A dance of contrasts within a traditional Dubai home

Contemporary luxury and timeless elegance expertly fused by identity Editor’s Choice Award winner.


Giorgio Palermo, founder of Dubai design consultancy NIU Studio, is the creative talent behind the winner of the Editor’s Choice Award at the 2019 identity Design Awards. His international experience and expertise and his Italian eye for craftsmanship and quality are evident throughout the 1500-square metre Stone House.

The client requested a design that fused architectural minimalism with contemporary luxury, to evoke a timeless warmth and elegance throughout a traditional home that provides both formal, public spaces and separate, private areas for the family.

Every area of the villa, including the five en suite bedrooms, incorporates the essentials of nature: light, energy, water and air. Boundaries between inside the home and outside are blurred by extensive glass doors that highlight the landscaped views of the garden beyond.

Guests enjoy an impressive view of the pool, which features a contemporary interpretation of a traditional Arabic water fountain, a symbol of welcome and hospitality. The dramatic waterfall begins at the ceramic mosaic swimming pool then flows through reflection pools that reference ancient irrigation channels.

NIU-Studio-Dubai-villa-exterior-2 NIU-Studio-Dubai-villa-exterior-3 NIU-Studio-Dubai-villa-exterior-5

Everything about the design of the home relates to the separation of the public and private spaces. In the dedicated family wing, privacy is of utmost importance, while a serene connection is simultaneously afforded to the outdoors. A designated family garden was designed to provide delightful views and access to nature, exclusively to be used and enjoyed from the family suites and private rooms.

Marble has been widely used for interior floors and walls. Wall claddings of Italian Botticino can be seen in the multi-level installation in the majlis areas. Luxurious materials give shape to the neutral interior architecture palette, and the quality furnishings – including pieces from Living Divani, Fendi and Porada, icons such as Giorgetti’s Hug and Eva Lounge, and bespoke upholstery from Sahco – combine with and accentuate the owner’s collection of classic Persian silk carpets.

NIU-Studio-Dubai-villa-interior NIU-Studio-Dubai-villa-exterior4

Giorgio Palermo and Elena Gregorutti of NIU Studio