The United Arab Emirates is a mecca for luxury living--yachts, private jets, and expansive retreats are commonplace, and 10 of Forbes' 2015 billionaires call the country home. London-based design studio Baharash Architecture has noted a "new trend emerging among the new generation of Emiriatis" however, and has been tasked to design a decadent conglomerate of old trends and the new: a luxury desert eco-retreat.

We are seeing a new generation of Emiratis who are looking to lead a more sustainable life style, in line with UAE’s vision to become one of the most sustainable countries in the world. Thus eco-retreats are a great sustainable alternative to the usual jet-setting trips.

The snowflake-shaped eco retreat in Liwa is designed "to be in harmony with the pristine and untouched desertscape," and will be completely self sufficient. Solar panels built into the roof of the home will generate clean power, and excess energy will be stored in several battery units.


The snowflake shape of the structure is a perfect blend of form and function. The sprawling, one-level home blends with its surroundings, and living spaces are separated into zones via extending arms. In an homage to Bedouin heritage, a fireplace in the center of the home serves as a gathering place, and ties all the zones together. The winged design also allows for more efficient construction--each section of the home is prefabricated and assembled onsite from insulated concrete panels.

Living spaces in the vacation home are pretty standard (living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen),  but interior features within each make the line between indoor-outdoor and home-nature very thin.


The kitchen features an indoor herb garden, and large pane windows in the bedrooms seem to invite wildlife inside.


In the family room, floor-to-ceiling windows can be retracted and opened to the sky, which invites the dramatic landscape and cool breezes inside. 


The layout provides privacy for visitors in the wings, and each zone showcases a different view of the site's landscape. Smart glass windows in the bathrooms showcase dramatic scenery but offer privacy with the flick of a switch.


"The retreat provide[s] genuine exclusivity and tranquillity in an area which has remained unspoiled for centuries," along with luxury fit for one of Emirate's highest profile individuals. 

Learn more about the project from Baharash Architecture >>