Design inspiration is taken from anything, anything at all. For example the Sydney Opera house was inspired by slices of orange peel. The Audi badge of 4 connecting rings was a result of coffee stains on the designers work bench. I have spent many a long afternoon traipsing around Ikea in my polo neck and thin frame spectacles wondering why my girlfriend is buying a garlic crusher made to look like a working replica of Stephensons rocket. The Swedes do love their mad design. My sister is a designer and perplexes me beyond comprehension when she says “guess where I got this idea from…” It’s remarkable.
The UAE is actually a good case in point, there are plenty of things built to look like other things, and inspiration comes from all directions.
You of course have the Burj Al Arab, designed to look like a sail. The neighbouring Jumeriah Hotel is a wave. Then of course you have the various palm islands inspired by, shockingly, a palm tree. Other buildings are more or less just imitations of other global landmarks, like the twin tower buildings near Media City, they are basically New Yorks Chrysler building. Then you have that homage toLondon’sWestminsterPalaceclock tower – incorrectly referred to as Big Ben (that’s the bell inside).
So today I had an adventure. I – foolishly – drove to Dubai Mall, and upon arrival at Fashion Parking was alarmed to see how long the queue to get in was. I was essentially trapped so just had to grin and bear it. According to the meaningless green LED board there were hundred’s of spaces available, thousands even. Eventually we got in and remained a part of the snake; at first it was plain to see that there were no spaces on the lower levels. I continued on level 3 hoping to get lucky.
Nothing was going on; I went up to the next level but still, all full. Carrying on I was confused at level 5 when the actual car parking spaces were inaccessible, trapped in what would seem like some sort of parking paradox. Carrying on further I reached level 9, nothing, and was pointed to go up to the next level by the weirdo in the high-viz jacket. On level 10 I followed the sign that said “more parking” and found myself driving down a spiral ramp and emerged on level 3…?
I ended up back outside and proceeded into Grand Parking. There were hundreds of empty spaces…all blocked off for valet customers. I traversed further and things became heated. There were still no spaces. I wanted to travel further down the car park but the arrows on the ground wouldn’t allow me. I followed them and literally went around in circles. I made a bold move and drove the wrong way, ignoring the stupid arrows and low and behold, I stumbled across an oil reserve of parking spaces. Deliverance at last… Forty. Seven. Damned. Minutes…
So, my question to the board is who in the name of all that is holy designed this catastrophe and what on earth was the inspiration behind it? There are a few possibilities. Did the designer travel to Hampton Court Maze? I’m not so sure, that has a route. Did perhaps the design team open the bonnet on Space Shuttle Atlantis and copy the pattern made by the 4000 miles of cables and wires? Was the designer inspired by a bowl of spaghetti bolognaise per chance? Was it perhaps the result of a school competition, who can build the wackiest car park out of Lego? Will we ever know?
A further grievance on the matter is the use of arrows. Now, many years ago it was indeed scientifically proven that arrows will always point you in the direction you wish to go. Dubai Mall somehow defies this science. The arrows are like global media moguls: lying bastards. Whoever painted them was either a drunkard or a chimpanzee.
If I ever find out who is responsible for this then I shall insist that a public inquiry is launched forthwith. The people of the UAE have a right to know who is responsible for causing such heated debate and friction within families and friend groups.
One thing is for certain, the designer was not Swedish. They couldn’t break the English this weekend, the guy who designed Dubai Mall car park certainly can…