Design-focused hotel Radisson RED brand to launch in the Middle East this year with a property in Silicon Oasis, Dubai.
Creatives from collective Art Painting Lab created colorful and locally-flavoured bespoke murals for the interiors.
Next Radisson RED appointed Neel Shukla and his team to create a sculpture for the hotel's entrance.
Then the coronvirus pandemic took hold and the challenges of the project went beyond all usual expectations.
Neel, founder and creative director of IV (Four), takes up the story...
"By far, the most challenging art installation undertaken by my team as a result of the imposed COVID-19 pandemic restrictions during that period in the UAE. The Red Falcon, although one of my most rewarding and most creative works, resulted very challenging when it came to its installation on site.
"We were faced with so many restraints on movement, social distancing, safety and health, lifting equipment usage, and even collaborating with various key decision-making individuals under restricted working hours and limited access to the site.
"As can be expected, with an installation of this magnitude, we encountered quite a few initial engineering challenges, which only intensified in difficulty as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The installation took place in the midst of our city’s lockdown under restrictions on movement, health and safety concerns and limited staff members.
"Transporting the Red Falcon became quite challenging as hiring large enough equipment and cranes to lift the sculpture took a lengthy time due to non-operating companies or restricted personnel and equipment availability. Having to comply with a limited team and abiding by local curfew and movement restrictions was painstaking.
"Safety and health were of our utmost concern; we all followed all guidelines diligently throughout this installation. A skeleton team and I were hands-on at all times on-site, including part of the Radisson Red team. We had firm timelines to follow, and the COVID-19 pandemic was not going to interrupt our Red Falcon installation.
"This monumental icon was in the making for the previous six months, and its installation is truly a testament of will-power and human perseverance under the most of unprecedented times of our lives."