their customary mode. Villa Nyberg, situated in central Sweden, is also extremely airtight, setting new national standards in blow door tests to further reduce heat loss. The round shape of the 156 square metre villa eliminates cold bridges and reduces the enclosing wall area of the house. The kitchen and living room open towards views of a lake, while more private areas such as bathrooms and bedrooms are located on the other side of the home with smaller windows overlooking a forest. ID ID

August 2010


Master minds A creative cross-fertilisation has proved a wildly successful formula for German architects Ippolito Fleitz Group, according to founder Peter Ippolito.




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Left to right: Interior of the IF Group designed House F, overlooking the historic town of Denkendorf, Germany; ; Peter Ippolito (right) and Gunter Fleitz of Ippolito Fleitz Group.

Historically the term “Jack of all trades” implied failure to excel in a particular area, but as our knowledge grows and our skills become more diverse, who is to say that we can’t be a master of many, or excel in any field through collaboration? For architect Peter Ippolito, co-founder of Ippolito Fleitz Group, a multidisciplinary design studio based in Stuttgart, versatility is a laudable quality, and the foundation upon which he and his partner, Gunter Fleitz, have created a successful and creative practice. “We think that the problems of our clients are much too interesting to answer via just one discipline because today’s tasks, especially in the commercial markets, are so complex that it’s not only a spatial answer or a 2-D graphic answer,” he says. As trained architects, Ippolito and Fleitz met while studying in the 1990s (Ippolito attended Universität Stuttgart, while Fleitz attended Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart), but for Ippolito, a practice dedicated strictly to architecture never appealed. “I did a lot of things before I studied architecture. I did a bit of advertising, worked on a construction site, lived the bohemian life in Paris,” he says. “When I did projects in school I found it much more interesting to work with people who were not a part of the architecture world. I did all my projects with philosophers and people working in literature and the arts. My first commission was a job for a doctor’s practice, which I did with a literature colleague and an artist, so this was part of the idea of how I like to look at the world.” Today, the team at IF Group work in a broad range of disciplines, from corporate identity and electronic media, to landscapes and architecture, although interestingly it is interior design commissions that form the bulk of the architects’ projects. “I kind of like the scale of interior design, because you are closer to the user. Part of the quality of our work is that we design our spaces from the perception of the user and the client, so that kind of scale is very interesting to us. Of course, we like to build houses, but it’s the sensibility of interiors that we like,” Ippolito explains. Curiosity is the impetus that drives Ippolito and it plays a major part in his studio’s work. “I think that it is the core of what we do today, that’s why we do not specialise in just office or retail, but instead have a broad interest in the tasks of our clients, which are very different. It’s a very broad portfolio,” he says.

August 2010



Left to right: The Belfry, an annexe of the Palace of International Forums, is dedicated to jewels from the region; IF Group were responsible for the interior design of the luxury residential project Quant in Stuttgart.

An innovative spatial translation project for food and beverage giant Nestlé, the brand concept for a new restaurant chain and video postcards are just some of the projects, past and present, that have won the studio a host of awards, including no less than three reddot awards last year for its work in communication design. Last year, IF Group’s explorative approach led the architects to the brink of potential disaster, which, fortuitously, resulted in its most celebrated project to date. Imagine the scenario; a colleague calls and asks if you fancy a job in Uzbekistan? Great, what kind of job is it and what is the timeline? There lies the rub. The challenge was to create the interior architecture of a 33,700 square metre unbuilt auditorium and international visitor forum in celebration of the 2,200th anniversary of the city of Tashkent… within six months. “Our clients told us: ‘If you want to do it, you must prepare a quote and contract within two days,’ but we didn’t even know exactly what we would be undertaking, whether it would be an opera or an auditorium. We then found out what it was and what the timeline was. We got the contract on March 8, 2009, and it had to be finished by the end of August,” Ippolito recalls. Fortunately for the architects, the Government’s involvement with the project allowed them to bypass the notorious red tape that often hinders even the most straightforward projects. Tashkent’s Palace of International Forums stands not only as an important political symbol; the historic significance of such monumental architecture for a country in the process of finding its own identity following the end of Soviet rule almost two decades ago is immense. Made from a steel structure (built


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concurrently with the interior architecture) the exterior is clad in Thassos marble, a nod to the city’s previous Turkish name of Chachkand, which translates as “Stone fortress.” Beyond the palatial exterior, the inside is no less modest. Three Islamic inspired carved wooden doors lead visitors over the threshold into the main foyer, a vast 16 metre-high room clad in an Arabesque motif, which acknowledges the city’s Silk Road history and fifth century Muslim heritage. The most impressive aspect of the new landmark, however, is the enormous circular auditorium, which measures 50 metre in height and 50 metre in diameter, meaning acoustics were a major challenge for the architects. “The President specifically wanted a big volume, but for acoustic reasons it was really bad because it creates a huge echo, so we decided to subdivide the auditorium in two horizontally,” Ippolito says. “In the lower part we used Corian, which was folded according to the calculations of an acoustic specialist. The upper part is clad in acoustic absorbing plaster. However, the plaster could not be fixed in stages, so the craftsmen had to apply it in one movement, so if they messed up, they would have to have ripped it off and started again. The poor guys were standing on top of the scaffolding, creating this wonderful surface while steel beams were being fitted because we had to build the auditorium at the same time!” The result is an incredible grand volume that has a delicate ethereal feel thanks to



the fusion of the materials with fluorescent and LED lighting that circumscribes the amphitheatre. While working on the project, the architects were commissioned to create an additional structure to mark the momentous occasion, with a deadline of just two months. “In July, they decided that they wanted to include another project, the Belfry, within this historic programme, so this also had to be finished by the end of August, ready for September 1, which was Independence Day and the 2,200th year celebration of Tashkent.” Ippolito recalls. The Belfry, a gallery dedicated to jewellery from the region housed within one of the Forum’s bell towers, is no less lavish. Inspired by its content, the interior resembles a beautiful, ornate jewellery box. The interior walls are overlaid in shiny, polished, stainless steel panels, which are laser-cut, following a similar decorative motif to the palace foyer and tinted mirrors, which are positioned at each end to give an elongated feel. IF Group’s commendable achievements, despite such challenges, have not gone unnoticed. In addition to a number of projects worldwide, including a variety of restaurant chains throughout Germany and a Manhattan townhouse (which Ippolito admits has been much more problematic than the Palace), the team are now back in Tashkent working on two large private mansions. Although the UAE remains uncharted territory for the architects, they are


Clockwise from above: Staircase and interior of House F; Bella Italia Weine store and restaurant in Stuttgart. The award-winning design by IF Group was inspired by the warm, convivial atmosphere of the popular Italian dining spot.

hoping that the Palace of Forums will raise their profile among Islamic and Arab states, including Dubai. “I must admit, I’ve only really spent a couple of hours in Dubai, so I don’t really know it very well, but it’s always tough to create a city out of nothing and there is always the danger of collecting jewels – items that are rich in image and expression, but when you put them together the result can be very scary and artificial,” Ippolito says. “However, in Dubai, you understand the economical needs of that and it has worked, at least certainly before the financial crisis. There are so many interesting projects that I saw during my few hours in Dubai, it’s a magnificent place. It’s incredible how all the cultures come together to try to create something new.” ID

August 2010


The Essential Arabian Library In celebration of the centenary of the birth of Sir Wilfred Thesiger, the last of the great explorers, we offer 17 books and a limited edition print from The Arabian Heritage Series.

Described as a “Masterpiece” in The Times, this classic of travel literature is a must-read for anyone interested in the Arab world. The special Centenary Edition celebrates the anniversary of Thesiger’s birth in 1910, and includes 84 photographs and a fold-out map.

The authorised biography of Sir Wilfred Thesiger investigates this fascinating figure’s family influences, his wartime experiences, his philosophy as a hunter and conservationist, his writing and photography, and his friendships with tribal people.

This book is a breathtaking pictorial edition of the travel classic Arabian Sands, and contains the same fold-out map which appeared in the first edition of Arabian Sands in 1959.

Dhs 120 *

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 165*

normal retail price

This title by Daniel and Serga Nadler takes an in-depth look at the world of silver and how it is valued for its many purposes by different cultures around the globe.

A wonderfully illustrated book that covers the fascinating history of shawls from their earliest origins. The history of the Kerman shawl, is one of its delightful highlights.

Arabian Destiny is an insightful autobiography and a very personal account of the life of the late Edward Henderson – a man whose life was inextricably linked to the history of the UAE.

Dhs 295 *

Dhs 295 *

Dhs 55 *

This enchanting book is a showcase of the people of the Emirates during the mid-20th century. A superb collection of photographs by Ronald Codrai, documenting times gone by.

A wonderful photographic memoir by world renowned photographer Ronald Codrai. This book focuses on Codrai’s time spent in the Arab world during the past half-century.

This personal record of the seafarers of the Emirates focuses on a time when the Gulf was home to the largest merchant-sailing fleet in the world.

In this concise, yet thorough, description of

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 85 *

Tel +971 4 282 4060 Tel +971 2 677 2005

Fax +971 4 282 7898 Fax +971 2 677 0124

the Arabian countries benefiting most from 21st century affluence, Edward O’Sullivan summarizes years of experience.

Order online:


Entire collection now only Dhs 1450

including free delivery in the GCC A saving of over 50% off the normal retail price of Dhs 3000

Free Limited Edition Print Worth Dhs 350 Launching a Dhow, Abu Dhabi, 1948 by Sir Wilfred Thesiger (16� x 12�)


an aerial tour


an aerial tour

Dubai is an emirate of spectacular sights. With post-modern architecture and high-rise towers that jostle with one another, the city’s aerial views provide a magnificent insight into its different landscapes – be they manmade islands or landscaped villas, magnificent highways or grand hotels, verdant green parks or giant shopping malls – taking the reader on an awe-inspiring scenic tour. Beyond the city’s limits, turquoise-blue waters with sandy beaches, symmetrical palm trees and ancient desert landscapes provide photographers with many opportunities. International aerial photographer, Dirk Laubner, has produced a fine portrait of the emirate that reveals why Dubai is such a popular tourist destination. Published in a single, five-language edition, Dubai – An Aerial Tour is a collection of brilliant images of the emirate and a fascinating record of Dubai from the air as we see it today. Placing tourist attractions and significant landmarks in perspective, it provides a magnificent aerial tour for visitors and residents alike.

Dirk Laubner

Dirk Laubner

This book by internationally acclaimed photographer Dirk Laubner takes you on a breathtaking aerial tour around the emirate of Dubai.

This intimate and colourful view of the Emirates is a reproduction of one of famed British artist Trevor Waugh’s journals, kept while travelling the length and breadth of the land.

This book is part of the ‘Noor Ali Rashid’s Royal Collection’, and includes beautiful historical images, highlighting the 40 years of remarkable transformation undergone by the UAE.

Dhs 145 *

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 125 * Dubai

Patrick Lichfield’s photography has spanned four decades of change. His iconic images from the early 1960s to the present day, include notable personalities and events that characterised their times.


A cousin of Queen Elizabeth, The Earl of Lichfield, launched himself as a photographer in 1962. He soon progressed from photographing London’s party set to editorial work for national daily newspapers. Success in notable London magazines, such as the highly influential magazine, led to commissions from ,  and #& ! magazines in the United States. Since that time, his pictures – ranging from formal and informal portraits, including many members of royalty as well as celebrities, prominent figures from the world of fashion and beauty to high profile advertising – have become well known around the world.

Patrick Lichfield


In recent years, Patrick Lichfield has been a frequent visitor to Dubai, a destination he admires and enjoys and one which certainly provides a wealth of fascinating subjects for his camera. '  #& !#!# is the outcome of these visits; it is a rich study of one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest growing cities.

"%##"!# !#


P a t r i c k

L i c h f i e l d

Patrick Lichfield’s portrait of Dubai presents images of a cosmopolitan city, a vibrant emirate and a dynamic people in tribute to one of the fastest growing cities in the world.

A beautiful heartfelt tale of two cultures, and a love and understanding between a Western and Arab family. The Times called it “a deeply sympathetic evaluation of a culture�.

A compilation of poetry by Dubai’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed reveals his passions but tempers them with justice and tolerance.

Dr Frauke Heard-Bey’s definitive history of the UAE is a must-read about life in the seven Trucial States before the wealth of oil, and events leading up to the 21st century UAE.

Dhs 185 *

Dhs 55 *

Dhs 75 *

Dhs 120 *


Footnotes From rustic wooden planks and sparkling metallics to geometrically-themed rugs, flooring helps to set the tone of a space. identity guides you through some of the most daring and contemporary themes. TEXT: RUBY ROGERS


CONTENTS: 36 Into the wild 36 Switched on 38 Centre stage 40 Spotlight on soft floor coverings 42 Colour confidence 44 Close-up on wood 47 Targeting tiles 47 Looking ahead 48 Exotic influences 49 Globetrotting 49 The final word

Dinesen flooring.

August 2010



You walk on it; sit on it; your children jump on it – in fact flooring is in use 24/7, so it makes sense to invest in well-made, quality products that will look good for years to come. “Flooring is key,” says Tara Bernerd, chairman and head of design at Target Living. “I think that you can never underestimate the floor, it has a major impact on design and it has a huge effect on how we feel.” INTO THE WILD

“Urban jungle” is one of the key trends shaping floors in autumn/winter 2010, says Shelley Pond, trend forecaster for Scarlet Opus. Last winter, the buzz was all about glamour set against a gritty backdrop whereby hard-edged industrial elements were thrown into the mix with a touch of sparkle (think concrete meets crystals). A similar city aesthetic is set to make waves this winter, although this time it is softened by references to Mother Nature. “Surface pattern design appears overgrown and overlaid, with foliage taking over as the principal pattern,” Pond says. “Smart geometrics, grids and stripes are over-printed, embroidered, sometimes transparent or layered. Hard and soft materials are intertwined with distinctly grained hardwood furniture featuring textile inserts and inlays.” Concrete, tarmac and brick are also present – uneven, worn away and bearing the faint remnants of graffiti – also watch out for traces of erosion. As its name suggests, urban jungle is a fusion of nature and the city. “The answer it seems is to invite nature into every aspect of our lives – complete integration, complete harmony,” Pond says. “Cityscapes and landscapes merge


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as we invite nature into urban environments rather than trying to keep it out – co-existence is key.” What this means for flooring is grey carpets with a gritty, speckled appearance, rugs featuring dry brushstrokes and concrete flooring softened by foliage patterns. Mossy or verdigris elements seen on tiles and vinyl flooring give the impression that nature has been left to run wild while carpets, rugs and tiles are decorated with leafy geometrics in bold colour combinations. Also watch out for smart striped carpets in tones of grey or perhaps a more daring mix of black and luscious greens. This new dialogue between urban and rural living speaks of our respect for the world beyond the front door and how our choices affect it. Expertly designed, well-made products proven to stand the test of time are in demand. Think natural fibres (wool, cotton), solid woods from sustainable and well-managed sources, solid marble and stone. When it comes to floors, shop for natural alternatives such as sisal, seagrass and bamboo. SWITCHED ON

Pond has identified “light” as another source of inspiration for artists, designers and product developers in new creative fields, “channelling the qualities of cutting edge scientific and technological developments to produce amazing results”. She calls this trend “light fantastic” and credits its look and feel to metallics – a dominating presence on the trend agenda – as well as water influences on surface finishes. “The brilliant colour palette enables a broad spectrum of

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Top to bottom: Solid smoked oak from Parador’s Trendtime 1 collection; indulge in the understated opulence of the Amtico Metals comprising six subtle shades and a fantastic rippled beaten texture.

Art references. “Interaction is a key element of this trend with many products displaying ‘sensitive’ qualities [such as heat-sensitive and touch-sensitive] that transform surface colours and reveal hidden patterns,” she says. So how does all this translate to flooring? Watch out for thick velvet pile carpet in deep shades of ultramarine and Atlantis green, glass floor tiles incorporating LED lights and high-shine mosaic floor tiles in interlocking geometric shapes. Make a statement with iridescent mosaic floor tiles, geometric patterns (such as repeating hexagons and horizontal zigzags seen on carpets, rugs and tiles) and intensely coloured peacock feathers subtly placed on rugs. When it comes to colour, the buzzword is blue, a highlight on the spring / summer catwalks of 2009 and set to make an impact on interiors in 2010. “The colour palette for ‘light fantastic’ projects a brilliance in the truest sense of the word, and clearly marks the renaissance of ‘blue’,” Pond says. “It is based on dark, deep sea and space shades, illuminated by radiant accent colours of green oasis and deep amethyst with a beautiful iridescent shine.” CENTRE STAGE

special effects to be achieved on surfaces for furniture, furnishings, wall coverings and flooring including iridescent and reflective sequins, changeant silks and foils reminiscent of butterfly wings, transparencies that simulate refracted light, liquid and mercury looks, dip-dyed ombrès, holographic and 3D effects, metallic foils, integrated LEDs providing luminescence and crystalline glitters creating textured shimmer,” Pond says. She associates a “busy, restless” feeling to this trend, a nod to our fastpaced existence, which is surpassed only by the speed of communication technology. Pond suggests we shop for geometric patterns – in particular repeating hexagons – horizontal zigzags, diamonds within diamonds and Op


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“Silent theatre” is the final trend under the spotlight for autumn/winter 2010, which takes its influence from the spirit of The Ballet Russe (1909-1929). “The form and flow, and the drapes and folds of the costumes are subtly felt in this trend,” Pond explains. “There is a strong theatrical mood and we continue to see exaggerations of scale creating drama with impressive ‘stage set’ interior schemes that dwarf us. It is quietly striking, sculptural, unobtrusive, calm and easy to appreciate.” Silent theatre is also understated; its mission is to make the complex look simple and allow what appears to be simple to have an underlying layer of complexity. “Simplicity layered with complexity – simplexity,” Pond says. “This design philosophy has no room for excess; everything is significant, resulting in


Clockwise from above: Wicander’s cork flooring; Bisazza’s Basic Brown glass mosaic from the Opus Romano collection; Maison Guerlain Paris.

August 2010


Always on the pulse of leading fashion palettes, Stepevi has introduced evocative shades of red, grey and berry for its luxurious 2010 collection.

elegant innovations. Beautifully detailed surface finishes and intense decoration attract our attention and appreciation. Concentrated layers of pattern are applied in a modest way. Modesty is crucial to this trend’s attitude reflecting a growing mood in society that is slowly turning its back on ‘reveal all’ celebrity culture and turning instead towards professionals and experts.” Bring silent theatre to your floors with carpets featuring lace patterning, “appearing slightly fuzzy and woolly”, Pond says. Look out for sculpted carpets and rugs – “embossed and impressed with ‘low relief’ raised surface patterns” – as well as carpet and floor tiles patterned with ornate Baroque scrolls and Art Deco geometrics. Oversized rugs in deep smokey purple or liquorice featuring large-scale patterns are bang on trend – “creating a striking drama”. As is high-shine lacquered flooring in barely there nude tones and rugs with laser-cut detailing. “The quiet colour palette ranges from pale nudes, intimate pinks and warm tinted greys to dreamy night time purples and liquorice,” Pond says. Rose-tinted and pale golds together with translucent black complete the look. SPOTLIGHT ON SOFT FLOOR COVERINGS

Nature continues to inspire soft floor coverings together with growing concerns for the environment and traditional values. These trends identify with our desire for timeless understated luxury and easy elegance, achieved by mixing old with new, contemporary with tradition and heritage.


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Hand knotted rugs by former architect Jürgen Dahlmanns are a lesson in fusing traditional craft techniques with contemporary patterns, colours and materials. “Rugs are my obsession and they always will be,” he explains. “Nineteen years ago I was in the Himalayas and bought a very old rug from a Tibetan farmer. From that moment I became a collector of old Tibetan rugs but after some years I became addicted to the beauty of the product, the country and the people, so I built my own workshop. That was 2001 and since then I have been very happy.” Although Dahlmanns respects the traditions of hand-knotted weaving he is not a fan of repeated patterns, preferring to produce what he calls “supercharged landscapes with life and colour”. The upshot is a range of fearless designs that run from simple geometrics to Chinese influences in psychedelic colours. “I see a movement towards strong colours like lime, turquoise, pink or deep purple contrasting with natural materials like hemp and natural silk,” Dahlmanns says. “I am also sure that combinations of mauve and beige, light blue with sand and light pink with white beige will be seen a lot in the near future.” Dahlmanns’ creations sit well with our pursuit of personal expression, which is driven by the demand for products that strike a different vibe. “A rug can be unexpected,” he concludes. “There is so much inside of us that is unexpected; I am happy when something in the home reflects this.” Also striving to raise the bar in rug design is The Rug Company, a leading name in contemporary, handmade rugs which has recently collaborated with Tara Bernerd to produce a collection that brings Bernerd’s passion for colour,


Rug by Esprit.

August 2010



Stratos is an eco-friendly stone effect surface from NovaBell.

texture and detail to the floor. Similar to the standards set by Dahlmanns, each piece in the new collection is hand-made by skilled artisans using traditional craft skills and the highest quality yarns. Designs include Honeycomb, a timeless geometric in subtle creams and mossy greys. “I wanted something that would work in a room without being too imposing but bring a punchy impact that is still stylish and has a modern feel; a rug that suits many different scenarios,” Bernerd explains. Another is Papillon, which pays homage to her passion for butterflies. Bernerd’s top tip when buying rugs is to factor them into your design early on. “When starting from scratch I always begin by looking at the layout and how the room actually works. Next I look at the finishes: the floors, walls, doors, ironmongery. And at that point, if my client is considering a wood or resin floor that lends itself well to a rug, I start thinking about size etc,” she says.


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Rugs and carpets should be sensual and practical, says Joanna Ramsden, creative manager of Wools of New Zealand, citing “inviting colours” and “tactile textures” as key ingredients to the new ranges being launched. Leading looks include subtle shades of grey, taupe and winter whites, delicate pastels, frozen neutrals and powdered minerals – “beautiful and sophisticated colour options”, Ramsden says. Stormy greys, teals and midnight blues are also bang on trend, complementing chic and mysterious shades of teal, ink and soft charcoal, platinum, pine, gunmetal and amethyst. “Fresh leaf and vegetable tones blend with herbal, moss, olive, antique gold and bronze shades in an eclectic palette of greens,” Ramsden says. “Nostalgic and romantic hues of faded rose, mulberry and Chantilly merge with rich wild

Left to right: Barcelona-born Cristian Zuzunaga presents his new Digit rug collection for Nanimarquina; carpet from The Orientalist.

berry tones. Vintage pinot noir and russet are layered with shades of dusky violet, pink almond, glace fondant and chocolate. Sumptuous tones of coffee, caramel, cocoa and melted chocolate blend with soft warm paprika and an indulgent cochineal.” Other key palettes include old and mellowed golds fused with warm aromatic spice tones of cinnamon, saffron and burnt orange; energising hues of burnt amber and pumpkin blended with caraway, nutmeg and warm brandy; and vibrant, energising brights with accents of cobalt, vermillion, azure, aquamarine, spring green and lilac. “These add a touch of zest and bring the palette to life,” Ramsden concludes. CLOSE-UP ON WOOD

Raw and ragged ruled the summer catwalks, sending out a clear message that rustic has arrived to rescue our wardrobes from polished chic. It’s a similar story for flooring, where smooth polished surfaces have been replaced in part by specialist smoked and heat-treated finishes that bring out the grain of the wood. Rustic means brushed and bevelled wood floors and stained surfaces together with rustic grains – imperfections in the wood that were once removed now reinforce this rustic look. Exotic species are scarce so dark and light pigmented oak floors from sustainable sources are shaping up as an excellent alternative. Eco-friendly designs are driving global trends. Al Aqili Furnishings Flooring Division is showcasing the latest range of flooring solutions from Shaw Contract Group, whose collections combine quality design with recyclable raw materials and are created using environmentally efficient production processes. Look out for EnviroCore, the first engineered hardwood to be Cradle-to-Cradle certified. Made with 50 per cent recycled content, its densely compressed


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recycled wood fibres are fusion bonded for “unsurpassed structural integrity and unrivalled eco-integrity.” To further the advantages of using environmentally conscious materials, “green” installation techniques with low-emitting adhesives and sealants should be used. The international Italian producer of numerous LEED-compliant products, Mapei, available in the region through Innovative Building Solutions, is a leader in the research and development of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) and low-dust adhesives that magnify the benefits of using eco materials. The enduring popularity of wood is easy to understand; it brings warmth and character to the home and lasts for decades, looking better from one year to the next. “I have never tired of a beautiful wooden floor, for me there is something timeless about it,” says Tara Bernerd. Her preference is for wide floorboards in a striking dark finish – “usually I like to use oak flooring but I would avoid very pale looks”, she says. Bernerd believes that the ubiquitous use of light wood is due to a lack of consumer confidence. “Flooring is such a huge cost and takes up such a huge amount of space that even if one flirts with the idea of a dark wood floor or a lime washed finish we revert back to a natural oak because we feel more comfortable with it,” she says. In the same way Bernerd would not encourage a client to paint a wall pale cream – “we have so many pale creams and they don’t push any boundaries” – she encourages people to take a slightly bolder approach to flooring. “There are ways of stepping outside the box without going too far,” Bernerd says. “My advice is to call in lots of samples and put them together with the other materials that you are using in your room and at least explore the opportunity of using darker woods.”


Hand-knotted rugs by J端rgen Dahlmanns fuse traditional craft techniques with contemporary patterns, colours and materials.

August 2010


Stua’s Adrianna rug by Javier Guerrero pays homage to broken tiles.


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Laminate flooring from Boen.


As minimalism shows signs of diminishing, coloured tiles have increased in popularity as a way to add depth and contrast to a space. “Injection of colour can create a bold statement when used on feature walls or floors to ceiling surfaces, whilst subtle splashes of vibrant colour work well when combined with a more neutral palette,” says David Portalés Mañanós, a representative from the Association of Ceramic Tile Manufacturers of Spain (ASCER). Responsible production processes that reduce waste and lower energy consumption are also a key consideration for tile manufacturers. And while using less material is one way to reduce their carbon footprint (hence the noteable trend for super thin tiles), the other advantage is that these slim formats can be fixed on top of an exiting tiled area, making it easier for the end-user to give their home an instant makeover. Italian manufacturer NovaBell has gone one step further and announced its commitment to “NovaBell ecosystem” in 2007; a programme dedicated to the sustainable development of ceramic tiles. Products contain at least 40 per cent of recycled ceramic content and are produced following an ecological production process. Advances in technology have taken faux look tiles to a new level. Stone effect tiles are seen on walls and floors in polished and matt finishes, working particularly well in the bathroom when contrasted with pure white sanitary ware. Ongoing themes include marble-effects – more realistic than ever before – chic leather looks and faux woods. Tiles that imitate wallpaper are also bang on trend: look out for flock, wood panels and geometric repeats. Colours are

muted and burnished with pastel shades, deep purples, blues and black and white graphics in abundance. LOOKING AHEAD

If you are looking for post winter fun, then flooring for spring/summer 2010 will hit the spot. According to trend forecaster Victoria Redshaw, it is time to break the rules with the “feel good factor”, which will inject some serious fun back into our lives and home décor. “The mood is witty, bold and daring but there is also a laid-back feeling that stops the trend from being frantic, and instead gives it a very carefree atmosphere,” she explains. “Designers embrace the opportunity to be controversial, to forge new collaborations and co-operatives.” Miami’s Art Deco District reflects the true spirit of this trend – “the bright pastel architecture, glamorous beach lifestyle and night-time neon lights”, Renshaw says. Art Deco architecture will inspire interiors; think bas-relief stucco, cast concrete, patterned terrazzo flooring, giant murals and strong colour blocking (mono colours, two-tone duos and eclectic multi-coloured groupings). An upbeat 1980’s vibe is also influential with a nod to the Memphis Movement, a group of Italian designers and architects who joined creative forces in 1981 to challenge the minimalist aesthetic of the time with a series of unconventional products. Look out for unexpected shapes, big curves and strong angles, explosions of pattern and clashing uncomplimentary colours. The sea is also a major influencing factor with many creatives inspired by waves, deep sea creatures and ocean colour palettes. “Undulating and liquid forms are emerging in the work of international architects, interior designers and

August 2010


Edition 2 developed by the Parador design team uses completely new patterns for laminate floors; Edition 2 developed by the Parador design team uses completely new patterns for laminate floors.

product designers, and the slices of ‘surreal’ elements that are apparent in some autumn/winter 2010 / 2011 trends become more exaggerated during 2011 resulting in a distinct Dali-esque influence of meting and liquid design aesthetics,” Renshaw says. In terms of flooring, have fun with palm trees and flamingo motifs, multicoloured polka dots, jazz-age diamond patterns, zigzags, kaleidoscope prints in saturated colours and candy stripes sometimes digitally manipulated into swirling patterns. Indulge in swimming pool patterns and oceanic themes such as ripples, waves, water effects, corals, anemones and jellyfish – shimmering and subtle or bright and bold. “Pixelated mix and match coloured tiles give an edgy modern look that’s bang on trend,” Renshaw says. “Super-resilient rubber flooring also sets the tone and comes in a whole spectrum of gorgeous fashion colours and textures.” Be inspired by the work of Ron Arad and Nanimarquina, who recently collaborated to create Do-Lo-Rez, a rug and sofa conceived as a single element. EXOTIC INFLUENCES

Next up on the trend agenda is “desert oasis”, a nod to African Safari-styling, which has filtered down from fashion. “The dry earth colour palette and tribal geometrics have proved popular because the neutral base is easy to live with, and it can update and add character to plain room schemes simply,” Renshaw says. “The geographical reference point has never shifted very far but spring/ summer 2011 brings a much more diverse take on this look, leading us through the deserts of the world in search of adventure, shelter and treasures.”


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The first stop is Egypt, with several trends embracing 1920s undertones – “it makes perfect sense that one of the biggest influences on design during that period would also have an impact on this 2011 trend, namely the discovery of Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922”, Renshaw says. African influences can still be felt throughout interiors, although the Middle East is set to serve up a large dose of glittering exotic glamour. Look out for surface patterns that appear slightly streaked as if blown by the desert winds, seen on tiles and rugs featuring undulating sand dune ripples and matte surface textures. There are signs of erosion on ceramics and metallic tiles while burnished metals also look slightly rusted as if they have been left out in the elements. Moreover, chiselled dry rock textures inspire stone flooring. “This rawness is also created via embroidery work in course threads and patchwork elements of hessian, jute, flax, hemp and linen for rugs,” Renshaw says. “Sisal, raffia, coconut fibre and fine bamboo strips are worked into statement rugs. Dry brushstroke patterns are oversized and expressive as are ‘cracked earth’ textures.” Metallic wire and panel inlays are also to be found in many flooring products, but Renshaw stresses that their presence is subtle and can be only appreciated on closer inspection. Shop for rippled surface textures inspired by rolling sand dunes, mismatched mosaic tiles, tribal geometrics, medallion motifs and intricate dot design. Ikat weaves continue to be a key pattern for carpets, rugs and tiles, while African safaris inspire subtle animal and retile skin prints and textures, animal motifs, and even bone inlays. Look out for weathered leather flooring as well as stylised papyrus patterns, sunbursts and geometric patterns based on triangles, diamonds and chevrons in reference to Egyptian inspired Art Deco designs.


Clockwise from above: The new Basic collection by SICIS is suitable for floors in residential and public settings; wall to wall carpet from Masland; Habana Brown natural stone covers the floor in this L’Antic Colonial bathroom.

“As we socialise on a global level via social networking and even online gaming, many people are ‘virtual nomads’ with no relevant fixed abode,” she says. From a design perspective, this trend sources inspiration from India and South America. Craft is strongly apparent as we cherish traditional skills that satisfy our need to connect with the past but apply them in new ways to new objects – something old seen on something new. “Ambrés sit alongside ikats, Indian florals mash-up with Madras checks, paisleys play against ticking stripes, tie-dye takes its place next to henna patterns,” Renshaw explains. “Mixes of South American textiles create a dynamic styling with lively patterns and pulsing colours, ordered Aztec geometrics and blocky Inca and Mayan animal motifs.” Looks for flooring include wood decorated with intricately patterned inlays, highly polished tiles that are reminiscent of agate and malachite to give a mineral edge and elaborate mosaic tiles adding subtle patterns and colours. This is an upbeat trend so watch out for vibrant hues: coral, pimento red, turquoise, malachite green, agate violet and indigo. THE FINAL WORD

The colour palette for desert oasis includes natural leaf greens and khaki tones used to break-up the sandy shades and the dappling of rich browns. Desert blooms bring splashes of colour as do insects; the iridescent wings and hard shiny shells of beetles introduce purples, Lapis Lazuli and turquoise blues. GLOBETROTTING

Going global is the final trend identified by Renshaw for spring/summer 2011, a nod to the notion that “where we are from” is increasingly less tangible as we travel the world and live in different countries and multi-cultural communities.

“We have to be careful when we use the word ‘trend’,” Tara Bernerd advises. “As a designer, I strive to create something that has lasting value and I think the greatest compliment I can have is when 10 years later someone walks into a house I have designed and says that it still looks great. Style evolves but you must always be genuine to what your tastes are. “The trick is you need longevity, but longevity does not mean being the person with a pale oak floor and cream walls because you are nervous to experiment. Longevity doesn’t mean being scared and not testing the boundaries,” she concludes. “Test the boundaries!” ID

August 2010



Flooring from Dinesen.



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The sound of silence On the eve of the summer solstice in June 2010, at a site a few miles from Stonehenge in southwest England, a work of art that shows the transformational power of light was created. TEXT: RICHARD WARREN


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Interactive art, the type we can touch and even play with, is hugely popular, so when given an opportunity to go one stage further and help make an artwork, many people jump at it. When artist and lighting designer Bruce Munro sought help with creating an installation at his home in Wiltshire, southwest England, hundreds of people responded. His aim was gargantuan – to turn a four-hectare field into a fantastical, man-made version of the sea, using not water, but compact discs. To achieve his goal he launched a media appeal in October 2009 for people to send him unwanted CDs and DVDs, and by early summer 2010, 600,000 discs had arrived, some from as far away as Brazil and California. Forty-thousand CDs were donated by just one man. The artist then sent out his second appeal, for people to help lay out these CDs on his field over a single weekend in June. One-hundred-and-forty of us arrived to help and by Sunday evening we had created a work of art. Yes, the vision for CDSea was Munro’s, but the role of individual volunteers was bigger than many would have anticipated, because we not only laid out this sea, we helped shape it. CDSea’s design is straightforward enough – a rectangle of discs massed close together with a meandering ribbon of grass running diagonally through it. When the sun shone, the CDs lit up like a mass of individual coloured lights and from a couple of metres away you could see bright bands of red, blue or green light streaked across them. Further away the discs became lines or pools of colour, mostly turquoise and other similar shades. When the sun went behind a cloud, the sea became a mass of pale, silvery grey violet. At night, it appeared like a carpet of over-sized, blue pearl buttons. Walking along the installation’s serpentine grass path was to experience CDSea at its most brilliant. Light reflected off discs with the same blinding intensity as it does off water; around you the air filled with flashes of piercing white light, so objects and people beyond the installation were temporarily lost from view; unlike water, heat rose from the discs, generating extra intensity. The path’s squiggly-shape gave it a fantasy feel, and brought to mind labyrinths and even the Yellow Brick Road.

August 2010



Top to bottom: Water tower; CD Sea installation. Made from 600,000 compact discs laid out by 140 helpers.

“The field at Long Knoll has a public foot path through it. It’s an integral part of the design,” Munro says. “I love the idea that people can walk through the middle of a sea. The sea makes adults become like children; walking across the sea is every child’s fantasy. Unplanned, two sides of CDSea are wobbly, two straight. The start line for laying out discs was the same, so that side of the installation was straight, but helpers worked at different speeds, came and went, and moved from spot to spot. Helpers also began to work in two directions, so two sides, those where they finished, had irregular edges, an unexpected result that delighted Munro. “The irregular edge is one of those lucky occurrences, it just happens to look like a tidal line on a beach,” the artist says. “One has to be pragmatic about these sort of things. Laying down rules often stunts the result. I am a great believer in letting things take their own course, with a gentle nudge here and there.” Helpers shaped the sea in another way, too. Some of us laid CDs in straight lines, adopting Asian, rice planter-style positions of legs apart, bending down and planting the crop as quickly as possible, because we knew time was limited. But most planters sat on the grass and placed their CDs slowly, carefully, while chatting, making sure the spacing between discs was just so – not overlapping, nor revealing too much grass between them. To make sure the spacing between CDs was just right, some would stand up and dip a toe into the “sea”, to carefully nudge a disc this way or that. From a distance, it looked like they


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Field of Light installation of 10,000 orbs planted in a four-hectare field.

were gingerly dipping toes into water to test its temperature – a sign the illusion of sea was starting to appear. Other planters scattered discs carelessly. I was slightly contemptuous of these helpers until I overheard the following conversation. Planter A: “Your lines are nothing like as straight as Jane’s.” Planter B: “Really?” Planter A: “Oh yes, hers are very regimented.” Planter B: “So, does that say something about our minds?” Planter B: “Oh definitely. I think we need a bit more self-expression here (starts scattering CDs randomly). We need to get spontaneous about this.” As much as it pains me to write this, he was right. In quite a few places, lines are not neat and straight, but arc, bend and wobble, just like water appears to do when there are ebbs and flows in currents and wave formation – so much more authentic than my own ranks of disc soldiers. In the name of art, I have promised myself to be more untidy and careless in the future. Through chaos greatness comes. Fuelled by a lunch of barbecued meat and apple juice on the second day, our small army of helpers, many getting sunburnt by the bright, hot light reflecting off the CDs, completed its task by around 6pm, just as the sun was starting its slow, mid-summer descent into the West, casting a soft, golden glow over the countryside and the “sea” as it did so. The CDs twinkled gold here and there in reply. Munro would like to recreate his installation in Australia, the country that inspired it, and where he lived for a spell in his 20s. One homesick Sunday

afternoon, he was sitting on a rocky peninsular at Nielsen Park, Sydney. “The light was still strong, like a blanket of shimmering silver light,” he says. “I had this childish notion that by putting my hand in the sea I was somehow connected to my home in Salcombe in South West England, where my father lived. I came away from the beach in a very positive frame of mind” It was the first time he was aware that the “play of light” had transformed his mood and was astonished that something so familiar had the power to alter his emotional state. CDSea is a reconstruction of this moment. He chose CDs to represent the sea because of their light reflective qualities. “I have always wanted to do something with a CD or DVD,” he says. “Luckily it just popped into my mind that this was the medium I needed to recreate this lighting effect.” CDSea is the second large installation Munro has created in his field. In 2005, he sowed the Field of Light, 10,000 orbs on stems of different heights, planted in groups of concentric circles. Every few seconds the clusters of orbs slowly changed colour, one after another in a domino effect. A version of this installation was later recreated at the eco-conscious Eden Project tourist attraction. The artist’s next big scheme is two installations at Salisbury Cathedral in Wiltshire, including a light maze of 69 water towers, which will be completed this coming winter. Weather permitting, CDSea will stay on public view in the artist’s field near the village of Kilmington until the end of August 2010 after which the discs will be sent for recycling. ID

August 2010



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CONTENTS: 60 Home for the holidays 64 Moulded from clay 70 Antennae 72 Portfolio

August 2010



The Dune House in Suffolk, designed by Jarmund/Vigsnaes Rocky Lane, combines nine contemporary, bedroom,architecture Architects combinesthree contemporary low carbon houses at St. features. Agnes. with classic vernacular

Home for the holidays Author, philosopher and founder of Living Architecture, Alain de Botton talks exclusively to identity about his biggest challenge to date – changing Britain’s perception of modern architecture TEXT: ASHLEE BEARD


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In The Architecture of Happiness, author Alain de Botton quotes the 20th century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein: “You think philosophy is difficult, but I tell you, it’s nothing compared to the difficulty of being a good architect.” Prompted by his discoveries while researching, the author decided to challenge Britain’s perception of contemporary domestic architecture with the creation of Living Architecture, a not-for-profit enterprise offering short-term holiday homes in England designed by a selection of world-class architects. “Many people in Britain are still suspicious of contemporary architecture on the whole because they don’t know it from close up. The great modern buildings in the UK tend to be either in the public realm, such as railway stations or airports, or they are in private hands and cannot be visited. The idea of Living Architecture is to introduce people to domestic architecture of a very good quality and in a small way, to change the debate about the sort of buildings that people could be constructing here,” de Botton explains. Since commencing the project five years ago, de Botton has drawn up a team of experts, including Dickon Robinson, Living Architecture’s chairman and the former director of development for London’s oldest housing association, The Peabody Trust; Mark Robinson, former project manager for London’s Serpentine Gallery Pavilions; Richard Day of the National Trust; and architect Meredith Bowles, a leader in sustainable architecture. Working with practices from both Britain and Europe, the organisation aims to begin a dialogue similar to that of the 1950s California Case Study Houses. The first of the five homes is Balancing Barn, a 30-metre long structure that hangs semi-cantilevered over its sloping Suffolk site, designed by Rotterdam-based MVRDV. Dutch designer Jurgen Bey worked with the architects to create the barn’s cosy, contemporary interior. In October, NORD’s Shingle House will follow, offering guests the chance to experience the extreme landscape of Dungeness – Britain’s only desert – from within a tarred shingle structure that tips a nod to local history. Due to planning issues and land buying difficulties, all of the locations chosen had existing post war structures still standing and Shingle House follows the footprint of the site’s former residents, a shop, smokery, shed and fisherman’s cottage. Next January will see the opening of JVA of Norway’s first UK project, Dune House, in the village of Thorpeness. Although still under construction, the studio’s modern reinterpretation of a classic seaside retreat has already become de Botton’s favourite of the five projects, despite some initial disagreements. “In JVA’s first scheme, each room was to be accessed by a ladder, but that just

August 2010



Clockwise from left: de Botton; MVRDV’s Balancing Barn in Thorington, Suffolk is Living Architecture’s first completed project; the main living and dining area of JVA’s Dune House; first floor bedroom and mezzanine of NORD’s Shingle House; the Long House in Cockthorpe, Norfolk, designed by Hopkins Architects will be available to rent from March 2011.

wasn’t going to work for us. We liked the scheme and thought it was fun, but it was just impractical. They were very disappointed, but it was just impossible for us,” he says. As the project takes form – without ladders – de Botton admits: “I think the JVA house is going to be really special. I thought that it would be nice, but I think it’s going to be absolutely exceptional. It’s quite modest, but it’s going to be really sweet.” However, the final two of the initial planned projects are the star turns. In Norfolk, Sir Michael and Lady Patty Hopkins of London, and Dubai-based Hopkins Architects have reinterpreted the traditional long house with clad flint walls reminiscent of the region’s flint-walled barns and churches, while within the hills and valleys of Chivelstone in south Devon, Pritzker prize-winner Peter Zumthor will build his first UK project, a hilltop retreat dedicated to reflection and creativity. When it came to deciding the line-up, Zurich-born de Botton admits that Swiss compatriot Zumthor was his choice, although the selection was democratic “We all had very similar tastes. I was pushing for a Swiss and I also


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wanted there to be a Dutch firm, as I think that both countries have done very well in architecture, but other than that, we ran some competitions of which JVA and NORD won. The rest was general consensus,” he says. Since the beginning of his literary career in 1992, de Botton has tackled a diverse range of subjects inspired by personal experiences, from a detailed analysis of the processes of falling in and out of love, to his most recent topic, an account of life at Britain’s Heathrow Airport. However, it was The Architecture of Happiness, a philosophical investigation into our relationship with buildings that sparked his current crusade. As we sit in the lounge of a pre-war apartment in north London, the writer recalls the ideas behind the book. “I think that living in London you are faced, on a daily basis with bad architecture that’s the result not so much of poverty, but of bad ideas. As a thinking person that seemed to be a challenge, the way that people still say: ‘You can’t tell what’s attractive, it’s all subjective, it’s down to the individual’,” de Botton says. “That seemed to be a very dangerous argument and not one that you would make about morality or law, for example. It seems strange that when it comes down to aesthetics the argument is made that nobody knows what a good building is. I think this is a bonus for developers who think that they can do whatever they like and when people don’t like it they can use one of those classic rebuttals like: ‘Who are you to say?”

It’s not only Britain’s domestic architecture that de Botton finds disappointing, he also has a strong opinion about Dubai. “It’s following a model of urban planning based on Le Corbusier’s ideas of towers dotted around the landscape, connected by giant motorways,” he says, going on to explain that since WWII, new theories have been developed as to what makes cities work, raising the question as to whether this is the best path a dynamic city as Dubai should be following. He admits that Dubai’s hospitality sector is getting it right with gardens and sensitively designed spaces on a more human scale. But for de Botton, it is the Netherlands that holds some of the best examples of domestic architecture, due to, among many reasons, a communally spirited mindset and the fact that the Dutch are comfortable with modernity, while respecting their past – a far cry from the UK’s “Stubborn individualism”. Living Architecture has offered de Botton his closest encounter with architecture to date, so what he has learnt from the experience so far? “I think that there’s nothing more satisfying than a good building, it’s a joy. I think to be a client and to be in a good relationship with an architect is tricky,” he admits. “Somebody once compared it to getting someone else to scratch your back – you have to tell them: ‘A bit to the left, no, no a bit to the right’ and, on the whole, client/architect relationships are tense because architects want to do what they want to do and clients have their ideas, so there are moments of





tension, but I think that the good and the wise architects will learn sometimes to make compromises. We had fierce battles over things for the houses, but I think that the houses are all the better for them.” As I leave, allowing him to return to his current project, a new book on religion based on the less explored facets of faith, including architecture, I recall a passage in The Architecture of Happiness, where de Botton says that although we can be moved and touched by architecture, a beautiful home is no guarantee of happiness. What aspects of architecture make you happy? I ask him. “A good question to ask someone is: ‘What do you fear?’ I most fear overload, so I’m very attracted to calm places. I’m also attracted to a kind of elegance in architecture, by which I mean that complex things have been resolved in a way that looks quite easy. I like buildings that don’t advertise the work that’s gone into them, but you pick up that there’s a lot of thought gone into it,” he surmises. You can guarantee there’s no dearth of thought behind Alain de Botton’s philosophically-inspired scheme. ID

August 2010


Moulded from clay In Cornwall, Britain’s first eco-town is being planned, but this is evolution not revolution – progress will be leisurely and “organic.” TEXT: RICHARD WARREN

Rocky Lane, nine contemporary, three bedroom, low carbon houses at St. Agnes.


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August 2010



The Eden Project.

William Blake may not turn in his grave so much as leap out and cheer if he had an inkling of what was happening in deepest, south-west England. In 1804, he penned the lines to Jerusalem, a poem that became a Socialist song and has gone on to become an unofficial English national anthem. Its lines refer to building “Jerusalem”, a utopian society, among England’s “dark Satanic mills”, a reference to the polluting, landscape-scarring rapaciousness of the Industrial Revolution. Based on his nostalgia for the green and pleasant land that existed before the mills and mines appeared, Blake’s vision for the future was for something more in tune with nature. Two centuries on, his dream is starting to become reality in mid-Cornwall, quite a turnaround for this part of England’s most south-western county. Over the past couple of centuries, industry’s gluttonous appetite for raw materials meant much of mid-Cornwall was ripped open by clay miners. They hacked away at the hillsides to get at the valuable china clay, hollowing out the gentle slopes where green grass and trees once grew, creating great gashes, raw and deathly white. Huge pyramids of rocky debris dumped by the miners at various high points stood like tombs for the murdered countryside and could be seen for miles around. Thousands of hectares of land were disfigured in this way. The mining continues today, but the area affected is smaller and the wounded land is being healed – the pyramids are being levelled and grass and trees are growing again. But that is just the start. Some disused clay pits will find new life as districts of Eco-Bos (“Bos” is Cornish for home), Britain’s first eco-town. Covering 700 hectares, Eco-Bos will be an expansion of eight existing clay mining villages that lie in an arc to the north and east of Cornwall’s biggest town, St Austell (population 22,000). These interconnected villages will have 5,000 new homes, shops, businesses and public amenities built in six disused clay pits next to them. Construction will happen over decades, because that is deemed


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“more organic”, less likely to unbalance the local economy and housing market. “We believed that the ‘hub and spoke’ approach is more appropriate to the existing patterns in mid-Cornwall,” says John Hodkin, director of Imerys, one of the project’s developers. “A single urban extension would not be feasible. We will enhance the quality of the existing clay villages by increasing critical mass to offer community facilities and services which don’t exist today. “Our focus is on providing alternatives for people to make viable decisions about living in a more sustainable way. For example, walkable neighbourhoods with shops and local facilities to avoid having to travel everywhere for basic provisions and services.” Residents will have access to 500 hectares of open green space and a marina at Par Docks, where Imerys’ clay shipping operations are based, a short way up the coast from St Austell. Home working will be encouraged by installing high speed broadband connections and there are ambitions to make Eco-Bos a green industry hub. “Green industries could include a whole range of opportunities, from increasing the supply of locally sourced food products for sale in local markets, research and manufacture of sustainable building materials using surplus secondary aggregates, energy industries such as the manufacture and provision of photo voltaic and geothermal energy sources, manufacture and maintenance of electric vehicles,” Hodkin says. St Austell will be integrated with the former pit villages via improved public transport facilities to create an “Eco-zone”. This will form part of Cornwall’s wider re-invention of itself as a “Green Peninsula”, an initiative led by the county’s principal local authority, Cornwall Council, which plans to establish Britain’s first solar energy park and first council-run wind farms. Part-funded by the UK government, planning permission for Eco-Bos will be sought later this year, with construction work scheduled to begin in 2011.


The Cornwall, a new hotel and holiday homes estate near St Austell, Cornwall, UK; Higher Reen, Perranporth, thatched cottage.

The scheme’s coalition of developers is more diverse than Britain’s governing Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition at Westminster. Egyptian conglomerate Orascom Development is lead partner. It is famous for building El Gouna (population 10,000), a posh resort town on the Red Sea Riviera. Other partners include French clay mining firm Imerys, which owns the disused clay pits where Eco-Bos will be built, and conservation charity the Eden Project, which occupies a former clay pit close to the eastern end of Eco-Bos. Eden is famous for having the world’s largest geodesic domes; huge bulbous hothouses where visitors can see exotic plants from around the world grow. It is Cornwall’s best-known tourism attraction and will be supplying geothermal power to Eco-Bos. The developers’ consensual approach to gaining planning approval is in tune with Westminster’s new politics. At a public exhibition of the developers’ plans in St Austell in March 2010, Orascom’s chairman, Samih Sawiris, became concerned his company’s vision for Par Docks, where the developers want to build new homes, was too high density, so he scribbled on a display board “please tell us what you think”. Hugely enthusiastic, St Austell’s mayor, Brian Palmer, thinks the developers’ plans will assist with his town’s economic regeneration. It has suffered over recent years due to the mechanisation of the clay mining industry. “This [EcoBos] is an opportunity,” he says, “We have a chance to find something new, to develop knowledge-based industries and create well-paid jobs”. Palmer says the modern Cornish lifestyle of surfing, dining out at celebrity chef-run seafood restaurants and visiting art exhibitions at the Tate St Ives gallery


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is attracting internet-using professionals who wanted to escape the pollution and high costs of living in Britain’s big cities. He envisions the Eden Project’s new research and education facilities and St Austell’s new college, which runs environmental courses, would attract more of them, making Eco-Bos and St Austell magnets for knowledge-based, green businesses. By giving the local economy a boost, Eco-Bos might help mid-Cornwall’s property market, where a two-bedroom cottage in an inland village near St Austell costs approximately Dhs530,000, says estate agent Mark Lewis, a partner at St Austell-based Lewis Property Consultants, who believes Eco-Bos will support St Austell, where a new town centre has been built. “I very much like the idea of my home town expanding and becoming the centre of power it once was,” he says. Other regeneration projects include restoration of a 17-hectare country estate on the edge of St Austell that was abandoned for 30 years. Cornish developer CMR is building The Cornwall, a hotel and 60 detached holiday homes set in woodland. The estate’s manor house has been converted into the bar, restaurants and reception for the hotel, which is built on a hillside behind it. These facilities and those of the spa, gym and swimming pool next door are available to holiday home owners, with CMR maintaining owners’ properties when they are away. The first 22 homes are already built and on sale, with prices starting at Dhs1.6 million for a fully furnished, twobedroom house. The Cornwall contributes to mid-Cornwall’s socially responsible redevelopment. As a source of purpose-built holiday homes it helps relieve demand on conventional housing from second home owners, making it easier for St Austell’s first time buyers to get a foot on the ladder, Lewis says. Developments around St Austell are complemented by new projects elsewhere in Cornwall, including designer hotels, restaurants and homes, like Rocky Lane, a set of nine contemporary, low-carbon, detached houses on a hillside overlooking the sea at St Agnes. ID

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Panoramic views of the sea, the old city and the mountains can be enjoyed from the 2,500 square metres of landscaped gardens of the villa located on a hillside just 1.5 kilometres from the city centre. A mirror swimming pool outside and approximately 300 square metres of exceptional quality living space inside make this a truly spacious and luxurious four bedroom, four-bathroom home. 1,650,000

Designed to harmonize with their environment, the two bedroom penthouses feature large terraces facing the south for viewing the sea and the Cap d’Antibes. A lovely garden with swimming pool and underground parking will complete the new construction for a 2011 delivery date. It is situated only 500 metres in a very quiet area from the shops. 1,070,000

The Provençal style villa is a private retreat featuring gardens and terraces overlooking the sea with spectacular views of Cap d’Antibes and mountains, yet close to the city centre. Enjoy summer evenings in the pool or dining in the summer dining room complete with fitted kitchen. Perfect for entertaining with four bedrooms, including a massive Master suite, and brilliant lounge, dining room and more. 1,380,000

Located in a peaceful residential area facing the south with open views spanning from Cap Ferrat to Lerins Islands, the villa was built in 1987 in the Provençal style, offering the cosy warmth of solidarity. With three bedrooms, three bathrooms and garage for three cars, it also features magnificent views from the landscaped grounds and the tiled 12 X 8 metre swimming pool. (Needs some refurbishment) 1,650,000

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idProperty | ANTENNAE

Exciting new projects are appearing in Asia, but others in the United States have stalled, while Europe continues to offer homes with old world charm. TEXT: RICHARD WARREN


Prices rose in half of the locations monitored by the Knight Frank Global House Price Index in the year to the end of March 2010. The index of 47 countries rose 1.6 per cent, the first rise for five quarters. Top performers were China, Hong Kong and Singapore, where prices surged more than 24 per cent. Bottom were Ukraine and the three Baltic States which had price falls of more than 30 per cent. “Arguably, the most noticeable trend in global house prices is the ease with which the performance of global housing markets can now be grouped by world region,” said Liam Bailey, head of residential research at Knight Frank. “The top four positions in our rankings are all occupied by Asia Pacific locations, whilst Europe dominates the bottom half of the table.” Fortunately East Europe’s downward curve is levelling out, the statistics show.


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The French property market recovery that started in late 2009 continued gingerly in early 2010. Figures from estate agency Knight Frank, show French property prices crept up 0.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year, so there’s little chance of a bubble forming, welcome news for anyone buying a home there. The French holiday homes market went into hibernation during the recession, but developers are looking to draw overseas buyers to their projects once again. In the Southern French department of Midi-Pyrennes, developers have converted a chateau into five apartments and created 58 apartments in former outbuildings and new premises on its 340 hectare grounds. Prices for apartments at Chateau de la Durantie start from Dhs1.1 million. Facilities include three heated swimming pools, 24-hour concierge, spa, tennis courts, screening room and seasonal brasserie. The estate is surrounded by rolling hills and a 7,000 hectare forest.

It’s a sign of the power shift from west to east. Three years ago an Irish developer in the United States announced he would build the world’s tallest residential tower, the 610 metre-high Chicago Spire. Located on Chicago’s Lake Michigan waterfront this twisting, tapering building, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, was scheduled for completion in 2011. Not only will that completion date be missed, the building may never be built – too few people can be found to finance it. Right now, it is a hole in the ground. On the other side of the world, a new pretender to the throne of tallest residential tower in the world is appearing in Mumbai, where Indian developer, Lodha Group, is constructing World One, a 442 metre-high building of 276 apartments. Some consolation for the West, the tower’s architects will be New York-based architects, Pei Cobb Freed and Partners.



The housing market is hotting up in more ways than one in Singapore. Property prices leapt 25 per cent in the city state over the past 12 months, and a row has broken out over whether estate agents are properly regulated following allegations that sellers are being pressurised into selling at low prices. One estate agent told a client the “market is going to crash.” One vendor that won’t want to be pressurised into lowering its sales price is international developer, yoo, which has collaborated with Singapore builder, Heeton Holdings, to create iLiv@Grange, a set of 30 apartments in a building designed to resemble a Calla lily. Apartment interiors are designed by yoo’s design team which is headed by Philippe Starck. Located near Orchard Road, Singapore’s principal thoroughfare, the development has residents’ gardens and swimming pools. Apartment sales prices start at Dhs16.5 million. The 16-storey building will be completed in 2013.

Marrakesh is the least expensive major property market in the world, information that may appeal to anyone looking for a low cost holiday home. In a survey of 35 destinations by estate agency Savills, Marrakesh beat Cairo, Muscat and Hanoi to have the lowest prices. An apartment in Marrakesh averages Dhs6,928 per square metre. Monaco is the most expensive market, posting a whopping Dhs241,000 per square metre. A series of luxury resorts are appearing around Marrakesh, including a scheme fronted by Monaco’s Prince Albert II following a Monegasque decision that their own country was too expensive for a new project. Estate agency, Aylesford, is marketing several holiday home developments near Marrakesh. These include Assoufid, which has 80 villas with views of Marrakesh and the Atlas Mountains, says the agency. A Rocco Forte Collection hotel, spa and 18-hole golf course completes the 222-hectare resort.


Ireland and the United States are expected to have the biggest rise in distressed property sales this summer, homes subject to foreclosure or placed on the market by mortgage lenders. Both countries suffered the biggest rise in distressed sales at the start of 2010, says the London-based Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Banks are scaling down their property loan books in Western Europe, a process that is likely to accelerate in Ireland, surveyors forecast. Irish property prices continue to fall as life is sucked out of the country’s housing market by its parlous economy. Ireland has Europe’s highest budget deficit, GDP is contracting and tax revenues falling. Regardless of this, Ireland has some beautiful homes. Estate agency Knight Frank is marketing Bellamont Forest, a palladian villa set in 1,000 hectares of parkland, woods and loughs in County Cavan, 110 kilometres from Dublin.


Central London residential prices are pretty much back to 2007 boom market levels, farmland prices are higher than ever before and residential development land values are rising at their strongest rate for five years. The abolition of HIPs (home information packs) has encouraged more homeowners to sell, providing buyers with more choice, but without denting prices. An increase in the maximum rate of Capital Gains Tax to 28 per cent won’t deter investors, pundits assure. Overseas investment is surging, with half of investors in central London new build homes in the last 12 months coming from East Asia. All good news then? Well, no. Swinging public sector cuts and several tax rises in June’s emergency budget will reduce household wealth which means less money to spend on homes, and that means lower property prices, especially in public sector-dependent northern Britain, commentators warn.

Running gun battles in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica, between police and soldiers on one side and gangsters on the other, earlier this summer has done little for the Caribbean’s image as an easy going place to get away from it all. However, drug wars aside, the Caribbean remains largely peaceful and is opening its doors wider to incomers. In St Lucia, for example, a new airport terminal and super-yacht marina for visiting yachties are planned. Plenty of Caribbean beach-front properties are on the market, including 56 homes on Jumby Bay, a 120-hectare private island a ferry-ride away from Antigua. Only home-owners and their friends are allowed on the island. Prices start at Dhs18.3 million. Alternatively, on the private island of Kamalane Cay, in the Bahamas, a three bedroom house with direct beach access is on the market for Dhs7.7 million.

August 2010


Light years ahead A stunning, gigantic chandelier sets new world records in Doha recently as Jumierah expands further into London. TEXT: LYNN DAVIS


Reflective Flow, which has been officially designated as the World’s Largest Chandelier by the Guinness World Records, was recently unveiled at the Al Hitmi building in Doha, Qatar. Designed by award-winning lighting designer Beau McClellan, it is also the world’s largest interactive LED light sculpture, measuring in at 38.5 metres long, 12.5 metres wide and weighing 20,000 kilograms. It glows from 2,500 individually hand ground optical crystals and 55,000 LED lights which can be individually controlled, creating a gigantic, interactive light display. During the day, groundbreaking technology creates a constantly changing, organic creation that reflects the ambiance of the building and the moods of the people inside. “The chandelier will react to a person’s mood as they enter the building and display a subliminal moon effect… or lava, or a lightning bolt. If there are more people, there is more content,” McClellan says. At night, light and colour are introduced and the unique coating becomes either fully or semi transparent, creating a truly mesmerising masterpiece. “I knew how it would look. Now everyone can see what was inside my head,”


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says McClellan, who was commissioned to design the centrepiece that flows through the atrium on the Al Hitmi project, located along the Doha Corniche, after construction had begun. Consisting of a seven-storey office block anchored by a 15-storey residential tower, the project was designed by Dubai-based Norr International and was inspired by imagery of stone formations cantilevered over a body of water, creating a link between the land and the Persian Gulf. Clad with dark tinted glass and polished and textured natural stones, the contemporary structure features a striking atrium with a glass ceiling and two glass walls that provide natural light for the internal gardens and the setting for the flowing chandelier. BARGAINS IN BRITAIN

Interest in high-end residential property in London by GCC companies has increased due to the strengthening of the dollar and sterling weakness, prompting increased activity from Middle East investors. According to Richard Angel, head of International Investment at Dubai-based Asteco, the majority of Savills UK (Asteco’s UK partner) web visitors live within the GCC, which

PORTFOLIO | idProperty

Clockwise from left: Reflective Flow chandelier; Al Hitmi building in Doha, Qatar; Beau McClellan.

doesn’t come as much of a surprise because compared to a year ago, GCC investors will now save approximately Dhs6 million on an investment valued at Dhs34 million.

a special management agreement with Hamra Hotels and Resorts. The world-class amenities and value-added benefits surely make Al Hamra Residences one of the most exciting residential and hospitality destinations in the region,” he says.


Jumeirah Group, the Dubai-based international hospitality company, has added a new level of luxury to the London hotel scene with its new 155 square metre Royal Suite at its Knightsbridge hotel, Jumeirah Carlton. Designed by Khuan Chew, the suite features a fibre-optic “star-lit” ceiling, Swarovski crystal and silk pile carpets as well as state-of-the-art Bang & Olufsen audio-visual technology. INCOME GENERATION

Designed in a distinctive modern Arabic style, the Al Hamra Residences have opened in Ras Al Khaimah. The 218 fully-furnished one to five-bedroom apartments introduce an investment opportunity new to the area, according to Toufic El Hajj, director of sales and marketing for the project. “We have introduced a novel investment concept wherein property owners at Al Hamra Residences have the option to generate additional income through

Hilton Worldwide will be making its debut in Jordan this autumn with the Doubletree by Hilton, Aqaba, a 181-room, newly built property on the country’s southern coast. “We are delighted to have signed this management agreement with Jordan Maritime Complex for Real Estate Investments for our first Doubletree by Hilton in Jordan. It will also become our first Hilton Worldwide property to open in Jordan, an important market for us in our regional development strategy,” says Mahmoud Mokhtar, vice president of operations for Egypt & Levant for Hilton Worldwide. In late 2013, the hotel group’s presence in Jordan will be further expanded with the opening of a 285-room waterfront resort overlooking the Dead Sea. The Hilton Dead Sea Resort & Spa will be part of Emaar International Jordan’s Samarah Dead Sea Resort, an integrated community that will also include 1,000 residences, as well as retail and leisure facilities. ID

August 2010



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Imagination unleashed Innovative individuals continue to take design to greater levels of creativity, as can be seen from the shelves, sports cars and inspirational toys featured this month. TEXT: ANNA HANSEN


Celebrating its 10th year, Barcelona design presents new versions of Ross Lovegroveâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bdlove public seating with new finishes that are either metallised or lacquered. The collection includes a bench, which can seat up to 10 people, and incorporates a lamp, the Bdlove lamp, and another version that is combined with the Bdlove planter. Constructed of rotomoulded plastic, a process that dates from the 1940s but which was not widely used until recently, the designs look to the future while being perfectly suited for today.

August 2010



The Levita shelves, designed by Alessandro Loschiavo, his first for OMEV, are made entirely of stainless steel. The slim shaped rod frame supports a series of hammered sheet metal planes that are spaced further and further apart as one ascends the shelves.


Novecento, by Natuzzi, literally means “900”, a fitting name for a modular wall system that can be customised in a multitude of combinations to create a truly personalised space. The range consists of three basic components – a floor unit with a contemporary pull-out drawer that can adjust to fit almost any space, and height-adjustable sideboards and cube cabinets, either vertical or horizontal, which, like the sideboard, have a push and open system – with special features for today’s technology.


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When contemporary artist Sacha Jafri, who won Young Artist of the Year 2010 as well as being shortlisted for the 2010 World Artist of the Year in New York, discovered reclusive bespoke furniture maker Sandi Rushforth, the result was a collaboration that fuses both art and furniture into a unique collection of numbered, limited edtion pieces signed by both. Their Signature Collection of statement pieces, designed by Rushforth, depict seven of Jafri’s paintings which are now on display at the Cuadro Gallery. For example, The Water Carrier is depicted on panels that form the backs of a stepped series of chairs, while Rushforth’s green and yellow chairs incorporate elements from another of Jafri’s paintings.



In subwoofers, no vibrations are the best vibrations. The sculptural tulip-shaped Bang & Olufsen BeoLab11 has reduced vibrations so the speakers can either be mounted on a wall or, due to its unique design, placed on the floor – even in a corner. Composed of two identical loudspeaker cabinets, dressed in a choice of aluminium shell colours, with baffles facing each other, they enhance the sound of any system while adding a vivid design element to the room.



Vibrant and original, Pucci prints are recognised around the world. Celebrating 60 years of innovation, Pucci, the one-of-a-kind tome with each copy bound in a printed Pucci fabric, traces the innate creative talent of the man, fashion designer, and worldwide brand known as Emilio Pucci, who was among the first to bear a logo on his creations and to diversify into related endeavours such as interiors, athletic wear, accessories and even yachts. His free-flowing, lightweight fabrics with pop art prints expanded fabric and printing technologies and became favourites of such mid-century luminaries as Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Marilyn Monroe. The book will be available at the Emilio Pucci Boutique at the Dubai Mall this month.

August 2010



As its name suggests, Mosaico, designed by Mario Ruiz for Coinma and now available in the UAE at Ofis, is a simple form that can be combined with other simple modules to create sculptural, yet highly efficient workstations. The basic white or graphite grey metal base, characterised by its C shape, is topped with a wood worksurface, creating a minimalist starting point. Injections of partitions and other various units, in colour or white, increase functionality.


With a piano black finish, chrome buttons and Brita Water filter cartridge, the Siemens Espresso Coffee Machine is as aesthetically pleasing to look at as the coffee it brews is perfect to drink. Whether a frothy cappuccino or a strong espresso, it can be programmed to remember individual blends, strength, cup size and even the proportion of milk to be added, ensuring a perfect beverage every time. “It is generally believed that Arabs were the first to brew coffee back in the 15th century,” says Anamika Priyadarshi of Better Life. ”Whether it is having coffee with friends or stealing a few moments of peace and quiet on your own, a moment of relaxation is the perfect way to sample your favourite blend.”


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Made of non-carbon vinyl-like “White Matter” but designed to inspire the grey matter of your brain, MEGAs are blank eight-inch humanoid figures that can be morphed into beings that are governed by your imagination. The brainchild of Emirati designer Mohammed Abedin, who founded Foo Dog to cultivate the urban art scene and to create limited edition designer toys, art and apparel, each MEGA has adjustable and detachable arms, a 360-degree rotatable and detachable head, detachable ears, a detachable back rocket and hands that can grasp and hold. One hundred professional UAE-based artists each customised a MEGA, one of the largest artistic collaborations in the UAE, debuted at a Bloomingdale’s Dubai Mall exhibition.


Design agenda Lifestyle Expo, Oman, August 15 Ceranor Expo, Porto, Portugal, September 1-5 Habitare, Helsinki, September 1-5 Maison & Objet, Paris, September 3-7 Meuble Paris, Paris, September 3-7 Now! Design a Vivre, Paris, September 3-7 FAST FORWARD

The McLaren MP4-12C is the first car from McLaren Automotive and is expected to race onto the Middle Eastern market through Al Habtoor Motors in the UAE and Ghassan Motors in Saudi Arabia in early summer 2011. There will be a limited edition of 1,000 of the sleek, aerodynamic car, designed completely from scratch by Frank Stephenson, McLaren’s design director. It is low, compact and lightweight, features gullwing doors and is the first car in its class to offer a carbon fibre framework at its core.

Macef, Milan, September 9-12 MoOD, Brussels, September 14-16 Zow 2010, Istanbul, September 16-19 Abitare Il Tempo, Verona, September 16-20 London Design Festival, London, September 18-26 100% Design, London, September 23-26 Decorex International, London, September 26-29


Celebrating its 150th year, Ligne Roset is known for its cutting-edge design. Among the notables who have designed for the only French company to be creator, manufacturer and distributor of high-end luxury furniture are Arik Levy, Jeffrey Bernett, Pierre Charpin, Peter Maly, Philippe Nigro and Ingo Sempré. Jean Nouvel, architect of the Saadiyat Island Louve, even designed Profil, a modern banquette for them in 1988. “Good furniture gives great pleasure,” says Michel Roset, of the fourth generation involved in the family business founded by Antoine Roset in 1860, “and we take great pleasure in making good furniture. One reason for this is because we have always worked with fascinating, creative people.” Today the company collaborates with more than 70 international designers to create a diverse design portfolio of contemporary furniture available in 71 countries. The Togo collection of ergonomic chairs, loveseats sofas and ottomans designed by Michel Ducatoy in 1973 continues to be one of their most popular designs, and was introduced in a mini-version three years ago in their first ever kids collection. Throughout its history, Ligne Roset has been synonymous with elegance, creativity and non-conforming designs.

August 2010



New Zealand’s first drive-through library, a competition-winning design for a new office building for the Dalian Electric Power Bureau and a sustainable showcase at the University of New South Wales are making waves in the world of architecture. TEXT: STEVE HILL
















The Birkenhead Library and Civic Centre is a purpose-built new generation 2,600 square metre structure. Designed by Archoffice, it features New Zealand’s first drive-through book return facility. Laminated Purple Heart and Alaskan Yellow Cedar vertical “fins” undulate and screen the west façade, acting as a sun control while patterned laser cut sheets form a striking internal perforated screen to the south-east façade. Precast patterned lightweight panels form the exterior south-east façade while laser cut perforated ceiling panels provide dappled light through roof lights. The library features six meeting rooms and a learning centre on the ground floor.


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Brisbane-based DMA Group Architects has won an international design competition for a new office building for the Dalian Electric Power Bureau in this northern Chinese port city. The 53,000 square metre structure houses the administrative and operational requirements of the power bureau, and embraces low energy initiatives in the form of a twin wall facade system to the tower structure that insulates the building and captures air to be used in the building’s air-conditioning system. Other green initiatives include passive solar orientation to minimise heat load, narrow building depth to maximise natural light penetration and rainwater collection to service toilets and landscape irrigation.

The Convensia Convention Centre is an important component in New Songdo City’s development as an international business hub. A low-rise complex conceptualised as a series of folded roof planes, it is prominently located in Central Park, the main public green space in this master-planned community. Alternating gable and boat forms suggest the jagged profile of the surrounding Korean mountain ranges rising from the clouds. The centre features 60,000 square metres of exhibition space, 8,000 square metres of ballroom space, and 4,600 square metres of meeting and conference rooms. Kohn Pedersen Fox’s sustainable design strategies include parking for electric vehicles and a grey-water recycling system.





The Danish island of Fyn is home to a spectacular new head office for the Middelfart Savings Bank. Danish architects 3XN won a competition to design the structure which features one large wooden roof, complete with 83 prism-like skylights, enclosing the entire building. The research and development department at 3XN utilised the latest energy efficient heating and cooling technologies in the building, using the mass and the ability of concrete to adjust room temperatures by absorbing and releasing heat via pre-fabricated decks with embedded plastic pipes. Energy savings of between 30 and 50 per cent can be secured thanks to these moves.

Lerida, one of the oldest towns in the Spanish region of Catalonia, is now home to La Llotja Theatre and Conference Centre, which sits on the banks of the Segre. Designed by Dutch architectural company Mecanoo, it accommodates a 1,000-seat theatre, two congress halls (400 and 200 seats) which can be divided into smaller halls, an exhibition space, two multi-functional foyers, press room, restaurant, lounge and extensive retail space. The building’s horizontal form provides a large garden on the roof, which keeps the centre cool in the summer and serves as an extra meeting place for guests attending conferences.




The Tyree Energy Technologies Building at the University of New South Wales will accommodate and showcase state-of-the-art and leading edge research in clean energy including photovoltaics, carbon capture and storage. The 16,000 square metre building has been designed by FJMT and will be the focal point for the University’s Centre for Energy Research and Policy Analysis and will also house the School of Photovoltaics and Renewable Energy Engineering, the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets, the School of Petroleum Engineering and the laboratories of the ARC Photovoltaics Centre of Excellence and the ARC Centre for Functional Nanomaterials. Named after Sir William Tyree, the building is due to be completed in October 2011.


Due to be completed in 2013 is a new Dhs235 million School of Business building for the University of Albany in New York. Designed by Perkins & Will, it has been inspired by an existing academic podium and residence halls on the campus by renowned US architect Edward Durell Stone. The new structure will feature technologically advanced classrooms and meeting spaces, as well as a trading room on the first floor with Bloomberg terminals. The business school’s design integrates LEED measures, incorporating green building design elements to improve energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improved indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

A proposed new visitor centre for the British tourist destination of Stonehenge is in doubt because of UK Government cutbacks. Denton Corker Marshall’s design called for the removal of an existing visitor centre and car park with new facilities being constructed about 2.5 kilometres west of the iconic 5,000-year-old stones, which attract 800,000 visitors a year. Small valley slopes and landscaping would conceal parking facilities – which would be linked to the stones by a low-key transit system – while exhibitions, a café, shop and general facilities would be accommodated in a pair of singlestorey spaces – one glass, one timber-enclosed – sitting beneath an undulating roof.

August 2010


The intricate coiling pattern in the ceiling echos the marble floor.

Pioneering spirit The genesis of contemporary design in Dubai can be traced back to one man, the visionary Lars Waldenstrom, who introduced the clean lines of Swedish minimalism to the Middle East. TEXT: DOROTHY WALDMAN


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Design in Dubai is “becoming more and more international, universal,” says Lars Waldenstrom, who established LW Designs in 1999 and recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by announcing his retirement. He was the first person to introduce the clean lines of contemporary designs to the emirate, making Swedish minimalism his trademark in the wide range of projects he has spearheaded. “You can take a hotel here and put it in San Francisco and it works. No one could tell the difference, really. That is the biggest change,” he says. To keep abreast of trends and the direction of design around the world, Waldenstrom and his partners, Morten Hansen, Jesper Godsk, Colin Doyle and Finn Theilgaard would make yearly sojourns to other important cities where they would spend four or five days visiting the newest hotels and restaurants, absorbing what they saw. “When we were in New York walking down one of these avenues, [we saw a hotel and I thought that the] hotel we did there [Dubai], like the Ibis hotel near the Trade Centre, would be perfect here and that hotel [we saw in New York] would fit in,” he says. “Most of the projects we have done in Dubai would easily fit in anywhere in the world because the design market today is so international. You must remember that Dubai is so multicultural, people are travelling here from all over the world.” A quick glance at the LW Designs portfolio of hotels, which includes Grosvenor House, Raffles, Hyatt Regency, Le Méridian Airport, the Beach Rotana and Al Bustana Rotana, illustrates his point. Among the two newest projects to be completed are the young and trendy Media One in Media City, which features a quirky sense of humour as well as providing a refreshing venue for Waldenstrom’s farewell celebration, and the recently-opened Bonnington Hotel, a business hotel designed by M3ar, which is located in the Jumeirah Lakes area. The four-star Bonnington is a symphony of marble, counter-balanced with the lightness of reflective metal and glass surfaces, and a plethora of LED lights and crystal. A pathway of Nero Absoluto black marble, inlaid into the lighter, grained Arabescato marble, welcomes guests in a unique re-interpretation of the red carpet treatment, providing a sense of place while leading them to the reception area and beyond. The intricate pattern of the inlaid marble is echoed in a ceiling sculpture that follows the movement of the path below. A three-storey chandelier rains down from above, dripping through the leather and wood Author’s Lounge, which exudes a comfortable gentlemen’s club ambience, to the restaurant areas on the floor below. The glass elevators begin at a lighted crystal garden on the lowest level and whisk guests up through a contrasting chorus of marble and transparent glass, shiny, cool metals and glittery crystal chandeliers. Every class of room, as well as the business centre, offers the comfort of soothing colours and textures, and is designed to cater to the needs of the guests, once again illustrating why the LW Design ethos endures in timeless sophistication. A new venture for the group is their entrance into the value hotel market. “It’s really fun, the challenge is to make a three-star hotel really good and

August 2010


Clockwise from above: Author’s Lounge at the Bonnington Hotel; Lars Waldenstrom; Healy’s Bar at the Bonnington.

inviting. It is easier to make a five-star hotel than to make a three-star. I think Ibis is a really good example of a three-star hotel that has a really good design,” Waldenstrom says. “We are developing a brand called Centro and it is going to spread all over the Middle East. So whenever there is a Centro hotel coming up, most of the time we are doing both the architecture and the interior. That’s what we like to do – interiors and construction – the whole shebang.” The restaurant sector in the UAE has also been greatly influenced by Waldenstrom. From the perennial favourites of the Buddha Bar, Prego and Noodle House, to the exotic Okku in the Monarch Hotel, which opened its doors last year, and the five up-market designs in the new Terminal 3 at Dubai International that redefine airport catering, each one exhibits its own style and timeless elegance that reinforces the flavours of the cuisine. “For me, going into a restaurant is absolutely about the food,” he says modestly. However, he recognises that the design of the restaurant has to make diners feel comfortable and welcome, and that the open kitchen concept has added a new dimension to restaurant design. “When you can merge really good design with a really good kitchen, and the designer understands what the kitchen, the restaurant, would like to do and can carry that out, is when you have a really good restaurant,” says Waldenstrom. In addition to hotels and restaurants, LW Designs is known for spas and recreation facilities such as H2O Spa, Emirates Towers, Angsana Spa Arabian Ranches Golf Club & Montgomerie; Timeless Spa andThe Harbour Hotel and Retreat Spa, as well as the spa at the Grosvenor House.


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When asked about the future of LW Designs and whether he thought it would expand beyond Dubai, Waldenstrom replies: “Yes, I’m 100 per cent sure of that. Whether we want to or not, that is another question! We are slowly expanding out of Dubai to Syria and Lebanon, but then we have a market that is enormous and that is Abu Dhabi. So why move too far from this? I think that LW Design is one of the very few international design companies that is based in Dubai. Most international design companies are based in London, Chicago, or whatever. But we are based here. This is our headquarters, giving LW Designs the advantage of being local as well as international in vision.” Projects on the drawing board include Aquitainia, a mixed-use development on The World islands of France and Spain, and the Hatta Mountain Resort, as well others in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and London. Although Waldenstrom is retired and has already passed on the baton of the day-to-day operations, his presence will still be felt, as he continues to consult on a variety of projects. “I think it is important to explain how much I love this place and how much I admire what Dubai has done. When they built the Burj al Arab, all the talk was about how it was the biggest white elephant ever created and afterwards, this is the biggest white icon ever built, and it is fantastic. This is Dubai in my book,” he says. “It has been tough. We can talk about this financial crisis and where the [growth] was too fast and all of that, but they have done it, and I think it has been incredible. In the end, Dubai is going to be OK, it’s going to be a fantastic place. Also, Abu Dhabi will become a fantastic place, so the UAE as a whole will be a dream.” ID

We are an ITALIAN interior design company in Dubai. From us you can get Furniture. Light. Building Materials. Save time, give your home to the professionals

Storia Moderna Showroom Sheikh Zayed Road, Al Quoz Area, Smark Bldg, Showroom 1 P.O.BOX 38450, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 338 1131 | Fax: +971 4 338 1161 | Mob+971 50 343 5537 E-mail:

Inspirations 86

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Inspirations August 2010



This month’s reading selection focuses on beach houses, an experiment in community planning, contemporary interiors and the evolution of one of the world’s great furniture companies.


















More than 50 architectural houses built along the water’s edge during the last decade are featured here, with beautiful full-colour photographs by Scott Burrows of Aperture & Associates, along with floor plans, illustrating the setting of each. For example, the Peregian Beach House in Queensland, Australia, was designed by Middap Ditchfield Architects to step down the elevated plot and open onto the dramatic ocean views. Predominately a single room wide, it takes advantage of natural light and cross ventilation. The Truro Residence in Cape Cod, United States, by ZeroEnergy Design, produces most of its own energy as it blends into the coastal topography. A large section that is designated for guests can be decommissioned when not in use to conserve energy. In Arduaine, Scotland, Tigh na Dobhran by studioKAP is a rural home, exposed to the open sea along the rugged coastline, where the natural and man-made meet. Materials, composition and orientation interact to provide both excitement and refuge, while acknowledging local traditions.

The history of Knoll furniture mirrors the history of modern design. Hans Knoll realised the company he founded in 1938 had to do more than merely import European designs into the United Sates, and so he began nurturing local talent to provide the designs he manufactured. Adding design services to his repertoire, he developed a full-service company that not only manufactured and sold furniture, but also provided consultations that resulted in the design of one of the first office systems ever devised. Knoll is responsible for producing such iconic pieces as the Brno chair (this month’s identity icon), the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed Barcelona chair, Eero Saarinen’s Tulip and Womb chairs; and Harry Bertoia’s Wire chair. This richly illustrated monograph is a fascinating read, providing informative biographies that include interesting details of the life and influences of Hans Knoll and his talented wife, Florence, including how shortages during the Second World War inspired creativity and spurred the growth of the new company.

Although a somewhat nebulous term to define, modern is an international design designation that is immediately recognisable when seen, while chic is a fashion element that is even less easy to define. However, the 40 projects beautifully photographed in this book give striking examples of interiors that are both. All are located in the Asia-Pacific region and several themes dominate. The striking contrast of black and white, as seen in the Zoeppritz Apartment featured on the cover, uses lighting and selected infusions of vivid colour to create drama as well as practicality. Box columns were built to divide space as well as for the ventilation system, rather than creating a non-essential wall. Conversely, the Gemdale Green Spring residence is a fluid assortment of circles and ovals within a virtually square white outer box that is filled with colourful and curvelinear furniture and accessories to delineate the different functions and spaces. Elements such as materials, patterns and colours evoke the essence of the natural world and provide other widely used themes.

The idea was for six different emerging architectural practices in Singapore to design six unique houses for a sloping triangular plot which would have no boundaries or fences between them. Zigzag House by Ministry of Design, shaped as its name suggests, can be viewed from Cubic House by Zarch Collaborative, a combination of light open spaces and more private, closed spaces. It began with the same cube aesthetics as the 8-Box House by PODesigns, but that is where all similarities between the two homes end, as the latter appears as a playful jumble of blocks rather than something designed with sleek sophistication. Screen House by K2LD appears as a linear block facing the street, but presents surprises on the opposite side of an elevated curved pavilion above a central communal garden. The result of the Lien Villa Collective, named after the family whose patriarchal home anchors the community and was rennovated as part of the project, it is an intriguing mix of contemporary styles that work amazingly well together. ID

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HANDWO VEN O UTDOOR FURNITURE CREAT ED WITH WEATHER-RESISTANT D EDON FIB ER Nakkash Gallery · Al Garhoud Street · P.O. Box 26767 · Dubai-UAE Tel: 00971 4 2826767 · Fax: 00971 4 2827567 ·





Brno is the historic second city of the Czech Republic and a thriving metropolis of some 370,000 people that will be forever associated with a chair designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The German went on to become one of the most important and influential architects of the 20th century with the Villa Tugendhat in Brno a compelling part of his Modernist legacy. Mies was responsible for every aspect of the villaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s design as well as its furniture. He originally intended his MR20 Chair to feature in the dining room but, because of space constraints, produced an adapted version that, in many respects, has become more famous than the home it was intended for. Startling simple, this classic cantilever chair was soon celebrated for its clean lines, lean profile and meticulous craftsmanship, marrying Italian-leather upholstery with stainless steel to produce a piece of furniture that has been


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routinely imitated but arguably never bettered. The Brno Chair is unique because it is as at home in a conference suite and a bedroom as a dining room or an office. This timeless classic is still available today, some 70 years later, in either flat or tubular steel versions with Knoll continuing to produce each chair to its original specifications thanks to collaboration with the Mies van der Rohe Archives and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The iconic nature of the Brno Chair can be gauged by the fact that critic Dan Cruickshank selected it as one of his 80 man-made treasures of the world in his celebrated BBC TV series. It continues to inspire furniture designers and remains highly collectable. But, tellingly, this is a chair that also demands to be sat on thanks to Mies, who designed all his furniture with his own comfort in mind. ID

P.O.Box 29860, Dubai U.A.E T +971 4 2691377 - F +971 4 2665461 -

Identity | August 2010  

The Middle East's interior, design and