Vive la diff?rence!

As the mercury in thermometers all over the Middle East starts nudging its way towards the dreaded fifty mark, outside bars and ccaf?s that were overflowing during the last few months start to prepare for hibernation.

COMMENT, Design

As the mercury in thermometers all over the Middle East starts nudging its way towards the dreaded fifty mark, outside bars and cafés that were overflowing during the last few months start to prepare for hibernation. Furniture is carefully stacked and hidden away from the searing sun, and party go-ers have to face the prospect of four months of air con action inside their favourite haunts. Or do they?

With the recent announcement that Dubai's Montgomerie Golf Club will launch a climate controlled cooling system known as the Coolwell G2 to its fleet of golf carts, the possibilities for interior designers to utilise this technology in their exterior projects is endless. The powerful G2 uses ice, physics and 1 amp of battery from a golf cart to provide the air-conditioning.

Unlike other outside cooling devices already in use on some of Dubai's terraces that spray evaporative misting, the G2 produces dry air that is up to 7°C below ambient temperature. Could this mean the end to the seasonal evacuation of our outdoor spaces?

Faced with the striking statistic that Dubai is gearing up to welcome 77 new hotels in the next four years, a hotel that boasts an all-weather al fresco space may well tip the balance between customers flicking straight to, or past, their page in the glossy travel brochures.

The demands that clients will heap onto their interior designers to come up with defining distinguishing features that will keep their hotel at full occupancy while the neighbouring hotel slowly fills with tumbleweed will undoubtedly skyrocket. How will commercial interior designers find that elusive niche?

Within the 77 hotels that are currently at every design stage between a sketch on a napkin to bathroom tiles being painstakingly grouted, there are a scattering of 2 and 3 star budget hotels and at the other end of the spectrum, gold-plated luxury hotels that aim to rival the world's best. Further more, the Al Bawadi strip in Dubailand promises themed hospitality design not seen since Vegas self-nominated itself for the International Award of the Inane.

In short, interior designers working in this region have an incredibly varied workload ahead of them. Sourcing price-conscious materials one day to investigating the logistics of having an Art Deco themed rotating underwater restaurant the next. Whatever designing in Dubai is, it's certainly not dull.

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