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Tue, Jun 03, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Brad Pitt signs on to help design US-themed Dubai hotel

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Brad Pitt, the star of Fight Club and Ocean's 11 who professes a passion for architecture, will be a design consultant for an 800-room hotel and resort Zabeel Properties plans to build in Dubai, the developer said.

Zabeel, based in Dubai, hired architecture firm Graft LLC to design an US-themed hotel in the United Arab Emirates city, the closely held developer said yesterday in a statement.

Los Angeles-based Graft, which has worked with Pitt on rebuilding efforts in New Orleans, will include the 44-year-old actor on its Dubai design team, Zabeel said.

“Acting is my career, architecture is my passion,” Pitt said in the statement.

As “my first major construction project,” the Dubai hotel will feature “environmentally friendly architecture, but also embrace my career in entertainment,” he said.

Detailed plans for the hotel and resort will be made public in the next few months, Zabeel said, without giving the project’s exact location or cost.

Zabeel’s properties comprise about US$5 billion of residential, commercial and hotel projects, including Tiara Residence and Tiara Hotel, which are part of the Palm Jumeirah artificial-island development.

Graft is one of the architecture firms Pitt began working with last year to rebuild New Orleans’s Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Pitt’s New Orleans-based Make It Right organization is working to build affordable homes in the area.

Pitt has long been an admirer of Scottish architect and designer Charles Rennie MacKintosh and US architect Frank Lloyd Wright, BusinessWeek magazine said in a 2005 profile of the actor.

He studied computer-aided design at Frank Gehry’s Los Angeles offices, the magazine said.

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