2007 was indeed a wonderfully eventful year in the world of design and art. Here’s hoping that 2008 will be even better. Through this blog I hope to bring more interesting news from Dubai and around the world. Until then keep reading.
Happy New Year!
Beirut-based internationally-known architect Nadim Karam and his studio have sent this beautiful greeting, which I must share with everyone. When I interviewed Karam who is also an acclaimed artist, earlier this year at International Design Forum, I asked him why a well-known architect and artist like him wouldn’t want to practice in Europe or other more well-established places. He said he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Beirut because it’s one of the most creatively provocative cities in the world. I suppose he is right.
Here are some more cool hotels that are on my list for 2008.
Top: Dar Beida is a restored Moroccan House and is undoubtedly is one of the coolest places to stay in the hippie-chic town of Essaouira overlooking the Atlantic ocean, where Jimi Hendrix wrote the hit song Castles in the sand. The house-turned-hotel has been featured in Elle decor magazine and is kitted out in modern-retro style.
Middle: The Serinn House in Cappadocia, Turkey designed by Turkish architect Rifat Ergor and owned by Eren Serpen is one of the hottest hotels to make its debut this year (2007). Serinn, that means cool temperature in Turkish is a super stylish cave hotel inside a fort-like structure. Inside it’s a modern minimalist haven with designer furniture including Chair One by Konstantin Grcic.
Bottom: Beit Al Mamlouka is Syria’s first boutique hotel located in Damascus’s old Christian quarter. With only eight rooms and tastefully-rendered traditional decor, with a central courtyard adorned with trees, the hotel is steeped in luxury and charm.
Zaha Hadid has come a long way from The Peak competition in Hong Kong at the beginning of her career. Even though she won the competition, the design was deemed too radical an never got built. But here she is once again. Pritzker Prize winner Hadid is now designing the Innovation Tower at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.
The 130,000square foot complex will house research labs, exhibition spaces, classrooms and lecture halls.
There’s nothing that Zaha Hadid can’t or hasn’t designed. From buildings to cars, kitchens, and now this awe-inspiring railway station in Innsbruck, Austria, in her signature fluid style.
Top and Middle: Graffiti-painted public housing blocks
Bottom: Shtrikh Kod (barcode in Russian) in St. Petersburg
Today we are travelling to Russia. Check out this cool barcode building called Shtrikh Kod in St. Petersburg by Vitruvius and Sons. Built in a large centre next to the Volodarsky Bridge with grey public housing all around, the bright red barcode building really livens up the place.
Also check out the graffiti-clad public housing in Moscow which is anything but drab. Apprently, the Moscow Municipality gets aspiring graffiti artists to practice their art on these otherwise ‘grey’ buildings. It’s fantastic and economical way to dress up the drab.