Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The Country of the extreme, of the sheiks and of the money. But the Country of the Universities and the innovation too. The Italian artist, founder and CEO of the Martini Luxury Design, Roberto Martini, has moved there. His Company is specialized in interior decorations for luxury houses. Born in Riccione, with an artistic background, Roberto is an ambitious and single-minded young man. He worked in various Countries, has significant experiences and is now creating unique and precious settings in Dubai. He collaborates with local Architecture Universities, teaching to future architects secrets and procedures to create original artistic settings. We met him to learn about his experience and he revealed us the ambitious project he wants to realize, actually his long-cherished dream.
An Italian, an artist who arrives in Dubai. Which was the path that brought you so faraway?
The route was not easy, full of sacrifices, and times of suffering. When you dream big, it’s never easy to fulfill your dream. You build it slowly, trying to achieve what you are working for. I’ve always loved my job. I love getting up in the morning thinking about creating and inventing. For me working is always fun. I spend my time creating what i love, that is art and the act of creating. My creativity is my added value. That’s very important when you work in the interior design sphere. You can create with imagination, but it’s not enough. You need to join up with the right situations and people. Sometimes you succeed, sometimes not. But these are experiences that always help you to grow up and to better yourself.
I didn’t study Architecture but i was always interested in this branch, particularly in the “building”, in the towers, something different from traditional standard. I came here, 5000 km away from Italy, following from the very beginning, through tv channels Discovery, the different projects done in Dubai. For example, I was enchanted by the Burj Al Arab, one of the first icon of Dubai. This city has become my obsession giving me the desire of doing, of creating.
At the beginning I just thought to come for holiday, than in 2009 I attended the Index (Index International Design Exhibition), the Design Fair. Everything started from that moment. I could not speak English, nevertheless I found myself in a new situation, alone, not being able to speak foreign languages. It was really hard at the beginning, in a couple of occasions i thought to give up and come back home. After 10 months I started speaking a bit of English and from 2010 onwards I live here, in Dubai.
Are you teaching at the University? Tell us about this experience.
I have organized some courses for students of Architecture department and Interior Design, a kind of workshops, in which I used to teach some decorative application’s techniques. Topic of the lessons was the use of these techniques through lights and settings in which future architects would have work with, to give value to the decoration.
We started analyze the bearing structure of the house (flooring, ceilings and walls) and the decorative options. Than we went on studying the home furnishing (sofa, chairs, curtains, furniture). It was a great experience and I had fun together with the students. The students’ feedback was positive. They have got to experience what they have learned and the creativity of the best guys was awarded. Probably this year there will be a new edition.
Which is your peculiar touch in the artistic work you do by creating settings?
First feature is to personalize your work. Creating high level products, not available for everyone. Decorations are sometimes exclusively customised, I name them “masterpiece”. Creating something so different from every other and custom-tailored. There are many companies doing more or less the same products, just changing the name. I like to mix the techniques and create something unique for a special situation or a particular client.
Where does the project you were telling us come from?
The idea of this “Tower” came out about two years ago, from the strong desire to do something for this city. Dubai is always been the city of the extreme, from the highest tower to the most expensive and luxurious hotels in the world. I felt the desire to create something unique. This idea represents the local way of thinking, like the Dubai Sheik (Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum) who wants to be the first in everything he does. This attitude is actually mine too, I don’t like being the second, I love to be the first who does something different leaving a sign that everyone else in the future will remember.
The idea is a mix of Arabic history, that recent one of the United Arab Emirates and the ancient, together with the modern touch of the reality of what Dubai is today. I wanted to play with the historical past of the Country, the present and imagine the future. I insert in the idea the four elements of the Life (Earth, Air, Water, Fire) which have always attracted me. These four elements are recalled inside the Tower by a play of decorations. Its name will be BURJ AL FAN, or rather the Tower of the Artists.
What does the Tower want to symbolize?
My main goal is, if someone will want to realize it, to represent the traditional Arabic dress, Kandura, particularly the upper part, the Gutrah, which is the traditional white head covering, adorned with a band called Agal used to grip the Gutrah. It will have to be built on an artificial island on the sea, if possible near to the Burj al-Arab, because its dimensions are double of it. It’s a colossal structure which will be seen from all corners of the city. The frontal part will watch the city from the sea side. It symbolizes the power, the greatness. A part of it will be built under the sea level, so that people can imagine the mystery of the abyss.
How much time did it take you? and which were the technical and artistic difficulties you faced in implementing the project?
I did it in my spare time, at the beginning, often during the night, the moment in which i love to create. I didn’t face so many technical or artistic difficulties, the big problem will be for the architects and the engineers who will have to realize the complexity of the project. Especially for the shapes I gave it. It’s all made by glass, almost all rounded, in a specific design. I followed my heart and the images which were created in my mind, everything was coming out in a very natural way.
How much did you get involved as an artist in the project ?
I was very much involved, the idea is completely mine, I feel it almost like a son, a creature. I spent so many nights drawing on papers, erasing and starting again from the beginning. I committed so many hours to the project in two years working. Every single detail was breeded like a baby, studying every element till the end doing the 3D rendering with very few tools available in my hands. I would have needed suitable programs to obtain the real image, but they are very expensive.
What would you like to happen now?
My dream now would be to see the project to be realized, switching from paper to reality. I’d like to leave a sign where everyone will know and will remember that I was the inventor and the designer of this work.
Which are your future plans?
I’d like to create the Tower and to cooperate in the decorating of the entire Tower itself. I also have other projects in mind, but that’s an early talk. While working I follow this philosophical attitude: “ Only those who can see the invisible, can create the impossible”.
By Davide Amerio Tgvallesusa.it
Translation of Silvia Filomena