Cover Story

The first look of show apart­ment at Zaha Ha­did’s de­but Dubai project The Opus—mag­nif­i­cent, mar­vel­lous, and ma­jes­tic

Design Middle East - - Contents -

Fab­u­lous in­te­ri­ors of show apart­ment at The OPUS

One fall short of words, such is the mag­nif­i­cence of The Opus by Late Zaha Ha­did for Om­niyat, which is a com­bi­na­tion of res­i­dences and a unique de­sign ho­tel, ME by Meliá, the lux­ury life­style brand of the lead­ing hote­lier group Meliá Ho­tels In­ter­na­tional. OPUS has a dom­i­nant lo­ca­tion, cen­tral to Burj Khal­ifa and The Dubai Mall and was en­vi­sioned and de­signed in its en­tirety by ar­chi­tec­tural leg­end, late Dame Zaha Ha­did. From ex­te­rior to in­te­rior, each de­tail is a pow­er­ful tes­ta­ment of her unique aes­thet­ics and vi­sion of the fu­ture. De­sign Mid­dle East was in­vited for an ex­clu­sive de­sign tour of a show apart­ment at OPUS and the pic­tures say it all.

De­sign of the high­est or­der

Chris­tos Pas­sas, project direc­tor of The Opus, Zaha Ha­did Ar­chi­tects elab­o­rates more on its de­sign, “The Opus is de­signed as two sep­a­rate tow­ers that co­a­lesce into a sin­gu­lar whole to take the form of a cube. The cube is then ‘carved’, cre­at­ing a cen­tral void that is an im­por­tant vol­ume within the build­ing in its own right—pro­vid­ing views to the ex­te­rior from the cen­tre of the build­ing. The free-formed flu­id­ity of this eight-storey void con­trasts with the pre­cise or­thog­o­nal ge­om­e­try of the sur­round­ing cube.”

The in­te­ri­ors are very chic, con­tem­po­rary, and ex­udes min­i­mal­is­tic glam­our

“The two tow­ers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level with a wholly unique bridge con­nect­ing the tow­ers 71m above the ground. This three-storey, asym­met­ric bridge is 38m wide. To­gether with the ME Dubai, the Opus will house 12 be­spoke restau­rants as well as a spec­tac­u­lar rooftop bar and of­fice space.”

Chal­lenges of de­sign

Lo­cated on an im­por­tant site be­tween Down­town Dubai and Dubai Creek, it was crit­i­cal that the de­sign main­tained the con­tex­tual flow and con­nec­tiv­ity of the site. Pas­sas stresses, “Carv­ing the void through the build­ing in­tro­duces this re­quired trans­parency to cre­ate a build­ing with its own ar­chi­tec­tural pres­ence, yet very much of its sur­round­ings. The Opus also re­quired large com­mu­nal ar­eas at ground level for im­por­tant civic ameni­ties such as restau­rants and lob­bies.

This de­fined the foot­print of the build­ing – which was then ex­truded to cre­ate the cubed form. The void carved within this cube en­ables nat­u­ral light deep within the build­ing and max­imises the num­ber of rooms with an ex­ter­nal view,” The steel bridge that links two tow­ers in­volve many cal­cu­la­tions for each and ev­ery steel con­nec­tion. “Due to the com­plex­ity of the bridge, these com­puter cal­cu­la­tions also en­sured any earth­quake loads were taken into ac­count,” says Pas­sas.

En­gi­neer­ing mar­vel

De­sign­ing the glaz­ing for the Opus with a spe­cial frit­ting pat­tern in the form of pix­e­lated ridges and the lat­est UV coat­ings were used to re­duce so­lar gain and glare to prevent reflections. Pas­sas shares, “This en­abled re­flectance val­ues be­low a

cer­tain limit and did not com­pro­mise the de­sign am­bi­tion. The cube’s flat fa­cade in­cludes a mir­ror frit to re­flect sun­light and also a var­ied re­flec­tion when the build­ing is viewed from dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. As the Opus is ac­tu­ally in the form of two ad­ja­cent tow­ers, each tower will shade the other through­out var­i­ous times of the day.”

The dou­ble-curved ge­ome­tries of the void’s glaz­ing re­quired ad­vanced com­pu­ta­tional de­sign and man­u­fac­tur­ing tech­niques. Each of the void’s 4,500 triple-glazed mid­night blue pan­els have been cre­ated and in­stalled to a unique spec­i­fi­ca­tio.

Zaha Ha­did’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with Om­niyat

The mes­meris­ing build­ing is a cel­e­bra­tion of Ha­did’s work as an in­spir­ing vi­sion­ary, who re­shaped the bound­aries of ar­chi­tec­ture as art and fun­da­men­tally changed the way peo­ple imag­ine and ex­pe­ri­ence build­ings. “Om­niyat’s vi­sion of treat­ing each project as if it were a unique work of art con­nects directly with our am­bi­tion, en­abling the in­ven­tive qual­ity of our work; ex­press­ing a sculp­tural sen­si­bil­ity within the Opus that rein­vents the bal­ance be­tween solid and void, opaque and trans­par­ent, in­te­rior and ex­te­rior,” fin­ishes Pas­sas.

As the Opus is ac­tu­ally in the form of two ad­ja­cent tow­ers, each tower will shade the other through­out var­i­ous times of the day. – Chris­tos Pas­sas

Chris­tos Pas­sas

Zaha Ha­did

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