Ten galleries, four tons of rock and 33 species of desert plants have made their way onto the Dubai Creek at the newly opened Jameel Arts Centre. The institution is the first art centre of its kind in the Gulf, designed by UK-based Serie Architects, it is both independent and non-profit.
Serie Architects based the 10,000 sq m space on the model of ‘Sha’abi’ low-cost governmental housing, a configuration of low colonnade buildings that reflect that idea of rooms circling a courtyard. ‘Sha’abi’ was also the focal point of the 2016 UAE Venice Architecture Biennale, and Christopher Lee who spearheads Serie Architects chose this design as an ode to this public 1960s and 1970s architecture of the city. ‘It acts as a background structure for life of the centre to unfold, without disappearing from view’, he says.
Wondering around the modest three-storey white aluminium and concrete structure evokes a sense of Palm Springs purism with the seven desert gardens, brought to life by landscape architect Anouk Vogel, peppered amongst the buildings and the piercing blue skies as backdrop. It is only the neighbouring Palazzo Versace hotel and skyline on the horizon of the Jaddaf Waterfront that quickly draws us back to the fact that this is the forever contrasting urban concourse of Dubai.
Inside, the multiple levels of gallery space enable a dynamic journey that takes the visitor from the expanding library and research centre past ceiling-height windows that frame the Jaddaf Waterfront and up to a rooftop that currently holds an artificial botanical garden by Kuwait-based Alia Farid and Aseel AlYaqoub.
The Jameel Arts Centre opens its doors with a flurry of shows, including ‘Crude' curated by Murtaza Vali that explores the oil industry as a magical agent of social, cultural and economic evolution across the Middle East. Outside, the institution is celebrating the first open-air art park in the Gulf too, the Jaddaf Waterfront sculpture park by UAE-based ibda design who present a host of works that explore themes of nature and transformation.
Director Antonia Carver describes this waterfront retreat as an honour to Dubai as a crucial port city. ‘Our first permanent space, Jameel Arts Centre ushers a new phase of development for Art Jameel', she says. ‘The collaborative, innovative approach of the architects sets up Jameel Arts Centre to fulfil its mission – to present dynamic, thought-provoking exhibitions, act as a hub for educational research initiatives and continue to engage partnerships with local, regional and international artists, curators and organisations.’
For more information visit the website of Serie Architects
Receive our daily digest of inspiration, escapism and design stories from around the world direct to your inbox
Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.
Artist Villu Jaanisoo’s rubber armchairs backdrop a full-throttle Acne Studios A/W 2024 collection
Acne Studios’ creative director Jonny Johansson tells the story behind his A/W 2024 show set, revealed in Paris this evening, which reflected the collection’s full-throttle, biker-inspired mood
By Orla Brennan Published
This LED Mask by myBlend is sculptural, cinematic, and tech-forward
myBlend’s LED Mask is contoured to the face and neck, with pre-set programmes to treat different skin types
By Hannah Tindle Published
How Vanya’s set design went from stage to NT Live screen
As Vanya, starring Andrew Scott, hits the big screen with NT Live, set designer Rosanna Vize describes retaining the intimacy of London’s National Theatre show
By Hannah Silver Published
Art Jameel pavilion in Dubai is a dome to fight climate doom
Art Jameel pavilion by Lebanese practice theOtherDada flags sustainability in Dubai, and opened to coincide with COP 28
By Nana Ama Owusu-Ansah Published
Installation SUPER LIMBO activates the empty building site of Sharjah Mall
SUPER LIMBO installation by Limbo Accra and Ivorian textile brand Super Yaya uses weaving methods to activate the paused building site of Sharjah Mall during Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023
By Nana Ama Owusu-Ansah Published
Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023 celebrates the ‘beauty of impermanence’
The Sharjah Architecture Triennial 2023, curated by Tosin Oshinowo, focuses on beauty, impermanence and adaptability; and it has just launched in the UAE
By Ellie Stathaki Last updated
East Architecture Studio, Lebanon and UAE: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023
East Architecture Studio, with a base in Lebanon and the UAE, joins the ranks of the Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2023, our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios
By Ellie Stathaki Published
Oberoi Beach Resort, Al-Zorah by Piero Lissoni is an understated UAE gem
The Oberoi Beach Resort, Al-Zorah by Piero Lissoni offers beach breaks and contemporary design in the UAE
By Daven Wu Published
The pioneering architecture of Nigerian artist-designer Demas Nwoko
The work of pioneering Nigerian artist-designer Demas Nwoko has stood the test of time; as he is awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the Biennale Architettura 2023
By Ijeoma Ndukwe Last updated
Roar, UAE: Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory 2022
Wallpaper* Architects’ Directory is our annual round-up of exciting emerging architecture studios. Our 2022 list includes UAE-based studio Roar, with this minimalist home in Dubai
By Martha Elliott Last updated
Louvre Abu Dhabi Residences to elevate art of living in UAE
A new development of 400 exclusive residences will offer the chance to live alongside the iconic Louvre Abu Dhabi in the heart of the UAE’s Saadiyat Island Cultural District
By Simon Mills Last updated