Making a smart move to Dubai Design District

I moved to Dubai about three weeks ago.

While Xische is preparing our office move to Dubai Design District (d3) – coincidentally also a long-stranding client – my thoughts are around modern design and architecture based on recent travels to Barcelona. Stunning buildings in the style of Catalan Modernism mastered through Antoni Gaudi — famous Spanish architect responsible for unique buildings, residential as well as public, and masterpieces like the Casa Milà-La Pedrera, Park Güell or the Crypt of the Sagrada Famìlia – are on my mind. Why are they such masterpieces? Because of their perfect combination of functionality and design, while seamless with their environment through natural forms and shapes.

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Casa Milà-La Pedrera. Image credit

What is the fascination about this architecture that attracts us, what are the structural elements of our days? Looking at our new home after nearly 15 years at Dubai Media City, it is the same mix of elements — the combination of shape, form and functionality. Leaving modern materials, and expressionistic design aside, today’s functionality mindset seems to be encouraging the emergence of Smart Cities around the world.

In Dubai, and I can say this while I’m still an outsider, the ambition to become a real Smart City has enormous potential: the city is growing at high speed, smart principles are being baked right into the future infrastructure, and handed over to private developers, architects and landscapers. Xische has been working with the Smart Dubai initiative for over 15 months now, and as part of the team now, I am amazed at the sheer amount of ground work that is being laid before jumping into the global race for smartness.

For example, we recently worked closely on Dubai’s Smart District Guidelines to aid in building and designing on smart infrastructure. d3 is the pilot project in Dubai to implement these principles, building enhanced connectivity while crafting environmentally friendly spaces, thereby radically rethinking what quality of living and working means for everyone – using technology to design a better world.

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Dubai Design District. Image credit

But Smart Districts are not enough to make Dubai a Smart City. All elements of the economy and social fabric have to play a role, those under development as well as those in existence already. Soon, we will see new initiatives, new guidelines and programs helping businesses in the private and public sector to become part of the smart movement: Connectivity and smart behavior are essential steps to take while striving to create a Smart Dubai.

I am thrilled at the prospect of watching this process, and playing a little role as it becomes a reality.

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