Discovering Dubai should be a very personal experience. That's why we didn't dare to push a certain image of the City by incorporating too distinctive design for our concept of the hotel room, which, by the way, would be arrogant. However, we've done our best to let the guests feel the unique spirit and hospitality of the Emirate, and then help them to shape the memories any way they like.
It didn't take us long to realize how privileged we were to take part in the Design Challenge. Hardly ever do you get a second chance to do something for the first time. And we did. On that day, we became newcomers to Dubai again. Marvelling at the sight of the skyline on the top of Burj Khalifa we could feel goose bumps rising on our skin. Then, we sank our feet in the warm and soft sands of the desert. Our eyes widened at the Dubai Frame as we watched Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's visions of the urban development till 2050. Having embarked an abra on Dubai Creek we breathed in the heady blend of sea scents and diesel fumes from the rowdy engine of the boat. Tons of glittering jewellery in the shop windows dazzled us on the Gold Souk. Finally, we pampered our palates with Al Harees and other delights of the Emirati cuisine.
Sitting around a desk in our office located in Jumeirah Lake Towers we could have kept browsing the memories for ages. But which recollection should we choose as the main inspiration for the hotel room design? Dunes surrounding the City, full of ancient charm Deira, modern and sophisticated Marina, or the futuristic city which was born right before our eyes? Opinions were so different, depending on our origins, cultures, the time we had spent in Dubai, and last but not least, our tastes and interests. At this moment, we recognized a second bottom in the theme of the Design Challenge. It occurred to us that Dubai: A World of Possibility, A Lifetime of Stories is not just about the unlimited opportunities and attractions which the city has to offer, but refers also to various possibilities of getting to know them. This awareness was followed by a puzzle of how to find one perfect metaphor for thousands of alternatives.
All of a sudden, our lively discussion was interrupted by a text message alert. One of us reached for the phone and scanned the finger to unlock the device. And that was the answer we'd been looking for. The metaphor had to be very personal, and is there anything more personal than your fingerprints – patterns of so-called ridges and valleys on the finger surface? They are unique for every individual, just like the DNA code. And exactly like the way you experience the world. You discover it according to your preferences, in your own pace and paying more or less attention to its various aspects. In this light, we realized that we were not entitled to push one certain image of Dubai – the City with countless faces – by introducing very distinctive fit-out into the room. The fit-out which would exalt just one particular tissue of a huge and complex body and turn it into its symbol. Besides, if we did that we would claim the right to decide where the heart of Dubai beats today, which definitely exceeds our competences.
Of course, with today’s technology of production there is enormous temptation to let yourself get carried away and come up with some fancy ideas like transforming a room into a fraction of a desert. However, with so many incredible attractions the metropolis has to offer, the mere attempt to turn the interior into another one would be pointless. Instead, we preferred to give the guests a sense of the warmest welcome they are bound to receive in every corner of the City. And a foretaste of the adventure awaiting them.
With that being said, we focused on the creation of a premium quality space, with high-end materials – veneer wood, elegant fabrics and upholsteries, gilded additions and decors, etc. – and state-of-the-art facilities, but at the same time moderate in shapes and lines which would provide the greatest functionality (in the year when the centenary of function-orientated Bauhaus is celebrated worldwide we felt even more obliged to do so). Space which fills you with good vibrations, tunes you positively before going out, and comforts you when are back to take a rest. In other words, we focused on what we believe is the essence of hospitality.
However, we did incorporate some hints and allusions stemming from Dubai's landscape which guests are likely to identify after visiting the city. We've played a little bit with them leaving an area for interpretation similarly to reading the meaning of a painting or any other work of art when associations spontaneously pop up in your head. For instance: are the colours applied in the room rooted in the desert or a fast-moving modern city? Is the undulating pattern under your feet reminiscent of dunes or sea waves? In the shapes of the mirrors and the headboard of the bed should you see lakes scattered across the business part of the city or perhaps the reference to the antique wind towers which became the landmark of the oldest part of Bastakiya district? Does the design of the armchairs reflect the smooth curves of a traditional dhow boat, or rather the bald architecture of EXPO 2020 pavillions? And perhaps all the answers are right? Well, this is you who create them by experiencing Dubai in your way and then printing the impressions of the City in your memory.
May these impressions be as unique as your fingerprints.