8 On The Inside

Opulent, exuberant, and largely imported from the West, Dubai’s interior design exhibits the same sort of flash as the city’s over-the-top architecture.

Dubai’s developers are furnishing new buildings in largely the same manner as they’ve commissioned architecture: by importing Western talent to fill spaces with products that can’t be found anywhere else. “There are aspirations here to hire talents and give them carte blanche,” London-based designer Eva Menz says of the city’s burgeoning design culture. Her project is one of eight examples shown here in which foreign designers are leaving their mark on the emirate. While most of these ventures confirm that designers are indeed given a wide berth to realize their visions, they also suggest another current with which both designers and clients are wrestling: the conflict between a global design language and the local vernacular. “When there’s a lot of money,” says Nada Debs, a Beirut-based designer also featured in a Dubai building, “suddenly people want the newest and become quite taken by the Western world, or just whatever is on the other side.”

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