At home in Nasab, Dubai’s co-working space of the future

The club is part of the latest project by Mohammed Zaal. (Supplied)
Updated 13 August 2019

At home in Nasab, Dubai’s co-working space of the future

  • Mohammed Zaal may only be in his mid-30s, but he is already a legend in Dubai real estate
  • n the seven months since opening, Nasab has become a haven for Dubai’s creative talent

DUBAI: Nasab, Dubai’s new members-only social club, is also a co-working space you will want to live in all day, every day.

Mohammed Zaal may only be in his mid-30s, but he is already a legend in Dubai real estate, as the developer and former CEO of Al-Barari, a luxury residential area built to be a botanical haven. His latest project in Dubai is KOA Canvas, where you’ll find Nasab, and it has a boutique take on living.

“We’re providing a truly engaged community, a forward-thinking collective, which is entirely unique in the region’s landscape,” Zaal explained.

A three-storey space, Nasab‘s facilities include a photography studio, a high-altitude chamber, three pools and Lowe, an innovative contemporary dining restaurant. And when it comes to working spaces, they have thought of everything, right down to soundproof phone booths. 

In the seven months since opening, Nasab has become a haven for Dubai’s creative talent. Don’t be surprised to see influencer Anum Bashir of Desert Mannequin in a meeting or Australian artist Reif Axl Myers working on an artwork in one of the private office spaces. This is truly a new-age club, as Zaal said: “We are building a space where community and collaboration are at the core. Being a part of Nasab is to be a part of a network that is working and growing together as one to create new ways of working and living.” 

And while Nasab is discerning about its members, it has ensured that it is also very inclusive. For example, the “Nomad” plan for non-Dubai residents allows access to the club for 10 days every month. “We are looking for people who are shaping the future of culture,” Zaal said. So, of course, it has a busy social calendar and recently hosted an evening of conversation with Kuwaiti artist and poet Shurooq Amin.

But it’s the design that is the space’s first attraction, as it’s curated to be happy place for taste-makers. “Design runs in the family,” said Zaal, who has his own private office in the space. “My mother is an interior designer, my sister is a landscape designer, so I have always been very influenced by aesthetics and design. Art is a non-negotiable part of life for me.” 


‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging. (Supplied)
Updated 23 October 2019

‘It Must Be Heaven’: Elia Suleiman’s sardonic take on the world

MUMBAI: Elia Suleiman’s “It Must Be Heaven,” which was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival, is pure cinema. Like his earlier works, here too the Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, this time to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. Suleiman, who plays the lead role as himself, explores identity, nationality and belonging.

He says people worldwide now live in fear amid global geopolitical tensions. Today, checkpoints are just about everywhere: In airports, shopping malls, cinemas, highways — the list is endless.

“It Must Be Heaven” was screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. (Supplied) 

Suleiman’s earlier features, such as “Chronicle of a Disappearance” and “Divine Intervention,” showed us everyday life in the occupied Palestinian territories. This time, it is Paris and New York. 

The first scene is hilarious, with a bishop trying to enter a church with his followers. The gatekeeper on the other side of the heavy wooden door is probably too intoxicated and refuses to let the priest in, leading to a comical situation. Suleiman’s life in Nazareth is filled with such incidents — snippets that have been strung together to tell us of tension in society. Neighbors turn out to be selfish, and only generous when they know they are being watched. 

The Palestinian director uses wit, sarcasm and minimalism, to present a series of vignettes that are funny but also a powerful lambast of the world we live in. (Supplied)

In Paris, the cafes along the grand boulevards, and the young women who pass by, are typical of France’s capital. But a cut to Bastille Day, with tanks rolling by in a show of strength, jolts us back to harsh reality. In New York, Suleiman’s cab driver is excited at driving a Palestinian. 

The film has an interesting way of storytelling. The scenes begin as observational shots, but the camera quickly changes positions to show Suleiman watching from the other side of the room or a street. The camera then returns to where it first stood, and this back-and-forth movement is delightfully engaging.

The framing is so perfect, and the colors so bright and beautiful, that each scene looks magical. And as the director looks on at all this with his usual deadpan expression, a sardonic twitch at the corner of his mouth, we know all this is but illusion. There is bitter truth ahead!