Dubai acts as a giant laboratory for architectural experimentation, according to Zyed Ben Cheikh.
The senior design architect with Lacasa, born in Tunisia, says he is working in a place where ideas can be explored and new concepts realised – and where philosophical visions are increasingly underpinning projects.
He says: “Of course buildings have to function efficiently, but in my view there should always be an idea behind each of them. Dubai is really a huge laboratory and I know that I am lucky to be here.
“When you see a building created by, say Lord Norman Foster, you know it is his because of the distinctive signature. I feel that at Lacasa we are doing the same thing. We have our own signature.” Ben Cheikh joined Lacasa two years ago after serving internships in a number of cities across the world.
He says he was attracted to architecture because of the variety of different disciplines it encompasses.
“Urban design is, for me, one of the most exciting jobs there is on offer anywhere in the world,” he says.
“It has so many different parts to it – art, mathematics and engineering for a start. Then there is the opportunity to travel and always with your eyes open to see what is going on in the world around you and how it impacts the urban environment.
“That to me is the best thing – always keeping up to date and meeting people from so many different walks of life – artists, businessmen and women, developers and engineers.”
Zyed Ben Cheikh was born in the city of Carthage and studied in Tunisia before gaining further experience in Budapest, Amsterdam and Paris. A native Arabic and French speaker, he learnt English while on his travels. “I loved the opportunity to work alongside people from different countries and get exposed to such a broad range of ideas,” he says.