x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Sinuous curves ahead

Whether its the sinuous curves of the ME by Melia hotel or city-wide public art, the UAE is becoming a place where creativity flourishes.

The first look inside the futuristic ME by Melia hotel, designed by British-Iraqi architect Dame Zaha Hadid, makes it clear Dubai will soon gain yet another structure that will be feted by architecture enthusiasts around the world. This is nothing new for Ms Hadid, who is already responsible for the striking arches of Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge.

This latest building will help consolidate the UAE as an open-air exhibition of cutting edge architecture, whether it is the Dh2.5 billion Opus project, of which this hotel is an anchoring component, or any of the other architectural splendours for which the country is renowned.

The unsung heroes of this are, of course, the structural engineers who are given the task of translating the sinuous curves of an architect’s renderings into something capable of being built and safely used. Given the floaty, ethereal shapes Ms Hadid imagines, this is no easy ask.

This country is earning a reputation for public art, whether it is turning metro stations into de facto museums for Art Dubai 2015, sculptures and street art, or the cultural district on Saadiyat Island, where buildings like the Louvre Abu Dhabi will be as much a tourist attraction when finished as the artworks they contain.