Little Miss Drama

My UAE Chronicles: Talking Art – Louvre Abu Dhabi

August 21, 2009.

Talking Art: Louvre Abu Dhabi is an event that has been conceived to celebrate the continuing development of the Louvre Abu Dhabi project. Its objective is to present the principal architectural and cultural aspects of the project.

Louvre Abu Dhabi is one of the five iconic cultural institutions within the Saadiyat Island Cultural District development. A universal museum for the 21st century, this program of tours and events reveal the spirit and concept of Louvre Abu Dhabi for the first time.

I remember the first time I saw the actual Madonna and Child of Bellini. I told myself I could die right there and then. I could not believe that it was really happening. That I was staring, and at the same time admiring, the very same painting which I only saw in art books and slides in my art class. It was really in front of me and I was just filled with awe right that very moment.

It's me! :D

It’s me! 😀

Giovanni Bellini (Venice, 1430-Venice, 1516) Madonna & Child Venice, circa 1480-1485 Oil on panel

Giovanni Bellini
(Venice, 1430-Venice, 1516)
Madonna & Child
Venice, circa 1480-1485
Oil on panel

I have asked my friend’s parents, Tito Manny and Tita Olga, together with my flatmates to go with me to the exhibition. They said ‘yes’ in an instant. This was my second time to attend an art exhibit at the Emirates Palace. The first time was the Picasso Exhibit, which is another chronicle for me to tell. 😀

Here are some of the photos from the exhibition. I only took these photos from the brochure they provided since it was not allowed to take pictures inside.

Black Figures Amphora Greece, circa 520 BC Ceramic Attributed to the Antimenes Painter (2nd half of the 6th century BC)

Black Figures Amphora
Greece, circa 520 BC
Ceramic
Attributed to the Antimenes Painter
(2nd half of the 6th century BC)

“Sosibios” Vase
Athens, circa 50 BC
Marble
Musee du Louvre, Dept. of Greek, Etruscan & Roman Antiquities — at Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi.

Head of Buddha North China (from Henan to Shandong), Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577 AD) White marble

Head of Buddha
North China (from Henan to Shandong), Northern Qi Dynasty (550-577 AD)
White marble

Standing Bodhisattva (Maitreya) Gandhara region (present Pakistan), perhaps Takht-Bahi or Sahri-Bahlol, 2nd-3rd century AD Schiste

Standing Bodhisattva
(Maitreya)
Gandhara region (present Pakistan), perhaps Takht-Bahi or Sahri-Bahlol, 2nd-3rd century AD
Schiste

Lamp inscribed with the name of Sultan Hassan Egypt, 1347-1361 Glass, blown, enameled and gilded Loan from the Musee du Louvre, Dept. of Islamic Art, former Spitzer collection

Lamp inscribed with the name of Sultan Hassan
Egypt, 1347-1361
Glass, blown, enameled and gilded
Loan from the Musee du Louvre, Dept. of Islamic Art, former Spitzer collection

Christ showing his wounds Bavaria or Austria, circa 1515 Limewood, polychrome

Christ showing his wounds
Bavaria or Austria, circa 1515
Limewood, polychrome

Jean-Francois de Troy (Paris, 1679-Rome, 1752) Esther fainting before Ahaseurus Paris, 1730 Oil on canvas

Jean-Francois de Troy
(Paris, 1679-Rome, 1752)
Esther fainting before Ahaseurus
Paris, 1730
Oil on canvas

Bartolome Esteban Murillo (Seville, 1617-Seville, 1682 Jacob's Dream Seville (Spain), circa 1665 Oil on canvas

Bartolome Esteban Murillo
(Seville, 1617-Seville, 1682
Jacob’s Dream
Seville (Spain), circa 1665
Oil on canvas

Edouard Manet The Bohemian Paris, 1861-1862 Oil on canvas

Edouard Manet
The Bohemian
Paris, 1861-1862
Oil on canvas

Vessel depicting the Feast of Cupid and Psyche Urbino (Italy), 1541 Earthenware

Vessel depicting the Feast of Cupid and Psyche
Urbino (Italy), 1541
Earthenware

Tsonga Headrest Zambia, 2nd half of the 19th century Wood

Tsonga Headrest
Zambia, 2nd half of the 19th century
Wood

Paul Cezanne Rocks near the caves above Chateau Noir Aixen-Provence, circa 1904 Oil on canvas Paris, Musee d'Orsay

Paul Cezanne
Rocks near the caves above Chateau Noir
Aixen-Provence, circa 1904
Oil on canvas
Paris, Musee d’Orsay

This is how the Louvre Abu Dhabi will look once the construction is done.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi

After our so-called art appreciation experience, Tito Manny treated us for a cup of coffee at the nearest coffee shop.

With Cher

With Cher

Tita Olga and Tito Manny

Tita Olga and Tito Manny

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The coffee shop

The coffee shop

With my flatmates, Cher & Khendz

With my flatmates, Cher & Khendz

My cappuccino

My cappuccino

Going home :)

Going home 🙂

On our way home, I also took photos of the light decorations on the street, celebrating the Ramadan holidays.

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My UAE Chronicles: The Guggenheim – The Making of a Museum

February 2010.

The exhibit was organized in a collaboration with the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, which brings masterworks from the great collection of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum to the Middle East for the first time. It is the first exhibition to be organized under the auspices of the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum.

My colleagues (Monica & Erma) and I decided to check the exhibit after work. The exhibition was held at Emirates Palace, the 7-star hotel in Abu Dhabi.

And because I was an Art Studies graduate and haven’t been anywhere near Europe, this was the closest I got to all of those paintings I have studied back in college. I almost died after seeing the great works of Seurat, Cezanne and Pollock.
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It’s me! 🙂

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Vasily Kandinsky’s Decisive Rose. This was what was posted outside the exhibit.

The following photos are from the exhibit itself which I got from Arts Abu Dhabi website since it was not allowed to take photos inside. You can constantly check this website for more art-related events. 🙂

The planned museum will look like this once it is done.

Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Abu Dhabi

After appreciating all that beauty, we decided to stay a bit longer at the hotel to also take some photos.

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The ceiling of the hotel

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Look at that floor!

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With Erma 🙂

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The wall of the hotel bearing the typical Arabic art.

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With Monica

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Inside the lift 😀

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An exclusive look inside Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital

Source: Arabian Business

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Falcon owners wait to check in their birds at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A Falcon is weighed as part of a health check at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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Falcons wait for health checks and other treatments at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A falcon is placed on a bench at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A falcon awaits a health check at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The centre which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The centre also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are moulting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A Falcon is weighed as part of a health check at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The centre which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The centre also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are moulting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A falcon awaits a health check at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The centre which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The centre also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are moulting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A falcon rests in an air conditioned unit at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A falcon has it’s feathers checked under anesthetic by hospital director DR Margit Muller, (centre) at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital, on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, Falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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A general view of the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital on February 3, 2015 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital (ADFH) is located just outside Abu Dhabi. It is the largest of its kind in the world attracting customers from all over the UAE and the wider Gulf region including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain. Around 9,000 birds are treated each year for a wide range of ailments. The center which has a an ophthalmology department, and intensive care unit is equipped to deal with everything from X-Rays, cases of Avian Flu, Falcon Pox, repairing of feathers, and general health checks and provides a 24 hour service. The center also has two large air conditioned aviaries where falcons can rest while they are molting, or changing their feathers. Traditionally a way of obtaining food, falconry today has become more of a national sport and a rite of passage for many young Emirati men, who take their time to train their Falcons, developing a relationship and deep bond with the birds. Groups of friends regularly come together in the evenings to meet and train their birds where the practice becomes more about camaraderie and sharing knowledge than subsistence. The practice of Falconry was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 under the ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ list. (Getty Images)

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Inside plans for Dubai’s latest luxury project

Source: Arabian Business

Lush green balcony-gardens and 271 sky-high swimming pools are part of the design for Suites in the SKAI.

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SKAI Holdings, the Dubai-based real estate investment company, has secured AED927m (US$252.4m) worth of sales for its new AED1.2bn ($326.9m) four-star hotel, Suites in the SKAI, in Dubai’s Jumeirah Village Circle

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SKAI Holdings officially launched the project in June and has already sold all available hotel rooms and serviced apartments in the 60-storey tower. The remaining areas such as the food and beverage outlets, meeting rooms, spa and retail will be retained by the developer.

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Suites in the SKAI will feature contemporary hotel and hotel-apartments for business and leisure travelers to meet the growing demand for Dubai’s upscale hospitality sector.

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Strategically located in close proximity to three of Dubai’s arterial roads – Al Khail Road, Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (formerly Emirates Road) and Hessa Street – and a short drive from Dubai’s new Al Maktoum International Airport, Suites in the SKAI will comprise 234-hotel rooms, 234 one-and-two bedroom apartments and 33 penthouses.

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Lush green balcony-gardens and 271 sky-high swimming pools add to the sense of nature while floating bathtubs, floor to ceiling windows and panoramic views across the city provide the ideal cosmopolitan backdrop.

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Suites in the SKAI will feature breathable architecture allowing sunlight to shine through the core of the tower and a vertical microclimate design with over half a million sq. ft. of flora, naturally helping maintain the temperature.

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Construction on Suites in the SKAI will begin in September 2014 with operations due to commence in 2017.

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“Suites in the SKAI will cater to the growing number of business and leisure tourists that are looking for value for money as well as comfort and convenience in a luxurious setting,” said Kabir Mulchandani, Group CEO of Skai Holdings Limited LLC.

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Suites in the SKAI’s unique tri-star wing structure allows for each room and apartment to incorporate a vast landscaped garden. Conceptualised in-house by architect Nabil Akiki, CEO of Real Estate Development, SKAI Holdings has filed a patent for the distinctive design.

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The 117 one-bedroom hotel apartments will come complete with an outdoor sky garden and Jacuzzi while the 117 two-bedroom apartments include an 18 sq. ft. sky swimming pool and floor to ceiling windows with cascading water.

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From Chess City to Smurf Village: The Gulf’s craziest projects

Source: Arabian Business

We look back at some of the most outlandish projects announced in the region over the last few years.

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What? Vertical farms

Where? Dubai

Pitch? The plan was to have vertical farms in the style of skyscrapers which would act like massive towering glass houses and use seawater to cool the building and water the plants.

Verdict? The proposals started in 2009 but the downturn saw the plans scrapped, so they now look more like a pipedream. But with constant talk of food security in the Gulf things could change now that the economic climate has improved.

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What? International Chess City

Where? Dubai

Pitch? The plan was to create a city with 32 towers designed to look like the different pieces of a chess board. The tallest towers would be the two King towers standing at an altitude of 64 floors and the street plan in the traditional black and white of a chess board. The 64,000 square metre project was also to include three to seven star hotels and hotel apartments.

Verdict? Pitched in 2004, in association with the International Chess Association, nothing more has happened in the last decade other than the original press release.

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What? Smurf theme park

Where? Bahrain

Pitch? The $5m theme park based on the popular Belgian children’s cartoon characters was reportedly set to be built on an 8,350 square metre site in West Riffa at the Prince Khalifa bin Salman Grand Garden. It was to include 30 Smurf houses measuring around 50 sqm, a 250 sqm Papa Smurf house and a 220 sqm castle, which would be home to the Smurf’s nemesis Gargamel. Plans were to also include a café, aquarium, stables and a souvenir shop.

Verdict? So far there has been nothing new announced since late 2012 so it looks like it remains on the drawing board.

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What? Burj Khalifa reflective cover

Where? Downtown Dubai

Pitch? A Dubai-based think tank has proposed wrapping the Burj Khalifa in a super lightweight, reflective fabric, “complementing the structure’s reflective facade.”

Verdict? Ahmed Salman, the founder and principal at OP-EN, told Arabian Business in February he was hoping to meet with Emaar soon to discuss the proposal.

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What? Pamela Anderson Eco resort

Where? Abu Dhabi

Pitch? In August 2008 it was rumoured the former Baywatch actress was set to enter the UAE’s hospitality sector with plans to build an eco-friendly hotel in the UAE capital. “I’m building a hotel there. It is environmentally friendly. I went there with the Make a Wish Foundation and met some great people there. The royal family was really friendly,” Anderson was quoted as saying at the time. “It’s built with no fossil fuel at all… in Abu Dhabi – where they have all that oil,” she added.

Verdict? It seems Pamela’s plans have fallen by the wayside as when she was in Dubai for a niteclub appearance recently she said the plans had been scrapped due to the recession in the US.

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What? Flower Tower

Where? Dubai

Pitch? A French architect is hoping to build the Middle East’s first skyscraper covered in trees and pot plants in Dubai. Dubbed the ‘Flower Tower’, the concept would create the impression that residents are surrounded by forest – bringing greenery to apartments tens of metres from the ground.

Verdict? The idea was presented at the Outdoor Design Build & Supply Show in March last year but nothing more has since been announced. However, there is one in Paris already so it is possible this project may blossom eventually.

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What? Brad Pitt environmentally-friendly hotel

Where? Dubai

Pitch? In the heady days of 2008, the Hollywood heartthrob was rumoured to be in talks to design a landmark environmentally friendly hotel and leisure project with Zabeel Properties. Zabeel apparently said Pitt would team up with an LA-based architecture firm to help design the 800-room five-star hotel. “Whilst acting is my career, architecture is my passion. Selecting this development as my first major construction project has been a simple decision,” Pitt said in a statement.

Verdict? “We will be unveiling precise plans in the next few months, but you can expect something that is not only stunning to look at, but will also be an incredible attraction to visit or stay at,” Pitt said in 2008. Months passed and nothing ever transpired.

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What? Rotating tower

Where? Dubai

Pitch? In August last year plans for a rotating tower, to be named the Dynamic Tower, were revived, with the 80 storeys high building able to rotate 360 degrees every 90 minutes.

Verdict? This idea has been around for almost a decade and the new designs released last year did not come with anything substantial in terms of concrete plans. The Dubai tower is expected to cost in the region of £355m ($541m), according to a report in the Daily Mail newspaper, while the company is also hoping to build versions in Moscow, Paris, London, Milan, Rome, New York and Miami.

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What? Herbie theme park

Where? Dubai

Pitch? Abu Dhabi has Ferrari World, but one Dubai architect wanted to develop a theme park based around the famous Disney Volkswagen Bug car. The display was also set to include a consignment of the original Herbie cars, including the vehicles that appeared in the movies ‘Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo’ and the 2005 movie ‘Herbie: Fully Loaded’, which starred actress Lindsay Lohan.

Verdict? When we spoke to the architect in the summer of 2012 it seemed HerbieLand was on hold and was more likely to happen in the US if it got the green light from investors.

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What? Paris Hilton hotel

Where? Dubai

Pitch? The American celebrity heiress said in July 2008 she was looking forward to developing a hotel project in the emirate, or even a Paris Island on Nakheel’s The World off the coast. “I really want to get into real estate, so I feel like [Dubai] could be the hot place to do a Paris hotel,” Hilton told Hollywood.tv “Paris Island would be pretty amazing,” she added.

Verdict? Nothing has happened but we think the plans were pretty slim going on Hilton’s later comments. “I haven’t been there, but I have heard it is incredible: the hotels, the islands, The World, the casinos and the shopping,” she gushed. “I’d love to check it out and let everybody in America know it is the cool place to go.” Off course, gambling is banned in the UAE. But the opening the Paris Beach Club in Paranaque City in the Philippines shows that her star power may not be totally dead and there are still people willing to through money behind her.

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What? Underwater hotel

Where? Dubai

Pitch? The ‘Water Discus Hotel’ was announced in 2012 and is being developed by Drydocks World alongside Poland’s Deep Ocean Technology and Big Invest. Set to be built just off the emirate’s coast, the property will consist of several inhabitable discs, with the deepest being set 30m underwater. The module structure of the properties would allow them to be expanded according to their clients’ requirements. “[The project will] bring to its guests a deluxe hotel combined with a real marine adventure and breathtaking views found only in the heart of the ocean,” Drydocks World said in a statement. “The unique location in the heart of a vibrant coral reef will allow guests enjoy both the tropical weather as well as the colourful underwater world.”

Verdict? While last summer developers said work would begin “very shortly” it appears to have sunk without a trace and nothing more has been reported. The only positive move is that a prototype was reportedly being built in Poland and the design of the project is being backed by money from the European Union.

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What? World’s biggest Irish bar

Where? Ireland island on Dubai’s The World

Pitch? In 2007, a team of Irish investors bought the Ireland island on the world for a reported $27m. Plans for “Ireland in the Sun” included turning it into an Irish-style theme park with villas and apartments but also the world’s biggest Irish bar and a full scale replica of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Verdict? Plans have fallen by the wayside and developers of the project were hit hard by the credit crunch with one of the backers reportedly taking his own life in 2009.

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What? Manmade city centre beach hotel

Where? Doha

Pitch? Sources told Arabian Business in 2012 the hotel will include a man-made beach, a wave pool, rivers, a waterfall and an 18-hole golfing green. “We don’t have a beach [at Ramada Plaza Doha], but we are going to rectify that with our new hotel. We are having a beach there in the middle of the city centre,” the source said.

Verdict? This one is going ahead and will be managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide as a Westin-branded hotel. The hotelier announced in January the 372-room Westin Doha Hotel & Spa will open in 2015.

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What? Victoria Beckham fashion island hotel

Where? The World islands

Pitch? In 2010 it was claimed the singer-turned-fashion designer had been approached to design a luxury hotel in Dubai and would be located on a fashion-themed island called Isla Moda off the Dubai coast.

Verdict? This project was quickly quashed by the Dubai Media Office who denied the reports and said no invitation had ever been made by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum to Beckham, as some UK reports had claimed.

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What? Flying airship hotels

Where? The Gulf

Pitch? In the 1930s, before the Hindenburg disaster, giant floating airships were becoming common place. While plans for giant flying Zeppelin airships sink like a led balloon, the Gulf could the next location to take advantage of their resurgence and a flying hotel wouldn’t be such a ridiculous idea. “There are some Zeppelins that can do some serious cargo movements, so you could in theory hang a hotel off it,” one Dubai-based expert told Arabian Business.

Verdict? “That idea is now much closer to reality,” a US-based expert working for a certified airship manufacturer told Arabian Business. In addition, the former chairman of the UK-based The Airship Association told us he was “convinced that a niche market exists for airships which is not being adequately explored at present.” So watch this space as this one could actually be the next big crazy project set to take to the skies in the Gulf.

 

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Hotel idea floated for Qatar World Cup

 

 

Source: Arabian Business

Architect proposing five-star facility to accommodate football fans.

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Revealed: 2014’s most exciting upcoming MidEast hotels

Source: Arabian Business

The most anticipated hotels and developments for 2014 and beyond.

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Anantara Doha Island Resort & Spa, Doha Island

Proposed opening date: April 2014

Location: Doha Island, 20 mins boat ride/ 6 nautical miles from Doha City.

Owner: Minor Hotel Group in partnership with Al Rayyan Hospitality.

Architect: HRC

Interior designer: Woods Bagot (public areas) / HRC (guest rooms and villas).

Size of development: Located on a 13-hectare island.

Number of rooms: 141 (comprising 96 rooms and 45 pool villas).

F&B: Four restaurants and bars, including a contemporary Japanese restaurant and Arabic beach club.

Leisure facilities: Four pools, including a surf pool with wave machine, a hydro exercise pool and lagoon pool, Anantara Spa and an extensive Wellness & Holistic Centre, plus a 24-hour fitness centre and tennis court, kids club, a dedicated family beach, a nine-hole golf putting course, a ten-pin bowling alley and cinema, an off-shore reef home to a reef conservation centre with the opportunity for guests to plant their own coral, and a fully equipped diving centre.

MICE facilities: Ballroom accommodating up to 250 people for a banquet, two meeting rooms for up to 50 delegates, outdoor event space with capicity for 100 people.

Summary of USPs: Anantara Doha Island will be the sole off-shore escape for both Doha residents and visitors alike, representing an exclusive getaway from the hectic business city.

What Hotelier is most excited about: Hotelier is excited about the range of ambitious projects planned for the resort – from the ten-pin bowling alley to the off-shore reef.

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Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach

Proposed opening date: Q4 2014

Location: Jumeirah Beach, Dubai

Developer: Bright Start

Architect: WATG

Interior designer: BAMO

Size of development: 11-acre (4.45 hectare)

Number of rooms: 220 (including 49 suites)

F&B: Three restaurants including poolside dining

Leisure facilities: Spa, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, tennis courts and private beach club.

MICE facilities: 600m ballroom with beachfront access.

Summary of USPs: Prime location in elite residential north end of Jumeirah Beach Road, just 2 km from Dubai’s central commercial district and with exclusive access to 270 metres of beach. Architecturally beautiful exterior and innovative interior design.

What Hotelier is most excited about: We want to see how Four Seasons? fulfills its promise of ‘raising the bar for luxury resorts in the region’ with this new development.

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Ajman Saray, Ajman

Proposed open date: February 2014

Location: Sheikh Humaid Bin Rashid Al Nuaimi Street, Ajman

Operator: Starwood

Owner: AJ Hospitality FZC – Ajman Free Zone Authority

Architect: Fouad Bensouda Architectural & Engineering Consultants

Interior designer: WA International

Number of rooms: 205

F&B: Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisine, two indoor restaurants

Leisure facilities: GoCo Spa, white-sand beach, fully-equipped gym, kid?s club, swimming pool

MICE facilities: Six event venues and ballroom

Summary of USPs: The first beach-side Luxury Collection Resort in the Middle East offering a coastal sanctuary for weekend breaks and beach escapes off the beaten track.

What Hotelier is most excited about: We are excited about seeing what the first Luxury Collection beach-side property in the UAE has to offer.

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Dubai Marriot Hotel Al Jaddaf & Marriott Executive Apartments Al Jaddaf

Proposed opening date: January 2014

Location: Near the royal residence, Zabeel Palace, 10 minutes from The Dubai Mall, Dubai Creek, Sheikh Zayed Road and Dubai International Airport.

Owner: Nilona Holding FZ LLC (Onyx Group-Sharjah)

Interior designer: WA International

Size of development: Plot size: 7,832 m2; Build area: 51,358m?

Number of rooms: 352 guest rooms and 128 executive apartments

F&B: Seven food and beverage outlets including poolside al fresco dining

Leisure facilities: Saray spa, health club, children?s pool, whirlpool

MICE facilities: More than 1,100m2 of meeting space, 526m2 of ballroom space, business centre

USP: Conveniently located 10 minutes from both business and leisure hubs in Dubai, this opening will be the flagship hotel in the Middle East for Marriott International?s new brand voice, reflecting the lifestyle of next generation of travelers, who blend work and play in a mobile and global world.

What Hotelier is most excited about: Hotelier is looking forward to seeing how the new Marriott Red Coat Direct app is received as it is rolled out at the Al Jaddaf property for the first time in the Middle East. The app allows a meeting planner to communicate in real time with Marriott ?red coat? staff on any device, ensuring that their needs are taken care of immediately.

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InterContinental Dubai Marina

Proposed opening date: Q4 2014

Owner: Select Group

Location: Dubai Marina

Interior designer: WA International

Number of rooms: 132 hotel rooms and 196 InterContinental Residential Suites

F&B: Eight food and beverage outlets, including restaurants, bars and a 600m2 night club. It’s believed to house a restaurant by celebrity chef Jason Atherton as well as the Whiskey Mist brand, although IHG is currently keeping details under wraps.

Leisure facilities: InterContinental spa, health club and outdoor swimming pool and pool deck

MICE facilties: Boardroom and eight meeting rooms, the largest of which will accommodate 100 people.

What Hotelier is most excited about: The views from the three-tower development that IHG promises will be ‘magnificent’.

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The Adagio Abu Dhabi Al Bustan

Proposed opening date: Q1 2014

Location: Rashid Bin Saeed Road (formerly Airport Road) / Rabdan St (formally 29th St) Abu Dhabi

Owner: United Al Saqer Group – HE Sheikh Mohamed Bin Butti Al Hamid

Number of rooms: 279 apartments

Facilities: Full use of adjacent Novotel restaurants, bars, fitness and wellness centre.

USP: The Adagio Abu Dhabi Al Bustan is the first in the ambitious roll out of 10 Adagio Aparthotels across the region in three years. It marks the first Adagio branded property in Middle East.

What Hotelier is most excited about: This development reflects the trend for long-stay guests in the UAE’s major destinations and promises upper-midscale, home-from-home comfort.

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Fairmont Riyadh

Proposed opening date: Q3, 2014

Developer: Tatweer

Location: Business Gate, Riyadh

Interior designer: LWD Design Group

Architect: Yhmimar Cairo

Number of rooms: 304 rooms and suites

F&B: Six food and beverage outlets including all-day Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, Gold Lounge with media room, meeting rooms and casual dining, and a chocolatier.

Leisure facilities: Men’s health club and fitness centre with four treatment rooms and grooming salon, private swimming pool, exclusive ladies only floor with lounge, fitness centre, two treatment rooms, salon and manicure and pedicure stations. Ladies-only rooms all inclusive of bespoke OS&E, 68m? bridal suite with direct lift access to ballroom, 98m? majilis lounge with direct access to ballroom.

MICE facilities: Two 1450m2 ballrooms including state of the art AV technology throughout with direct AV connection to meeting rooms and external TV channel broadcast facilities; dedicated pre- function areas of 680m?; eight meeting rooms and library totaling 1400m2 with state of the art AV technology; one fixed conference room.

USP: First of its kind truly integrated development in Riyadh. Strategic location at Business Gate within an office park. The hotel will offer world class dining facilities, meeting space and luxurious rooms and suites along with the signature Fairmont Gold product.

What Hotelier is most excited about: This hotel promises to offer a much needed fully equipped business hub in a strategic location in Riyadh.

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Alila, Jabal Akhdar hotel, Oman

Proposed open date: Q2, 2014

Owner: Omran

Location: Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Interior designer: P49

Architect: Consultancy by W S Atkins

Size: site 3.6km2; built up area 17,000m2

Number of rooms: 84 Suites and 2 Jabal Villas

F&B: Three outlets including an al fresco option.

Leisure facilities: Indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spa Alila with seven treatment rooms including Vichy shower, plus steam rooms and Jacuzzi rooms for males and females.

MICE facilities: Two boardrooms seating up to 50 people each.

USP: Set 2,000 metres above sea level, overlooking a dramatic gorge with views of the Hajar Mountains, Alila Jabal Akhdar is positioned for exploration of the region?s renowned rugged landscapes, a haven for adventure travellers, nature lovers and those seeking an escape from the desert heat.

What Hotelier is most excited about: This is the brand debut for Alila in the Middle East, which promises a sustainable focus and a design in keeping with Omani tradition.

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Anjum Makkah

Proposed open date: Q1, 2014

Developer: Abdul Latif Jameel Real Estate Investment Co. (ALJREIC)

Location: Makkah, Saudi Arabia

Number of rooms: 1,743 guest rooms and suites, most with views over the Holy Haram

F&B: The lobby lounge, Atlas Cafe, accommodates 780 guests and serves snacks 24 hours a day. Two main all-day dining restaurants, Joud Restaurant and Karam restaurant, can seat all 3500 guests at once, and feature International, Asian and oriental buffets for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Leisure facilities: Azad lounge and separate large prayer rooms for males and females.

MICE facilities: Fully Equipped business centre; multipurpose hall equipped for meetings, weddings and events.

USP: Combining the accommodation, service and Hijazi hospitality, the Anjum Hotel, Makkah has been designed as a place where spirituality meets hospitality.

What Hotelier is most excited about: This opening from a home-grown brand will provide a spiritual retreat in the heart of Makkah.

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Grand Millenium Sulaimaniya

Proposed open date: Q2 2014

Developer: Faruk Group Holding

Location: Sulaimaniya, Kurdistan, Iraq

Owner: Faruk Group Holding

Interior designer: David Wren International (DWI)

Architect: ARKONSULT Engineering

Number of rooms: 250 rooms with a dedicated executive lounge catering to over 60 suites

F&B: Four restaurants with a revolving concept at the top of the property

Leisure facilities: Luxury spa and health club

MICE facilities: Ballroom, six meeting rooms, Executive Club Lounge

USP: The five-star branded property will be an iconic landmark in the Kurdistan region

What Hotelier is most excited about: This development aims to be known as the ‘Burj Al Arab of Kurdistan’. Hotelier looks forward to seeing if this vision comes true.

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Bluewaters Island, Dubai

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Cristal Amaken Hotel, Riyadh

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Dubai Pearl

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Al Habtoor City

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Helix Hotel, Abu Dhabi

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JAFZA Convention Centre Hotel, Dubai

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Katara Towers, Lusail Marina District, Doha, Qatar

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Mandarin Oriental Doha

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Millennium Bab Al Qasr, Abu Dhabi

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Radisson Blu Hotel, Riyadh North Ring Road

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Shaza Doha

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Viceroy Dubai Palm Jumeirah

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Revealed: Dubai projects re-heated in 2013

Source: Arabian Business

Some of the biggest developments dusted down, re-branded and relaunched back on to the market.

We look at previous plans and how they have been given a new lease of life as the market begins to improve.

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1. Deira Island (Nakheel) 

Then: Launched in 2002 as three palm-shaped islands (Palm Islands) off the emirate’s coast – Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira. 

What happened? Palm Jumeirah was finished, but Nakheel suspended work on the other two larger islands amid the financial crisis. 

Now: Re-launched in October 2013, Deira Island, a smaller version of Palm Deira, will have 1,400 retail units and restaurants, a 250-room hotel, a 30,000 capacity amphitheater and other attractions.

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2. The Opus (Omniyat) 

Then: A 23-storey office tower in Business Bay. Launched as Opus in 2007, to be finished in 2010. 

What happened? Never built. The project was stalled amid Dubai’s property crash. 

Now: Re-launched in October 2013 as The Opus, with added five-star, mixed-use ME brand hotel and apartment development. Slated to finish mid-2015, hotel to open mid-2016.

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3. Mixed-use project/theme park in Dubailand (Union Properties) 

Then: Launched in 2005 as a Formula One Theme Park within UP’s Motor City, with construction to start in 2006 and finish in 2008.

What happened? The park was half complete before being suspended in March 2009 when UP ran out of funds. One of several projects in the wider Dubailand that stalled in the downturn.

Now: UP told AB in October 2013 new plans for the site would be a mix of “retail, residential and a theme park”.

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4. The Lagoons (Dubai Holdings and Emaar Properties) 

Then: The mega project was launched by Sama Dubai (later merged in Dubai Properties Group) in 2006 as Dubai Lagoon, a 5.7m sqft site near Dubai Creek. 

What happened? After breaking ground on the site in 2008, the project was mothballed due to the credit crunch and subsequent collapse in local real estate prices. 

Now: Re-launched in October 2013 as The Lagoons, a 6m sq m master-planned city located within Mohammed Bin Rashid (MBR) City. Includes Dubai Twin Towers, “a mixed-use iconic development”, as well as a CBD, hotels, schools and healthcare facilities.

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5. Mohammad bin Rashid Gardens (Dubai Holding and Emaar Properties) 

Then: Launched in 2008 as Dubai’s biggest parks project for 250,000 residents, it was to stretch 82sqkm, covering four with almost three quarters of the total area – 60sqkm – dedicated to green space. 

What happened? The project was put on hold sooner after its launch amid the property crash. 

Now: The project was re-heated as part of the overall master plan announced in November 2012 for Mohammed bin Rashid City.

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6. The Pad (Omniyat) 

Then: A 231-apartment, 24-storey tower in Business Bay. Launched as The Pad in 2007, to be finished in 2009. 

What happened? Pushed back to 2010, then mid-2011 before eventually put on hold. 

Now: Re-launched in October 2013 under the same name, with a “a very cool, hip hotel”. Slated to finish mid-2015 in first of a chain of The Pad properties.

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7. Damac Towers by Paramount (Damac) 

Then: In 2006 Damac launched La Residence by Lotus, a 58-storey “waterfront” development in Business Bay. 

What happened? The project never got off the ground as a result of a land dispute and the emirate’s property crash. 

What happened? Damac Towers by Paramount was launched in March 2013 for the same site. It is due to open at the end of 2015 with a 540-unit Paramount Hotel & Residences, and 1,400-unit Damac Maison-Paramount co-branded service hotel residences.

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8. FalconCity of Wonders (FalconCity) 

Then: Launched in 2005, the 40m sq ft Falcon city would boast life-size replicas of world landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and the Great Pyramids, include a theme park, hotels and a 1m sq ft copy of New York’s Central Park. 

What happened? The project was delayed during the property crisis, issues with infrastructure and approval from the RTA. More than 300 villas have been built to date, with 214 set for completion in 2014. 

Now: More villas were added to the market in 2013, with the company embarking on a renewed publicity push on the project.

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Some of the biggest developments dusted down, rebranded and relaunched back on to the market

 

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Revealed: $130bn Dubai mega project launched in last 12 months

Source: Arabian Business Image Dubai Creek Harbour Cost: $17.4bn Launched: June 2013 Image Mohammed Bin Rashid City Cost: $100bn Launched: Nov 2012 Image Akoya by Damac Cost: $2.5bn Launched: April 2013 Image Damac Towers with Paramount Cost: $1bn Launched: March 2013 Image Bluewaters Island Cost: $1.6bn Launched: Feb 2013 Image Dubai Design District Cost: $1.09bn Launched: June 2013 Image Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Cost: $1bn Launched: May 2013 Image Five theme parks in Jebel Ali Cost: $2.7bn Launched: Nov 2012 Image Nakheel Mall and the Pointe, Palm Jumeirah Cost: $898m Launched: Feb 2013 Image Dubai World Trade Centre District Cost: $4.4bn Launched: March 2013

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Inside Louvre Abu Dhabi

Source: Arabian Business

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An aerial view of architect Jean Nouvel’s ambitious design for the Gulf’s version of the Louvre, which is scheduled to open in Abu Dhabi in 2012.

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French Architect Jean Nouvel poses in front of a model of the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum at a cultural exhibition in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)

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An interior view of part of the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. The French original is probably the most frequently name-dropped museum in the world.

It’s the home of the Mona Lisa, the Venus de Milo, and for those more schooled in pop culture than high culture, it’s also the setting for some of the dramatic events in Dan Brown’s popular novel The Da Vinci Code.

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The autocad rendering of the interior of the museum in Abu Dhabi produces a dramatic effect. Combining his understanding of Islamic architecture with his French background, architect Jean Nouvel has developed a striking design for an Arabian version of this most iconic of French museums.

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A computer generated image shows the museum which will be built on a new artificial Island of Saadiyat. Perhaps the most immediately striking aspect of the building for the visitor is its distinctive 183m diameter dome. The exterior appearance seems almost reminiscent of a futuristic spacecraft, a visible impression ironically supported by the dome’s invisible support. (Getty Images)

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Another view of the impressive dome which has been designed to appear as if floating above the building itself. This has proved to be one of the major challenges for the team and indeed presents probably the great challenge of the entire project.

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Currently, the dome is planned to be placed atop four or five support pillars-the final number has yet to be decided. According to Tim Page, project director at project engineers Buro Happold, even on a five-point scheme, the largest span between pillars will be 130 metres.

Apparently, the biggest challenge is to limit deflection by creating stiffness in the dome structure, which normally requires depth of structure.

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Another stunning view of the museum interior.

Here are the key facts and figures regarding the construction of the Louvre in Abu Dhabi:

Architects: Ateliers Jean Nouvel

Client: TDIC (Tourism Development & Investment Company)

Engineers: Buro Happold

Partner Architect: Hala Wardé

Usable Floor Area: 17,000m2

Gross Floor Area: 26,000m2

Architectural Design Competition: 2007

Design Commencement: Jan 2008

Concept Stage complete: May 2008 – validation of conceptual design

Schematic Design complete: Oct 2008 – resolution of outline design

Construction (shell and core) Completion: 2012

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From left, France’s Minister of Foreign Affair Bernard Kouchner, France’s Minister of Economy and Finance Christine Lagarde, France’s Minister of Culture Christine Albanel, French Architect Jean Nouvel and France’s President Nicolas Sarkozy during the presentation of a model of the Abu Dhabi Louvre Museum. (Getty Images)

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The structure is inspired by the cultural traditions of the region and helps firmly plant the Louvre Abu Dhabi within the Arabian cultural context.

The Arabian sensation continues beneath the dome as well.

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