Green versus grandeur

We have managed in this one issue to present the biggest oxymoron of them all. In our ‘green’ feature, we berated local product manufacturers, interior designers and the majority of the Dubai construction industry for neglecting environmental issues in their projects… and we extolled the virtue of decadence and opulence in design on other pages.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  August 3, 2006

|~|Editor's-pic-body.gif|~||~|We have managed in this one issue to present the biggest oxymoron of them all. In our ‘green’ feature, we berated local product manufacturers, interior designers and the majority of the Dubai construction industry for neglecting environmental issues in their projects… and we extolled the virtue of decadence and opulence in design on other pages. We spoke of rain showers that boast up to 60 jets and use 21 gallons of water per minute and yet we also tried to hack away at the indifference to all things eco elsewhere. Confused?

Next month Condé Nast Traveller announces its ‘Green List’ of hotels and resorts around the world that demonstrate a dedication to conservation, sustainability and outstanding awareness of wider environmental issues. I’m willing to wager that Dubai won’t have many of the top spots. Or even any? We have cultivated a reputation for excellence in the hospitality sector; we even have some of the most outstanding and iconic hotels in the world; but embarrassingly what we don’t have are many commercial spaces that can compete for accolades on a Green List. And this needs to change.

Last year’s winner was the Jean-Michel Cousteau Fijian resort whose in-house marine biologist ensures the surrounding reef and marine life remain intact and beautiful for future generations. We have scores of off-shore developments on the production line and the closest thing to a reef we can boast about are the neon-lit aquariums in our many themed restaurants.

During our research, the message we received from manufacturers was clear — if there was a clamouring demand for environmentally friendly products, then they couldn’t refuse to listen. If more designers and specifiers were more discerning in their choices of materials and having sustainable items was right up there at the top of the list alongside cost and aesthetics, then we might start to catch up with our global counterparts for whom this kind of specification is de rigeur. We’re too late for the 2007 Green List, but I’ve decided to hold my breath until the next one rolls around…

Charlotte.butterfield@itp.com
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