The Dubai of Fabio Grilli
Our interview with the Director of Design in the Development department at Emaar
What is your role?
I manage the whole design process from a client’s perspective: from the concept phase to supervising the consultants involved in the development of the project’s details.
Is it a demanding job?
At a time of great fervour in the real estate market, we are developing dozens of projects in the UAE and beyond, from skyscrapers to mixed-use buildings, villa neighbourhoods and special projects.
Your greatest satisfaction so far.
Since 2013, I have been watching a multitude of projects transforming the city’s skyline, with the advantage of being able to figure out how the users evaluate them, considering how fast the buildings are coming up.
The project you are the most proud of?
It is the Dubai Creek Harbour district: 7.3 million square meters, 700,000 of which designed for parks and public spaces, 60,000 for cultural activities, 900 thousand for commercial uses, 5,800 for residential use, 24 hotels and many other uses which are transforming this area into a new urban centre and much more.
Is being Italian an added value?
The real added value is having been raised surrounded by the beauty of our urban, landscape and cultural spaces.
What are the most interesting architectural works in Dubai from a sustainable point of view?
An emblematic project is the The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park: it is a 77-Km2 area of photovoltaic panels with the world’s largest innovation and research center on sustainable energy.
A few of your favourite places in Dubai in terms of architecture, art, design and food.
Definitely the DIFC, full of art galleries and restaurants from Cipriani to Zuma and Amazonico. A place for those who love architecture, design and arts, off the tourist path, is Alserkal Avenue: industrial warehouses converted into art galleries, design ateliers, cultural spaces. For a glimpse into the local traditional architecture I suggest Bastakiya and Al Seef: Dubai’s oldest neighborhood, renovated to artisan workshops, restaurants, markets, with a lovely view over Dubai’s lagoon framed by the old town.