The believer

Nick Ames meets Josh McLean who says design can change people lives – and is excited by the possibilities which exists across the UAE.

Josh McLean has just started working in Dubai for Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf after stints in Australia, the UK and Indonesia. A New Zealander, he was attracted to the region by its possibilities.

“I jumped at the chance when the offer was made. Australia was a little slow, but it’s booming here. You see the area around Downtown Dubai with its amazing buildings – and yet the other side of the road there is just sand,” he says. “It’s the potential that really excites me.”

McLean first arrved in the Middle East in September of last year. He is now working on top end residential projects at present, including town houses and villas. Many are projects which BSBG are designing at the request of developer Emaar – whose attention to detail has impressed him as comparing with anwhere else in the world.

“What I have been most surprised about out here is the quality of the finishes,” he says. “Architecture is really about details and you see a lot of care going into the finished project here in the UAE, especially in boutique hotels and public spaces.”

McLean decided what he wanted to do with his life from an early age. “My father had been in the construction business and I always liked to draw,” he says. “So by the age of 12 I knew I wanted to be an architect. And like, I suppose, 95% of architects I started out making designs in Lego. I quickly realised you get to change people’s lives by your work – something extremely important and worthwhile.”