#madepostcards: With a bachelor degree in design achieved by studying at Australia’s Whitehouse Institute, Olivia McDonald is a visual and literary communications professional with a foremost love of holistic design. She currently manages the marketing & communications for the Dubai studio of Woods Bagot – a global design firm specialising in architecture, urban design and interior design.
With an eye for detail, in this episode of #madepostcards, Olivia shares her Dubai design life, as well as a selection of personal photographs that for her, sum up her experiences in the Middle East.
What is your favourite Dubai neighbourhood and why?
My favourite Dubai neighbourhood would have to be Al Safa and greater Jumeirah. My family has lived in this area of Dubai for 20 years and despite Dubai changing around it, I love the fact that it has – for the most part – grown slowly.
Within the area there is so much to explore: areas surrounding the beach; the various small, established parks and the old, bougainvillea covered villas each tell of other times for locals and expats. It has views of the iconic Burj Khalifa + Sheikh Zayed Road skyline, but it is a quiet, gentle place. Businesses such as Comptoir 102, D.Tales, and now the advent of prime developments such as City Walk, Box Park + the Galleria are helping to strengthen the suburb.
What and where was the best meal you recently had in Dubai?
Qbara for incredible, Middle Eastern fare with a moody evening atmosphere; Tasha’s, one of the best places for a wholesome breakfast in Dubai; and Mama Tani’s for a contemporary take on Emirati khameer sandwiches.
Where would we find you on a typical Saturday morning?
Having a (very) long breakfast with friends, or pouring over a newspaper at home. In the cooler months you would find me in the ocean early in the morning.
Your favourite event or place for creatives in the City?
One event I always enjoy in Dubai are the Art Nights at DIFC Gate Village and also Alserkal Avenue. From music, to food markets, to books, to art, to design; these evenings always showcase Dubai talent in such a vibrant way. Meet d3 at Dubai Design District – which Woods Bagot designed the master plan and façades for the Phase I buildings – was also a fantastic example of how Dubai came together to showcase approach and innovation.
Dubai’s best kept secret?
Now, that would be telling…Though one place I do feel more people should know about is the fish market + new souk development at Jumeirah Beach, not far from the reinvigorated Kite Beach Pavilion and where the traditional sailing boats are made. Although a little warm at the moment, for the best part of the year this is such a lovely tribute to the heritage of Dubai as a fishing village, in a contemporary setting. The development also consists of a new marina, and a few restaurants at the waters’ edge.