Plans by the developers behind a floating island concept seem to have run aground after orders for the futuristic designs failed to materialise, despite a blaze of initial publicity and interest from the UAE and Qatar.
Atoll Floating Islands, a joint venture between Palmerstone and Donald Starkey Designs, unveiled the 'Ome, a floating home on a monocoque type structure, which is designed to be manoeuvered between Dubai's coast and Nakheel’s The World islands and was mooted as a solution for buyers on the stalled manmade development.
The 'Omes were said to be 32m in diameter, comprising an upper and lower deck configuration, the company said in a statement.
Despite a blaze of initial media interest and reports of enquires from Qatari and Russian buyers, the orders failed to materialise, Donald Starkey, one of the British designers behind the concept, has revealed.
“The World has been forgotten,” Starkey said.
While more than 80 percent of the world’s largest yachts are owned by Gulf nationals, Starkey, who has won more than 26 yacht design awards and worked on Roman Abramovich’s 115m superyacht Luna, said that while Arab buyers were keen to invest in new superyachts but were reluctant to pay for concept designs.
"The unique prospect of owning an island on The World brings its own set of challenges, and we believe we have created something that will deal with all the considerations that island owners have to deal with when it comes to developing their island; the 'Ome provides the infrastructure for the entire island, without the need to break ground," he said at the time when the designs were launched in 2011.
It was planned to build the 'Omes on the Dubai mainland and it was estimated they would have taken around 22 months to build.