In Dubai, a city like no other, the archipelago called Palm Jumeirah is known for its upscale residences, fine hotels, and array of restaurants. But even in that outstanding setting, Muraba—whose name refers to a type of building particular to the Arabian Peninsula—stands out, unmatched in its vision and execution.
Sophisticated and intimate, the boutique property never screams for attention, it simply commands admiration and respect with its emphasis on contemporary design and superlative craftsmanship on a human scale. From the beginning, Muraba founder Ibrahim Al Ghurair was focused on the experience of the residents. Eschewing hype in favor of a creative, hands-on, problem-solving approach, he demanded only the best—in location, in architectural concept, in materials and finishes, in amenities and in attention to detail.
“The guiding principle,” says Al Ghurair, “was always ‘how do we create something that is an exceptional space and delivers an enjoyable experience?’ Being directly on the water challenged us to create something special.”
He turned to RCR Arquitectes, winners of the prestigious 2017 Pritzker Prize, among other awards, to bring his vision to life. Based in Spain, co-founders Rafael Aranda, Carme Pigem, and Ramon Vilalta are particularly known for creating connections between interior spaces and the surrounding landscape, and for rooting their work in a strong sense of place and community. Among their recent projects, which range from public to private and include cultural venues and educational institutions, is the Soulages Museum in Rodez, France, and a collaboration on an entrance to the Garrotxa Volcano Park near their hometown of Olot.
“In the works of RCR,” notes Al Ghurair, “the spaces went beyond the brick and mortar. There was an esthetic language in each of their projects that one could not miss.”
And Muraba, the architects’ first project in the UAE, proved to be a smooth and fulfilling collaboration. “The design began in a workshop we had with Ibrahim and the Muraba team,” remembers Pigem. “The location and its environment were the main inspirations. The idea is to be able to experience the exterior from the interior.”
For Muraba, RCR designed a minimalist sanctuary on the crest of Palm Jumeirah that conveys a feeling of peacefulness and serenity in every respect, even as it affords panoramic views across the Dubai skyline. With just 50 units—46 unusually spacious residences and four superlative penthouses—the emphasis is on luxury and privacy. The soft color palette underscores the easy transition from outdoors to indoors. Even more important, residents feel like a part of nature, rather than merely observers.
This is a place, says Aranda, “where they can find this refuge and a place where they will be happy and where there is peace.”
Al Ghurair add, “Our residents enjoy this experience and find Muraba to be an escape within the city.”
Projects like Muraba are rare—a perfect amalgam of setting, creativity and physical realization, offering an opportunity to experience a sophisticated new contemporary lifestyle in a unique destination.