Award winning Emirati architect and founder of MULA design studio, Abdalla Almulla, will present ‘Of Palm’, an architectural pavilion that explores the multifarious uses of the date palm, whilst presenting new forms of this natural resource.

Abwab, which means “doors” in Arabic, is an annual key feature of Dubai Design Week, dedicated to commissioning work from across the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia with the objective to promote local and regional creative talent and stimulate cultural exchange.


In line with a mission to find solutions for climate change through sustainable architecture and design practices, Almulla has created Of Palm, a large-scale pavilion positioned outdoors in d3 that makes use of the indigenous palm tree native to the UAE as a principal material in the construction of sustainable architecture and design. Almulla’s pavilion—its entire structure, interiors and additional design objects—will be crafted from various parts of palm trees from the UAE.

Born and raised in the United Arab Emirates and based in Dubai, Almulla notes how he has long been inspired by the sandy dunes of the UAE’s desert landscapes and its many species of plants and animals. He is the founder of design studio MULA known for its focus on innovative designs, its exploration of the unknown and incorporation of patterns and geometry. Almulla’s creative practice is centered around researching a subject’s attributes to then develop them through a preliminary study of concepts and prototyping.

The designer’s goal for this year’s Abwab was to conceive and create a concept that reflects how sustainable natural resources can be used in contemporary architecture. In doing so, Almulla highlights the versatility of the Arabian palm tree, whilst addressing diverse human needs during this time of climate change.

The installation mirrors Almulla’s practice which is driven by a creative energy that constantly seeks the unknown. His work, always a flux of new ideas, centres around the incorporation of methodologies that are perceived as a sequence of theoretical and visual design explorations with great focus placed on using patterns and geometry in his work.

Of Palm additionally challenges, explains Almulla, his previous works by reimagining raw materials in new and multifunctional ways. The large-scale installation uses repurposes pre-designed and manufactured elements as found in the floor patterns of the pavilion and the ceiling made from an array of palm-weaved floor mats. Almulla’s use of geometric references can be found again embedded in the pavilion’s poignant structure which acts like a cocoon to welcome visitors inside.


Almulla is the founder of MULA design studio. In 2014, he received his Bachelor of Architecture from Woodbury University in San Diego, United States where he was awarded the Grand Critique Faculty Choice Award and the Best Degree Project Award in Architectural Design graduation research based on geometric explorations.