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Racing ahead

by Selina Denman on May 11, 2010



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Two unavoidable influences have shaped the design of the new Meydan Hotel.

The hotel’s unique location – towering over one of the world’s most prestigious racetracks – called for a design scheme infused with equine references. At the same time, Teo A. Khing Design Consultants, the firm responsible for the architecture and interior design of the project, wanted to ensure that the hotel stayed true to its cultural context.

As such, the design embraces local influences and traditions, as well as the region’s Bedouin heritage. “The eclectic combination of horse and local culture, with a touch of modernity, created several possibilities for a genuinely unique design which is most appropriate only for the Meydan.

“The result is a design that is bespoke and associated very much with a modern lifestyle,” explained architect Teo Ah Khing, managing director of the Dubai branch of Teo A. Khing Design Consultants.

A flowing canopy at the ground level of the hotel, on the trackside, is a modern imitation of an Islamic tapestry wall hanging. In this instance, metal is used as a defining element to create a sleek, contemporary interpretation of a highly traditional concept.

In the hotel lobby, monumental arching pillars mimic the fronds of the ubiquitous palm tree – a fundamental and recurring motif in local Bedouin culture. Meanwhile, modern geometric patterns make their mark on pavement designs and textured walls.

“Arabic geometry, which is a regular design feature in the region, was represented by the regular use of horseshoe patterns in the interiors – a contextual reference to the Arabians and to the Meydan racecourse.

“References to horses were used in grandstand atria which outline horse figures in concentric graphic forms when viewed from the ground level,” Khing detailed.

Throughout the interior, a rich colour scheme was complemented by a palette of luxurious materials.

“The colour scheme focused on three main colours, gold, black and silver, which convey a strong sense of richness and modern sophistication. These elements were complemented by warm tones of fabric, leather and timber materials. The combination of textured and smoothed surfaces produced an eclectic design that is modern, timeless, and elegant,” said Khing.

Accents of onyx, real horseshoes, gold and silver mosaics, and 3D glass blocks offer dramatic points of interest. The use of stainless steel, metal trims and glass reiterates the highly contemporary ethos of the interior.

In the hotel’s Panoramic Suites, handcrafted carpets and Burmese teak wood flooring are paired with soft, low-lit lighting to create a sense of warmth and richness. The suites feature two generously sized rooms, complete with en-suite bathrooms and 42-inch televisions, DVD players and iPod-friendly sound systems that can be controlled from the comfort of the king-sized bed.

Meanwhile, the two-bedroom Meydan Suite offers sweeping views of the Dubai skyline and is fitted with white staturio marble and top-of-the range technology.

Climatic considerations played a significant role in influencing the design, particularly when it came to orientation, Khing explained. “With the building form defined by its linear configuration, the room bays were oriented to receive the benign morning sun at the south-eastern side, while the hotel atrium, with its large volume providing an insulating air barrier to the hot afternoon sun, was at the north-western side.

“This arrangement was implemented throughout the building plan, including the grandstand.”



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