Opinion: Celebrity non-stories trivialise Dubai

This is a comment piece by Middle East Architect editor, Nick Ames. 

DesignMENA is all about celebrating the excellence of buildings and interiors across a region which is world renowned for both.

But sometimes this part of the world – especially Dubai – hits the headlines in a way which make it look absurd.

The “playground of the rich and famous” tag has some truth in it. But it is also a very lazy label for a place which has far more to offer.

The latest “silly season” story has “news” that Madonna lives in Dubai – and has a dolphinarium in her living room.

It seems to have come following a profile of celebrity architect Joaquín Torres, which mentioned a rendering of Madonna’s new Dubai pad, complete with a dolphinarium in her living room.

Torres is best known to have designed the homes of high profile footballers, including Cristiano Ronaldo, and Zinedine Zidane as well as the villa for Hollywood stars Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem.

So the claim was taken seriously – at least on social media. Twitter erupted with calls to free the dolphins and animal rights activists stepped in to slam Madonna.

But according to her agent – she doesn’t own a home in Dubai and does not keep dolphins.

So another manufactured non-story bites the dust. But not before it reinforced a few myths about a place with so much more to it than celebrities behaving ridiculously.


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