The Omnia redesigned by Ali Tayar

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New York-based architect Ali Tayar has redesigned The Omnia hotel in Zermatt, Switzerland. Tayar conceived the 30-room boutique hotel as an avant-garde contemporary American mountain lodge in the Swiss Alps, furnished with some of the greatest 20th century design classics by Mies Van der Rohe and Eero Saarinen amongst others.

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Ettore Sottsass dies aged 90

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Prominent Italian architect-designer Ettore Sottsass passed away on New Year’s Eve aged 90 at his home in Milan. Sottsass, one of the most influential designers of the 20th century will be best remembered for founding the Memphis Movement and designing the red plastic Olivetti typewriter that is now considered a design icon.

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Fashion and architecture

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Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture is back with a new installation, venue and different designers. The exhibition that will open in April 2008 will feature Vivienne Westwood, Alexander Mcqueen and Hussein Chalayan among other designers and will focus on the visual and conceptual similarities between fashion and architecture since the 80s. The architecture fraternity will be represented by Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye and Thomas Heatherwick. The installation has been designed by some of the most edgy designers such as Boudicca, Comme des Garcon, Martin Margiela, Victor & Rolf, Yohji Yamamoto and Junya Watanabe.

It’s intersting to note that some of the most famous fashion designers originally trained as architects such as the late Gianfranco Ferre and former Gucci creative head Tom Ford. Last year the exhibition ran at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.

The exhibition will run from April 24 to August 10 2008 at Somerset House, Strand, London. For more information visit www.somersethouse.org

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Happy New Year

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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!

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New Year greetings from Atelier Hapsitus

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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.

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Cool hotels-part II

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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.

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Zaha Hadid’s Innovation Tower in Hong Kong

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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.

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