Local snapshot – Dubai

At Woods Bagot, we pride ourselves on local knowledge with a global outlook. We know each of our studio’s cities like the back of our hands, and we love to share what makes them special.

Woods Bagot Dubai prides itself on having delivered some of the region’s most significant projects – ranging from large-scale masterplans, through to landmark buildings and exceptional interiors – and has sustainability at the forefront of its joint mindset. Diverse and multicultural, the studio is made up of approximately 15 nationalities, providing a richness of culture that is reflected in its work, communication, culture and environment.

Here’s Dubai through the eyes of Architect Yoann Plourde.

Yoann’s keen eye for beauty and detail has brought him the dual achievements of being a talented architect and internationally recognised photographer. As an architect, Yoann’s understanding of a building’s form and function have combined with his earlier engineering experience to create a way of practicing that is holistic in outlook and solutions-based in method – yielding an architectural approach that connects ideas with their practical solutions. Winner of the 2021 the Royal Institute of British Architects Global Architecture Photography Competition, Yoann’s ability to find the magnificence in things great and small speaks to his vision as both an artist and architect.

I’m interested in using photography to reveal angles that may go unnoticed by the average viewer so, when it came to photographing AE7’s Dubai Canal pedestrian bridge (which is more often seen from outside and afar), I wanted to share the sense of being inside the bridge’s strikingly geometric interior.

“Experimentation and freedom are the core principles of my approach towards architectural photography.”

The majestic golden-red sand dunes of the Liwa Desert, Abu Dhabi.

“By playing with scale and perspective you can present a building for very specific reasons.”

The Design District Facades at dusk.

Dubai Marina is teeming with life and modernity – which is a far cry from the stereotypical sand-filled desert many tend to expect from Dubai (though that exists too!).

The Design District Facades. To ensure a sensitive, people-centric result, the Woods Bagot team played with the arrangement of the triangular facade module to create a number of different patterns that create a dynamic effect while ensuring the interior office space is protected from the sun’s path.

This is the photograph that won 1st Prize at the MENA RIBA Global Architecture Photography Competition 2021. Capturing a moment at ‘Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion at the 2020 Dubai Expo (designed by Grimshaw), the image shows the view of the sky looking out through the centre of the pavilion, which drew inspiration from complex natural processes like photosynthesis.

The Scroll by Gerry Judah is an expressive interpretation of the UAE’s literary history that celebrates Sharjah’s designation as the UNESCO World Book Capital in 2019. The House of Wisdom Sharjah by Foster + Partners (which you can only just see in the background) compliments the building.

The Cayan Tower Dubai Marina by Skidmore Owings Merrill (SOM) is a striking sight to see. One of the main reasons for its iconic twist is to maximize residents’ views across the Dubai Marina and the nearby Palm Island.

Woods Bagot worked with Meraas to develop the detailed design of Bluewater Island Wharf. In this shot you can see how the teams dedication to ‘people centric’ design has created human-scale moments bathed in light and colour.

“One of my favorite aspects of photography is its capacity to suggest a storyline and let the viewer’s imagination do the rest.”

Bluewaters is a reclaimed island development situated off the south western end of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) and Dubai Marina. The integrated development, which spans approximately 32 hectares of land, includes an iconic Ferris wheel plaza, destination food market along with a dining and retail experience, a family entertainment centre, a 5-star resort hotel, a private beach, exclusive residences and all supporting community facilities.

A rusted shipwreak on the shore of Umm Al Quwain serves as a reminder of the past.

The timeless, turquoise waterway of Souk Madinat Jumeirah Dubai.

The Butterfly House on Al Noor Island Sharjah by 3deluxe is a hidden architectural gem that houses more than 500 butterflies in a unique biosphere under its ornamental shading roof.

“Scenes where someone’s daily routine almost takes a poetic turn are by far the most satisfying to me.”

City Walk Dubai is a mixed-use project by Woods Bagot Dubai that creates pedestrian paths through its retail offering, allowing people to explore as they shop or commute.

I’ve always loved capturing cityscapes so The Address by DP Architects in Dubai Marina was a great subject for me to photograph.

Visiting Dubai? Talk to Yoann Plourde and the team about collaborating.