There’s yet another piece of Dubai-bashing in the UK press by no less a figure than Alex Proud (no, me neither).
He slates just about everything from the climate to the legal system in an article in the Daily Telegraph.
But let’s concentrate on his views on urban design.
Proud: “And it has some of the worst upscale architecture in the world. Bigger, better, higher, glitzier, nastier: it’s like an entire city designed by Donald Trump.”
So he must have made a study of it, right?
Over to you Proud: “Here is where I make a confession. I have only been to Dubai once – and that was when I had a three-hour layover on my way to a far more pleasant destination. I never left the airport. But, actually, I don’t think this matters at all. It’s not necessary to spend a week in Dubai to know that it represents the very worst of East and West.”
I quite feel like resting my case here.
But let’s hear Proud out: “I’d always lazily assumed that all this meant that Dubai catered for a relatively uneducated, ill-informed, downmarket demographic. But in fact, it’s the second most expensive city in the world to stay in after Geneva. And then it hit me. You know exactly who Dubai man and woman are. They’re a certain brassy subset of the middle-classes. The kind of people who love expensive mock-Georgian new-builds. The kind of people who drive SUVs with personalised plates. They have good jobs and they’re successful, but they probably don’t have many books on their shelves.”
Have you read the current favourite of the designMENA team Proud? It’s the Museum of Innocence by Orhan Pamuk.