Among some of the topics that were discussed at the designMENA Summit panel, hosted by GAJ, was one which addressed the positive outcomes of the rise in mid-market hospitality projects in the region, which in turn is raising awareness of the importance of heritage.
Maliha Nishat, design director of interior design at DWP, commented on how mid-scale hospitality is creating fresh challenges for designers and architects and allowing them to explore materiality in new and fun ways.
“It’s been quite fun and challenging at the same time and involves a lot of sourcing of local products and realizing how much is out there in the local market. There are huge amounts of great manufacturing industries within the UAE and the GCC that deal and help with that kind of mid-market approach,” Nishat said.
“It comes down to materials and it comes down to clever design at the end of the day. Playing with materials that you wouldn’t usually use but actually thinking outside the box and trying to make otherwise more economical materials look fun,” said Nishat.
“We’ve been recently looking out for old materials and old things that we can reuse within our spaces such as the old worn out dhows that are sort of left on site and buying the raw materials off of old demolished buildings and I’m talking about old Dubai houses. They have lots of very cool details there that can be reused. So pulling out materials and reusing those ties in very well with renovation and sustainability and not having to use manufactured elements as much.
“I think that’s a very important topic in general in the UAE because it’s been such a fast growing country, namely Dubai. It is so fast paced and it’s moving so quickly that you are actually losing the true essence of what the culture is about, so bringing that in a little more and expressing it within the interior design a little more is important,” she said.