At this year’s Dubai Design Week Audi showcased its first full-electric car through the Audi Innovation Hub.
The hub was also the destination for the announcement of the women of the Audi Innovation Award as well as the meeting point for talks and discussions on the subject of the future in automotive design. Internationally awarded Emirati architect, Abdalla Almulla was invited to create the design for the hub. Almulla has worked on architectural projects both in the region and in the United States. His design aesthetic is to delve into the unknown, creating new ideas and design techniques.
For the project with Audi Almulla looked to the car brand itself for inspiration. Interpreting the design of Audi’s first electric car the e-tron, Almulla created a futuristic concept with clean lines and innovative shapes. Here we find out more about this project and discuss design and architecture in the region.
What does it mean to you to be chosen to work on this project for Audi?
It is definitely a great pleasure but also a critical point of growth and an encouragement to deliver always with the highest quality.
What can you tell us about the inspiration for your design?
The concept at the root of the Audi Innovation Hub project is Audi’s first full-electric car the all-new Audi e-tron. We were inspired by the Audi e-tron’s power, comfort and silent interior. Within the power of the car, there is a tranquillity promising the user a calm driving journey. Envisioning a structure that would reflect the design elements of the Audi e-tron, we focused on two guiding forces when designing the Hub: the horizontal lines sweeping along the car’s outer edge, and the power of silence while driving.
With these forces combined, the result is a space layout created by intersecting the circles of the Audi logo and linking this with a sweeping sculpted steel structure that connects two main areas with slim horizontal lines. The arrangement of lines and curves creates a transcending fluid pattern of robust steel members that symbolize Audi’s power and performance in motion. The curved form of the Audi Innovation Hub also features a gradient mesh creating shade and representing the tranquil environment inside the e-tron as the visitor moves within the structure.
How do you think Dubai Design Week is a good platform for the Middle East?
Dubai Design Week is great because it’s a week-long event that hosts all the regional and global designers, which becomes a great opportunity to all designers wanting to showcase their designs and network.
How would you describe your personal design style?
The creative practice is driven by the creative energy, which is constantly in flux; going into the unknown, creating new ideas and developing them as the design advances. The methodologies are perceived as a sequence of theoretical and visual design explorations within a focused subject by using patterns and geometry as regulators in setting the design guidelines.
I simultaneously study the subject’s attributes to develop them through a preliminary study of concepts, prototyping and digital technology. We use the method of prototyping to learn and repeat, in doing so, a creative value is added to the creative practice to constantly evolve, providing the customers with unique designs.
When do you get most inspired?
When design is required to solve a problem. This is where I think the beauty of design lays.
What is your favourite piece of architecture?
I have many, but one of my favourites would be Guggenheim Museum by Frank Lloyd Wright in New York.
What are your thoughts on the architecture in the UAE?
The UAE has some of the most iconic buildings worldwide, the old architecture is not as rich as other regions in the world for various factors, but the newly built architecture is working as a tool to showcase to the world our capabilities on different scales (social, economic, etc).
What’s the biggest challenge you face in what you do?
To continue to be inspired on a daily basis.
What is one thing you would still like to do that you haven’t had the chance to do yet?
I would like to create more social projects that focus on urban planning and affecting people on a broader scale.
Are there any trends you are particularly interested in at the moment?
I’m not sure if it’s a trend, but definitely interested in Artificial Intelligence and looking forward to seeing how it would enhance our design capabilities.
What is the one thing you love most about the UAE?
The diversity, it helps me believe we have a way of coexisting and contribute to each other.