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Giant golden Dubai Frame opens after almost a decade and a lawsuit

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Dubai’s giant frame of many names has launched after almost 10 years in the making, with the enormous golden rectangle opening its doors on January 1.

Dubbed the “the world’s largest picture frame” – and also referred to as the Berwaz Dubai – the Dubai Frame looms majestically above the city, out of the popular Zabeel Park.

The construction is 150-metres-high, 93-metres-wide and consists of two towers joined by a 100-square-metre viewing platform, with a glass-floored walkway that provides views across the city.

The Dubai Frame.The Dubai Frame.

At the base of the frame there’s an educational exhibit on the history of Dubai’s evolution from fishing village to a glitzy global city. 

The Dubai Frame has not been without controversy. Last year, architect Fernando Donis  launched a lawsuit pointing the finger at the Dubai municipality for breach of contract.

He won the 2008-2009 ThyssenKrupp Elevator Architecture Award for his design for the Frame, in a competition to come up with an iconic building to celebrate the new face of Dubai. Mr Donis claims he has not been paid for the use of his idea, or involved in the project. 

“They took my project, changed the design and built it without me”, said Mr Donis, whose firm won a prize for the design of a 2012 London Olympics emblem, according to their website.

After being awarded the $US100,000 prize, he said he was given a contract that prevented him visiting the building site or promoting the work as his own – and after he refused to sign, the construction went ahead anyway.

Despite the disagreement, Mr Dondi recently told The Guardian that it was “fantastic” to see the project finished. “Of course we would like it to have been much more subtle, with less decor, but it does precisely what I wanted.”

So far it looks to be popular, with the Khaleej Times reporting steady queues of punters keen to visit the new attraction.

It’s also proved a hit on social media sites such as Instagram, with the #zabeelpark and #dubaiframe hashtags providing a parade of tourist shots and selfies showcasing the dramatic structure.

Dubai is known for its outlandish architecture projects, including the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.