“If we had a base in the Middle East, it would be in Dubai,” says Christos Passas from ZHA


This past month, CID caught up with Zaha Hadid Architects’ associate director Christos Passas and he informed the magazine of the international firm’s positive outlook on the growing market in Dubai.


Passas said: “I think because of the crisis that happened, a lot of things stopped here in Dubai. We designed the Dubai Opera, the Dancing Towers but the one that lasted throughout the years was the Opus Tower.

“We’re looking to get more work here—we like Dubai, it’s a very interesting city that has a very nice landscape. You see the green, the construction, the downtown in the back, and all of these things are amazing. There’s a lot of opportunity to do new things and to do them right. It’s not like London, where you have to wait a long time before you get something…Here, there is real opportunity.”

Zaha Hadid Architects is currently developing the Opus Tower, which maintains the shape of a melting ice cube on the outside with a void in the middle of the monolithic building that appears to be shifting in shape. The Opus, according to Passas, is a building that looks into itself. The view from the interior is as significant as the view from the exterior.

Passas said: “It’s very philosophical and it’s necessary to have buildings that make you think. They don’t always try to impress you or give you ‘shock and aw’, but it’s all about giving you hints and making you put a bigger picture together. It’s another level of reality and communication at play.”

For the interiors of the Opus, ZHA aims to design everything. Every element of the project will have the signature ZHA touch to it from the furniture to the lighting.

“What we want to give is an outcome that is synonymous with the Zaha Hadid style. Every apartment has to be seen like that, but there may be some pieces that we’ve designed in the past that are not designed for this particular project, but maybe they are relevant like the Moon Sofa…pieces that can be used to promote this kind of style.”

At the moment, ZHA are investigating materials. According to Passas, the more the firm researches and gets involved, the more it gets into technology and new material like memory foam and fabrication techniques. We can also expect a degree of 3D printing.

“3D printing is very much a new sector,” said Passas. “So, we want to be careful because we don’t know the limits.”

With everyone’s eyes on the Opus, ZHA continues to observe the market in the Middle East, with the GCC being a priority. Would ZHA set up a base here, we asked.

Passas said: “I would think that if we had a base in the Middle East, it would be in Dubai. Hopefully that happens sooner than later. I think the next year will show.”

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