Nurai by Dror



New York-based multi disciplinary design studio Dror have designed residential villas for Nurai, a resort on a natural island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.


The development will include 31 estates on the shore and 36 villas surrounded by water.


The following information is from developers Zaya:


Dror design statement - Nurai:

On an island of limited proportions, how is it possible to realize a measure of solitude among a community of users? Even with amenities “swept under the carpet,” the fact of other individuals interrupts the expectation of being languorously alone.


The carpet is an elegant and simple solution and native to the arts and crafts tradition of the Persian Gulf. We perceive it as a field upon which we can sculpt and manipulate landscape and topography to achieve suspended states of privacy.


The metaphor also serves as a way to think about the separation of parts and of characterizing luxury by firstly removing it from direct interaction with conflicting elements. Dror takes the carpet beyond initial inspiration by intensifying its work as an organizing principle for the island’s programs and components.


The carpet begins to work harder to outline form and assign reason to a system that includes three residential types, a variety of service amenities, an active and changing landscape, public art, and waterfront leisure facilities. The continuous surface undergoes adaptations through rips, tears and peels, revealing moments that otherwise would have remained completely obfuscated; calculated breaches in the surface reposition points of view and referee streams of activity by subordinating it into the larger topographic framework. The carpet, having been laid, associates all components visually and structurally.


The settlement of this paradox – how to program a complete and discerning lifestyle for a limited group of residents while minimizing traces of that intensity – will fulfill the vision Dror has conceived for Nurai.

Her name is Nurai: by Zaya

Zaya, a dynamic newly-formed Abu Dhabi-based real estate company has launched its first of many property ventures; Nurai, a spectacular private community of limited edition resort beach-front estates and water villas on a natural island off the coast of Abu Dhabi.


Derived from the Arabic word “nour” meaning light, Nurai is surrounded by clear waters and ringed with pristine sandy beaches. Lying immediately northeast of Abu Dhabi, the island is set in isolation away from the hustle and bustle of city life yet is within minutes from the mainland.


CEO Nadia Zaal hand picked a world class team with a shared passion to bring her vision of Nurai to life. Backed by senior management with over 25 years of experience, Zaal leads with fresh prospective and passionate dedication in creating sustainable communities that will raise the bar in property development. Zaal explains, “Zaya has a passion for creating unique lifestyle solutions that goes beyond bricks and mortar. Using our unique understanding of the clientele and refusing to be bound by convention, Nurai is the most stylish contemporary living experience in the world”.


Nurai is the beginning for Zaya’s collection of unique projects designed solely based on market research and the discerning clientele’s aspiration in mind. Extensive research concluded that there is a shortage in this kind of sophisticated projects and means that Zaya will remain focused on the high end of the market with plans for expansion into the Middle East, Asia and Europe being announced shortly.


“On Nurai, you can have your own piece of paradise and still be just minutes from Abu Dhabi. On this incredibly lush island, you will find a distinctive collection of limited edition resort beachfront estates and water villas, along with all the services and comforts of a world class boutique resort,” added Zaal.


The design concept of the island stemmed from Zaya’s desire to provide residents with abundant pieces of land and ultimate privacy. Two strands of Water Villas extend into the ocean, and Nurai’s Beachfront Estates are integrated into the gently scoping landscape. A carpet of greenery unfolds across the island, with sweeping structures underneath to envelop residents in their own world of private luxury. Island feels untouched as majority of land is landscaped lush greenery as opposed to populated with buildings.


Discerning clientele interested in resort beachfront estates will have their choice of two designs – ’The Shoreline’ or ‘The Seaside’. The Shoreline estates will consist of six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, private beach and rooftop garden with a total build area of 12,275 square feet (approximately 1140 square meters). Similar in size, but with five bedrooms and six baths, will be The Seaside estates. No detail has been overlooked. Each resort residence includes luxurious amenities such as a private beach and garden, infinity swimming pool, concealed service quarters and outdoor showers.

Alternatively, the resort Water Villas offer an unparalleled over-water living experience. The homes are situated over the crystal clear waters surrounding the island and include three bedrooms and four bathrooms occupying 5,540 square feet. These contemporary resort villas indulge the fortunate few with every amenity one could wish for in a home - a private beach, rooftop garden with spa pool, infinity pool, outdoor barbeque area, gourmet kitchen and concealed service quarters.

Nurai resort residents will also have access to all of the services and comforts provided by the boutique resort. In addition to the amenities of the contemporary hotel, which include three world class restaurants and multiple lounges, Nurai also offers a private helipad and marina with arrivals lounge, a fully equipped spa and fitness centre, private beaches and water sports facilities.

Nurai Fact Sheet:

Zaya LLC is a joint venture between Tasameen Real Estate, which has a portfolio of over $15 billion worth of developments, and Ashjar LLC. Together they bring over 25 years of experience in conceiving and developing some of the world’s best real estate developments.

Nurai is the first development for Zaya. Sales will begin May 2008.

Nurai is a 130,000 square metre island located northeast of Abu Dhabi city centre, near the northernmost tip of Saadiyat Island.

Nurai will be comprised of one boutique luxury hotel resort with 60 suites, 31 beachfront estates and 36 water villas.

Island amenities will include three restaurants, multiple lounges, private helipad and marina with arrivals lounge, ESPA spa and fitness centre.

The five bedroom-six bathroom Seaside beachfront estates will have a build area of approximately 1140 square metres on lots between 3,000 – 6,050 square metres. Each estate will include a private beach and garden, rooftop garden with spa pool, infinity swimming pool, indoor reflecting pools, concealed service quarters, entertainment patios, outdoor dining areas, chef and show kitchens and outdoor showers.

The six bedroom-seven bathroom Shoreline beachfront estates will have a build area of approximately 1140 square metres on lots between roughly 2,800 – 5,100 square metres. Each estate will include a private beach and garden, rooftop garden with spa pool, infinity swimming pool, indoor reflecting pools, concealed service quarters, entertainment patios, outdoor dining areas, chef and show kitchens and outdoor showers.

The residential dwellings are designed by New York based Studio Dror, led by Dror Benshetrit; Paris-based AW2 will be responsible for the design of the hotel. SHVO, the breakthrough real estate marketing firm is handling sales and marketing.

Posted on Wednesday May 28th 2008 at 2:52 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • K. Rimane

    OMG! heaven on earth

  • edward

    The carpet metaphor is as fuzzy as the renderings. Nothing noteworthy architectural yet.

  • CPCP

    did someone say paradise?

  • rediculous renderings.. looks habitable.. nice, clean, slick lines.. My fave is the rotated cube.. I just hope a sea accident doesn’t do something to that water-house. :)


  • JZ

    why is this on dezeen?

  • lin

    and even if this is a bit weird and snobby.. but honestly guys, who does NOT want to spend a little holiday there???

  • Where does all the waste go ?

  • Fling

    Sounds like a great place to holiday. What I want is to go somewhere with lots of other tacky rich people that I can’t see (except in the unlikely event of a calculated breach), and have my subordinated stream of activities refereed in a topographic framework. In Abu Dhabi.

  • bioz segundo

    Wow, i dig!!

  • Will

    So they get future freebies to Abu Dhabi of course

  • yeah yeah very nice, i would like to see how those big window surfaces behave in the coast of Abu Dhabi…. new yorkers always thinking the whole world is just like NY….

  • rebecca

    I love what architects working in the realm of furniture and product design are offering lately- Zaha, Asyptote, Commonwealth & Aranda-Lasch in NY.

    Then you see the banality that Eindhoven-trained product designers bring to Architecture… Wow. Makes me feel my many years spent in Architecture school served me well.

  • quality… if you have sh**loads of money to afford to buy one and a superyacht to get you there, there definately wont be any architects living here then!

  • Not sure, met aw2 from France who claim they are the Architects.
    Zaya representative confirmed this.

  • JZ

    Cmon guys this is totally fake and pretentious.. this is a place for hormone feeding plastic people

  • Rebecca- word..

    this guy needs to go get his ass to architecture school. How old is Dror? 31? looks like it was designed by a corporate team of middle aged dudes.

  • Why would you put in grass lawns on an islandd in the middle of the Middle East?

  • one

    maybe becasue the middle of the Middel East has no grass lawns..

  • zuy

    Dror Benchetrit is NYC designer and he is graduated from Eindhoven design school, he is a good designer (see pick chair or vase for rosenthal)…He has the same agent than Philippe Starck

  • Roy

    All this neat architecture for Abu Dhabi and environs, man-made islands, instant skylines, the Burj, and then I wonder, what happens when the oil runs out and the air conditioning goes away? Some neat ruins a few decades from now.

  • Mike

    Why can Americans design properly?

  • One….

    that wasn’t my point at all.. My real point was that it doesn’t make (enviornmental sense) to have lawns in the middle of desert-lite/like environment.

    For example, almost 1/3 of residential water usage in the USA is for watering lawns. Much of which is lost through evaporation etc…. Even if it wasn’t it is obviously a stupid and ineffecient useage…

  • zuy
  • i love this. it has a 60’s jetsons feel to it yet very today

  • ONE

    hi Nama..

    perhaps sand pits might be better in place of lawns..

  • I’m sorry but this is so not worth talking about.
    Like all middle Eastern architecture.
    Nonsense or more money than sense.
    Very sad actually.

  • Shahrzad

    this is the most amazing island ive ever seen!! i wish it were ready to move in right now!! my family would love to be able to have a home like this. I think the designer did excellent job on a modern twist of watervillas and those homes on the island -i want to walk on my roof!

  • anthony

    you ghuys have no idea that abu dhabi is the richest city int he world… tsk tsk… they can turn your theories and doubts into reality… haha…. your wish will come true in this magical place. ;)

    believe me… dubai HAVE NO oil…. abu dhabi HAVE. ;)

    abu dhabi will survive! =)

  • marwa

    hi all i ned uegently nurai project plan could any body help me

  • Nurai is what I imagine haven to look like… Calm clean yet welcoming space that make one want to have a lifestyle as pure as the canvas of this development. It makes me want rid my mind of clutter and be at one with my surrounding. Its perfect!

  • Nacho

    I know it’s totally pretentious and completely eco-undriendly, but I just can’t help it to love the place so much that I want to live there

  • I agree with Nacho. It is completely eco-unfriendly. I am concerned on how and where the wastes are disposed.