Dubai-based developer Omniyat’s development, One Palm served many challenges due to its unconventional approach to residential design, which includes equally large indoor and outdoor spaces, as well as involving buyers in the interior design.
Designed by New York-based architects, SOMA, the building’s exterior reveals a complex scheme of varyingly stacked apartments, arranged something like a Jenga puzzle.
Landscaping that will complement the development’s water- and air-inspired design was carried out by Vladimir Djurovic, a Lebanon-based landscape architecture firm.
ConstructionWeek interviewed Omniyat’s development manager, Peter Stevenson, who explained the developers atypical approach, which was later translated into the architectural design of the development.
Stevenson said the building’s cantilevered design posed minor engineering challenges, as did its formwork system requirements: “On this project, the external spaces are as large as the internal spaces, which is [unusual for this type of development].”
Another unusual feature is the fact that each apartment within the development has its own design, many of which are curated by the buyers and future residents of One Palm.
“It isn’t like a typical high-rise building, where you have apartments stacked [directly] on top of one another, with consistent layout, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing, and façade designs,”Stevenson explained.
The details of the architecture “have created challenges that have kept the engineering team on its toes”, he said.
In addition to the international team of architects and interior designers that are involved with the project, customers are also playing a significant role in how the project is being designed, Stevenson adds: “Customers typically have specific requests, and we have made modifications throughout the building process to accommodate these.”
For instance, One Palm’s construction scheme had to be adjusted at a late stage last year to accommodate one buyer’s request for a 25m swimming pool to be included on the roof of the penthouse. The pool was developed as the topping-out process proceeded, ConstructionWeek writes.
Stevenson conceded that these types of customer requests have played a part in One Palm’s original delivery date of March 2018 being pushed back to later this year. The project team has also had to contend with other unexpected challenges, including Omniyat’s purchase of former joint-venture partner Drake & Scull International’s stake in the development, which was finalised in March 2017.
He, however, added that the developer chose to view the incorporation of customers’ design-related requests not as a challenge, but as an opportunity. While the penthouse layout and some designs for outdoor landscaping elements had to be amended, for instance, Stevenson described the process as “pushing the boundaries of architecture”.
“Omniyat likes to push the design curve, but livability and the functionality of the space are also extremely important,” he says.
“Our clientele represents the top of the market, so they are discerning buyers and end-users. It’s quite normal to have a detailed process when working with this type of customer,” he said.
Since Omniyat is targeting a specific type of end-user for One Palm – an affluent customer that is looking for space, a good location, and sea-front views – Stevenson said creating exclusive concepts for each client is the key to success.
“We use the term ‘villas in the sky’ for this project, because we are effectively creating this property in the air,” he added.
The 100m-tall One Palm will be the tallest residential structure on the Palm, with the project on track to be delivered by Q4 2018.
Omniyat has also recently announced that One Palm will be operated by Dorchester Collection, which presents the luxury hotel operator’s first time in the Middle East region.
One Palm features three-, four-, and five-bedroom apartments, in addition to three penthouses. The residential space for the three-bedroom units can range from 280m2 to 465m2, while the largest penthouse spans almost 3,000m2.
The project’s amenities will include a spa; indoor and outdoor cinemas; a fitness centre; a business centre; a library; meeting rooms; and three pools, one of which will measure 800m2. Two basement levels with almost 500 car park spaces are being developed as well.
The project will also feature a private beach, a yacht club, and a private jetty, in an effort to capitalise on the property’s waterfront location.
The development made global headlines last year when one of its penthouses sold for a record-breaking $27.8m (AED102m), making it the most expensive penthouse in Dubai at the time.