Singapore with hummus! Sim City in real time! It's hard to escape the buzz about Dubai: The world's tallest building. The world's largest man-made islands. The world's only seven-star hotel. So, lured by a roster of big name designers (and the prospect of skiing the black diamond slope at The Mall of the Emirates), Frogdesign creative director Luke Williams and Fast Company senior writer Linda Tischler, made the trek to the kingdom for its first International Design Forum in late May.
What they found was a lot more complex than the hype: a city caught between the temptation to ape Vegas and the growing realization that by doing so, it may be losing its soul. Williams and Tischler talk about the design mash-up at the Burj Al Arab (think "Star Trek" meets "Saturday Night Fever"), architectural motifs that look eerily like the digestive system of the camel, a condo project that Apple's copyright guys might want to investigate, Oliviero Toscani's fashion advice, and why Arab mothers don't want their sons to grow up to be designers.
To read more on Dubai's red-hot real estate boom, $1000 cocktails, and the ruling Sheik's authenticity angst, check out Linda Tischler's postings on the Fast Company blog: Future shock, Real Estate, Authenticity.
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