The Chilli Rooms
Guests for 2011
Partner at Cox Architecture Greg Howlett is designing a fifty-building university in Abu Dhabi.
Greg has now been jetting across the Indian Ocean into Bedouin business - from Perth - for 25 years, lending him a deft hand at how to succeed in the shifting sands of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Shifting sands do not bury or conceal things for this guy. They reveal splendid opportunities, and Greg's dry humour, and a keen eye, give him a genius for growing these opportunities into massive projects of the elegant kind rather than the brutal kind.
But Greg failed high school at the most elementary subject of all, boasting 101. The international magazine Multiplex Living slapped a sticker on Greg last year in a large profile they published on his work: "humble genius".
This multi award-winning architect gives a hugely entertaining talk at The Chilli Rooms about the far-out fun of doing business with the Bedouin: about scale; timing; sand, oil and Middle-Eastern royalty; about big dinners, big toasts, big views and slippery moments.
Plus the tapestry of good-and-bad manners that goes along with make-or-break success in the rather fluid and character-strewn atmosphere of raising steel and concrete ideas from the southern sands of the Persian Gulf.
What was just a small, silted-up creek a generation ago, and now is a glitteringly surreal city state recovering from a gigantic wobble, Dubai has seen Greg arrive and depart now perhaps 200 times, making friends, talking turkey, sipping unheard of cocktails up near the Arabian stars.
Join us to hear Arabian tales that are as real as it gets, madcap, surreal, disturbing and hilarious.
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