Oasis of style in perceived cultural desert...

The oil rich nations of the Middle East are known for ploughing their spare change into ultra-modern, ultra-sleek buildings, but if that kind of thing leaves you cold, here is a little corner of Dubai that will be much more to your liking.

An attempt to kick-start a second arts district in what is, justly or otherwise, perceived as a bit of a cultural desert, KASA is actually more of a basement than a corner, located in the Ras AlKhor industrial area of the city. It’s a showcase for the designs of the Khalid Shafar brand, and of the wider Emirati designerati; the name is a korruption of the Italian casa, or house, but to be honest, while it’s a nice place to visit, you might not want to live here.

Industrial area, industrial looks, especially the ceiling, which has been left well alone by the interiors people, but the lovely polished stone floor takes things in the opposite direction. In fact we think the minimalist fixtures and fittings – a plank here, a plinth there – create a subtle and very attractive space. Here’s hoping we see more of these ventures flying the flag for the region’s creative arts.

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