Designing the Future
DLR Group Senior Associate Jamal Salem, Assoc. AIA, talked with Design Middle East’s Jochebed Meno on his career journey, plans for the firm, challenges, and design trends in the region.
DLR Group Senior Associate Jamal Salem, Assoc. AIA. Photo © Design Middle East.
JM: Tell us about DLR Group and yourself.
JS: In 2013, we established our Asia office in Shanghai, followed by our Middle East office in 2017 based out of the energetic Dubai Design District. Our goal in becoming a global firm was to share the great knowledge we have accumulated across various sectors, through positively impacting the design society and significantly contributing to the construction and real estate sector.
As for me, architecture and design fascinated me. When it was time to decide my career path, architecture was the obvious choice. What drew me towards that decision is strongly linked to my dream of designing my own home. I moved to the U.S. and earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Houston. After my graduation in the eighties, the global recession hit the economy but despite the situation, I was determined and fortunate to kick off my career in architecture by working across several major regions in the U.S. I eventually settled down in the Northwest. During, my spare time, I worked on a conceptual house exploring minimalism in response to how I would like to live, and to who I am. I did not settle in the U.S. as I thought I would, and I have not built my own home (yet) as I thought I would, instead I moved and settled in the Middle East. [I] contributed to a wide range of projects that I am humbled to have been a part of and witness their influence on the built environment responding to the lifestyle of a new generation representing their needs and who they are. I initially came to Dubai on a two-year assignment and it has been 15 years since. I fell in love with this region and wanted to be a part of creating history. Very rarely is one involved in creating cities from scratch, and I was not going to let these opportunities pass.