Outside view of the Zinc Crown House, designed by Chakib Richani Architects

The Zinc Crown House

A Chakib Richani jewel in the heart of Dubai.

The Russian ambassador of the UAE visited several villas designed by Chakib Richani Architects, accompanied by his wife, and their two boys. They loved the contemporary minimalist style and the “museum-feel” of the interiors, a style that is not common for private villas in Dubai. Being art collectors, they asked the Richani team to design their own villa in the Jumayrah residential area of Dubai, not far from the famous Burj Al Arab.

The Chakib Richani vision

The project included redesigning the entertainment areas (games room, media room, bar and gym), all of which were located in the basement. Further to that, the open reception and dining spaces, office, bedrooms and private family room as well as the service kitchen and servant’s quarters.

The ground floor is divided, in true Richani style, by four parallel blank travertine walls, which extend outside to the two gardens – the swimming pool main garden and the smaller court. The presence of these walls, setting the geometry of this floor, is felt throughout – in the reception area, dining room, kitchen and patio, as well as in the main garden, the “olive tree court” and the corner entrance court. These walls replace the need for a fence, thus offering a small landscaped garden to the street. The entrance door itself divides these walls, one of which is wide enough to house the staircase.

Expansive glazed planes opening to the landscaped gardens blurring the line between interior and exterior and further accentuating the travertine walls.

Simple, Internal Harmony

The bedrooms are located on the first floor, designed to be separate and resting on two of the parallel travertine walls below. It is a prominent volumetric element, both in its treatment of blank versus completely glazed walls, and the materials – zinc panelling and American Cedar Wood. Zinc is a material that is not commonly used in the region, although it is an efficient heat insulator and a durable material that ages well.

The sliding wooden doors provide privacy and protection from the scorching desert sun, with a contemporary interpretation of the masharabiya, a wooden trellis covering the windows in traditional architectural style. A skylight creates natural light above the staircase and the double-volume entrance lobby. There is a wall designed as a freestanding element, which allows the light to filter through to the basement to the entertainment areas.

An outdoor staircase allows direct access from the garden to the family room, on the first floor, and onto the terrace, which offers impressive views of Burj Al Arab and the sea line. The owners use this terrace as an extension of the garden itself. The interior was completely designed by Richani. Some furniture pieces were custom made for this villa, while others were selected from the Chakib Richani Collection. The same design concept resonates through the interior design and furniture, to the architecture and landscape, which may be the reason for the harmony of the internal spaces.