Garden of Delight

Nick Hannes

2016 - 2018

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Succes story or megalomania? The rapid transformation of Dubai from a dusty fishing town in the sixties to the ultramodern metropolis of today, fascinates both supporters and critics. With its prestigious shopping malls, artificial islands and iconic skyscrapers, the little emirate at the Persian Gulf is a world player when it comes to tourism and business.

Dubai’s excessive entertainment industry has a big impact on Emirati society. 90 percent of the population in Dubai are expats, only 10 percent are local Emirati citizens. Their traditional islamic values are being challenged by Western lifestyle, imported by expat workers. Entertainment and tourism are main economical pillars of Dubai, that have been promoted activily by ruler Mohammed bin Rachid Al Maktoum. He acts as the CEO of the ‘Dubai-brand’, and spares cost nor effort to promote his city worldwide as a place of complete economical freedom, unlimited possibilities and big fun.

Dubai is the perfect example of a ‘capsular society’: A dual society, in which the first world is an archipelago of shielded islands or ‘capsules’ where it’s pleasant to live; the second world is all the rest: an ocean of poverty and chaos. In a capsular society public space becomes privatized. Capsular architecture – such as gated communities, malls and theme parks – simulates public space on private ground. The new urbanity is characterized by artificial inner spaces.

The process of urbanization in Dubai strikingly resembles the phenomenon of capsularization. On a local scale there is the segregation between the wealthy inhabitants/expats and the exploited migrant workers. On a global level, the United Arab Emirates can be considered as one big ‘capsule’, a safe haven in the unstable Middle East.

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  • Desert road. September 20, 2016

  • Hub Zero gaming and entertainment complex. January 5, 2017

  • Beach club. January 11, 2017

  • Saudi tourists are having a hot chocolate at Chillout Ice Lounge, a subzero bar at Oasis Mall. January 6, 2016

  • Fireworks above the artificial Bluewaters Island on the occasion of the islamic feast of sacrifice Eid Al-Adha. September 14, 2016

  • Pakistani construction workers in Dubai Marina. January 2, 2016

  • Global Village theme park consists of replicas of landmark buildings and shopping pavilions representing 75 countries. January 7, 2017

  • Replica of a Persian mosque at Ibn Battuta Mall. January 16, 2016.

  • Green Planet, an indoor tropical rainforest, consisting of a giant concrete tree structure with a walkway built inside. January 5, 2017

  • Indoor ski resort Ski Dubai, located at the Mall of the Emirates. January 12, 2016

  • Prototype of the Floating Seahorse, an underwater holiday villa, located at The World, a manmade archipelago in the Persian Gulf. The villa features underwater bedrooms and bathrooms with floor-to-ceiling windows that allow for submarine views. January 16, 2017

  • Camel ride. December 30, 2017

  • Saturday brunch at Blue Marlin Ibiza beach club. January 16, 2016

  • Rooftop infinity pool at Meydan Hotel with a view of the Meydan Racecourse. January 7, 2016

  • Miracle Garden car park, Dubailand. September 20, 2016

  • Fast food restaurant. January 5, 2018

  • Oasis Mall. January 6, 2016

  • New Year’s Eve at Cavalli Club, Fairmont Hotel. January 1, 2016

  • Full Moon Yoga session on The Palm island. September 17, 2016

  • Safety drill on board of the MSC Musica cruise ship at Dubai Cruise Terminal. March 7, 2016