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Muraba: Pushing architecture innovation in Dubai

Dubai Marina Cityscape, Uae

Architectural innovation in the emirate is being pushed even further, with the development of the Muraba contemporary residence project on Palm Jumeirah.

The project, announced late last year and set for completion in April 2016, holds the same name of the property firm, which introduced it.

Muraba is a Dubai-based boutique property firm introduced last November. Founded by Ibrahim Al-Ghurair, the former managing director of Al-Ghurair Properties, it is looking to add unique landmarks in the city.

The Muraba Residences project consists of 46 two- and three-bedroom luxury apartments and four-bedroom penthouses with landscaped terraces. There are four different floor plans for the two- and three-bedroom apartment units, to maintain a certain level of uniqueness and exclusivity in design. Ground floor apartments enjoy their own landscaped private gardens.

The glass exterior façade of the residences maximises natural daylight and offers an uninterrupted sea view of both Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa, as every Muraba apartment is spaciously aligned east to west, with private balconies from which one can view the two mesmerising views of the sunrise and the sunset.

Aficionado speaks to Carme Pigem, one of the founding partners of RCR Arquitectes, the Spanish firm handling the architecture of Muraba, who discusses the Muraba project and the overall industry in the region and globally.

Tell us about Muraba, how did the collaboration and the creative process start?
Muraba is a Project that is very close to our hearts because from its inception, it has been a project characterised by synergies between Ibrahim and our firm.

The design of Muraba began in a workshop we had with Ibrahim and the Muraba team. It was a beautiful creative process exercise where we looked at every aspect of design in order to incorporate details that create a unique living experience through balance between the exterior and the interior. Since the start, it has been a great project with the concept and the design being in tune.

What are some of the challenges you faced while working on the project?
We haven’t faced any challenges that are different from the general challenges of the industry. The Muraba project has been very collaborative from the start and at the moment, the process has run smoothly.

You have been in the industry for decades; what are some of the main changes you have seen in the industry and do you think the technological advancements in the sector diminished the artistic aspects of architecture, or aided it?
We have been in the industry for 27 years and have witnessed many changes. We think the industry has been improving as the rise of new technologies and products allows many possibilities in terms of what can be built. These new possibilities create new horizons for architecture.

For RCR one of our main goals is to create unique emotions for people who use and live in the spaces we create. Through new materials, you can create new spaces with new sensations that perhaps weren’t available before.

For Muraba, new materials and technologies have enhanced our artistic capacity. We have a plot that is very special, with a view of the Dubai skyline and the ocean. From the outside, the Muraba will feature a visible crystal material. Observing how these materials play with lights and the lightness of its environments is very special. The crystal we are using for the Muraba exterior was created with a very concrete texture that, in relation to the ocean and the light, will create a beautiful effect of brightness and belonging.

What are top distinctive characteristics you found unique in the UAE?
In the UAE, architecture is very modern and often reflects the culture of the place. Architecture in the UAE varies but has a specificity of belonging to Dubai.

What inspired the Muraba design?
The location and its environment were the main inspirations for Muraba as we recognised the need for spaces to be fluid in relation to the exterior. The idea is to be able to experience the exterior from the interior… The plot was a special one as it has the privilege of having the serenity of the ocean view and the contrast of the Dubai skyline.

Besides Muraba, which is one piece of work you are most proud of? Where is it, and tell us why it is so close to your heart?
We are very proud of every project we create – it’s always a privilege to see when your sketches become a reality. The latest project we completed is a museum in France, commissioned by Pierre Soulages, a painter. As all our projects, our inspiration comes from its immediate environment and we create these spaces with details that please its users. Muraba is our first project in the UAE and it’s a project that is very close to our hearts as the design ethos of the Muraba and RCR are in sync. We are passionate about the Muraba because it’s a building that is a unitary set. You can recognise each unit and its uniqueness and yet every unit is part of a larger project. Unitary and uniqueness generate a very unique relation in the Muraba. In addition to this, the interior-exterior relation is an aspect that created a sophisticated experience and represents a new philosophy of living.

Old buildings in the UAE, especially Dubai, usually get demolished and replaced with new ones. Do you agree with that or think these should stay?
Across the world, there are buildings and landmarks that have remained there for centuries and others that are renovated continuously. There is no set formula to determine if buildings should stand or not but rather one must see the value and the possibilities of the space – regardless of age.

What is your favourite architectural structure in the UAE?
Our favourite structures are those that recognise their locations and achieve their objectives in creating fluidity in the place where they are located. The Burj Khalifa is an example of this as it reflects its surrounding and this is a common element with the Muraba. They both relate to their immediate environment and as such are different buildings.

What are your future plans? Any upcoming projects in the UAE or the region?
We would love to continue working on Muraba projects.

First published on Aficionado, sister publication of LuxuryMena.


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