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Dubai launches new Marsa Al Arab mega-project across two islands


Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed has announced the launch of Marsa Al Arab, Dubai Holding’s latest tourist destination development in the emirate, Arabian Business reports.

The $1.7 billion (AED 6.3bn) mega-project, spread across 4 million sq. ft, will be developed on new two islands on both sides of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah. Marsa (Arabic for marina) Al Arab is expected to be completed by 2020.

One island will be dedicated to entertainment and family tourism, while the other comprises an exclusive luxury resort. The two islands will add 2.2 kilometres of beach frontage, as well as three new hotels and a number of new tourist attractions.

The family resort island will see Jumeirah Group introduce new leisure concepts and services as well as a new family-oriented hotel. To boost guest experience, Wild Wadi Water park will be moved from its current road-side location closer to the beach, and will be more than double its existing size when fully completed.

Dubai Holding will also develop ‘Marine Park’, a first-of-its-kind marine life edutainment centre in the Middle East, with a live theatre of a 1,000 seat capacity that will attract world-class shows to showcase various elements of marine life.

Marsa Al Arab will also include a private marina and a yacht club, as well as diverse food and beverage offerings, as well as a helipad.

Complementing Madinat Jumeirah, the development will include a mixed-use convention centre capable of hosting large international conferences and festivals. The convention centre will be supported by a new hotel, offering a selection of services for businessmen and corporates.

The project will also include a large retail space stretching across 20,000 sq. m, which will replace the current Wild Wadi Water Park area.

The shopping centre will consist of international high-end brands, as well as a selection of restaurants and coffee shops to meet the needs of its luxurious shoppers. Marsa Al Arab will also offer 300 sea-front residential apartments in the heart of the development.

Commercial space within the project.

Together, the enhanced Wild Wadi and Marine Park will sprawl over an area of 2.5 million sq. ft.

Middle East’s first Cirque du Soleil venue

The new family destination will house a dedicated theatre with a capacity of 1,700 seats, which will become home to the world-renowned show Cirque du Soleil for the first time in the Middle East.

Dubai Holding will develop 140 luxury villas on the ‘exclusive private island’, which will include a marina for its residents. Located on the left of Burj Al Arab Jumeirah, the luxury villas will be operated by Jumeirah Group. The island will also host a boutique hotel equipped with world-class facilities that reflect ‘Marsa Al Arab’s status as an attractive destination for elite travelers.

Overall, Dubai Holding will add 2,400 hotel rooms to Jumeirah Group’s portfolio, bringing its total offering to 8,428 rooms. There will be 400 new F&B outlets throughout the destination.

The existing hotels in the vicinity will be transformed into a unified tourist destination.

The development will offer pedestrian pathways, a jogging track, large swimming pool and a cycling course, allowing its residents to practice a diverse selection of physical activities.

Jumeirah Group will offer 10,000 additional parking spaces to accommodate the anticipated influx of visitors, as well as work closely with various government entities and other relevant companies to provide a rapid transport network to interconnect the resorts and entertainment destinations, facilitating fast and easy movement throughout Marsa Al Arab.

The project will break ground in June 2017 and will completed by late 2020.

In addition, Dubai Holding will launch the Dubai Pearl Museum to showcase a historical collection of rare and ancient pearls from the region and worldwide. The Dubai Pearl Museum aims to shed light on the lives of the divers as well as the tools they used to find the precious jewels, reflecting the UAE’s heritage, culture and national pride.

“The launch of this new and ambitious project is in line with the directives of the visionary leadership to provide the finest and rewarding tourist experiences for visitors to Dubai, as well as enhance Dubai’s position as a global tourist destination,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman, Dubai Holding.

“We are proud of the vital role that Dubai Holding plays in this sector through supporting innovation and contributing to the economic diversification of Dubai.”

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Revealed: first look of Warner Bros theme park in Abu Dhabi

Revealed: first look of Warner Bros theme park in Abu Dhabi

One of the best upcoming theme park in the UAE

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, which is located on Yas Island and set to open in 2018, will be a one-of-a-kind, world-class destination home to state-of-the-art thrill rides, interactive family-friendly attractions, and unique live entertainment.

From the action and adventure of DC to the wacky and wonderful world of Looney Tunes, this immersive and interactive new indoor experience brings some of the world’s most popular stories and characters under one roof.

“Miral is proud to confirm that one year after announcing its plans to bring Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi to Yas island, we’re making great progress with our partners where we’re 60 percent complete and on track to launch in 2018”. said Mohamed Abdullah Al Zaabi, CEO of Miral. “We’re excited to reveal new details about the six unique immersive worlds at Warner Bros World Abu Dhabi, which is a key part of our ambition to make Yas Island a top-ten global destination for family fun.”

For the first time in the Middle East, Super Hero fans will be able to stroll the streets of Superman’s Metropolis, a modern-styled city of towering skyscrapers, and prowl the dark alleys of Batman’s Gotham City in this larger-than-life land where heroic exploits and action-packed family fun wait around every corner.

The vibrant Cartoon Junction will bring together Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo, and other famous characters under a stylized cartoon sky that will immerse guests in the wonderful world of animation.

From the fun and frenetic to the out of this world, Dynamite Gulch will take you to the stars and deep into the canyon. Lastly, guests can explore Bedrock, a prehistoric world powered by birds and dinosaurs, where the modern stone-age family can have a “yabba dabba doo” time like The Flintstones.

“Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be a state-of-the-art themed experience that authentically brings some of the Studio’s most iconic characters and stories to life under one roof for the first time in the Middle East,” said Pam Lifford, President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “We have been closely collaborating with our partners at Miral to faithfully construct immersive worlds that resonate with precise details and are thrilled to share these unique experiences with fans next year.”

Situated on Yas Island, one of the world’s leading business, leisure and entertainment destinations, construction of the park is well underway, surpassing production expectations.

The project has engaged 5,500 specialist engineers, workers and craftsmen to build a park that will span 1.65 million square feet.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will be a fully immersive experience of six worlds comprised of 29 rides, shows, and attractions.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, developed in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and DC Entertainment will complement Miral’s Yas Island destination portfolio of themed parks.

This includes Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, Yas Waterworld, CLYMB, and opening in 2022, the recently announced SeaWorld Abu Dhabi.

Yas Island also offers a wide range of sporting and entertainment experiences including Yas Marina Circuit, seven hotels, year-round events, a live performance and concert arena, 18-hole championship golf course, marina, beach, and the increasingly popular shopping destination, Yas Mall.

Can a clean desk policy increase productivity in your business?

Can a clean desk policy increase productivity in your business?

Clean/tidy desk policies can have productivity, cost, security & compliance and visual benefits, as well as helping a company to switch to the paperless office. But there are both positives and negatives to consider.

“Tidy desk, tidy mind”, as the saying rightly goes. Albert Einstein’s comment, on the other hand, serves as a perfect riposte: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” Two quotes that neatly sum up the differences in opinion over tidy (or clean) desk policies.

As the name suggests, a tidy desk policy requires that employees clear their desk of documents and other clutter at the end of each day or when they have finished using them. And an increasing number of businesses are now laying out that policy officially, mandating that workers have to keep their desks tidy.

Shred-it, an information security company in UAE, explains why setting up a clean desk policy will benefit your company, your clients and your reputation, naming advantages such as confidentiality, data protection, and better organisation and productivity. This is the kind of ethos that drives adopting a tidy desk plan. There’s also a feeling that having clear desks is better visually; something that’s likely to impress workers and visitors alike.

Keeping desks clear of documents can also increase security. How often have you left a username/password combination scribbled on a post-it note and attached to your monitor? Or a sensitive document on your desk because you’re not finished with it? That information can be seen by people who shouldn’t see it, so ensuring it’s off your desk at the end of the day helps keep the business secure.

One of the biggest arguments in favour of implementing a clean desk policy is that of information management and pushing the business towards a paperless office. Workers can spend hours looking through drawers and filing cabinets for documents they need. A clean desk policy will encourage the digitisation of documents, which, when indexed, are far quicker and easier to find.

Not only does this make document management far more efficient, it reduces costs associated with printing such as maintenance, paper and toner. From a compliance point of view, it’s also far better if businesses can manage all their documents digitally.

Of course, a tidy/clean desk policy isn’t for everyone. Some workers will simply prefer to have their desk cluttered with papers and so on, and disorganised people may actually be more productive if their desk if covered with the documents they need to use. What one person would consider messy, another may find to be the perfect filing system. And for many, their desk at work is a very personal space, so dictating how they manage it could have a negative impact.

There are pros and cons to implementing such a practice – some workers will embrace it and some will not. So it’s important for a company to be able to spell out the positives if it wants to push ahead with a tidy desk policy.

The BIGGEST news of 2016

The BIGGEST news of 2016

2016 has definitely been an eventful year for architecture and design, to say the least.

This year, design was on the forefront more than ever before in the Middle East, and especially in the UAE, with the launch of the first design school in the region, Dubai Institute of Design & Innovation (DIDI) in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Parsons. The school will be designed by Foster + Partners.
DIDI Campus model displaying during the unveiling at d3.

Foster + Partners has also announced that it will be opening offices in Dubai Design District, alongside Calatrava International and Benoy. We had also recently visited Zaha Hadid Architects’ newly opened office in d3, and interviewed Patrick Schumacher, principal at the firm, as well as Tariq Khayyat, head of Middle East region.

Zaha Hadid Architects office in Dubail, d3.

One of the saddest, and perhaps most shocking news of 2016 was the death of Dame Zaha Hadid at the age of 65. Tributes poured in for the late Royal Gold Medal-winner (the first woman to receive the title), with the Postal Service in Iraq featuring the Arab-born architect’s face on its new postage stamps.

This year, we also lost one of Dubai’s most highly regarded interior designers, James Bassos who passed at the age of 39.

On a happier note, Santiago Calatrava made big regional headlines this year with the announcement of his new project in the Dubai Creek, The Tower, which will surpass the Burj Khalifa in height. The project won this year’s Middle East Architect Concept Design of the Year Award.

The Tower by Santiago Calatrava.

Speaking to Micael Calatrava about the project during the awards, he said: “One of the things we wished to do was to play on the legacy that the Burj Khalifa has left and really complement it for what it is and what it stands for. So we chose subtler shapes and more subtle designs, to form a sort of conversation between the two buildings”

Calatrava International has also been selected to design the UAE’s National Pavilion at the Expo 202o, with a falcon in flight-inspired design.

Foster + Partners, Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and Grimshaw Architects have also won a global competition to design the theme pavilions for Dubai Expo 2020.

Foster + Partners, BIG and Grimshaw to design Theme Pavilions for Dubai Expo 2020.

BIG also made headlines this year, showcasing a continued involvement and growing portfolio of UAE-based projects. In addition to designing one of Dubai’s Expo 2020 pavilions, Bjarke Ingels, founder of BIG, is also involved in the design of the Hyperloop, Dubai’s first ever high-speed transport system which will reduce travel time between Dubai and Abu Dhabi to 12 minutes.

Hyperloop design by BIG.

BIG also participated in a regeneration project for Abu Dhabi’s Port Saeed area, completing a culture and arts hub, Warehouse 421.

Futuristic transport has also been a topic of discussion this year, with the announcement of “jet-like” pods to be implemented on Abu Dhabi’s Yas Island.

The Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) and Dubai Properties have also started the test run of driverless vehicles, each capable of carrying 10 persons, over a 650 metre long track in Business Bay.

Advancement in technology and innovation has also been a big topic this year, with the completion of the first-ever 3D-printed building in Dubai. The Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, also revealed this year that by 2030, 25% of Dubai buildings to be 3D printed.

Dubai Office of the Future is 100% 3D-printed.

3D printing is also one of the solutions that Qatar is looking into to create “desert-proof” stadium for the World Cup in 2022.

2016 was also a year of fires, starting with the Address Hotel fire on New Year’s Eve. Other big fires in the UAE followed, from two residential building in Ajman, to the Sulafa Tower fire in Dubai Marina. A fire also broke out in the architectural award winning Viceroy Tower in Dubai’s Jumeirah Village Circle.

Dubai Address Hotel fire on NYE.

Lastly, the year is never complete without the announcement of some crazy projects. The creation of the largest man-made lagoon in the world was announced this year in Dubai, as well as the announcement of  Dubai Steps.

Dubai Steps.

The project is a 25-storey structure which will reach 100 metres into the sky near Union Square and is planned to take no more than a year to build, according to assistant director general of Engineering and Planning at Dubai Municipality.

Hyperloop System

World’s FIRST Hyperloop will take you from Dubai-Abu Dhabi in 12 minutes, RTA signs deal

The Hyperloop One system: Conceptual Vision

The engineers, architects and designers from Hyperloop One and BIG have collaborated intensively for six months to produce a wholly original system design for Hyperloop travel. Today the company showcased the first-ever routes from Abu Dhabi to Dubai, several Hyperports (the equivalent of a station or airport) throughout Dubai, and the conceptual interiors and exteriors of the individual passenger pods.

The work is based on a detailed study of how an urban and inter-city transport network should integrate with the existing infrastructure. It’s autonomous, point-to- point and vastly simplifies the experience of getting from your front door to your destination.

“With Hyperloop One we have given form to a mobility ecosystem of Hyperpods and Hyperloop One Portals, where the waiting hall has vanished, along with waiting itself,” says Bjarke Ingels, founder, BIG.

“Collective commuting with individual freedom at near supersonic speed: we are heading for a future where our mental map of the city is completely reconfigured, as our habitual understanding of distance and proximity – time and space – is warped by this new form of travel.

In less than two years, Hyperloop One has raised more than $160 million, assembled a team of more than 200 world-class experts, built a campus in Downtown Los Angeles, a test and safety site in the Nevada desert, and a 10,000-sq. m. machine and tooling shop in North Las Vegas.

“The momentum is global and accelerating,” says Rob Lloyd. “The world will see the test of the first full-scale Hyperloop system in early 2017 at our Test and Safety Site in Las Vegas, and we will have multiple operational Hyperloop systems within five years.”