Jewel of Aj­man


Piero Lis­soni’s de­sign for the new Oberoi ho­tel and re­sort pays homage to the magic and mod­ern spirit of Emi­rati cul­ture

Piero Lis­soni’s de­sign for the new Oberoi ho­tel and re­sort pays homage to the magic and mod­ern spirit of Emi­rati cul­ture.

To be truly con­tem­po­rary means im­mers­ing one’s self in the past to dwell in the present – and the fu­ture. Piero Lis­soni, in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned Ital­ian de­signer, has em­braced this tem­po­ral­ity with the stun­ning new Oberoi Beach Re­sort, Al Zo­rah, which has been de­vel­oped by Solid­ere In­ter­na­tional. Just 25 min­utes from Dubai, it of­fers guests a ho­tel, pri­vate vil­las, restau­rants, a spa, swim­ming pools and a pri­vate beach.

The pro­found and metic­u­lously ar­tic­u­lated ar­chi­tec­ture in Dubai was also placed in the hands of Mar­i­anna Pic­colo – a former pro­tégé and em­ployee of an­other Ital­ian leg­end: Mi­lan-based ar­chi­tect and de­signer (and Head Ju­ror of the iden­tity De­sign Awards), Marco Piva.

An eco-sys­tem of re­fined lux­ury and per­son­alised hos­pi­tal­ity, the five-star re­sort is sur­rounded by a mil­lion square me­tres of pro­tected forests, in­clud­ing lush man­groves, the lul­laby of sea breezes, and a can­vas of white sandy beaches and mes­meris­ing azure la­goons.

Di­vided into three plat­forms that run par­al­lel to the ocean, each build­ing is care­fully po­si­tioned in re­la­tion to its func­tion. The plat­forms rise up from the ocean­front and the height of the build­ings in­creases with each, guar­an­tee­ing su­perb ocean views from all ar­eas of the re­sort.

“My in­spi­ra­tion comes from the at­mos­phere of this magic place,” says Lis­soni. “I have de­signed all the build­ings to try and em­pha­sise the beauty of the nat­u­ral environment and cap­ture the per­fumes of the wa­ter, which blend with the inim­itable fra­grances of the trop­i­cal man­groves.”

The renowned Lis­soni As­so­ciati firm was se­lected be­cause of the founder’s un­par­al­leled abil­ity to speak to ev­ery de­sign de­tail, as well as his ex­pe­ri­ence cre­at­ing world-class hos­pi­tal­ity ex­pe­ri­ences – in­clud­ing his con­tem­po­rary Con­ser­va­to­rium Ho­tel in Am­s­ter­dam’s mu­seum district, the MarePineta re­sort in Mi­lano Marit­tima, the Roomers ho­tel in Baden-Baden, the Bel­lar­iva ho­tel at Lake Garda, the Mamilla ho­tel in Jerusalem, the Swire ho­tel in Shanghai and the Monaco & Grand Canal ho­tel in Venice.

For the Oberoi, Lis­soni not only chan­nelled th­ese sur­round­ings into his de­sign, but also in­te­grated el­e­ments of th­ese in­spir­ing en­vi­rons into a plan which sought to hon­our Emi­rati cul­ture, with de­tails in­spired by tra­di­tion­ally crafted old Ara­bic doors, boats and clay pots. Even in the cor­ri­dors, he sought to recre­ate the tex­tures and style of tra­di­tional wo­ven rugs, but in neu­tral beiges and cream tones to give them a con­tem­po­rary spin. His ded­i­ca­tion to har­ness­ing the pow­ers of tra­di­tional, nat­u­ral tex­tures also con­tin­ues in his use of wood and tiles.

“The in­te­rior de­sign is so­phis­ti­cated; rooted in sim­plic­ity,” he ex­plains. “The use of large trans­par­ent open­ings and ge­o­met­ri­cal wood par­ti­tions al­lows the eye to travel freely to the dis­tant hori­zon. The mod­ern ar­chi­tec­ture blends with the sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence of the local Orient, flavours of In­dia and spicy el­e­ments that emerge from the Oc­ci­dent, Africa and China – [yet] in true Ital­ian style.”

The main ho­tel was de­signed to fea­ture sep­a­rate build­ings con­nected by light walk­ways, with shal­low wa­ter pools that ex­tend over the in­ner court­yard where the main restau­rant and ameni­ties are sit­u­ated. An outer cladding of wood pan­els cre­ates a play of light and shadow as day changes to night, while sim­ple and pure con­crete vol­umes project out from the façade in one con­tin­u­ous move­ment.

But the key el­e­ment is the way the ho­tel and the re­sort gather their en­ergy and vi­vac­ity from their seam­lessly in­te­grated flow. The vil­las merge har­mo­niously into the over­all de­sign. The three-bed­room vil­las are com­posed of pure, in­ter­con­nected vol­umes cov­ered in smooth white stucco and con­tain a com­bi­na­tion of pro­tected ter­races and large open­ings that face the ocean. The two-bed­room vil­las are formed by deep can­tilever­ing slabs, which float over the ground floor to cre­ate a se­ries of shaded in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal liv­ing ar­eas. Slid­ing wood pan­els form a gen­tle bar­rier be­tween the in­side and the ex­te­rior gar­dens.

The de­sign of the re­sort’s Sen­sio Spa and beach restau­rant also re­flect the same at­ten­tion to ar­chi­tec­tural de­tail. In­spired by the lay­out of an an­cient Medina, the spa is com­posed of sev­eral small build­ings placed closely to­gether. Each con­struc­tion con­tains a spe­cific amenity and is de­signed as a pure vol­ume cov­ered in smooth stucco. Slen­der, open-air walk­ways pro­vide guests with an in­tense ex­pe­ri­ence that is fur­ther en­hanced by the sur­round­ing dou­ble-height vol­umes. The restau­rant con­tin­ues the di­men­sion­al­ity, as its dif­fer­ent pavil­ions are con­nected by walk­ways and ar­ranged around a shal­low pond.

Lis­soni is al­ready re­ceiv­ing ac­co­lades from his peers and de­sign-lovers around the world, and the Oberoi speaks to his other cur­rent and fu­ture seain­spired pro­jects. His mag­nif­i­cent SX88 yacht for San Lorenzo, sched­uled to be of­fi­cially pre­sented this month at the 2017 Cannes Yacht­ing Fes­ti­val, fea­tures his sig­na­ture touches and is des­tined to raise eye­brows. We can’t wait to get aboard his next project.


Busi­ness Cen­ter

Aquario bar

Piero Lis­soni

Ko­hi­noor suite liv­ing room

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