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A Drop of United Arab Emirates

Where imagination is the only limit

The desert is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. Searing heat, lacking in natural resources, most importantly water. How has mankind harnessed this unforgivable and extreme landscape? And how have a group of people not just survived it, but established Dubai, one of the most dynamic urban metropolises on the face of the planet, here? What’s it like to work in one of the fastest-growing cities in the world? How do you maintain creative focus within all this change? 

The second episode of our short film series “A Drop of…” takes Alessandro Preda, a renowned architect and member of the American Institute of Architecture, to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Contrasting with the yellow, blurred scenery of the desert, in Sharjah stunning towers in the modern, colorful, exceptional forms of Dubai appear on the shimmering horizon. Alessandro experiences the fascinating nature of Sharjah and looks behind the luxurious facades of Dubai to discover how this extraordinary environment turns dreamers into doers, working creatively against an incredible desert backdrop. 

From handmade artifact to soaring skyscraper, along his journey he meets artist and designer Tamara Barrage, and Raad Jarrah, Chief Development Officer at Ithra Dubai.


Tamara invites Alessandro along to experience her very individual creative process: Everything starts in the middle of the desert in Sharjah. She shows how she is working with sand to create remarkable pieces of art with unique textures. What is the secret of her creativity? How does she manage to leave nature in control – in a world where we always try to keep the upper hand?

With Raad Jarrah, Alessandro discovers the processes behind Dubai’s ambitious architecture – a place where nothing is impossible. How do architects use this mindset to push limits? And how does this limitless approach come together with simplicity of design? Visiting a villa within a skyscraper reveals a stunning view. 

Creativity comes in many ways and forms. Some need boundaries to grow, some need uncertainty to evolve. Architecture finds its own scale. See for yourself and discover the United Arab Emirates in a way that you’ve never experienced before.

Alessandro Preda
Alessandro Preda

Alessandro Preda

Founder of alepreda architecture & miduny

Alessandro Preda is an Italian-born architect and furniture maker based in Brooklyn. 

Ale holds a Master of Architecture from Harvard University and a Degree in Economics from Bocconi University. His research focuses on digital fabrication, craft, and construction methodologies. 

He is the founder of alepreda architecture, a design studio with offices in Brooklyn and Brescia (IT). The studio’s work has been featured internationally on Elle Decor, Dwell, AD, and current projects are under construction in the USA, Italy, and the Czech Republic. His award-winning furniture line is commercialized under the moniker miduny.