One of the reasons Dubai has managed to successfully attract people with its architecture is the approach it has taken to design. There has been a constant desire to include contemporary designs in architecture with the intention being not just to erect a structure, but to build one that satisfies the senses, at least, the optical perception. The designs have married contemporary ideas with local traditions.
One of the key drivers to the concept has been the Design Days Dubai which was established in 2012. Design in Dubai is not old; even the country itself is relatively young but it has come up to be a meeting point for culture and design in not just the Middle East but in the world.
Designers in the UAE region see their role as integral to the preservation of the countries cultural heritage. They set out to weave their traditions and norms in the fabric of architecture, telling their stories in a thoughtful and unique way.
Some of these designs can be seen in exhibitions.
The monogram was the first design to be integrated in the early days. The design, according to the experts sought to give expression to the identity of the people having language as its backbone. You would easily recognize it with just a little background knowledge and a keen eye. It portrays the word ‘wa’ which is Arabic for ‘and’. It was first designed with the hope to evoke the daring and multidimensional culture of the UAE without being blatant. It also seeks to preserve the Arabic language.
While it is a subject for debate whether its hope will be realized, there is no doubt as to the purity of its intentions. Then again, the carvings of ancient Egypt have not preserved some of the Ancient Egyptian Dialects outside stone carvings.
Ideas of architecture as a means of expression in Dubai have taken many forms and shapes. Some are minimalist while others are extravagant displays of non-conformity but they all seek to show a certain beauty in belonging and in culture.
Other designs have been inspired by embroidery. Those ones have sought to show the different stages that the designs went through to become what they are. They can be seen in, for example, engraved wood in buildings that give them a feeling of looking at an ancient sculpture. They are usually combined with brass for effect. The drama!
The two material, of course, have a significance when used together outside convenience. They represent tolerance and unity as major contributions to success. Talk of poetic license in the theater of life- these designers are not holding back!
Another trend that has been in the Dubai architecture has been the remodeling of traditional objects to give them a modern look. Familiar objects that people see every day are used as a basis for design -things from hair, clothes or charcoal. This is an excellent way to rob modern buildings of their overbearing nature and make them familiar. It empowers people in the process and nothing more could be asked of design.