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Identity | June 2011

Identity | June 2011

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1he Middle LasL's inLeriors, design & properLy magazine

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Light squared: Kikoski’s LED path revealed
Contemporary fusion: the hob of the home
All or nothing: the rise of designer Ora-Ïto
Operation elevation: on a high with Adrian Smith
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Cover photography:
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JUNE 2011
identity identity
18 Art-to-art
Discover the inspiration behind some of the highlights
at SCOPE New York.
24 Out of the woods
Timber, latex and luxury electric cars pave the way to
a sustainable future.
30 It's hip to be square
The creative energies behind Swarovski's debut
lighting collection.
52 A simplex man
Meet Ora-Ïto, the man who will lend his design talent
to just about any challenge.
76 The heights of success
Adrian Smith discusses green architecture and his
passion for skyscrapers.






28 52 76
13 June 2011
B5 The Art of Living
lensen · Casador · l¹M los · Lggersmann · Dottling · Iambert · lunckers · Schmalenbach · ad notam
vvv.b3living.com | ¹971 (0)4 447 3973
Sidra 1over, Sheikh Zaved Poad, Dubai.
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Michelle Liu | michelle@motivate.ae
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Nusrat Ali | Steve Hill | Shalaka Paradkar
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17 Editorial
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82 Forum
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+ Dynamic contemporary workspaces
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+ much, much more…
See what innovations are flavouring the
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35 What's cooking?
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59 id Property
15 June 2011
17 June 2011
Design expos


Group Editor Catherine Belbin.
When it comes to interiors or design shows, Dubai’s position as the region’s exhibition
capital is secure. Ask any one who sped up the highway to check out Interiors UAE in Abu Dhabi
last month – only to be disappointed. The stands were refined, there were some interesting people,
concepts and products… but there was just something missing.
Isabel Pintado of Gaj – who is busy with the new FNC building in Abu Dhabi – was there, as was
Gianni Sharrouf of Purity, Hans Bruinsma from Caspaiou and a number of other high profile design
figures from Dubai. Meanwhile, Firas Alsalih and the Polttona Frau team hosted its own stand and
the team from Andrew Martin made its presence felt. British interior designer Louise Bradley had an
elegant stand and oozed with enthusiasm about her growing Gulf portfolio.
The Islamic prayer clocks created by Smith of Derby – a family run British company that has been
making luxury timepieces for over 150 years – drew much attention. The company has also created
specially commissioned clocks for prestigious projects in Mecca and Dammam in the past.
Fast forward to the Hotel Show in Dubai, abuzz with activity, where many of the city’s leading
architects and designers were to be found. Regional buyers and designers flew in, and order books
rapidly filled up. Parking spaces were sparse and the coffee shops busy. While not quite the frantic
flurry of the boom years, the event was nevertheless worth participating in whether you were an
exhibitor or visitor. The Office Show, in the halls nextdoor, also generated enough interest and offered
some new concepts worth mulling over.
INDEX may not be the best show in the world, but despite all the efforts made by the Interiors
team, it holds its own. The next INDEX show is slated for November 22-25. However, it should
take a leaf from the Hotel Show’s credit book and make an attempt at having a more select visitor
profile and better quality exhibitors.
The Arabian Travel Market, held earlier in the month, also generated much interest, including some
new hotel design concepts worthy of note – particularly the new luxury Sol Melia ’urban resort’ hotel
that is scheduled to open in Bur Dubai later this year. Designed by Italian architect Marco Mangili, the
contemporary property is expected to act as a catalyst in the rejuvenation of Dubai’s Port Rashid area.
Meanwhile, Dubai’s designer kitchens have been on fast boil. The new Armani/Dada Checkers
collection was launched at the Finasi showroom in Deira, while BEKA opted to make its seasonal
launch at the Armani Hotel. Al Ghandi Electronics held an elegant soirée at the Meydan Hotel, where
the high-tech KitchenAid collection was unveiled. Here, sous vide cuisine – the latest fad in cooking
techniques – was also demonstrated.
Indigo Living also hit the radar with the opening of its first UAE outlet, while Zen Interiors hosted a
reception for the launch of Galeri – the newest brand in the Zen stable that is available at the Home
Design Store in Mall of the Emirates.
Islands may be out of fashion these days and the ambitious Fashion Island launched by the visit of Karl
Lagerfeld a few years ago may have been put on the back burner, but fashionistas need not despair for
a Fashion Hotel is now making news. The agreement for the joint venture between Dubai’s Al Habtoor
Group and Fashion Television was sealed on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival. Apparently the
exterior of the 30-storey hotel – the first for Fashion Television – will display a projection using the
world’s largest 100-metre LED screen, broadcasting the latest Fashion TV highlights around the clock.
Clockwise from top left: Marco Mangili; Isabel Pintado;
Louise Bradley; Marcel Opstal.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 18
Dreams, railways, art books and Jane Fonda’s
identity... all inspired works exhibited in New York
Sixty-one galleries exhibited artists’ work from around the world at
SCOPE New York, the international contemporary art show, with galleries coming
from as far away as China for the four-day event held between March 2 and 6.
New York is the flagship event of five SCOPE art fairs held each year, with the
others held in Miami, the Hamptons, London and Basel. More than 400,000
people have visited over 40 of these fairs since they started 10 years ago and
sales of artworks have topped Dhs550m.
Artist Karim Hamid painted GGW 33, shown here, in
oils. “GGW refers specifically to an underground, cultural
phenomenon in the US called ‘Girls Gone Wild’,” Hamid says.
“I’m mostly interested in the concept of ‘information mashing’
– there is so much info these days, so much visual information,
that we are often overloaded and confused. So, in a sort of
homage to both painting, and also in a roundabout way to Pop
Art, I want to play with imagery colliding.
“I focus on mixing high and low art forms. In this case, with
the GGW paintings, I play with this obscure and ‘throwaway’
cultural phenomenon and try to paint it in a high art manner.”
Exhibitor: Aureus Contemporary Gallery
June 2011 19
This is Francesca Pastine’s sculpture, Erosion. “I began using
ARTFORUM magazines as a medium for my work in 2008,” she says.
“I noticed that there were familiar fixtures in my friends’ homes.
Apparently, because of their glossy nature, nobody wanted to throw
them away. I was intrigued by their square format, particularly when
the bloated art market was reflected in their one-inch thickness, and I
began asking my friends for their unwanted magazines.
“Starting with the covers, I cut, bend, manipulate, pull and dig my
way through them, revealing a visceral topography of art trends.
The finished worked becomes an unsolicited collaboration with
the magazine and cover artist.” Exhibitor: San Francisco’s Eleanour
Harwood Gallery
This detail comes from Hurdles, a 1.2m by 2.6m silk screen printing hand pulled by artist Rocky
Grimes. “It is a piece about obstacles in life and the ability to overcome those obstacles,” Grimes says.
“Some hurdles in our lives are small, some large. The piece is made of small pieces put together to
form one larger piece, because life obstacles can be similar. Furthermore, the imagery used is more
about ways in which we respond to hurdles in our lives. Sometimes we respond irrationally and
reactionary, at other times we overcome our personal obstacles through thought and transcendence.”
Exhibitor: C Emerson Fine Arts Gallery from St Petersburg, Florida
Spanning 2.9m by 4.8m, No Rain No Rainbow
is one a series of rugs made by this artist
Agustina Woodgate. Working with a wide
range of media, including video and sculpture,
her work investigates the encounter between
childhood dreams and adult socialisation, and
how innocence, magic and the fantastical
influence our relationships with objects,
stories and ourselves.
“No Rain No Rainbows is the largest rug
in the collection,” Woodgate says. “The
monumental textile floor covering is inspired
by nature and its cycle. The grey and purple
centre references the water, the storm.
The whites, the light, and the reds, oranges
and browns, the growth — life.” Exhibitor:
Miami’s Spinello Gallery
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 20
Artist Erick Jackson painted Paradise Garage with a mixture
of gouache, acrylic and matte medium. “The images in the
painting are a product of my analysis of a dream in which
orphan children make camp in the abandoned makeshift
locations, marking walls with images,” he says.
“The garage was an actual place where a teenage
friend of mine lived for a summer, when his mother
kicked him out of the house. The faceless camper is
myself. I have many memories of sleeping in makeshift
locations, while I was on tour with my band. The
touring life can be very close to a dream like state of a
wandering nomad in perpetual adolescence.” Exhibitor:
Civilian Art Projects Gallery
This pencil drawing Jane+Fonda: Images 1 is by
Northern Irish artist Allan Hughes. “The drawings are
a part of an ongoing series that aim to explore the
construction of identity,” Hughes says.
“In this context, Fonda functions as an avatar in that
she refers to herself as a chameleon-like character taking
on the ideas and identities of others, not just in her role
as an actress but in her own personal life; her own ‘true’
sense of self somehow remaining incomplete. I think the
process of self-identification for Fonda must be a difficult
navigation in that one is surrounded by a culture that is
replete with images of an ‘always former’ self.” Exhibitor:
Belfast’s Golden Thread Gallery
Scott Conarroe took this photograph, Trailer Park, Wendover, UT, for his series By Rail, which will
be published in 2011. In this project, started in 2005, the Canadian drove across North America to
photograph the remains of a system of railways that once connected communities large and small.
“Made mostly at dawn, the images offer a graceful nostalgia for a mythical pioneer past that long ago
gave way to the lure of the automobile,” say Conarroe’s publicists at Stephen Bulger Gallery in Toronto.
The Trailer Park photograph was produced in a limited edition of 50. Exhibitor: Light Work Gallery









identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 22
Panorama # 9, shown here, is from the third Panorama triptych, part of The Feast of
Trimalchio. This video and photography project by four Russian artists, AES+F Group,
was inspired by Roman poet Gaius Petronius.
“Thanks to Petronius´s fantasy, Trimalchio´s name became synonymous with wealth
and luxury, with gluttony and with unbridled pleasure in contrast to the brevity of human
existence,” say the artists. “In the third millennium, Trimalchio, the former slave, the
nouveau riche host of feasts, appeared to us not so much as an individual as a collective
image of a luxurious hotel, a temporary paradise which one has to pay to enter.”
Exhibitor: Venezuela’s Juan Ruiz Galeria











This image of a shattering porcelain figurine, Untitled (Kung Fu
Man), is part of a series made by German photographer Martin
Klimas. The photographer drops figurines from a set height
and the photo is taken automatically through a high-speed lens
immediately after the moment of impact. Backgrounds are always
neutral and figurines brightly lit.
Describing himself as a sculptor, Klimas says his images depict
transformation, not destruction, and that the hardest part of his
work is having to smash large numbers of figurines to get a shot
that shows something new. He also photographs birds flying and
objects falling. Exhibitor: New York’s Foley Gallery

Sara Carter painted Transport 10 in acrylic on canvas. Layering geometric forms, the
San Francisco-based painter presents a new formation of landscape that she says
belongs in the subconscious world. “The Transport series refers specifically to the
ethereal realm I believe to be an inimitable aspect of the human psyche,” Carter says.
“The drive to harness or express the omnipotence intrinsic to an altered state of
consciousness seems to be embedded with in the fold of our nature. The conceptual
idea of a mysticism, expressed through the enigmatic perspective of a contemporary
mystic, distils this series to a fine point.” Exhibitor: Aureus Contemporary Gallery
Creating Interiors of Distinction
Tel +971 2 6679588
A Mubadala Development Company
& Poltrona Frau Group Joint Venture
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 24
Out of the woods
A prototype wooden construction system in Finland which aims to
showcase the sustainable use of timber, stylish poufs made from rolls
of latex otherwise bound for the rubbish tip and an experimental electric
Rolls-Royce make this month’s green headlines. TEXT: STEVE HILL
March 2009
June 2011 25
A prototype wooden construction system for a pilot project in the Finnish city of Kouvola is to serve as a
showcase for the sustainable use of timber construction worldwide.
The E2 Ecology & Economy timber development competition was staged to find a conceptual design
solution for large-scale production of wooden multi-storey buildings to meet the increasingly stringent
environmental requirements of Finnish industrialised construction.
The team of BIG (DK) + Pirmin Jung Engineers for Wood Constructions (CH) + AOA Anttinen Oiva
Architects Ltd (FI) + Vahanen Engineers (FI) + Stora Enso (FI) emerged as victors.
And their 15,000sq/m prefabricated wooden development in Kouvola will highlight replicable and locally
adaptable cost and energy-efficient housing.
Wood as construction material brings a double benefit: remarkably reduced emissions in its production
and fabrication, and improved energy efficiency of the buildings where it is used. BIG’s PUU-BO is a
comprehensive prefab solution designed to be both extremely flexible and materially efficient.
It can easily be adapted to a variety of building typologies and uses, while it also opens up new possibilities
for prefabricated wood systems beyond the residential market as the same elements in the residential pilot
project could be used in an office building or even a wooden skyscraper with no loss in material efficiency.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 26
Grocon is to develop plans for a carbon neutral “Passive House” apartment
building constructed entirely from timber in Melbourne.
The company has already constructed Pixel, the greenest building in
Australia. And it wants the new project, known as Delta, to inspire home
owners to take advantage of available technology and achieve the most
sustainable houses possible.
The pre-fabricated building will be 10 storeys high and feature 50
apartments, and will be based on the “Passive House” Standard, well known
throughout Europe. Sustainably sourced and processed FSC certified wood
products will be utilised.
The concept behind the project is to achieve the best indoor standard of
heating and cooling possible – but captured in the way the house is designed
and manufactured, rather than through the use of gas or electricity.
It features an airtight building envelope, high levels of insulation and timber
window frames complete with triple glazing, reducing energy bills and using
renewable power sources.
Rolls-Royce has launched an experimental first battery electric vehicle for
the ultra-luxury segment.
The 102EX, also known as the Phantom Experimental Electric (EE), will
serve as a working test bed, giving owners, VIPs, the media and enthusiasts
the chance to experience an established alternative drive-train technology
and to feed back their experiences, thoughts and concerns directly.
The Phantom’s naturally aspirated 6.75-litre V12 petrol engine and
six-speed gearbox have been replaced by a lithium ion battery pack and
two electric motors mounted on the rear sub-frame. These motors are
connected to a single speed transmission with integrated differential.
Pre-launch tests suggest the Phantom EE should run to a range of up
to 200km. Delivered on an effortless wave of torque, 0-60mph will be
achieved in under eight seconds (it takes 5.7 seconds in the standard
Phantom), with a top speed limited to 160km/h.
Recharging is undertaken with a plug and five-pin socket, which replaces
the normal fuel filling mechanism. The standard fuel filler cap has been
replaced by a design featuring a clear window, displaying the RR logo and
102EX motif. The window frames rear-mounted, tricolour LEDs which
present the car’s charging status.
Three separate charger units (3kW each) are fitted to the battery, which
allow both single-phase (20 hours) or three-phase charging (eight hours);
for a passenger car this is unique. A fourth induction charger is also fitted
to enable wireless charging, a technology being trialled in the Phantom EE.
The largest photovoltaic solar plant in the United States has recently been
Sempra Generation’s Copper Mountain Solar is a 48MW project
located adjacent to the company’s 10-MW El Dorado Solar installation in
Boulder City, Nevada, about 64km southeast of Las Vegas.
Construction on Copper Mountain Solar began in January last year at
the 153-hectare desert site. Nearly 775,000 thin-film photovoltaic solar
panels, which convert sunlight directly into electricity, were installed.
The award-winning solar facility is now generating enough emission-free
electricity to power about 14,000 average homes.
Sempra Generation operates and maintains a fleet of clean, efficient
natural gas-fuelled power plants and is a leading developer of solar and
wind facilities that serve American markets.
From left: The Passive House building in Melbourne, Australia;
102EX by Rolls-Royce
Original lighting designs handcrafted in America and specified worldwide since 1940.
Al Zomorrodah Building, Zabeel Road, Dubai, T: +971 4 334 9090 - Mall of the Emirates, Dubai, T: +971 4 341 3334
28 March 2009
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 28
As petrol prices continue to increase, perhaps it’s no surprise to discover
that the E-tropolis range of emission-free and eco-friendly scooters are
growing in popularity.
The scooters emit no petrol, oil or exhaust fumes. And this is also a silent
revolution as the E-troplis accelerates to maximum speed in only a few
seconds without having to shift gears because the powerful torque of
the wheel hub motor is directly transferred to the rear wheel.
Advertising brochures for this range of scooters claims that “for cheaper
mobility you would have to walk” as it costs less than Dhs2 to charge up
batteries per 100km travelled.
Depending on model selected, the E-tropolis boasts a maximum speed
of 45km/h. Only powerful maintenance-free and leak-proof silicon batteries
are used, and they are capable of up to 450 charges/discharge cycles before
having to be replaced.
These scooters come with disc brakes and a cockpit dial which shows
speed, kilometres covered and, most importantly, the battery charge display.
E-tropolis is a Germany company based in Bremen with production facilities
in China where more than 40 million e-scooters have been manufactured as
a result of a ban 20 years ago on gas-engine scooters in city centres.
And with officials envisaging a day when solar-connected charging stations
are featured on all garage forecourts as well as the car parks of large
companies, it is predicting big growth in Europe.
Rolls of latex that were bound for the rubbish tip after being cut to produce
insoles for the Italian shoe industry are now being upcycled by design trio 13
Ricrea into pieces of furniture.
Designers Angela Mensi, Cristina Merlo and Ingrid Taro have taken what
used to be considered a factory floor waste product and used their imagination
to create soft, comfortable and ergonomic poufs that are available only through
PepsiCo has extended its Dream Machine recycling campaign to Washington
DC in its continuing bid to increase beverage recycling rates in the United
States from 34 per cent to 50 per cent by 2018.
More than 360 recycling bins are being placed throughout the downtown
area of the city under an initiative launched last year to make thousands of
such receptacles available in popular public venues such as petrol stations,
stadiums and public parks.
Dream Machine kiosks are
computerised receptacles that
include a personal reward
system that allows consumers to
collect and redeem points for each
bottle or can they recycle.
The Dream Machines are
provided by WM GreenOps
and operated by Greenopolis, the
first interactive recycling system that
brings together online and on-street
technologies. People who recycle
their beverage containers in kiosks
can redeem points they collect
and receive awards when they visit
Around 1,500 Dream Machines
have now been sited in more than
20 states.
From left: A model from the E-Tropolis scooter range; insoles recycled to
produce latex rolls
Sanitaryware, bathroom furniture, bathtubs, shower trays, wellness products and accessories: Duravit has everything you need to make life in the bathroom
a little more beautiful. More info at Duravit Middle East S.A.L., P.O. Box 13-6055, Chouran-Beirut, Lebanon, Phone +961 1 397329, Fax +961 1 397330,
info@lb.duravit.com. Duravit Middle East (Branch), P.O. Box: 293622 – Dubai, Dubai Airport Free Zone - United Arab Emirates, Phone +971 4 7017117,
Fax +971 4 7017121, info@ae.duravit.com. Duravit Saudi Arabia LLC, Al Hamra district, Aarafat street, Shahwan commercial center, 3rd floor – Office number 4,
P.O. Box 9135, 21413 Jeddah, Phone +966 2 66 580 54 / +966 2 66 176 94, Fax +966 2 66 410 38, info@sa.duravit.com. www.duravit.com
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 30
It’s hip to
be square
Swarovski and chandeliers go hand in hand, yet it has
taken the company over 100 years to make its own
glittering debut on the design stage aided by four of
today’s most sought-after American designers.
A group of America’s leading contemporary designers – André
Kikoski, S.Russell Groves, Todd Bracher and Stephen Burks – was
handpicked to create distinctive chandeliers for the launch of the Austrian
company’s debut lighting collection.
Since1895, Swarovski has been manufacturing precision cut crystals for
chandeliers, clothing, bags and jewellery… but the family owned company,
now run by fourth and fifth generation members, waited until the 50th
anniversary of iSalone (the Italian Furniture Fair) to launch its Swarovski
Lighting Centrepieces during Euroluce under the world’s spotlight.
The family’s first foray into its own lighting collection – which is designed
and manufactured by Swarovski – follows on from the acquisition of
Schonbek Worldwide Lighting, a leading player in traditional chandelier
and lighting fixtures. The move was engineered by Daniel Cohen, a fifth
generation Swarovski and executive board member, who is also the creative mind
behind this venture into the design arena.
It also follows in the footsteps of Nadja Swarovski’s highly successful Crystal Palace
Collection which was – on the whole – massive crystal art installations designed by
some of the world’s greatest architects including Zaha Hadid, Fredrikson Stallard
and Lenny Kravitz. Some of these chandeliers, such as Stallanrd’s Pandora, are now
being produced as limited edition series.
Cohen is the artistic ringleader who brought together Groves, Burks, Bracher and
Kikoski, challenging each to create more commercially viable, contemporary chandeliers.
For the past few years, the chosen four have been working towards their
Euroluce presentation which highlighted Swarovski’s entry into the world of lighting
design with much acclaim. The company’s in-house design team also contributed
to the collection, comprising of six basic lighting fixtures.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 30
31 June 2011
Top: Kikoski pictured in the James Beard award-winning Wright
restaurant in New York. Bottom: the Guggen chair for Ligne Roset 2011
Multiple award-winning architect Kikoski took time out of the spotlight
to speak to identity about this latest development in his already bright career.
“This is an extremely exciting time for me. It’s my first visit to the iSalone and
I have two products on show – the ReveaLED chandelier and a chair for Ligne
Roset,” explains the Manhattan-based architect.
“Creating the chandelier was a great challenge for me as it opened a new
avenue into product design. This ultra pared-down square design was in fact
my initial idea, and then I toyed with others before going back to it. We wanted
to create a traditional chandelier in a modern way – something that would be
iconic, textural and distinctive. The square has pure qualities – it’s simple and
calls for perfection.”
“We wanted to turn the traditional chandelier inside out and make the focal point
the inside, rather than the outside, so that the light emanated from within.” He adds,
“It’s also inspired by the look and feel of pure, freshly fallen snow – imagine cool and
crisp scenes from the Dr. Zhivago movie.”
“What’s interesting is that the crystals we used are actually job lot crystals, or
rather the by-products from the crystals, so we are using a recycled product in
a sense and making it green.”
“The beauty of the design is that it can be hung any way – it can be modular and
made in any size or colour, and using any material. As architects, we also wanted to
create something pure, something that stands out on its own – for its understated
simplicity and uniqueness. It took two one-week sessions to come up with idea and
then we spent a good part of a year working on it. As a designer, your first idea is
usually the best, but making it functional and practical is always the time consuming
part of the process.”
Kikoski’s Syrian roots and long childhood holidays spent in and around
Aleppo are experiences that tantalised his curiosity with regards to the Middle
Eastern influence on contemporary architecture. In 1993, while still at graduate
school, he received a grant from the Aga Khan Foundation to study the mixture
of European and Islamic techniques adopted by Aleppo craftsmen on his
grandfather’s home.
The Harvard trained architect, who worked with I.M Pei and Richard Meier
before establishing his own practice, is himself a product of his education and
experience adhering to the strict principles of contemporary architecture. He is
highly influenced by the Bahaus school. “There is no need for excess – function
is of the essence and without unnecessary decoration,” he stresses.
His portfolio is impressive and in addition to numerous residential projects,
especially a number of prestigious loft conversions, he has put his design stamp
on various restaurants and hotels in America.
Kikoski is also the design team leader of the Guggenheim Museum’s Wright
Restaurant in New York, which won the 2010 James Beard Award for the
Best Restaurant Design in North America. His studio created everything for
the interior right down to the Guggen chair, which Ligne Roset has put into
production this year. “This is a completely new venture for our practice. We
hope to create more industrial products and also look forward to working in
the Middle East.” Kikoski remains tight-lipped, however, about ongoing talks
with a UAE client but we could see his trademark style on a project here in
the not too distant future.
The New Yorker was selected as one of The New Garde of Ten Designers
to Watch by New York Magazine. “It’s an exciting time that we live in, one with
new opportunities as people look to diversify, find new creative solutions and
experiment with new designers.”
31 June 2011
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 32
“This is out first product launch – we’ve been working
on Crystaline Icicles for the past year,” says S.Russell
Groves, whose Manhattan-based firm has recently been
voted as being among the Top Ten International Firms by
Architectural Digest.
“For the Swarovski project, we sought to focus on the
chandelier in a new way. Our challenge was how to
light dramatically while still minimalising the presence of
the hardware. We wanted to concentrate all the focus
on the beauty of the crystal. The result, I believe, is
both architectural and elegant,” says the graduate of the
prestigious Rhode Island School of Design.
Groves has earned a reputation for his holistic approach
to design, which blends sumptuousness and an air of
tranquillity with a deep sensitivity towards the fragility of
the environment. “I can see it in a very minimalist
environment and also in a more decorative one which
was our aim – to create a chandelier that can be used in
multiple environments with the focus being on the lighting
effects. It’s very tactile while being opulent as well.”
Originally from Nova Scotia, Groves has leant his design
expertise to the interiors of numerous prestigious luxury
fashion houses and his client lists includes Tiffany&Co,
Giorgio Armani, Donna Karan, Coach and Ralph Lauren.
He specialises in a lot of zero emission projects and has
recently finished Lucida – Manhattan’s first LEED certified
residential building. He is currently working on the design
of a five-star, zero carbon resort in the Caribbean.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 32
33 June 2011
Dubbed as America’s Next Great Designer, Todd Bracher – a
multi-disciplinary designer who wears many hats including that of
Creative Director for Scandinavia’s Georg Jensen – designed the
minimalistic Strandelier for Swarovski’s debut lighting collection.
Bracher was also named Designer of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
He collaborates with many top design brands all over the world,
and is an Acting Professor of Design at l’ESAD in France. Having
lived in Copenhagen, Milan, Paris, London and now back in his
native New York, he enjoys a unique multi-cultural approach to
interior, architecture and product design that continues to attract
the attention of the industry.
Considered to be one of the most recognisable in the new
generation of US-based industrial designers, Stephen Burks was
among the chosen few selected to be part of the Swarovski
chandelier launch team for which he created Inside/Out.
His client list reads like a who’s who of prestigious design
brands including Audi, B&B Italia, Capellini, Calvin Klein, Missoni,
Artecnica and Estée Lauder.
A graduate of the Illinois Institute of Technology and
Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Burks has earned
many awards including the Brooklyn Museum Young Modernist
Award, the Architektur&Wohnen Audi Mentor Prize and
the 2008 United States Artists Architecture & Design Target
Fellowship Grant for outstanding work in product design.
While much of his time is occupied with creating images
and products for luxury brands, Burks dedicates a share of
his time towards the less fortunate as part of his commitment
to sustainable design. He works with numerous non-profit
organisations including Aid to Artisans, the Nature Conservancy
and the Clinton Foundation.
33 June 2011



35 June 2011

36 Who is doing what?
40 Come together
43 User friendly
44 Flexible appliances
44 Under construction
46 Work it
47 Out of space?
48 Water source
48 Colour and texture
What’s cooking?
It remains the heart of the home, with a series
of innovations adding to its appeal. identity
reveals the trends shaping the contemporary
kitchen in 2011. TEXT: RUBY ROGERS
The D39M55 is a new 90cm wide stainless steel
canopy hood from Neff with a black glass fascia.
36 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
The kitchen is the beating heart of the modern home. Much happens
here: family meals are eaten, dinner parties with friends are enjoyed,
homework assignments are hastily written, stories are told and problems are
shared. Hence, the contemporary kitchen has to be flexible enough to fulfil a
variety of practical functions, but also comfortable enough to spend time in.
Highlighting the importance of the kitchen, Cologne’s LivingKitchen exhibition
debuted earlier this year. For seven days trade visitors and consumers from all
over the world flocked to the bustling stands of Koelnmesse to bear witness to
the very latest innovations in cabinetry, appliances and fixtures. “The kitchen has
returned to Cologne with a first-rate performance,” says Gerald Böse, CEO of
Koelnmesse. “After this spectacular premiere, I’m already looking forward to the
sequel in 2013.”
His words are more than mere PR patter. identity braved the chill of
Cologne in January to confirm that it was indeed a success, pulling together
plenty of big market players complemented by a supporting programme of
famous chefs and live shows. Perhaps most significant were the trends on show,
in particular the fusion of the kitchen and living space – a trend that has been
emerging for some years and which has now fully asserted itself.
In its post-show report, LivingKitchen says of this trend: “These days furnishing
a home means breaking down the old, traditional boundaries; putting the
television in the kitchen, turning the dining table into a communication centre,
and putting the bathtub in the bedroom. Rooms are increasingly merging
with one another. The kitchen-dining-living areas are becoming one, and the
bedroom and bathroom areas are gradually converging.”
The kitchen community has coined the phrase “disappearing boundaries” to
aptly describe what is happening in the home. “In the past, people used to ask
themselves, what belongs in a living room? These days the question is: what
do I want to put in my living room? What do I want it to say about me? Those
are the boundaries we will be dealing with in the future,” concludes the report.
“The live-in kitchen is the most conclusive proof of all that the various areas of
the home are merging and people’s expectations of their interiors are changing.”
Social megatrends – such as a desire for individualism, a growing interest in
health, changing family structures, demographic development and globalisation
– are driving the changing face of the kitchen. However, a renewed interest in
home cooking is also relevant. More of us are entertaining at home, keen to
show off our cooking prowess, and what better way to do this than with the
ever-popular “TV chef kitchen layout” whereby the practical elements, such as
the sink and fridge, are located behind the chef, who works at an island unit that
looks out onto a living area. The upshot is an open-plan, sociable space that
places the cook at the heart of the action.
Among the manufacturers working the kitchen-living look is Poggenpohl, which
claims to have kick-started the trend with award-winning concepts such as
+Segmento and +Integration, developed in 2000 and 2004 respectively to
transform the functional kitchen into a “centre of communication” for the home.
In an interview, Kathryn Pratley, of Kitchens & Beyond, Dubai, told identity:
“Poggenpohl doesn’t follow just any new fashions or trends. We see ourselves as
a driver of innovation by reflecting social developments in our products that we
perfect for the market in cooperation with designers and architects. We don’t put
kitchen units on the wall; we create spaces. That’s an elementary difference.”
Set, the new project for Dada by Rodolfo Dordoni proposes the atmosphere of a traditional kitchen: large hood-chimneys surrounded by pantry units and shelving,
boiserie panels, natural materials and lacquered finishes from the 70s, all the while integrating advanced technological solutions.
38 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Magika is the newest model from Pedini aimed at the budget conscious consumer. It comprises smooth
lacquered fronts, aluminium handles in two finishes, quartzite worktops and plenty of storage.
38 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
39 June 2011
39 June 2011
40 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Taking the kitchen-living concept one step further is its latest innovation,
+Artesio, launched at last year’s Eurocucina and available for purchase from
early this year. Designed in collaboration with eminent architect Hadi Teherani,
+Artesio unites kitchen design and room architecture by including not only
cabinetry but also walls, floors, dining furniture and an independent ceiling
with built-in ventilation, lighting and sound, delivering what Elmar Duffner,
Poggenpohl’s chief executive, calls a “room-in-room solution”. The system is
also customisable and comes with a wide range of material choices including
laminate, wood, glass and even leather.
“The trend towards individualised living, free from set structures and specific
functions, will continue,” Terherani predicts. “So whether you’re sleeping,
working, cooking, receiving guests, exercising or taking a shower, the focus will
remain on the vision of a home liberated from constraints.” Also significant is
that Poggenpohl’s all-embracing concept allows architects to take account of the
kitchen’s design as early as the room planning stage.
“This is the future,” Pratley says. “Attention will not only turn to the kitchen
once the home or apartment has been completed. Instead architects, designers,
owners and planners will get together from the very beginning and draw up an
overall concept with the kitchen as the heart of the home.”
An effective kitchen design is the sum of many parts brought together to create
a harmonious whole. Consequently, manufacturers and designers are working
hard to eliminate the visual divide between appliances and furniture.
An excellent example is Boffi’s new Aprile kitchen, the brainchild of Italian
architect and designer Piero Lissoni, who uses natural materials as the key
component (think treated wood finishes and stone combined with natural
materials such as stainless steel). A standout feature is Lissoni’s worktops in four
different materials – stainless steel, Serrena stone, Carrara marble and solid black
granite. A solid wood breakfast bar on stainless-steel legs complements these.
Top: Architect Hadi Teherani’s +Artesio kitchen for Poggenpohl is a ‘room-in-room’ solution comprising cabinetry walls, floors, dining furniture and an independent
ceiling with built-in ventilation, lighting and sound. Bottom: Natural materials is a key component of the Aprile kitchen by Piero Lissoni for Boffi. Think natural wood
finishes, stone and stainless steel.
creative bathroom solutions
t + 974 44954619
42 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 42 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
43 June 2011
To complete the kitchen, Lissoni has designed a range of appliances using
similar materials. His integrated hob, for instance, is made with an inset in
either stainless steel, Serena stone, Carrara marble or solid black granite. It’s an
effortlessly seamless look that visually links his cabinetry and appliances.
Hans Strohmeier, senior design manager at AEG, agrees that appliances
should be designed according to the way modern kitchens function. “As the
kitchen is becoming an open space, the design of the appliances should be
aligned to integrate seamlessly into an overall living space,” he says. “Products
should be outstanding, but should not disrupt the harmony of the kitchen.”
AEG’s solution is its recently launched Neue Kollektion, a line-up of slick
appliances defined by simplicity to create a collection with an integrated look.
Simplicity is not, of course, the easiest thing to achieve. For Strohmeier, it is the
result of considering a great number of small details. “For example, our black-
and-white appliances are now purely black or white, rather than a mix of black
or white and stainless steel,” he says, “but to achieve an even finish, the paint
must be applied to the outside of every part, rather than to a mix of surface and
under-glass. It is more demanding in the production process, but for a perfect
result we must do nothing less.”
Rapid advances in extractor technology have also made it possible to reduce
the visibility of hoods so that they no longer need to interrupt the clean lines of
open-plan kitchen designs. In the quest to create an understated product that
also ticks the box for maximum illumination and optimum air filtration, Bulthaup
has stripped away the unnecessary elements of extractor design and created a
horizontal, aerodynamic shape suspended from the ceiling by two steel cables
that can be positioned effortlessly over cooktops, dining tables or kitchen islands.
Similarly blessed with a sleek, aerodynamic figure is Neff ’s new 90cm-wide
stainless-steel canopy hood with a black glass fascia. Intended for wall-mounted
installation, this new hood boasts an angled design that allows easier access to
the hob below. Lighting is also well thought out, with a seven-segment LED
display and three low-energy halogen lamps to provide illumination for the
hob. Thanks to its good looks and high-capacity fan for optimum extraction,
the D39M55 has recently scooped a prestigious “Best of the Best” award in
the 2011 Reddot Design Competition.
As appliances become increasingly smarter, there is a danger that they will
become overly complicated. With this in mind manufacturers are driving the
trend for interfaces that are information-rich and powerful in terms of what they
enable us to do, yet remain simple to use. Design teams across the sector are
working hard to create a smooth connection between the appliance and the
person using it through touch screens, minimalist graphics and large displays.
The number of different materials is also being kept to a minimum.
Gorenje, the Slovenian manufacturer, has launched its new Simplicity line,
which was developed after extensive research to reveal the features most
regularly used by consumers. The appliances in the Simplicity range are
uncluttered and free from complicated, unnecessary programs. Use is managed
through a simple, logical control dial, saving time and prioritising ergonomics. Its
streamlined functionality is complemented by a beautiful black design, which is
carried across all the appliances in the range.
Ruth Ferguson, marketing manager at Gorenje, says: “The Gorenje Simplicity
range has been specifically developed with the consumer in mind, and offers the
functions and programs that our research has shown people use regularly. The
collection features a unique combination of freestanding and built-in appliances
with a continuous aesthetic, allowing the consumer to build up their Simplicity
kitchen over time. As with all Gorenje products, the Simplicity design is highly
creative and aspirational, and will make a real impact in any kitchen.”
The new Linea range from the Schüller C collection showcased in white matt
lacquer with walnut wall and end panels and worktops.
44 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Intelligent appliances are responsible for added flexibility in the contemporary
kitchen. An excellent example is Gaggenau’s new full-surface induction cooktop,
CX 480, which allows up to four pieces of cookware of any size and shape to
be placed anywhere on its surface. The cooktop recognises the presence of
a pot or pan automatically and heat is only generated where the cookware is
detected. Should the pot be moved the cooktop registers its new position and
carries on heating at the same temperature.
“Under the glass ceramic surface of the new full-surface induction
cooktop CX 480 there is a closely spaced, staggered configuration of 48
micro-inductors,” explains Stefan Köhl, director of product management at
Gaggenau. “Unlike conventional large induction coils, this structure transforms
the entire cooktop into one large cooking area.”
The significance of flexibility should not be underestimated, according
to a global trends report by GfK Roper Consulting conducted on behalf
of Electrolux. “If one looks at the trends that will affect how we organise
our home in the coming years, the red line connecting all of these trends
is flexibility,” reads the report. “We do not want time and space to limit
their expectations and aspirations in life. Their products should not tell
them what is and isn’t possible. We want to spend quality time in the
kitchen cooking and socialising, but also be able to do quick, easy and
time-saving cooking.”
According to GfK Roper, there are a handful of trends that have particular
relevance to flexibility in the home. “First is the professionalism of the home.
We want to do it ourselves – professionally. There is a huge growth of in-home
solutions: home spa, gym, cinema, photo printers, massage seat. Luxury has
become part of the home,” GfK affirms. In the kitchen, amateur food enthusiasts
are demanding more professional equipment. This means coffee machines that
produce brews to rival your favourite café or professional-looking cooktops
(think oversized handles and stainless-steel cladding) featuring professional
kitchen-inspired features such as wok burners, hotplates and griddles.
Another “flexible trend” concerns premium products and services becoming
more available to the masses. “We seek to create quality experiences by
using appliances that create premium results from minimum consumer effort,”
GfK adds. “Whether it’s basic or gourmet, everyday cooking must be quick
and easy, and kitchen equipment must solve this. We also want to control
the whole process; we seek the authentic rather than the processed. This
demand for quality requires knowledge, technical help or simple standards that
are recognised by the consumer.”
Lightweight construction is another trend strongly influencing the design direction
of contemporary kitchens. High-tech lightweight panels are used throughout the
cabinetry of Poggenpohl’s much-talked-about Porsche Design kitchen P’7340.
The entire surface of Gaggenau’s new induction hob is one large cooking area. The CX 480 automatically detects cookware and heats it wherever it is positioned.
It also recognises when cookware is moved to another position.
46 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
“They consist of thin wooden facings of just a few millimetres that are attached
to a reinforcing kraft paper honeycomb core,” Kathryn Pratley explains. “This
not only reduces weight but at the same time requires 40 per cent less material.
Sustainability is central to everything Poggenpohl makes and does.”
The latest step in the development of the P’7340 kitchen was unveiled during
LivingKitchen in the shape of lightweight glass-carbon cabinet fronts. “This ultra-light
yet extremely strong and temperature-resistant carbon-fibre composite is widely
used in aerospace but also in automotive engineering,” Pratley says. “Produced in a
complex process, carbon is an extremely high-quality material. For the carbon front
of our Porsche Design kitchen, the material is laminated and applied to a glass front.”
Lightweight construction not only applies to cabinet fronts but also worktops.
“With the open living space situation in mind, worktops that are only 1cm thick
are used ever-more frequently in order to create a modern, purist look,” says
Roy Oldfield, export director of German manufacturer SieMatic.
Bang on trend is Blanco, which launched its stainless-steel SolidEdge worktop
in Cologne – a light and elegant solution that is nonetheless hard wearing. The
beauty of SolidEdge is that it can be used in two different ways depending on the
desired effect: either flush-fitted to the carcase or sat on a slightly inset platform
to look as though it is hovering gracefully above the kitchen cabinetry.
Our quest for thin worktops is coupled with the increasing popularity of
manmade composites – practical, hard-working surfaces that are virtually
impervious to water, heat resistant as well as stain and scratch resistant.
Another benefit of composite is that it can be made to echo the aesthetics of
natural materials, supporting the enduring trend of bringing a slice of the great
outdoors, indoors.
Toughened glass has garnered a good reputation owing to its resistance to
heat and acid as well as being impermeable and therefore extremely hygienic.
With sustainability now a big issue, there is also the option of recycled
glass worktops, which are equally hard wearing and aesthetically pleasing.
Alternatively, concrete is perfect for adding a touch of industrial chic and is
very durable, assuming it is correctly sealed.
Clockwise from top: Stainless steel SolidEdge worktops by Blanco SteelArt are lightweight but durable; Hansgrohe’s PuraVida kitchen tap enables the user to
control the water volume and temperature. The LED ring on the circumference changes colour from blue to red to give a visual indication of the temperature set;
colourful whisks from Normann Copenhagen
47 June 2011
Regardless of its size, you will need effective storage space to create a kitchen
that works well and looks clutter free. Internal fittings have improved dramatically
in recent years, making the most of every square inch, even tricky corner units.
Manufacturers have also taken the effort out of accessing items thanks to savvy
solutions such as power-assisted drawers that open and close with a gentle push.
Nolte has even gone so far as to introduce GlassLine, a new side extension made
from glass, which enables you to see the contents of drawers and pull-outs.
Once again Poggenpohl has come up trumps with a newly designed drawer
and pull-out system developed in-house. “The internal side panels are of equal
thickness from top to bottom and meet the base at right angles,” Pratley says.
“The special part about this new pull-out design is the side profile made of
lightweight yet sturdy aluminum in a thickness of just 8mm. With this, every
Poggenpohl kitchen has an average 15 per cent more loading capacity. All versions
also feature power-assisted opening and the pull-outs are additionally available
with integrated LED lighting that is automatically activated on opening.”
An extension of this trend is the popularity for replacing base cabinet
doors with capacious drawers, offering more in terms of capacity and
accessibility. It’s a trend acknowledged by Schiffini with its Space system,
a series of deep drawers up to 210cm wide.
“Schiffini has always been renowned for following a product policy
that is not influenced by short-lived trends but are generally concerned
with the formal aspects of the product, such as its design or finish,” Enrico
Schiffini tells identity of his company’s attitude towards trends. “Another
thing to consider is the evolution of the product caused by the emergence
of new technologies or new materials. If these innovations are actually a
step forward in the product’s functionality or quality, they are dutifully
taken into account.”
Before signing off about storage, it is important to mention the
developing trend towards wall shelving, in contrast to the recent fashion
for hiding everything behind closed doors. More people are going to
want to showcase their favourite glassware or heirloom china, rather than
it collecting dust at the back of a cupboard.
Clockwise from top: Schiffini’s multifunctional Key System designed by Alfonso Arosio and Elia Mangia houses shelving, sliding elements, removable containers,
worktops and drawers as well as plenty of space for appliances; ceramic hob by Ora Ïto; a new interpretation of SieMatic’s BeauxArts collection by Chicago
designer Mick Du Giulio.
48 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
The tap is a small but, nevertheless, essential element of the modern-day kitchen,
used countless times every day. It can also add to the overall look of the kitchen,
particularly if you opt for a contemporary design that makes a strong style statement.
Hansgrohe argues that because kitchens nowadays double as central everyday
locations that serve as meetings point for family and friends there is also a call
for kitchen equipment with a certain degree of sophistication. “In this context,
digital-operating convenience has become absolutely indispensable in the field of
modern kitchen design,” Philippe Grohe says.
The new electronic kitchen sink mixer, part of Hansgrohe’s successful
PuraVida line, combines eye-catching design with convenient, easy operation.
A sensuously shaped mixer body in brushed stainless steel is coupled with a
generously proportioned surface area fashioned in polished stainless steel to
create an exciting contrast.
The raised pivoting spout makes kitchen work easy, as does the ergonomic
electronic control unit, which can be positioned to suit individual preferences.
The user can control the water volume and temperature by clicking or twisting,
while the LED ring on the circumference changes colour from blue to red to
give a visual indication of the temperature set.
The ability to control water volume touches on a wider trend concerning
products that protect the environment. “A growing number of consumers are
becoming increasingly aware of the need to save both energy and water – partly
because it is easy on the wallet, but also because it is easy on the environment,”
concludes the report by LivingKitchen. “Efficiency will be tomorrow’s norm.”
Enduring in its appeal, white was certainly the colour of choice for exhibitors
at LivingKitchen. Earthy shades also had a part to play, described as “discreet
and classy” by Roy Oldfield, export director at SieMatic.
Just one example is Nolte’s new Sahara, a beautiful beige hue added to its
Nova Lack range. In Cologne, Sahara was showcased together with various
wood décors including Oak Smoky Silver and Limed Moor Oak – a nod to the
trend for wood grains (also popular are bleached, stained or whitewashed
options). With this growth towards wood grains there has been a further
move away from sleek high gloss to textured, matt surfaces.
The future points to a simple design style with lasting appeal.
Top: Varenna’s Twelve kitchen by architect and designer Carlo Colombo with embossed lacquered white doors and frosted glass countertop, back panel and wall
paneling together with stainless steel suspended shelves.
50 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Design sources
blanco.de; tel: (04) 343 1888
boffi.com; tel: (04) 334 9943
bulthaup.com; tel: (04) 443 2615
dadaweb.it; tel: (04) 297 1777
electrolux.ae; tel: (04) 330 9295
ernestomeda.com; tel: (04) 348 8140
gaggenau.com; tel: (04) 334 9943
gorenje.com; tel: (04) 886 0858
hansgrohe.com; tel: (04) 332 6565
kitchenaid.com; tel: (04) 231 0400
knb.ae; tel: (04) 283 1332
neff.de; tel: (04) 266 5544
pedini.it; tel: (04) 338 8540
poggenpohl.com; tel: (04) 283 1331
poliform.it; tel: (04) 394 8161
riva1920.it; tel: (04) 338 8276
schiffini.it; tel: (04) 268 1288
siematic.com; tel: (04) 330 9295
The new state-of-the-art KitchenAid domestic appliances including the exclusive
Chef Touch – specifically designed for vacuum sealed, sous vide cooking – that
recently won the Red Dot Design Award 2011, were recently launched in the UAE
(See page 84). The KitchenAid range is available through Al Ghandi Electronics.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 52
A simplex man
identity meets Ora-Ïto, the darling of the design world who
can seemingly turn his talents to anything. TEXT: RUBY ROGERS
Ora-Ïto yawns loudly. Late night? Bored? “No, I had an operation yesterday.”
Should he be working today? “Yes,” he says with a slight shrug, “of course”. Above
all Ora-Ïto is a pragmatist.
We meet on the opening day of the Parisian trade fair Maison&Objet. He is here
to launch his new collection for Turkish brand Stepevi. His timetable of interviews
is tightly scheduled; three PR girls are on-hand to call time on one journalist while
ushering through the next (“No more than 20 minutes,” I’m told). And then there
are the high expectations of Stepevi heaped on his shoulders. The bottom line is that
they have a new product to promote and his presence is required.
Ora-Ïto remains cool under pressure. “It is to be expected. A company just wants
a product they can sell,” he says, subscribing to the Arne Jacobsen school of thought:
“People buy a chair and they don’t really care who designed it.” Similarly, Ora-Ïto’s
feet remain firmly on the ground: “Designers think that they are important, but we
are very small in the world. Sure we are famous at Maison&Objet, but outside of
Maison&Objet we are not.” Stepevi rug
53 June 2011
Clockwise from top left: Christofle candelabra; Monroe table lamp; Ecco
ecological bookshelf; One Line LED table lamp
However, it is much more than pragmatism that got Ora-Ïto out of
bed this morning. He waxes lyrical about how much he loves his work
and, considering the number of projects he juggles at any one time, it is
impossible not to believe him. What is in the pipeline at the moment?
“Hotel, plane, car, spaceship...” he rattles off. Plane? He laughs: “Oui! I’ve
never designed a plane before. Don’t be afraid, I am just designing the
interior. We have engineers working with us.” A spaceship? “It’s for the Milan
furniture show. I cannot say anything else.”
For a man who claims to be “an expert in nothing” very little phases
Ora-Ïto, “Did I mention that I am also designing a train?” Ultimately he is an
expert in design who can turn his hand to almost anything, be it a collection
for French brand Steiner, a perfume bottle for Pucci or a kitchen appliance
range for Gorenje. “My process is always the same,” he explains. “I ask a lot
of questions and I try to answer them through a series of drawings. I try to
understand the function of the product. I try to understand the typology.”
And context? “Yes context is very important,” he agrees. “I always work
with the surrounding elements. If I am designing a hotel in Turkey it is not
the same as a hotel in Corchevel.”
A healthy dose of good old fashioned self-confidence also goes a long way.
Ora-Ïto’s motto? “Just do it, but do it well”. There must be something that
challenges him? He pauses, seemingly struggling to answer. “Every day is a
challenge,” he says eventually. “It’s exciting but challenging. Even a product that
looks very simple is a challenge.”
It was this “just do it” attitude that kick-started Ora-Ïto’s flourishing career. At
21 he designed a series of unsolicited products for big-name brands such as Louis
Vuitton, Apple and Nike, and launched them on the internet. It was a defining
moment. His virtual designs attracted attention from consumers worldwide who
attempted to buy them. Was he worried about backlash from the brands? “Non,
they liked it,” he says dismissively. In fact they loved it, so much so that Ora-Ïto
was catapulted into the limelight and has been basking in its glow ever since.
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 54
“It was ego gratification to be honest with you,” he remembers with a smile.
“I didn’t have access to those brands because I was very young but I wanted to
work for them. I was the first person in the whole world to be discovered on
the internet. Today we hear about people being discovered every week, every
day. Me, I did it 12 years ago.”
He credits the web for smoothing the way for today’s young designers. “It is
not tough,” he says, shaking his head when I suggest that the career trajectory
for design graduates is fraught with obstacles. “It is very easy today, much easier
than when I started. Well, very easy if you have talent. If you don’t have talent
then don’t do this job. But if you have talent and a good product, you can use
the internet to send it to different manufacturers.”
By 2000 Ora-Ïto’s Parisian studio was up-and-running. Soon some of
the industry’s most prestigious names were knocking on his door: Zanotta,
Cappellini, B&B Italia and Artemide, for whom he designed the One Line lamp
which was handed a prestigious reddot award. “How do I pick who I work
with? I collaborate with brands that have history and longevity,” he explains.
“I also work with brands that stay focused. I never focus so I need
to work with people who do.”
On cue he jumps up to greet an old friend, eager to show-off his new
collection for Stepevi (back slapping, enthusiastic nodding and what I presume
to be a flurry of compliments in French ensues). He likes it? I ask unnecessarily
when Ora-Ïto is hustled back to his seat by his harassed looking PR. He smiles,
then shrugs: “He’s my friend. We support each other.”
Clockwise from top left: Furtivo knife; Ora-Ïto; Evolution Armchair; Miss Pucci
perfume bottle
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 56
Clockwise from top left: Modular side board; Ora-Gami armchair;
Beffet sideboard; Double Skin coffee table
I suspect it is more than friendship that has prompted such enthusiasm. Pre-
show PR talk promised Ora-Ïto’s new collection would be a cutting-edge, unique
vision for flooring. It delivers on both counts. It is a series of five rugs made from
carpet offcuts of differing lengths and widths that have been pieced together to
create an interesting effect.
“I went through the garbage and took one piece then another piece, and I
put them together. I thought it looked fantastic,” Ora-Ïto recalls. “Stepevi and I
plan to do a big collection but we wanted to introduce our collaboration here
at Maison&Objet so we did not have the time to do exactly what I had in mind.”
I wonder what that is, but he politely tells me to be patient: “I can’t talk about
things you cannot see.”
This is the first time Ora-Ïto has lent his design skills to flooring. “I wanted
something that looks very poor but rich at the same time,” he says of his collection.
“Poor because of the way it is made, but rich because of the way it looks.”
Creating contrasts is typical of Ora-Ïto’s design style. He calls it “simplexity”,
simple but complex at the same time. “Yes, I invented my own word,” he says
with a smile. “I had to. I wanted to find a way to easily explain my work in one
word. It was not possible, so I had to combine two.”
With time rapidly running out, I ask Ora-Ïto the secret to his success. He
shakes his head. “The day I think I am successful it would be the end of my life.
At the moment I’m just trying to stay focused and to do my best to be original
and innovative. That’s all.”
Office 502 Dusseldorf Business Point, Al Barsha 1, Dubai, U.A.E.
Tel: +971 4 447 4634 | Fax: +971 4 447 4635 | Email: info@sensi.ae
Website: www.sensi.ae
59 June 2011
60 Luscious St Lucia
66 Urban innovation
72 Antennae


60 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Luscious St Lucia
It may be small, but the Caribbean island of St Lucia is
perfectly formed, and new holiday home developments are
attracting both buyers and awards. TEXT: RICHARD WARREN
61 June 2011
Every December, the east Caribbean island of St Lucia welcomes
the arrival of more than 200 boats from Europe – this giant flotilla, the
world’s largest according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the Atlantic Rally
for Cruisers, aka the ARC. Yachts have gathered at the Canary Islands to make
this three-week voyage across the Atlantic Ocean every November since
1986. The event has become so popular that the number of boats taking
part is now restricted to 225 for safety reasons.
Its success inspired World Arc, an annual event started in 2008 that
involves dozens of yachts circumnavigating the globe together – a 15-month,
23,000-nautical-mile journey that starts and finishes in St Lucia. Note how
the event starts and finishes at this Caribbean island. Yachties just can’t get
enough of the place.
Honeymooners are equally besotted – it was voted the World’s
Leading Honeymoon Destination for the fifth year running at the World
Travel Awards in London in 2010. Not a bad achievement for an island
that is only 616sq/km in size, about one-sixth that of Dubai. Warm seas,
tropical vistas, steady, year-round 28C to 31C temperatures, and friendly,
easy-going locals help give it an edge.
In the northwest corner of the island, sandwiched between a
couples-friendly Sandals resort and a stretch of beach-side grassland
that will become another Sandals, is The Landings, a partly-completed,
eight-hectare residential community for St Lucia’s sailing fans. When fully
completed in 2014 the estate’s 228 apartments will overlook either its
beach or lagoon-style marina, where residents can moor their boats.
Glenconner Beach residential community, house in foreground.
62 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
The Landings is in Rodney Bay, the heart of the island’s sailing community.
At any one time 600 boats are moored or anchored in the bay, including
at Rodney Bay Marina, where a stretch of waterside shops, banks, bars,
restaurants and cafes cater for the needs of sailors and curious land-lubbers.
One-hundred-and-forty-three units have been sold at The Landings since
marketing started, with 60 per cent of buyers coming from Britain, and most of
the rest from Canada, United States and neighbouring Caribbean islands. One
buyer and a number of holidaying apartment renters have come from Dubai.
Most buyers are in late middle-age and retired. “Mainly they are
entrepreneurs who have sold their business, made money and are now
enjoying the good life,” says Oliver Gobat, The Landings sales director.
Buyers are attracted to the “first class finishes, from one-and-three-quarter-
inch solid wood doors throughout the world class condos, to sound proof
hurricane resistant glass”, he says. “All the homes are on the water, the
amenities on offer are more extensive than any other development, including
bars, pools, restaurants, tennis courts, a top class gym, spa, concierge, water
sports and more.” Another residency perk includes playing on St Lucia’s only
18-hole golf course at reduced rates.
Unlike other resort schemes, The Landings offers freehold ownership of
apartments to buyers, because it is built on reclaimed land. Other coastal
schemes offer leasehold, because waterfront land is owned by the Crown.
The Landings sales prices range from Dhs2m for a one-bedroom
apartment to Dhs12.8mfor a three-bedroom penthouse. Furniture packages
are available and owners can put properties into a rental pool run by
management company RockResorts. Service charges start at Dhs2,200 a
month for a one-bedroom apartment and Gobat says the developer will offer
buyers fractional ownership options on apartments later this year.
The development won the Best Apartment in the Americas award at
the Bloomberg International Property Awards in 2010. Another St Lucian
triumph at those awards was The Residences at Sugar Beach, which won
Best International Property.
Sited within a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the island’s south coast
between two cone-shaped, dormant volcanoes known as the Pitons, the
Dhs367m Sugar Beach scheme will comprise 64 villas and 42 apartments
when completed in December. The villas will be rented out as hotel
accommodation, and the apartments sold as “residences” at prices starting
from Dhs8.8m for two-bedders. Resort facilities include three restaurants,
four bars, a scuba diving centre, rainforest walkway and spa.
From top: The
idyllic beach at The
Residences at Sugar
Beach; the Landings
marina and apartments
and the view from the
penthouse balcony.
65 June 2011
Five minutes walk from Sugar Beach is the Glenconner Beach resort
development, which is named after its founder Lord Glenconner, the rakish,
property tycoon famous for turning the empty island of Mustique into a haven
for the rich and decadent during the Sixties. Glenconner died in August 2010,
but work on his St Lucian project continues – covering four acres, it will
have only five houses when completed in 2012 and the five to six-bedroom
residences range in price from Dhs26m to Dhs33m.
The British aristocrat’s death raised concerns about his resort’s future,
but Roger Myers, owner of Sugar Beach, took over its financing. This
arrangement benefits Glenconner Beach homeowners, because they will
be allowed to use Sugar Beach facilities in addition to those available at their
own resort, which includes having private dinner parties catered for by
award-winning chefs.
In common with much of the rest of the world, St Lucia’s property market
was shaken by the financial crisis at the end of the Noughties, but it is now
recovering. Prices for multi-million dollar homes fell 10 to 15 per cent
following the credit crunch, but a growing number of buyers chasing a
limited number of properties for sale means the market is stabilising, says
Chris Owen, general manager of St Lucia Sotheby’s International Realty.
He expects prices to rise marginally for some homes this year.
“A villa in the north was sold for $4.5m [Dhs16.5m] one month ago,”
Owen says. “Due to limited product offering in St Lucia we expect some
values to hold or, depending on location, may appreciate five per cent.
It’s the perfect island in the sun and is considered a boutique destination.”
St Lucia’s new resort schemes are appearing at a time of intense and
growing competition between the world’s tropical island paradises for the
custom of second home buyers. In the Indian Ocean, Mauritius and the
Seychelles are offering financial and residency incentives, pitting themselves
directly against Caribbean tax havens. In South-east Asia, luxurious holiday
homes are appearing in new locations like Cambodia.
Within the Caribbean, tax incentives and residency deals offered by
different countries are becoming more generous, and rumours are circulating
that St Lucia may launch a residency scheme later this year that will allow
foreigners to call this low-tax island “home” if they spend Dhs1.8m on
property there. For now, potential property buyers must content themselves
with appreciating St Lucia’s natural attractions.
“The Caribbean has a certain charm that cannot be replicated elsewhere,”
Gobat says. “St Lucia is regarded as the most beautiful island in the
Caribbean, with lush tropical rainforests, stunning bays, warm and friendly
people, and a relaxed atmosphere. The cuisine is also special here.”
However, there are some man-made issues that home-buyers must
confront, such as buying and selling costs. According to the Global Property
Guide’s website, the total round-trip costs of buying and selling a property
in St Lucia equates to 22 per cent of its value. These include payment of a
Dhs6,800 “Alien’s Landholding Licence”, stamp duty, conveyance fees, estate
agent’s fees and vendors tax.
Even so, costs can be reduced by purchasing through a St Lucian registered
company and the island has no VAT, estate duties or capital gains tax.

Clockwise from top: The Landings as seen from Rodney Bay; the view from an apartment
balcony and the front entrance of the community.
66 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
67 June 2011
PORTFOLI O | idProperty
Clockwise from top: a mock-up guest suite; artist renderings of the
bar, restaurant and main entrance at The Melia Dubai
Urban innovation
In a blurring of cultures and boundaries, Italian
architect and interior designer Marco Mangili
was commissioned by an Emirati owner to
design Spanish hotel operator Sol Melia’s first
foray into the Middle East.
While catering to increasingly jaded travellers who have seen it all,
hotels today have to try even harder to adapt and please an ever-evolving
consumer. Nowhere is this aspect most keenly felt than in the way they are
being planned and designed.
It has been said that hospitality design trends parallel those seen in fashion.
Yet while colour blocks and eye-popping acid brights may be the flavour of
the month on fashion runways, hotel interiors need to stay timeless while
being stylish, incorporate complex technology that must be concealed and
interpret local contexts while catering to an international clientele. They must
also maximise the return on investments for the owner and operator while
connecting with guests at a visceral level. No wonder hotel rooms tend to look
and feel the same in cities around the world – it becomes a matter of solving
the design dilemma and then prototyping it across countries.
When he was commissioned to design The Melia Dubai, Marco Mangili
eschewed what’s trendy for what’s timeless. Taking the quieter route for
Spanish hotel chain Sol Meliá’s first Middle East property, his design approach
speaks of an austere, post-recession aesthetic, that is chic yet subtly luxurious.
A mock up of a guest suite was on display at Sol Melia’s stand at the recently
concluded Arabian Travel Market (ATM), Dubai.
“I wanted to create an urban resort,” Mangili says. “The client, in this case
the local owner of the hotel, contacted me to create something that would
appeal to the taste of an Arabian clientele yet reflect European style. I chose to
use a warm palette of colour and design.”
A 167-key luxury hotel, The Meliá Dubai will open on October 12, to
coincide with Spanish National Day. The newly built, five-star property in Al
Raffa, Bur Dubai, is situated opposite Port Rashid, close to the financial and
cultural heart of Dubai. The hotel also has a haute cuisine restaurant, 24-hour
68 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
idProperty | PORTFOLIO
Clockwise from top
left: artist rendering
of a Presidential
Suite, lounge bar and
Khazana restaurant
coffee shop, a Euro-Asian fusion restaurant, and five bars including a tapas
gastro bar, a sky bar and a disco bar, a smoking lounge, a business centre, and a
300sq/m meetings and events space.
If the mock-up room displayed at ATM is a teaser of what lies ahead, the
hotel will employ a relaxed and restrained sense of sophisticated style. Looking
like a well-appointed yet lived-in living room, Mangili has stuck to a limited and
muted palette in taupe, ecru, chocolate brown and grey. Sofas and armchairs
are upholstered in soft, natural linens and nubby cottons.
“This is the concept of the bedroom and the suite,” Mangili says, running his
hand over a linen-clad armrest. “It feels like home though it’s a business hotel.
That’s important when you are a businessperson who travels a lot. Even for me
as a businessman, I like that the hotel room feels like home.”
Mangili has specified luxury materials for the accommodation, including a
special kind of treated leather imported from Europe, which is used to clad the
walls. “All the finishes are matt and bronze, instead of the usual shiny stainless
steel and chrome,” he says. “The walls are panelled in leather and wood.”
The overall look is of seamless and smooth surfaces – even the entertainment
system is a magic mirror that transforms into a television screen. When I remark
on the similarity in ambience to that of Dubai’s Armani Hotel, Mangili laughs
and responds: “Armani is from my city of Milan, we share a similar heritage and
conceptually similar influences.”
As the hotel represents Sol Melia’s first foray into the region, there are
also reference to its Spanish roots – in parts of the design, the colours and
iconography. “However, this is a global brand and we did not want it to look
overtly Spanish,” Mangili says.
His other projects in the Middle East include the headquarters for
refrigeration company FFCO, the private residential palace for a member of the
Ajman royal family, and private residential villas in Dubai and Lebanon.
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Visit our new showroom now at Pyramid Centre, Dubai.




70 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
idProperty | PORTFOLIO
“My style is influenced by my Italian heritage,” Mangili expands. “It is modern,
with warmth. I like to give the spaces I design a feeling of home – there should
be nothing bright or shiny.”
Mangili believes that light is one of the most important elements of interior
design. In many of his projects, he works to introduce natural light so the spaces
feel smoothly lit. “I also use a lot nature in my interior design – bringing in a lot
of water and plantation into the interiors.”
He describes the residential palace of the Ajman crown prince as the most
exciting and challenging project that he has worked on yet. Being built since the
past five years, the 8,000-square-metre building sits on a 60,000-square-metre
plot of land. “In this project I have worked on merging the outside and inside.
The landscaping was thus an important aspect of the building,” Mangili says.
“It can be challenging to deal with such a big scale – comparing the human
scale with the size of this building, it is very difficult to get the proportions
just right so it feels like a residential building and to create the feeling of
home inside. My approach was to create spaces where inside and outside
merge. The garden is one such in-between place, which feels like it’s outside
the house, but is really inside the house. A lot of outside areas have been
landscaped as part of the living spaces – opening to the roof and the lake, and
we have incorporated water features inside and outside the house.”
Of his 11 years working as a designer, Mangili has spent seven in the
Middle East. “The most unique aspect of working here is the number of
opportunities,” he expands. “While the financial crisis affected a lot of real
estate developments, in Dubai at least, the hotel scene is still growing. People
here are open to experimentation; they don’t care if it is an untested idea – if
it’s new and fresh, they want it.”
Clockwise from top left: Marco Mangili; lobby of the recently opened Melia
Tortuga Beach Resort & Spa in Cape Verde; Dos restaurant at ME Barcelona
Hotel, another recent launch by Melia Hotels
Turkish property sales to overseas buyers rose 40
per cent in 2010. Popular with foreigners was the
Bodrum peninsula, in the southwest corner of
Turkey, where resort developments like Gravillia
Beach & Residences are being built. Istanbul is
another target. “With a population of nearly 18
million people and a burgeoning middle class,
demand for new build highly quality Western-style
housing continues to grow,” says says Alexander
Tomlinson, director of estate agency Gem Invest,
“The European side of the city remains the most
sought-after, with suburbs such as Bahcesehir, just
20 kilometres to the west of the financial centre,
becoming increasingly popular. Equally, many
Istanbulites, especially those with families, are
attracted to districts like this as they offer green
spaces as well as shopping malls, leisure activities
and schools all within easy reach of the city centre.”
The world’s luxury housing markets, and their residents, are doing well; the world’s poorer housing
markets, and their residents, less so. TEXT: RICHARD WARREN
In Britain, the rich have rarely had it so good.
Figures from estate agency Chesterton Humberts
show the top fifth of Britain’s most expensive
homes, like these in Regents Park, London,
pictured above, increased 3.4 per cent in value
over the past 12 months, bringing them close to
2007 peak levels. However, poorer households
are getting poorer – homes in the bottom fifth
of the housing market have lost 5.1 per cent in
value over the past year. But if homeowners at
the bottom of the property ladder think they have
it bad, then spare a thought for those who cannot
even get a foot on its first rung – depressed
earnings and a lack of mortgages mean greater
numbers of younger Britons must rent. This
is great news for cash-rich landlords who are
outbidding first time buyers in the sales market
and increasing their rents in the lettings market.
idProperty | ANTENNAE
72 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Aston Martin is moving into property. The British
car manufacturer will lend its name to new luxury
resort developments across the world. Working
with property company. First Logic, its brand will
be stamped on a mix of ski, golf, beach, polo and
marina resorts that will include hotels, sports clubs
and leisure facilities as well as villas and apartments.
“Aston Martin has an inherent beauty,” says Alvaro
Hidalgo of First Logic. “It is this design expertise,
and an understanding of aesthetics combined with
functionality, that will differentiate Aston Martin
developments.” The car company joins a long
line of luxury brands to enter the property sector,
some with mixed results. The number of schemes
bearing the Bulgari name continues to grow,
but Four Seasons may wish it had not entered
the residential ships market – plans for a luxury,
floating condo bearing its name evaporated during
the global financial crisis.
With China and India’s growing middle classes demanding more food, these countries’ agricultural combines
are gobbling up land overseas, especially in Africa and South America. In Brazil, China’s investment in that
country has rocketed from Dhs305 million in 2009 to Dhs110 billion in 2010, much of it in farmland.
Investors are getting in on the act, especially in Europe, where they buy everything most productive, from
vineyards in Bordeaux to arable farms in eastern England. In Britain, investment purchasers have more than
doubled over the past year to 31 per cent of purchasers. Land prices are rising worldwide in response
to this buying spree and will continue doing so analysts say. Ken Jones, Director of Savills rural, says: “The
challenge of feeding the fast growing world population in the future is seldom out of the news, and there is
therefore tremendous interest in food commodities and the basic means of production; farmland.”
The Eurozone lurches from crisis to crisis, sending
property values tumbling in its wake. Worst affected
are the so-called PIGSs – debt-laden Portugal,
Ireland, Greece and Spain. Property prices fell
in Portugal last year and will do so in 2012, the
London-based Royal Institution of Chartered
Surveyors forecasts. Some commentators say prices
could drop by 20 per cent by the end of 2012
providing “bargains” for overseas buyers. Economists
warn Ireland may go back into recession and need
another bailout, exacerbating five years of price
falls. In Spain, the country’s central bank says the
housing market downturn will last five years, which
means values won’t stop falling until 2013. The
country’s two previous slumps lasted that length of
time. In Greece, that country’s central bank expects
prices to fall this summer following two years of
decline, and Athens University forecasts demand for
Greek homes will fall to record lows.
Political turbulence in the Middle East is having
contrasting consequences for property markets
inside and outside the region. The fall in the
Egyptian Pound since that country’s crisis began
in February has drawn overseas investors to
the holiday resort of Sharm El Sheikh, including
its Sunny Lakes development in Naama Bay.
Meanwhile, thousands of kilometres to the east,
the housing market in Bangladesh is reeling from
the effects of hundreds of thousands of its citizens
based in the Middle East being unable to send back
remittances, because they are losing their jobs.
Remittances are an important source of capital
for the Bangladesh housing market. Adding to the
chaos is the government’s decision not to allow
gas and electricity connections to new buildings,
to save energy for agriculture to avoid food
shortages. This means new homes cannot
be handed over to buyers’, estate agents say.
Overseas buyers are returning to Thailand, albeit
in smaller numbers than before the financial
crash. According to estate agents Knight Frank,
the number sales to foreign buyers in Phuket is
higher now than this time last year when demand
was half what it was at the 2007 market peak.
Showing most confidence in Thailand’s prospects
are buyers from Britain, China and Hong Kong,
agents report. These investors must be planning
for the long-term, because analysts say prices
are unlikely to rise significantly until more foreign
buyers return. The seeds of a boom in overseas
demand are being sown however – Thailand is
the favourite destination for Westerners looking
for a new life abroad according to HSBC’s 2010
Expat Explore Survey. Factors that helped the Land
of Smiles beat off competition from close rivals
Spain and Australia include national cuisine,
work-life balance, social life and education facilities.
London and New York will remain the world’s two
most important hubs for the rest of this decade, but
may struggle to maintain their duopoly afterwards,
millionaires believe. These findings are contained
in The Wealth Report 2011 published by Citi and
Knight Frank, which surveyed the opinions of high
net worth individuals (HNWIs) around the world.
Respondents named Mumbai, Shanghai and Sao
Paolo as leading world centres in future decades.
The rise of these BRIC cities is reflected in their
luxury property prices – prices of Shanghai’s most
des res homes rose 21 per cent in 2010, faster
than anywhere else in the world. Prime residential
markets in 85 cities, tax havens and resorts favoured
by the world’s rich were surveyed by the report’s
authors who found prices rose in 40 per cent of
them last year, with Asian locations the strongest.
73 June 2011


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identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 76 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 76
77 June 2011
Tall stories
Adrian Smith, Burj Khalifa’s design architect, discusses
his passion for creating tall buildings, and the role
architecture can play in shaping tomorrow’s world.
Skylines have often been described as the shorthand of urban identity.
When he designed Burj Khalifa, architect Adrian Smith not only spearheaded
a unique feat of engineering, but also reshaped Dubai’s identity forever.
Burj Khalifa put the city on the map. Smith says that is part of the power of
architecture – to profoundly affect the community and the world at large.
Smith, who was working at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
(SOM) when he designed Burj Khalifa, left SOM to set up his own practice Adrian
Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG), with another ex-SOM designer.
The firm has accrued a sizeable number of big-name projects around the
world, including the Masdar HQ in Abu Dhabi, the new head office of the
Federation of Korean Industries in Seoul and a green retrofit of the Willis (formerly
Sears) Tower in Chicago. In his 40 years as an architect, Smith has gained a
reputation as the foremost designer of supertall buildings; including the world’s
first net-zero energy skyscraper, Pearl River Tower in Guangzhou, China.
Smith has also taken on a new role as design consultant to hardware giant
Dorma, with whom his firm are working on several projects. It has designed
(and Dorma Gulf has installed) custom-operable partitions at the restaurant
pavilion known as Function Island at Burj Khalifa. His designs for Dorma include
a single-lever solution for a sleek, modernist design that will work with both
ANSI and British Standard hardware.
From left: Rendering of Meraas Tower Dubai; Burj Khalifa Dubai;
Rendering of One Park Avenue Dubai
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 78
When was your passion for skyscrapers ignited? Was there a defining moment?
As a sophomore in high school taking a course in mechanical drawing, the
first building I drew in perspective class was 40 storeys. They said draw a
building – and everybody else drew little houses. I drew a 40-storey building
with lots of detail and a very dramatic perspective. I was at grade, looking up.
I also remember making sand castles on the beach and trying to get them tall.
So I guess you could say my love of skyscrapers was always there.
What is the greatest challenge facing cities in the Middle East given
the current socio-political and economic context? And what role
can architecture play?
The current economic and political situation in the Middle East presents
obvious challenges for everyone concerned, in some countries more
than others. The hope of many cities in the region – particularly in the
UAE, but I think it’s a growing trend – is to diversify their economies
through tourism. To that end, architecture has a clear role to play.
As we saw spectacularly in Bilbao, Spain, the home of Frank Gehry’s
Guggenheim Museum, people will travel to see great buildings. The
economic development associated with tourism can be substantial, even
transformational, as it has been in Bilbao.
How does the experience of designing supertall buildings in China,
differ from that of the Middle East?
The most obvious difference is the climate and other environmental conditions,
which in the Middle East are generally harsher, although it can be quite hot and
humid in various parts of China as well. At AS+GG, we start the design process
for every project with an extensive environmental analysis of the building site
and that information influences the design process in every conceivable way.
Of course there are also some differences that arise from the systems of
government in those locations. In China, there is somewhat more government
oversight and involvement in the planning and approval process, in the Middle
East less so. But in the end the differences are not really significant. Developers
all over the world want the same thing, which is the best building they can get
for the money they have to spend. That’s what we try to give them.
Please tell us more about designing tall buildings that are green
as well as supertall.
Skyscrapers are inherently sustainable because they accommodate a large
number of people on a small footprint of land. They also offer efficient vertical
and horizontal transportation systems, encouraging the use of public transit and
creating increasingly walkable cities. Supertall buildings can also be formed to
further decrease their environmental effect and become “super sustainable”.
These structures can take advantage of the faster wind speeds at higher altitudes
and drive wind toward building-integrated turbines to generate power. Because
they are less likely to have shadows cast on them, high-rises also make efficient
use of building-integrated photovoltaic systems to absorb solar power and
From top: RS 120 – The
simple, chic, concealed
sliding door system for
multiple applications from
Dorma Gulf; Adrian Smith
79 June 2011
generate energy. And deep foundations make them ideal for geothermal heating
and radiant cooling systems.
Burj Khalifa is not widely credited for its array of sustainability features. In
fact, the building’s form and systems responded in a variety of ways calculated
to perform optimally in its environmental context. Besides the issue of the
building’s shape in relation to the wind, which I discussed above, there were
other aspects of good practice and sustainability incorporated into the design.
A station for the Dubai mass transit monorail is being incorporated into the
development; there also will be a local trolley service along the Boulevard to
serve the project. Indeed, Burj Khalifa was the catalyst for these transit features,
which will serve the entire city, to be built.
Burj Khalifa has a high-performance window wall system with thermally
broken aluminium frames and insulating glass with selective coatings that
provides a low shading coefficient while maximising natural daylight and views.
At the higher elevations, the intake of outside air takes advantage of the
natural drop in temperature, and the spaces are naturally ventilated where
possible. A site-wide grey water system is used for irrigation, including
recovered condensate.
Lastly, Burj Khalifa is one of the first towers in the world to apply extensive
stack-effect mitigation strategies at design stage.
What are your words of wisdom to anyone starting out as an architect?
I think any young architect starting out should approach the profession as a
privilege and a responsibility. Architecture has always had a profound impact
on the world and that’s true now more than ever. The most rewarding thing
about being an architect is, of course, seeing the project you designed actually be
built. In my own case, there’s nothing like the satisfaction I get from visiting Burj
Khalifa, Jin Mao Tower or other projects I’ve designed over the past 40 years.
The most saddening aspect of our profession is not when our designs are not
built, for whatever reason; that’s part of the business, and you have to accept it
going in. The sad part comes during economic downturns, such as the one we’re
still emerging from now, which causes many architects – especially the younger
ones – to lose their jobs. It’s a terrible thing to be without work, but unfortunately
it’s the nature of a business that’s so dependent on the economic cycle.
The good news is that for every downturn, there’s an upswing. If you stay
patient and optimistic, you can accomplish great things as an architect, and
that’s why it will always be a great profession.
Looking back, what was most memorable about designing the tallest
building in the world? In what ways do you think Burj Khalifa will influence
the architecture of other Gulf states?
I think the most memorable aspect of the design process was getting the
proportion right, which was difficult for a building that’s so tall and thin. Emaar
Properties was interested in having Burj Khalifa be the tallest building in the
world, but that standard could have been met with a building much shorter
than the one we ended up designing.
However, I envisioned Burj Khalifa as a very elegant, slender building and to
resolve the design in an appropriately proportional way required a great deal
of height – quite a bit more than Emaar had originally expected.
Fortunately, Emaar, and particularly its chairman, Mohamed Alabbar,
understood the issues I was dealing with as a designer and gave me the
freedom to create a building that was as tall as it needed to be.
Of course, we learned a great many things from the project. In particular,
we learned about the relation of architectural form and wind loads in supertall
Jin Mao Tower, Shanghai
identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property] 80
From left: Dorma Gulf; Adrian Smith
Meraas Tower rendering
Greenland Financial Center, Nanjing
buildings. We conducted extensive wind tunnel tests to ensure the tower would
perform optimally in response to weather conditions. In response to the tests,
we sculpted the tower’s shape, in particular by staggering the setback heights, to
shed the negative forces of the wind moving around the building, which we call
“confusing the wind.”
We also took several steps to mitigate the stack effect, which in Burj Khalifa
means that, due to the height of the building and difference between the
internal and external temperature, indoor air tries to travel downward and
flow out of the bottom of the building. To address this issue, we minimised the
infiltration/exfiltration of the exterior wall.
We also created a sky lobby elevator system in which the shuttle and local
elevator shafts are separated and did the same with the shafts enclosing the exit
stairs. In effect, the building acts as a series of shorter, separate buildings stacked
on top of one another.
It’s for the above reason that the building will likely be most influential on
future architecture in the Gulf states and elsewhere.
How do you see the future of architecture as a profession in the next decade?
That depends to a significant degree on the state of the global economy.
Architects generally work for real estate developers, who depend on markets,
the availability of credit and other economic factors. The last three years have
been challenging, obviously, but we’re beginning to see some improvement,
especially in some parts of Asia and the Middle East. So, overall, my outlook for
architecture is optimistic.
Another major challenge facing architects over the next decade is the
increasing need for high-performance, sustainable design to reduce the carbon
emissions associated with both new and existing buildings. Certainly it’s an
exciting time to be an architect, since how we do our jobs really does have
such a major impact on the world, both in terms of the built environment and
the environment in general.
Head Offices of the Federation of Korean Industries, Seoul
81 June 2011
In vogue with
This season is a celebration of the luxurious
and the individual, with a definitive nod
towards functionality. Let contemporary and
practical designs, bright colours and sensual
textures take over your home.
Feel good. Create happiness. Evoke emotions. These are the driving forces behind the FAVN sofa
for Fritz Hansen. Inspired by the hard exterior and welcoming interior of a shell, FAVN – Danish
for embrace – by designer Jaime Hayon creates an organic form that embraces and adds aesthetic
appeal from all angles. This timeless creation is presented in several selections, utilising a mix of
three fabrics to express the form of its three main components: the shell, seat and cushions.
82 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
83 June 2011
With his family working in the trade for generations, Hossein Rezvani has always been surrounded
by the craft of carpet making. It comes as no surprise then that the spectacular Tabriz Lilac carpet
from his Persia Reinvented collection has been awarded the Red Dot Design award for 2011. Mass
production and mechanical or chemical treatments have been shunned, while traditional patterns
have been reinterpreted for the third millennium. As up to one million knots per square metre
guarantee durability, each bespoke carpet creates a legacy in its own right.
Design agenda
GILE Lighting 2011, Guangzhou, China, June 9-12
Home Fashion and Decor 2011, Beijing, China
NeoCon 2011, Chicago, United States, June 13-15
Dallas International Lighting and Accessories
Market 2011, Dallas, United States, June 23-26
Inter Build 2011, Cairo, Egypt, June 23-27
MOBEXPO 2011, Bacau, Romania, June 23-26
House & Garden Show 2011, Durban, South
Africa, June 24-July 3
Archidec 2011, Kuala Lumpur, June 30-July 3
Kitchex 2011, Tabriz, Iran, July 4-8
Office Furniture Japan 2011, Tokyo, Japan, July 6-8
The Total Office – the UAE-based company specialising
in modern, ergonomic and environmentally friendly
workspace solutions – celebrated the opening of its
650-square metre outlet in Grosvenor Business Tower,
Dubai, last month.
Designed by Mehdi Moazzen of Point of Design, the
LEED rated showroom displays innovative new products
from leading international commercial interior design
brands like Teknion, Codutti, Emmegi, Frezza, Office
Electrics, Manerba, Orangebox, and Office Essentials.
The outlet features mock-up offices and extensive use
of glass, consuming 30 per cent less energy than a
typical showroom of the same size due to automatic
dimming lights, LED lighting and energy saving appliances.
Canadian couture designer Annie Thompson marked the
opening with an eco-friendly fashion show; fabrics used in
Teknion’s furniture lines inspired the eclectic collection.
Celebrate the advent of spring with Indigo Living’s eclectic
range of accessories. The Oriental-inspired lanterns in nickel
and stainless steel offer subtle lighting solutions for home and
garden, lending to a soothing and romantic atmosphere.
Victorian elements make a comeback with the dining
accessories collection. Be it the platter with the glass bell, the
hammered glass water decanter or the silver plated wine
bucket – all stunning accents to your tabletop. But the springtide
doesn’t stop there – think ostrich egg accents in sage and amber,
spun bamboo salad bowls and natural cushions with intricate
beadwork in teal and azure.
84 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Practical yet edgy, KitchenAid’s industrial loft-style appliances have made
their UAE debut. Leading Italian chef Tommaso D’Amato, who worked with
the company to design the revolutionary award-winning Sous Vide (airless)
equipment, demonstrated the advantages and the growing phenomena of this
new food preparation and cooking technology. The vacuum-sealed method
ensures that there is 42 per cent less water loss from meat, while vegetables
lose up to 89 per cent less weight. The Chef Touch cooking system is perfect
for Sous Vide cuisine, comprising of three different products: the vacuum
machine, the steam oven and the shock freezer for rapid chilling.
A number of new design innovations also featured, including a practical
in-sink dishwasher – an idea that seems to have been inspired by similar
dishwashers seen in Italian café bars. The nifty KDIX 8810 InSink is designed
to provide dishwashing support while you cook. The machine is actually built
Italy’s best-selling kitchen company, Scavolini, celebrates 50
years of fitted kitchens with three new models – Scenery,
Absolute Classic and Vuesse.
Designers King and Miranda combine original lacquered,
laminate and glass finishes with the must-have Mirage &
Peninsula kitchen structure and high-tech appliances, making
Scenery seem almost like a piece of art rather than furniture.
Absolute Classic, by Gianni Pareschi, melds together the
classical and contemporary. Brass and bevelled glass are set in
fresh compositions, exuding a decidedly modern feel.
Vuesse opens new horizons for personalisation and
functionality with its Crystal design. Elegant and imaginative
breakfast bars, cupboards and storage units in aluminium
and tempered glass finishes create a classy backdrop for the
individual lifestyle.
into a double sink and the racks can be removed to provide regular sink
usage. Similarly, the lid can be closed if more counter space is required.
The range also features a 30-minute fast wash program to minimise water
and power consumption. KitchenAid was in fact the world’s first company
to manufacture the humble dishwasher in 1949.
Al Ghandi Electronics recently hosted a lavish launch event for the
launch of the KitchenAid cookers, induction hobs ovens, dishwashers,
wine coolers and more at the Meydan Hotel. Already, the company’s
iconic mixer and other countertop appliances are popular with UAE’s
gourmet cooks and design aficionados. Part of the Whirlpool Corporation,
the KitchenAid brand enjoys iconic status mainly due to its 90-year-old
mixer range which has been expanded recently to include coffee
machines, blenders and toasters.
85 June 2011
Zucchetti captures the essence of everyday living with a collection of super
stylish ceiling and wall-mounted showerheads designed by Ludovica and
Roberto Palomba. The collection – with its simple form, essential lines and
finishes in different colours – melds well in any setting. Precisely controlled
water flow, soft forms, sleek geometry and great versatility provide much-
needed relaxation and rejuvenation.
The pure lines of SUN by Zucchetti.Kos R&D are mindful of functional
ergonomics and adapt well in any bath ambience. This collection pays attention
to details: the bathtub mixer is fitted with a coaxial diverter, so that simply pulling
the flexible hose can operate the hand shower. It respects green values of
reduced flow capacity and can be fitted with optional energy saving cartridges.
The Darling bathroom range, created by Duravit in collaboration
with designer Dieter Sieger, was unveiled in 1994. Its essential
philosophy of “plenty of design for little money” soon made
it “everybody’s darling” – a status it retains a
generation later. Duravit revisits the range together
with Sieger’s sons, which now includes a total of
52 furniture items, 25 ceramic models and 12
bathtub models. Its focal point is its
exquisite LED-lit rim, which
is featured throughout.
Vibrant and stylish yet
hardwearing, all the
furniture is coated
with textured varnish
for scratch resistance.
The new @home collection, Minimal Riad, introduces abstract patterns
such as Ikat and Houndstooth across the homeware range. Embroidered
details embellish scatter cushions, throws and linen adding a touch of softness
while alphabet letters and strong graphics make an appearance on mugs and
decorative accessories. Furniture is accented with studded detailing, brushed
metals and high gloss.
Doing the dishes and rinsing veggies just got
a lot more stylish. The new K7 line from
GROHE for heavy-duty use and everyday
practicality takes faucets for the domestic
level to new grounds. It features a 360-
degree swivel spout spray, a rocker switch
that enables change from the spray to the mousseur function with ease
and proven GROHE SilkMove technology that ensures accurate water flow
control. Choose between the StarLight Chrome or SuperSteel finishes to add
that extra zing to your kitchen’s aesthetics.
86 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects is to design a new
headquarters for Vietnam’s national oil and gas
company, creating a landmark development
in Hanoi. The 79-storey structure will contain
the company’s headquarters and a luxury
hotel. The tower is hexagonal at the base and
becomes triangular at the top. An adjacent
84,000sq/m podium is composed of curving
forms and will include a petroleum museum,
media centre, shops and a skating rink. At the
opposite end of the podium will be a 47-storey
residential tower with curved facades and a
sloping top. Part of the podium roof will be
clad in photovoltaic panels.
Hugging a sloping site overlooking Aberdeen
Harbour, the Canadian International School
provides teaching facilities for 1,250 primary
and secondary school students. Designed by
the P & T Group, it is organised along an airy
central circulation spine of open staircases and
terraces which cascade down the hillside. The
pitched roof of the central spine is supported
by a series of 10m-wide cedar trusses imported
from Canada. The library, canteen and
administrative offices are located on one side of
the spine, while three tiers of classrooms each
with their own playgrounds are formed on the
other. Below the classrooms are the car park,
bus drop off, gymnasia and swimming pool.
Kaohsiung’s new 38,000-square-metre public
library, designed by Dutch architectural company
Mecanoo, is a state-of-the-art multimedia
research, study and entertainment space that
allows for maximum flexibility. Described as a
“monumental green cube”, shops are located
on the lower ground floor and make the library
a modern destination for the city’s citizens and
visitors. It also features a theatre complex with
reading rooms, conference facilities, book store,
exhibition space, open air theatre, underground
parking, public plaza and outdoor space, sedum
moss roof, parking garage, and library garden. The
use of soft material for the ground allows water
infiltration and collection to be reused for irrigation.
The spotlight falls on a spectacular new entrance portal planned for the Swedish capital of Stockholm,
a state-of-the-art library in Kaohsiung designed by Mecanoo and a head-turning two-tower development
in Kolkata linked by a three-storey bridge. TEXT: STEVE HILL
87 June 2011
Francis-Jones Morehen Thorp (FJMT) has won an
international competition to design the University
of Sydney’s new Faculty of Law and transform
a key site into a powerful new gateway. The
development is confidently modern, providing
state-of-the-art workplace, study and learning
environments, general teaching spaces, lecture
theatres, library, retail, basement car parking and
integrated public domain. Significant sustainable
innovation has been incorporated into the design,
including a double skin ventilated façade with
occupant controlled timber louvres, to control
solar gain and glare, mixed-mode, chilled-beam
and displacement air-conditioning, precinct
stormwater collection and an iconic light tower
which fills below-grade spaces with an abundance
of filtered, natural light.
An entrance portal to the Swedish capital at the intersection of a newly planned super junction is to be
designed by the team of Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with Grontmij and Spacescape, who combined to
win a master plan competition. Intersecting roads have been reconnected through a continuous circular
bike and pedestrian loop aligned with public buildings and functions. And a focal point has been the
design of a reflective, self-sustaining hovering sphere mirroring Stockholm. Some 30 per cent of the
sphere’s surface is covered with Photovoltaic film that faces the sun and produces enough energy to
keep it floating while supplying 235 houses in the neighbourhood with electricity.
BDP has won a competition to design the
University of Strathclyde’s Dhs540 million
Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC), which
will be the cornerstone of the new International
Technological Renewable Energy Zone – a global
economic hub bringing innovative businesses
to Glasgow. The TIC will bring together 850
academics, researchers, engineers and project
managers from the university and its leading
industrial partners to work side by side in a state-
of-the-art building in the heart of the city. BDP is
lead designer in the Gardiner and Theobald-led
project team, and it is anticipated that work on
TIC will begin early in 2012 with completion
expected in late 2013.
Vienna-based Coop Himmelb(l)au’s
(CORRECT) first project in Albania will be a
new parliamentary complex in the capital city
of Tirana. The competition-winning design
incorporates democratic values such as openness
and transparency while the configuration of the
building form and the optimisation of the building
envelope together with the use of renewable
energy sources reduce reliance on fossil fuel
energy sources. The office building is covered
with a second skin made of perforated steel that
is configured to improve building performance
related to optimum daylight use, views, solar
control, glare protection, thermal insulation,
natural ventilation and noise protection.
International engineering consultancy Web
Structures has been recruited by West Bengal
developer Forum Projects to design and build
two 39-storey towers in Kolkata which will
be linked by a three-storey bridge featuring a
jogging track and swimming pool. Work on the
city’s tallest skyscrapers is scheduled to begin
early next year. The project will cover a total
of 37,100sq/m and feature stylish villas. Kolkata
is rated as a very high damage risk because of
winds and cyclones while the city is also in an
earthquake zone, hence particular attention is
being paid to the engineering and construction
of the structures.
88 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
This month, id explores how creativity and innovation are best exploited and get a taste of Midde Eastern
cuisine with a contemporary touch. TEXT: NUSRAT ALI
The future is yours to create. After all, a book cannot craft a business model,
develop a new design or be innovative on your behalf. Rather than delivering
sermons on how to be original, Creative Genius attempts to make a paradigm
shift, to instigate the reader to take action. Inspired by the imagination and
perspective of Da Vinci, Creative Genius is a compelling read. It includes
practical tools such as scenario planning, context reframing and market entry,
plus 50 tracks, 25 tools and 50 inspiring case studies to drive creativity,
design and innovation in radical and powerful ways. Peter Fisk’s lucid writing
gives riveting insights into the inspirational stories of the most pioneering
and successful businesses of our time. Basic concepts of good design,
modern marketing and the product development process are interwoven
with interesting excerpts from history’s brightest and boldest. From Apple
to BlackBerry and GE to Google, innovative companies stand out from the
crowd for the way they challenge conventions, redefine markets and change
consumer expectations. And Fisk provides business blueprints for making that
innovation happen. A collection of ideas and stories about unlocking creative
assets, the book describes itself as an “innovative guide, a genius lab and
also an inspirational set of tools”. Creative Genius is "the best and last" in
the Genius series by the best-selling author; others include Business Genius,
Marketing Genius and Customer Genius.
Suzanne Husseini is anything but a newcomer on the culinary scene. After
contributing to several prestigious publications, appearing at major food events as
well as hosting one of the most popular Arabic cooking shows on TV, compiling a
cookbook seemed the most natural next move. But this is not just any cookbook;
it might as well be the ultimate guide to Middle Eastern cooking. Divided into five
sections depicting breakfast, mezze, lunch, dinner and dessert, Suzanne whips up
wholesome meals in minutes proving that great tasting food need not be tedious.
According to the author, the books is a passionate attempt to showcase the
diverse cuisine she grew up with; one that encompasses East Mediterranean,
North Africa and Middle East.
Recipes for traditional Arabic favourites like falafel, shawarma and stuffed vine leaves
all are presented with a modern twist. With delectable appetisers like koftas with
sour cherry sauce, grilled fish with date and rice pilaf or baby okra stew for mains
and sweet endings of Umm Ali and the baked baklawa cheesecake, this collection
will all make a professional Middle Eastern cook of an amateur in no time. Delightful,
crisp shots by renowned food photographer Petrina Tinslay convince the reader to
venture into the kitchen, step-by-step guidelines guarantee a successful result each
time while a detailed glossary helps acquaint the reader with the unfamiliar.
Nakkash Gallery · Al Garhoud Street · P.O. Box 26767 · Dubai-UAE
Tel. 00971 4 2826767 · Fax 00971 4 2827567
nakkashg@emirates.net.ae · www.nakkashgallery.com
90 identi ty [i nteri or/desi gn/property]
Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe may have died almost 50 years ago, yet the troubled
actress remains the quintessential Hollywood figure and an enduring icon.
Arguably the most photographed woman of the 20th century, she appeared
in only 30 movies, but thanks to her beauty and glamour – inextricably linked
to a tragic vulnerability – is still as revered today with only Elvis and James
Dean anywhere close in terms of appeal.
The Authentic Brands Group is certainly convinced of her continuing
popularity, after purchasing the star’s image rights for an estimated $30
million earlier this year.
It’s only a matter of time before images of Monroe are used to sell
clothes, jewellery, handbags and even fragrances thanks to the ongoing
fascination with the starlet, who was born Norma Jean Mortenson in
Los Angeles in 1926.
Her metamorphosis into a screen star, complete with trend-setting
clothes, platinum blonde hair and perfectly lacquered lipstick, has clearly
inspired modern-day celebrities such as Madonna and Lady Gaga, who
have similarly created and controlled their professional persona.
And one of Monroe’s most revered images – involving a pavement
ventilation system and a white dress – is still regularly recreated, after
featuring in the movie The Seven Year Itch in 1955.
Andy Warhol’s famous painting, made the year Monroe died, further added
to her mystique and allure. She is the focus of an estimated 300 biographies, which
trace every detail of a life that came to a premature end at the age of only 36.
The iconic starlet is still setting trends, too, as can be seen by the popularity
of a fashionable faux-mole piercing, known as ‘The Monroe’, which sits above
the upper lip.

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