Al Ain, UAE
Redesign of 50 chalets
Al Ain is home to the UAE’s first UNESCO World Heritage site, and the brief for this project, the refurbishment of an existing Hilton property, was to create a design that reflected this sense of place. The Al Ain Oasis is tranquil, natural, and calm, incorporating a working date farm – a stark contrast to the ultra-modern, high-energy, larger-than-life metropolises of the better-known UAE cities, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
We took design cues from the natural environment, with subtle references to the colours, shades and shapes. Rather than literal representations of palm trees and sand dunes, we worked with our graphic design team to create motifs abstracted from these natural starting points.
As well as the natural world in Al Ain, we explored its historic and architectural heritage. Al Ain exists because of its location on the caravan route between the settlements of Dubai and Abu Dhabi on the Arabian Gulf coast, and Omani settlements close to modern-day Muscat on the Indian Ocean coast. As with the natural, biophilic elements, the design references to local Neolithic sites such as Hafeet and Hilli are subtle and abstracted, not literal.
The result: a design language that is Arabesque yet contemporary, with a light material palette that complements the surrounding garden scape.