London’s beloved Arts Club opens in Dubai 

The club is scheduled to open late 2020. (Supplied)
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Updated 17 August 2020

London’s beloved Arts Club opens in Dubai 

  • Arts Club Dubai will be the first international outpost of the historic private members’ club in Mayfair, London 

DUBAI: The coronavirus disease pandemic hasn’t delayed the opening of London’s esteemed Arts Club’s first international outpost in Dubai. Located in the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) in a building designed by Foster & Partners, the club’s first international branch will occupy four floors, spanning a total area of 65,000 square feet. The idea was to create a space replicating a beautiful home, where like-minded members can mingle, relax and work throughout the day. 

“The development of the Arts Club Dubai is well underway, and we are very much looking forward to opening our doors before the end of the year,” said its COO Ajaz Sheikh. 

“As the first international outpost of the Arts Club in London, we will be celebrating its vibrant legacy, reinterpreting its values and traditions, but also reimagining the experience to match the richness and diversity of the region and all the exciting things that are happening here, especially in arts and culture,” he added.

While an exact date has yet to be set, the club is scheduled to open late 2020. 




The club is located in the Dubai International Financial Center. (Supplied)

Established in 1863 by notable literary figures to provide a haven for the arts, literature and science, over the course of its existence its members have included writers such as Charles Dickens, Thomas Huges and Wilkie Collins; artists such as Walter Sickert, John Everett Millais, Frederic Leighton, Auguste Rodin and James McNeill Whistler, alongside several eminent surgeons and other professionals.

In 1896, the club relocated from its original home on Hanover Square to its present 18th century townhouse at 40 Dover Street. It has survived two world wars, including a direct hit on the building during the Blitz of 1940.

“We are sure our members will embrace the spirit of our beautiful new club and we look forward to giving them unparalleled experiences in both hospitality and programming,” added Sheikh. 

A design firm, the name of which has yet to be disclosed, has been commissioned to design the club’s interiors, which will feature contemporary fixtures alongside a collection of art deco and historical pieces of furniture coupled with sumptuous and plush fabrics. 




The club’s 23,000 square foot rooftop will offer uninterrupted views of the iconic Burj Khalifa. (Supplied)

It will also encompass four meeting spaces and private dining rooms and five lounges. It will also have three restaurants, including the much-loved brasseries from London and two new homegrown concepts. There will also be eight craft cocktail bars, with each to be manned by a specialist team of waiters, bartenders and sommeliers all on hand to guide members through the meticulously sourced list of drinks. The club’s 23,000 square foot rooftop will offer uninterrupted views of the iconic Burj Khalifa, which will house the club’s nightclub, offering progressive music featuring international DJs. There’s also a cigar lounge with private cigar cabanas, a sleek event space and a library.

Applications are open to individuals interested in the arts, music, design, science, literature, health, technology, wellbeing, science entrepreneurship, business, philanthropy, law, finance and fashion. 

Membership for the Arts Club Dubai is split into four categories: Full, second* (for married couples), under 30s and international. For the full membership there is a one-off 15,750 dirham ($4,288) joining fee, followed by a 15,750 dirham annual fee. The under 30s membership is priced at 7,875 dirhams for the joining fee followed by 7,785 dirhams for the annual fee. For married couples, the membership does not require the joining fee, and the annual fee is 7,875 dirhams. 

International membership can be added to all three tiers of membership, allowing access to the Arts Club London and the upcoming outpost in Los Angeles, among others. Its annual fee is for this is 5,780 dirhams. 


Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

Updated 21 September 2020

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

DUBAI: The search for global music group Now United’s newest member is finally over. Enter Nour Ardakani, the 18-year-old singer from Lebanon, who is set to become the band’s 16th member – and first Arab – after an extensive, months-long search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who founded popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

“I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United,” Fuller told the singer and dancer in a video call.

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

The singer, who currently resides in Beirut with her family, joins fellow group for the band’s latest single “Feel It Now.”

Founded in 2017, the multinational music group announced in November last year that they were looking for a new member from the MENA region.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Nour Ardakani (@noursmusicdiary) on

Out of thousands of hopefuls in the Middle East and North Africa, 13 were shortlisted and invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller. Eventually, it came down to Ardakani and a 15-year-old Emirati singer, Alya Al-Ali.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of Now United’s song “Habibi.”