Promotion: designer Ross Lovegrove joined architects Tariq Khayyat and Arianna Bavuso at a panel event hosted by Dubai-based developer HUNA to discuss the relationship between architecture and human needs.
The discussion took place at the launch of The Fold, HUNA’s latest development, which comprises 28 terraced townhouses arranged along the Al Wasl Road in the emirate’s Jumeirah district.
The event also marked the start of HUNA’s newly launched cultural programme – a year-round initiative aimed at providing unique artistic experiences for residents.
Curated by Art Dubai, the programme presents the developer’s commitment to highlighting UAE’s artistic talents and positioning Dubai as a cultural hub.
The panel – moderated by Cajsa Carlson, Dezeen’s deputy editor – included architect Tariq Khayyat, British designer Ross Lovegrove and Arianna Bavuso, co-founder of AB+AC Architects.
The conversation focused on the importance of designing human-focused spaces that enhance quality of life.
HUNA, which is part of A.R.M. Holding – one of Dubai’s leading investment companies – is dedicated to creating luxury residential developments that enhance resident’s experience of living in the buildings through a focus on art and community.
“We believe in creating bespoke spaces that are not just structures, but destinations for cultural and creative confluence,” said Umran Shah, managing director of commercial leasing at A.R.M. Holding during the talk. “Our communities are not just residential spaces; they are dynamic hubs of cultural exchange and artistic expression.”
“Our developments are built to be landmarks, designed with a focus on sustainability, aesthetics and functionality,” said Shah. “The architectural innovation you see is a testament to our dedication to creating not just buildings, but living experiences.”
Tariq Khayyat, architect of The Fold, said that the development’s design deliberately goes against the vertical nature of Dubai’s landscape.
Instead, his team wanted to base the design on a village, “the concept of small neighbourhoods where our kids can play in the streets,” he stated.
Central to the development is a linear “spine” overlooked by the development’s 28 villas, which serves as a communal space where neighbours can socialise.
Blending visual art, performance, music and gastronomy, the new HUNA cultural programme aims to transform spaces such as the spine at The Fold into cultural hubs, providing residents exclusive access to cultural events and art exhibitions.
The calendar of events, which combines art with panel events and interactive experiences, will also include exhibitions, such as the installation of a sculpture park at HUNA’s H-Residence community, which will debut during Art Dubai from 1 to 3 March 2024.
During the panel discussion, Arianna Bavuso discussed the importance of incorporating human needs, emotions and mental wellbeing into architectural design, and how her practice – AB+AC Architects – emphasises researching local contexts and bridging neuroscience with architecture.
Designer Ross Lovegrove agreed on the importance of local context and talked about the benefit of bringing his experience of living and working globally into his design work.
“Just make sure that you live at the cultural level of the work you’re doing,” he said. “Otherwise you’re a fake. You cannot project an idea of luxury or excellence or quality if you don’t really live like that.”
The conversation also touched upon how organic shapes, such as the tulip-shaped forms of The Fold residences, can create friendlier spaces.
The role of AI in design was also discussed as was the need for architects and designers to push boundaries and explore more sustainable solutions, the shift towards human-scale communities in large cities and the role of architects in shaping the future.
“There’s an opportunity to make a bit of a break with the past,” said Lovegrove. We have to build things which have incredible logic and beauty on all levels that respond to atmospheric condition and the minimum energy use, all of those things.
“And they don’t sound very sexy or glamorous, but they are influences which can create incredible design.”
To learn more about HUNA, visit its website.
This article was written by Dezeen for HUNA as part of a partnership. Find out more about Dezeen partnership content here.