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Architect Says Landmark Design Was Stolen

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

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As Dubai inches toward completion of its latest landmark structure, The Frame, the Mexican-born architect behind the unique picture frame design has reportedly filed suit, claiming copyright infringement.

Fernando Donis designed The Frame project in 2009, after winning an international design competition. But he says the project moved forward without him and he was never compensated for his intellectual property, according to a recent report in The New York Times.

The Dubai municipality has “taken the Dubai Frame as its own without paying or crediting the person who created it,” Edward Klaris, a New York-based lawyer representing the architect, told the Times. “This is an egregious infringement of international copyright and a sad case of sovereign bullying that deserves to be corrected.”

The Times reports that Dubai city officials initially dismissed Donis’ complaints, noting that he received the prize money for winning the competition and that the architect did not possess local licenses required for the project’s execution. Officials have not responded to the lawsuit, the report says.

Frame Near Completion

Meanwhile, the $43.6 million project should be complete by the end of the year, reports relate.

Construction on the project began in 2013 and it was originally set to open in 2015.

Replacement of exterior cladding is believed to be the cause of the delay, Arabian Business reported, citing officials.

“We have been delayed because we have some difficulties with the claddings and so we need to change it,” Dubai Municipalty director-general Hussain Nasser Lootah told the news outlet last fall. “It’s not only because of the new [the UAE Fire and Life Safety Code 2017] regulations, but we also want to give the frame a new look,” he said. 

A series of high-rise building fires in the area ignited cladding material concerns. In December, the government announced plans for a new laboratory to test and certify fire-resistant building materials.

The Frame's rectangular structure will house a museum on the ground floor and a panoramic elevator that will take visitors up to the top floor for views of the old and new parts of the city from the glass observation bridge, officials have said.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Business matters; Color + Design; Commercial / Architectural; Design; Lawsuits; Middle East

Comment from Jesse Melton, (3/14/2017, 8:02 AM)

What took him so long to make a lot of noise about the issue? He may have a valid grievance, he may not, but it sure looks sketchy.

Comment from Jeff Laikind, (3/14/2017, 9:40 AM)

According to other sources, Fernando Donis has been in dispute for almost 3 years. Approximately since the Dubai government started construction.

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