How Emkaan founder Muhammad Obaid created the incredible Zuhra Spa in Dubai
Designed by Muhammad Obaid and nestled within Dubai’s World Islands, Zuhra Spa stands as a splendid testament to the delicate allure of Venus, the graceful curves of flowers, and the awe-inspiring grandeur of temple architecture.
This extraordinary creation by Emkaan, under Obaid’s guidance, harmoniously blends smooth and textured sensations, the interplay of light and shadow, and the seamless integration of precise geometry with organic beauty.
Here, Obaid tells us all about this unique project, which is expected to be complete within three years.
How did you get involved with the Zuhra Spa project?
The spa’s owners and representative approached me to contribute my expertise in creating captivating and harmonious atmospheres.
Together, we carefully curated colours, materials, modern ornaments, and accessories to bring the spa’s vision to life.
The design concept was inspired by the island’s natural beauty and the desire to provide a transformative experience for visitors. We aimed to capture the delicate allure of a blossoming flower in the spa’s architectural form and colour palette.
Our goal was to establish Zuhra Spa as a sought-after destination on Zuha Island, where guests can indulge in exceptional treatments and enjoy a serene ambiance.
The concept of a temple also influenced the design, guiding guests through transitional spaces that enhance the therapeutic and meditative activities within the spa.
How was it working with such an ambitious project?
It has been incredibly fulfilling. It fills me with a profound sense of responsibility, knowing that my design will shape not only the physical space but also the emotions and experiences of the future visitors.
The spa’s design concept revolves around the delicate allure of a blossoming flower, with its architectural form mirroring the intricate petals and a colour palette ranging from soft rose to light pink. This innovative approach aims to create a visually captivating and harmonious space that complements its natural surroundings.
What was the collaboration like with the Zuhra Spa owners?
Truly remarkable. The client, Nadia Zaal, possesses a visionary mindset and a deep appreciation for the beauty and value of architecture and design. What made her even more impressive was her practicality and a desire to bring dreams to life in a practical and cost-efficient manner.
This presented the main challenge of the project—balancing the pursuit of dreams with the constraints of the budget and feasibility.
Working with such an ambitious project and a client who values both imagination and practicality pushed us to achieve the extraordinary, turning what seemed like a construction only possible in dreams into a tangible reality.
What were the influences behind the spa’s design?
The design is centred on the concept of a spa being a place for relaxation, rejuvenation, and feminine energy. We chose the flower as a symbol to represent these values and ideas, as it embodies natural flow, delicacy, and gentleness. To aid in the inspiration process, we utilised artificial intelligence software to gather ideas and create a mood board.
From there, we further developed the concept, taking into account the architectural form resembling the intricate petals and a colour palette ranging from soft rose to light pink. Overall, the design aimed to capture the essence of a flower and its association with femininity, tranquillity, and rejuvenation.
Can you explain the concept of Zuhra Spa to us?
Zuhra Spa revolves around creating a harmonious and immersive experience that engages all five senses. Beyond aesthetics, the concept focuses on functionality and healing. The transition space with its musical instrument and dripping water engages the sense of hearing. Plantations and herbs throughout the spa cater to the sense of smell.
Visual and tactile stimulation is provided through gradient colours, materials like wood and stone, and rough plaster, appealing to the sense of sight and touch. The taste is incorporated through the collection of herbs for treatments.
The project also incorporates innovative technical design and engineering elements to enhance the overall experience.
The utilisation of desalinated water from the island supplements the water body within the spa, providing guests with mineral-rich water for enhanced healing properties.
A sophisticated circulation system ensures a continuous flow of water, while mechanical devices adorned with sound crystals emit soothing sounds for Vibroacoustic Therapy.
What materials are you using?
Predominantly natural elements such as wood for the internal treatment rooms, stone (such as marble or granite) for the flooring, and natural plaster for the external surfaces.
Each material has its own unique impact on human energy and emotions. Natural materials, in particular, have a positive effect on human well-being, helping to create a soothing and calming environment.
The use of natural materials aligns with the spa’s goal of promoting relaxation, and rejuvenation, as well as a connection with the surrounding environment. Even in areas where the use of concrete or other materials is necessary, efforts are made to ensure that the final surfaces maintain a human- and energy-friendly quality.
Why is it important to get projects like this right?
Architects and designers have a significant responsibility when shaping the built environment. Regardless of their experience level, it is crucial for us all to recognise and appreciate the value and importance of our drawings and designs. Every line we sketch and every detail they incorporate carries the potential to impact the lives of future generations.
Therefore, it is essential for architects and designers to approach their work with a sense of responsibility. By understanding the long-term impact of our creations, we can create environments that inspire, uplift, and improve the quality of life for generations to come.