Number one


Taking its influence from Andalusian architecture, Wa International has won an award for a contemporary Moorish interior for the One&Only, The Palm

UAE: WA International has scooped a top award for the One&Only, The Palm, Dubai at the 2012 International Hotel Awards.

Working with the One&Only and Mirage Leisure and Development, the brief called for a luxurious destination retreat with a contemporary take on Andalusian architecture.


The firm went on to compete against hotel properties from more than 73 countries after its success at the Arabian Hotel Awards in November. After being judged against entries from the Middle East and Africa, it was awarded Highly Commended for Best Hotel Interior award and 5 Stars for Best Hotel.

“To be recognised for our work on an international level is such a great honour and to be competing against so many top hotel properties on the global stage indicates just how tough the competition has been,” said Claire Craig, design director, WA International.

The design team simplified traditional interior detailing, to create pure architectural forms, with clean lines and contemporary finishes. Utilising a range of materials, such as marble inlay to the floors, decorative textured plaster walls, mashribiya screens, back-lit etched glass and embossed metal.

“For the reception lobby in the Manor House we were inspired by traditional Arabesque courtyards, the lobby is light and spacious, with a central fountain and tall arched colonnade highlighted with subtle detailing in an Ottoman inspired floral motif,” said Craig.

“Combining Crema Marfil and white Thassos marble with Azul Macuba, reminiscent of the blue colour of the sea, an oversized intricate Moorish – inspired floral pattern is water-jet cut in the lobby floor.

This pattern flows throughout the public spaces, and can be seen in the decorative frieze details or the etched glass backdrop to the reception desk,” she added.

The International Hotel Awards has a judging panel of 20 hospitality experts and entries are first judged at a regional level before the top scoring winners go forward to be re-judged internationally.

Helen Skea, associate, WA International, said architecturally, the One&Only hotel takes its influence from Alhambra, a 14th century Moorish palace in Granada, Spain.

“Our inspiration for the interiors reflects this style and period. We were asked to create a luxurious destination retreat to cater for the world’s ‘rich and famous’ and that is precisely what One&Only, The Palm, has become,” she said.

“We designed and specified oversized opulent furnishings in natural hues with accents of blue, combined with hand-carved carpets to create a more residential and cozy atmosphere within the lobby.

“For the signature restaurant ‘Stay’, we created a dramatic backdrop for the 3-star Michelin chef, Yannick Alleno, with a contemporary take on traditional French-inspired elements. We did this with rich ebony Makassar timbers and a monochromatic palette of black and silver with hints of rich burgundy.”

Other details include an orangery within the conservatory of Zest all day dining restaurant, using a white, silver and green colour palette and an oversized Persian-inspired leaf pattern in ‘Mint’ green marble, inlayed into white Statuario marble on the floor. There are columns in silvery fret-cut stainless steel, off-set by hundreds of hanging glass leaves across the ceiling.

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