“Dubai has become a major tourist attraction and destination,” explains Dr. DJ Armin, managing partner at ZAS Architects. The Canadian and UAE based firm recently released new renderings for a large-scale luxury development in the city — the Rosemont — which includes, among other amenities, a rainforest and 4D animations.
The backbone of the proposal relies on the demand for long-lasting entertainment at the heart of a hotel complex. In response to Dubai’s very harsh summers, the architects wanted to create an environment that allowed for both indoor and outdoor activities to be bearable. “And the rainforest was the idea that we came up with to create a cooling environment for family entertainment even during the summer.”
“There’s nothing like this in Dubai.”
The renderings masterfully recreate the elements of the rainforest, from the tropical flora to the humid mist that floats around the space. “I spent a lot of time with my designers and renderer,” explains Armin. “I provided them with many reference images and worked closely with our landscape architect.”
For many years, Dubai has been a place where designers come to achieve ambitious new ideas and realize experimental designs on a huge scale, attempting to build the tallest skyscrapers and the largest malls among other extremes. ZAS Architects’ project distinguishes itself by proposing an experience unique to the place while making for a one-of-a-kind tourist attraction. According to the firm, no hotel in the world has ever had a full-scale rainforest inside its facilities.
“[The client] is somebody who has traveled all over the world and has stayed in the best hotels in the universe,” says Armin, so the vision is built on the best elements he borrows from his travels’ experiences as well as his desire to incorporate the living world — tropical flora, water and sea life — into the decor of the hotel.
“Our design has a meaning,” continues Armin, explaining its reference to the nearby seashore. The building that will house the guests’ amenities — hotel rooms, restaurants and entertainment complexes — exudes organic qualities influenced by the flow of a river, while the second tower, the service departments, is inspired by the shape of a shell.
Before 2008, remarks Armin, Dubai was focused on building the tallest buildings in the fastest time, without consideration, whereas today’s development projects respond much more closely to a specific demand coming from Dubai’s tourists, which have the power to generate future profits for the city. Reports show that over 25 percent of Dubai’s revenue comes from tourist activity. Therefore, the city government is willingly investing in new developments for tourist attractions.
Dr. DJ Armin is the Managing Partner of ZAS Dubai, where he handles client relationships and contributes to design input and project direction. Originally from Canada, he moved to Dubai in 2005, when the firm opened its United Arab Emirates office.
“Dubai is a very dynamic city, as far as the building developments are concerned,” he explains. “New projects come up, new developments come up, and people tend to gravitate towards them.” Tourists in particular are attracted to newly built, modern places that present them with constantly evolving features. “What we wanted to do with this project was to make sure that these changes were happening within [the buildings].”
Hotels are typically places where people sleep and eat before going to the beach for the day or to visit other entertainment complexes around town. However, the plan for this family-oriented complex was directed by the client’s wish that guests would never need to leave the resort: “I would like our hotel guests to stay as long as possible in the hotel rather than going out to other places.”
The design brief elaborates on the details of the hotel,such as the 4D animations that will adorn the lobby area and show dynamic images of sharks, fish, rainforest and cosmic skies overhead while visitors check in. This example of “leading-edge audiovisual, robotics and 3D video mapping technology” has the capacity to transform an often overlooked public space into one of many immersive experiences for the visitor at the hotel.
The project is under construction and is planned to be completed by the end of 2018.
Citations edited for clarity; all renderings credited to Plompmozes