The first look of show apartment at Zaha Hadid’s debut Dubai project The OPUS—magnificent, marvellous, and majestic

One fall short of words, such is the magnificence of The Opus by Late Zaha Hadid for Omniyat, which is a combination of residences and a unique design hotel, ME by Meliá, the luxury lifestyle brand of the leading hotelier group Meliá Hotels International. OPUS has a dominant location, central to Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Mall and was envisioned and designed in its entirety by architectural legend, late Dame Zaha Hadid. From exterior to interior, each detail is a powerful testament of her unique aesthetics and vision of the future. Design Middle East was invited for an exclusive design tour of a show apartment at OPUS and the pictures say it all.

Design of the highest order
Christos Passas, project director of The Opus, Zaha Hadid Architects elaborates more on its design, “The Opus is designed as two separate towers that coalesce into a singular whole to take the form of a cube. The cube is then ‘carved’, creating a central void that is an important volume within the building in its own right—providing views to the exterior from the centre of the building. The free-formed fluidity of this eight-storey void contrasts with the precise orthogonal geometry of the surrounding cube.” “The two towers are linked by a four-storey atrium at ground level with a wholly unique bridge connecting the towers 71m above the ground. This three-storey, asymmetric bridge is 38m wide. Together with the ME Dubai, the Opus will house 12 bespoke restaurants as well as a spectacular rooftop bar and office space.”

Christos Passas

Challenges of design
Located on an important site between Downtown Dubai and Dubai Creek, it was critical that the design maintained the contextual flow and connectivity of the site. Passas stresses, “Carving the void through the building introduces this required transparency to create a building with its own architectural presence, yet very much of its surroundings. The Opus also required large communal areas at ground level for important civic amenities such as restaurants and lobbies. This defined the footprint of the building – which was then extruded to create the cubed form. The void carved within this cube enables natural light deep within the building and maximises the number of rooms with an external view,” The steel bridge that links two towers involve many calculations for each and every steel connection. “Due to the complexity of the bridge, these computer calculations also ensured any earthquake loads were taken into account,” says Passas.

Engineering marvel
Designing the glazing for the Opus with a special fritting pattern in the form of pixelated ridges and the latest UV coatings were used to reduce solar gain and glare to prevent reflections. Passas shares, “This enabled reflectance values below a certain limit and did not compromise the design ambition. The cube’s flat facade includes a mirror frit to reflect sunlight and also a varied reflection when the building is viewed from different directions. As the Opus is actually in the form of two adjacent towers, each tower will shade the other throughout various times of the day.” The double-curved geometries of the void’s glazing required advanced computational design and manufacturing techniques. Each of the void’s 4,500 triple-glazed midnight blue panels have been created and installed to a unique specification.

Zaha Hadid’s collaboration with Omniyat
The mesmerising building is a celebration of Hadid’s work as an inspiring visionary, who reshaped the boundaries of architecture as art and fundamentally changed the way people imagine and experience buildings. “Omniyat’s vision of treating each project as if it were a unique work of art connects directly with our ambition, enabling the inventive quality of our work; expressing a sculptural sensibility within the Opus that reinvents the balance between solid and void, opaque and transparent, interior and exterior,” finishes Passas.