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Dubai Frames Its City with Fernando Donis’ Beautiful Design

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© Fernando Donis

The Dubai Frame is a building that looks like an elaborate gold picture frame. The frame’s design is inspired by the logo of an event, Expo, that will take place in Dubai in 2020. But unlike most picture frames, this one is 50 stories and 500 feet (150 meters) high and costs an estimated 35 million euros to complete. It is composed of two towers with a 93 meter bridge connecting them. The bridge offers visitors views of old and new Dubai, and the interior will hold exhibition spaces. Notably, it will hold an interactive exhibit telling the story of the past, present, and future of Dubai, using augmented reality to show what the city might look like 50 years from now.

The architect of the Dubai Frame is Fernando Donis. His original concept was for an abstract viewing space. He won a competition for the design of the structure, beating 900 entrants and winning $100,000 in 2008 for coming up with the idea. However, according to Donis:

“They (the United Arab Emirates) took my project, changed the design and built it without me.”

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The architect retrieved the prize and was flown to Dubai to dine with the Crown Prince. The contract he was asked to sign limited his involvement in the project. It wouldn’t allow him to visit the construction site or promote the projects as his own work, and even demanded that Donis hand over his intellectual property. The architect refused to sign it, so they just went along with the project without him. Unfortunately, the Dubai Legal System, according to The Guardian:

“…makes it impossible to sue the municipality unless the municipality gives you authority to sue them. They give themselves sovereign immunity against any lawsuit.”

January 11, 2018

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