Dubai Smiles

Dubai, UAE

Dubai Smiles is a proposal to address the challenge of boredom, loneliness, and lack of shaded rest areas for adult residents in Dubai. With a population that is mostly adult and male, Dubai’s public activity spaces are few and far in between. On many days, residents and workers escaping the afternoon sun resort to lying on the streets, resting under makeshift tents, or napping under various items of merchandise. 

Dubai Smiles tackles this lack of social infrastructure with a public recreational area featuring a giant swing set underneath a dynamic billowing canopy. Accessible to everybody, this simple design utilizes only two main materials – metal frames and fabric. Shorter lengths of fabric are  create shaded canopies while longer lengths of fabric create a sea of swings, hammocks, chairs. The resulting combination of swings/hammocks under a well shaded canopy is a design that needs no instructions to use. 

Dubai Smiles encourages visitors to play and form their own spaces, temporarily free from the stresses of urban living and the intense desert sun. We believe it can be a new model for collective play in Dubai and serve as an unprecedented neighborhood amenity for everyone in Dubai

Dubai Smiles represented Dubai in the 2017 Seoul Biennale of Architecture and Urbanism.

Team: Katayoun A. Lazar, Leon Lai, Eric Tan