The Zaal family is a name to reckon with in the UAE property circles: they have conceptualised and created two uber luxury projects - Al Barari in Dubailand and Nurai private island homes in Abu Dhabi. Now, Mohammed bin Zaal, former CEO of Al Barari and son of Zaal Mohammed Zaal, the founder and chairman of Al Barari, has created a new real estate venture - KOA (strength in Arabic).
Under the KOA umbrella, bin Zaal aims to create residential communities, commercial and retail concepts tailored to the tastes of Generation Y.
"The concept is very different from Al Barari and Nurai. Al Barari comprised luxury units and was targeted at baby boomers, larger families and retirees. KOA is aimed at Gen Y, younger professionals and first-time home buyers. It has different ethos altogether," said bin Zaal in an interview with Khaleej Times.
He believes KOA is the next step in the evolution of Dubai's property industry. "This is the third era of development in Dubai where real estate serves a social purpose. The first was the boom era and the second one was during the recession," he said.
The communities created by KOA will be social spaces for creative individuals. The company aspires to fulfil the need for living spaces sought out by the new generation, which is looking for a sense of identity and individuality.
Blurring the lines
"KOA projects will blur the line between live, work and play. They will be communities of like-minded individuals and will feature landscaped gardens, water features, co-working spaces, spa facilities, gourmet market, day-care facilities and art displays around the grounds. We want to integrate the outside environment with indoor spaces," elaborated bin Zaal.The communities will also support and nurture local talent through design competitions, scholarships, art shows and creative collaborations.With a strong ethos to go local, KOA will adopt sustainable practices by using plants that are indigenous to the region for landscaping and not using excessive water for irrigation."The era of importing is over in Dubai. It is now time to export our local talent overseas. We want to show people what can be done locally," the KOA founder said.Meanwhile, the design aesthetic at KOA is to create timeless architecture by using materials that can withstand local weather conditions.