The Frame Hotel / Villamoda Galleries that located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was designed by IAD (International Architecture Development). The first step for this project consisted of defining a visual and constructive frame for the building. This frame would determine not only the exterior facade of the hotel but the physical limits of built-up areas. The response to such a simple formal approach was to create a complex dialogue between each separate architectural or landscaping element.
An urban and vertical garden has been the response to the massive hotel building, as an inverse piece, a friendly opposite that complements and allows the dark prism of the hotel to breathe. The force of the metaphorically plant-like structure cut-out from the constructive frame it supports is what provides meaning for the vertical garden. To walk among these structural elements covered in vegetation is like living among and within the trees.
The skin respects the plant-like structure and plays with it. It is cut along the branches of the structure and passes before and behind it, a movement generated by the programmatic organisation. In this manner, the structure disappears, allowing the fenestration patterns of the curtain wall to be seen in the tourist section of the hotel, only to reappear and reaffirm itself as structure in the area corresponding to the immense executive hotel atrium. The skin, a prism that becomes almost transparent in the exclusive hotel zone is where the one begins to see the peaks of ‘iceberg’ formations, exclusive penthouse duplexes among a luxurious white and naturally green universe. These same icebergs appear, as if in a déjà-vu but this time from underneath, suspended from the commercial floor of the main lobby.
The passion for cinematographic arts, film sequences, fragmentation, and repetitiveness have led the project towards a clear rationality, in this case manifest by perpendicular planes of solar protected dark glass that travel the whole height of the facade, creating this desired dynamic parallaxical vision.
Returning to the essence, the garden, these perpendicular planes are used as protection, adapted to become supports for dense climbing plants as well as architectural barriers that determine pathways among the vertical gardens. To pass from one tree-platform to another, restaurants, showrooms, a cigar lounge, all connected by mechanical pathways and vertigo-inspiring escalators.