In an exclusive coastal enclave of Dubai, a city teeming with wow factor, a 22,925-square-foot ultra-modern villa has been listed for $125 million. The Umm Suqeim home near Jumeirah Beach boasts a flexible open-plan lateral layout, complete privacy and an unrivaled collection of artworks and designer furniture (included in the price). It is one of the most expensive listings in the entire emirate.
The home was designed by Dubai-based Viktor Udzenija for Abdulla Al Gurg, board member and former CEO of Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group LLC, a major family-owned UAE conglomerate. The company was established in 1960 by Al Gurg’s grandfather, Easa Saleh al Gurg, who served as the UAE’s ambassador to the UK and the Republic of Ireland from 1991 to 2009.
In a contemporary twist to the traditional Arabic courtyard house, cavernous light-filled living spaces are bound by expansive glass walls around a central interior courtyard containing carefully managed lush greenery. Palm-lined gardens look onto an illuminated swimming pool. Sunken seating, a wooden deck, and an outdoor kitchen are shaded from the Dubai sun by canopies and covered terraces. The six-bedroom, single-story property occupies an elevated, 40,000-square-foot plot of land and was completed in 2021.
Interior and exterior walls are adorned in warm, textured Italian travertine. In the bedrooms, exotic marble and Dutch porcelain bring a harmonious ambiance. All nine bathrooms are decorated in traditional, geometric patterns of onyx travertine. In another nod to tradition, a vast formal drawing room (called a ‘majlis’) where visitors and guests are received. The heart of the professional-grade show kitchen is a handmade crystal dining table and a custom-built piano. There’s also a gym, an office, a 12-car underground parking garage and separate guest and staff accommodation.
“The entire house is like a living organism that has been adapted to the environment and that is both shielding the occupants as well as providing them with the best life possible,” Udzenija, a protégé of leading architect Norman Foster, told Observer.
The owner’s collection of fine art is displayed throughout the house. Paintings by celebrated Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki, oils by French artist Henri Mège, painted steel chairs from Franco-Argentinian sculptor Pablo Reinoso and watercolors and a triptych by Emirati artists Abdul Qader Al Rais and Mohamed Ahmed Ibrahim. Furniture is by Rick Owens, Pierre Jeanneret and Pierre Paulin. The dining room feasts on views of a sizeable fountain installation by Misha Kahn, a “master of subverting traditional forms and fabrics to create an almost childish, fantastical wonderland.”
Although the villa is in a neighborhood usually reserved for Emiratis and GCC nationals, it’s available to purchase, turnkey, by overseas buyers. The sale includes all fixtures, furnishings, artwork and furniture.
“Balancing architectural beauty, landscape design, and a meticulously curated collection of fine art, sculpture and furniture, this Umm Suqeim villa is simply one of a kind,” Nyree Bouwer of listing agent Christie’s International Real Estate Dubai told Observer. “This is one of the most expensive listings in Dubai, located in one of the most exclusive, private, and secure locations in the city, yet just a short walk from Jumeirah Beach. It will appeal to the international businessperson seeking privacy.”