By Mariam Nihal
KOA, the new property development firm in the UAE is focused on creating livable spaces that reflect the concept of community living in line with the lifestyles of a modern generation of UAE residents.
We caught up with Mohammed Bin Zaal, CEO and Founder of KOA this week for an exclusive interview ahead of sales that launch this month.
Sales of Canvas start this month with an approximated completion date of December 2017.
SG: Tell us about Canvas and what sets it apart in the world of real estate in Dubai? We see the focus is also on tying up the needs of modern living with culture.
MZ: KOA’s projects’ strength lies in creating unique spaces and that are focused on enhancing human experiences. ‘Canvas’ will be a showcase of the KOA ethos in terms of design, finish and facilities. The biggest differentiator for Canvas is that it seeks to bring all aspects of the grass roots cultural movement that is taking shape in Dubai into residential living. There has been an ongoing shift in the region where we have seen a rise in the creative industries and a lot more community focused initiatives. These trends have touched on many different sectors but as yet haven’t been fully realized in the places where people live.
Canvas will bring this together through the design elements of the project, but it will also be seen in the amenities, activities and services available to residents. What we want to create is a ‘members’ community where residents have access to all the facilities they need to enrich their lifestyles. All aspects of Canvas are focused on creating a sense of community. From the co-working space to the daycare, the 3 communal swimming pools, the gourmet café, the children’s play area, the 185,000 sq. ft. of gardens and the spa facilities. It’s about creating a sanctuary away from the city but still with every convenience you would want.
The property is conveniently located 20 minutes from the city but it offers its residents peace and tranquility while in the home space. With facilities that are centered on the resident’s requirements and ambitions, we want ‘Canvas’ to be the dream home that residents have always imagined living it.
SG: What is the most difficult aspect in executing such a huge project?
MZ: The most important aspect for us was finding the right partners that fully understood the vision of the brand and have the passion and experience to make the project happen. The correct architect, design team and landscaper were all narrowed down in a long process.
These are all elements that we took longer to decide upon than your average property developer. KOA is a unique brand and it needed a support staff that matched. As with all good things it took some time to get this aspect aligned but we are there now and very excited about how this will unfold.
SG: How do you reflect on the changing landscape of Dubai and where do you see it going?
MZ: Having grown up in the region and watched Dubai mature and embrace more artistic, cultural and creative endeavors, I knew that real estate needed to evolve and reflect this new community. KOA is about bringing these new values and ideas into people’s homes and in doing so, meeting the demands of this new generation of consumers.
People want individuality and creativity. They have them in the clothes they choose to wear and the places they go. Now, we want to offer this in where they live. I don’t think this has been realized to its full potential in Dubai as yet. With KOA, we are also looking to offer the perfect solution for first time homebuyers in the UAE, where they will be surrounded by like-minded people. The focus for KOA will be on offering this forward-thinking generation of UAE residents’ livable spaces that reflect their lifestyles.
SG: Hundreds of thousands of people dream of a home in Dubai- what is the key in maintaining this as not just a regional but also an international favorite?
MZ: It’s about setting the bar high. We don’t just want this to set a new standard for property in the region but also set a standard internationally. This project is about providing a blank Canvas where residents get to design the home and the lifestyle they want for themselves. This is not only relevant in the region, but internationally. This is an aspirational project to give people their dream homes, working spaces and communities, and also to set a new standard in the region for what urban developments should stand for, supporting the UAE and the region in its cultural enrichment.
SG: Your future ambitions?
MZ: Canvas is just the beginning. We have a number of both residential, retail and commercial projects in the pipeline. We are about meeting the demands of Dubai’s culturally diverse residents and supporting cultural growth. We are exploring a number of concepts that will contribute to this. We will soon be launching a unique co-working space / members club…but that really is just the beginning. With KOA I plan to change the way people live in Dubai. It’s an ambitious goal but that’s the way I am.
All aspects of KOA projects will seek to push boundaries in design and also in the way people live and work. Taking inspiration from around the world to ensure a fresh new aesthetic across all projects, KOA wants to redefine what urban communities mean in the region, with spaces that are designed to enhance work, rest and play. But KOA will also be an active part of the community, supporting local talent and nurturing potential through design competitions, scholarships, art shows and creative collaborations.
KOA’s properties will include residential, commercial, retail spaces that are regionally unmatched in terms of new design, special services, and access to culture, nature and creating real buzzing communities that people want to live in.