Pitt to be design consultant on Zabeel project

Brad Pitt

Hollywood superstar Brad Pitt will be a design consultant on Zabeel Properties' new leisure development for Dubai, which will include a five-star hotel and resort, the company said yesterday.

Pitt will work alongside a team of design consultants at LA-based architecture firm Graft.

The star's involvement in the design for the resort "demonstrates his deep-seated interest" in the project, a Zabeel statement said. The project will also be socially conscious, Zabeel said.

At the heart of the project will be an 800-room five-star hotel. Its precise location in Dubai has not yet been confirmed. "Through this long-term partnership with our friends, there are plans to launch similar such developments across other major global cities, but we are proud that Dubai will be the first," said Mohammed Ali Al Hashimi, Executive Chairman of Zabeel Investments.

Robert Norton, CEO of Zabeel Properties, said: "Our masterplan and design concept will be world-leading and we're delighted to be collaborating with Brad Pitt and the team at Graft, which is recognised for its innovative building design. This project will display our uncompromising focus and commitment for developing high quality and environmentally sustainable real estate in this region."

Pitt is currently building 150 new affordable and sustainable homes in New Orleans for residents of its Lower 9th Ward, an area of the city devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Pitt, together with film producer Steve Bing, have pledged $5m (Dh18.35m) each to the "Make it Right" rebuilding project. It is taking place in an area of the city that was once marked by dense housing but was then almost entirely demolished following heavy flooding by Hurricane Katrina.

Pitt said: "While acting is my career, architecture is my passion. Selecting this development as my first major construction project has been a simple decision.

"It will underpin not only my values for environmentally friendly architecture, but also embrace my career in entertainment.

"We will be unveiling precise plans in the next few months, but you can expect something that is not only stunning to look at, but will also be an incredible attraction to visit or stay at."

Graft was founded in Los Angeles and Berlin in 1998, and is involved in a range of activities, from architecture to urban planning, exhibition design and music.

Wolfram Putz, one of Graft's founders, said: "This project will become a lead attraction in its own right for Dubai, the region and indeed worldwide. Working in this expanding location, which is now at the forefront of tourism and commerce in the region, and at the same time collaborating with Brad Pitt makes this a unique opportunity for us all."

Zabeel's portfolio includes the Dh2.1 billion Tiara Residence and Tiara Hotel.