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MEYDAN B A N YA N T R E E A L W A D I YA S H O T E L ARMANI HOTEL DUBAI W DOHA P A R K H YA T T J E D D A H I N T ERCO N T I N E N TA L A L BUS TA N ADDRESS DOWNTOWN DUBAI S I X S E N S E S Z I G H I B AY T H E M A K K A H C L O C K R O YA L T O W E R THE MONARCH SUITE R A D I S S O N B L U YA S I S L A N D NORTH 55 M A JID A L F U T TA I M THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY CE VA MCAN B A R C L AY S NOKIA SIEMENS NET WORKS SAMA DUBAI TUNIS SALES CENTRE CI T Y H O S PI TA L AL JAWHARA CENTER DUBAI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE DP WORLD DUBAI METRO

FAVOURITE INTERIOR DESIGNS THE LOF T REFLETS NEOS HAKKASAN SWITCH WORLD TRADE CLUB NOBU DUBAI THE JUAL A SPA OKKU PERSIA PERSIA EMIR AT ES GOL F CLUB C A P I TA L CLU B B A H R A I N MANGO TREE KEN LO’S MEMORIES OF CHINA FIRE OF BRAZIL G O L ES TA N ZUMA DEBA J COUTURE GINA SHOES MIRDIF CIT Y CENTRE MANOLO BL AHNIK, DUBAI MALL A JMAL PERFUMES E T I S A L A T, D U B A I M A L L V IL L A M O DA , AT L A N T IS S*UCE


CONTENTS

FAVOURITE INTERIOR DESIGNS

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HOTELS

Meydan Banyan Tree Al Wadi Yas Hotel Armani Hotel Dubai W Doha Park Hyatt Jeddah InterContinental Al Bustan Address Downtown Dubai Six Senses Zighi Bay The Makkah Clock Royal Tower The Monarch Suite Radisson Blu Yas Island

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OFFICES

North 55 Majid Al Futtaim The Environment Agency CEVA MCAN Barclays Nokia Siemens Networks Sama Dubai Tunis Sales Centre

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PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL City Hospital Al Jawhara Centre Dubai Chamber of Commerce DP World Dubai Metro

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LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT The Loft Reflets Neos Hakkasan Switch World Trade Club Nobu Dubai The Juala Spa Okku Persia Persia Emirates Golf Club Capital Club Bahrain Mango Tree Ken Lo’s Memories of China Fire of Brazil Golestan Zuma

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RETAIL Debaj Couture Gina Shoes Mirdif City Centre Manolo Blahnik, Dubai Mall Ajmal Perfumes Etisalat, Dubai Mall Villa Moda, Atlantis S*uce

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INDE X

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FOREWORD

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 00 971 4 210 8000 Fax: 00 971 4 210 8080 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP BUSINESS PUBLISHING CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Managing Director ITP Business Karam Awad Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham EDITORIAL Senior Group Editor Stuart Matthews Editor Selina Denman Tel: +971 4 210 8502 email: selina.denman@itp.com ADVERTISING Sales Manager Leigh Roche Tel: +971 4 210 8679 email: leigh.roche@itp.com Business Development Manager, Saudi Arabia Rabih Naderi Tel: +966 1 2068697 email: rabih.naderi@itp.com STUDIO Group Art Editor Daniel Prescott Art Editor Simon Cobon PHOTOGRAPHY Director of Photography Sevag Davidian Senior Photographers Efraim Evidor, Jovana Obradovic Staff Photographers Isidora Bojovic, George Dipin, Murrindie Frew, Lyubov Galushko, Shruti Jagdesh, Mosh Lafuente, Ruel Pableo, Rajesh Raghav PRODUCTION & DISTRIBUTION Group Production Manager Kyle Smith Deputy Production Manager Matthew Grant Production Coordinator Nelly Pereira Managing Picture Editor Patrick Littlejohn Distribution Manager Karima Ashwell Distribution Executive Nada Al Alami CIRCULATION Head of Circulation & Database Gaurav Gulati MARKETING Head of Marketing Daniel Fewtrell Marketing Manager Annie Chinoy ITP DIGITAL Director Peter Conmy Internet Applications Manager Mohammed Affan Web Designer Meghna Rao ITP GROUP Chairman Andrew Neil Managing Director Robert Serafin Finance Director Toby Jay Spencer-Davies Board of Directors K M Jamieson, Mike Bayman, Walid Akawi, Neil Davies, Rob Corder, Mary Serafin Circulation Customer Service Tel: +971 4 210 8000

Our favourite 50

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t CID, we are in the privileged position of seeing, experiencing and writing about some of the most inspired interiors in the Middle East. From fancy hotel lobbies and atmospheric restaurants to uber-functional hospital rooms and ultra-progressive offices, we see, on a daily basis, how spaces can impact experiences… and existences. It is a remarkable experience, watching your projects unfold; seeing how an under-nourished brief becomes an inspired sketch before evolving into a rendering and then magically morphing into a fully-fledged interior. It is a complex, painstaking, often frustrating process that is catalysed by your creative passion and stubborn determination. The CID Favourite 50 is a tribute to that passion, and a celebration of your achievements. At the annual CID Awards, we often lament the fact that there can only be a handful of winners, and that countless incredible design schemes have to go unmentioned and unrecognised as a result. So we decided to go back and create a collection of some of the most interesting interiors that we have come across over the last few years. We looked back over old case studies; we studied past award entries; we visited spaces that we hadn’t seen before; and we created a list of our 50 favourite interiors. We’ve tried to include projects from around the region to ensure that this is a true showcase of Middle Eastern design. It’s also important to note that the projects are presented in no particular order. Instead, we’ve divided them into fi ve categories: hotels, offices, public sector and institutional, leisure and entertainment, and retail. Projects have been selected for a multitude of reasons. In many cases we were struck by the originality of the design scheme; in others we were impressed by the designer’s efforts to address sustainability; in some instances we were awed by the designer’s ability to overcome significant challenges. Most of the time, we just loved the way a space made us feel. And, truth be told, even with 50 places to fill, there were still plenty of amazing interiors that we just didn’t have the space to include. We hope you enjoy the selection, nonetheless.

Certain images in this issue are available for purchase. Please contact itpimages@itp.com for further details or visit www.itpimages.com Printed by Emirates Printing Press L.L.C. Dubai Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions Audited by: BPA Worldwide Average Qualified Circulation: 6,944 (July - December 2009) The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances.

SELINA DENMAN, EDITOR selina.denman@itp.com

The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

Published by and © 2010 ITP Business Publishing, a division of the ITP Publishing Group Ltd. Registered in the B.V.I. under Company number 1402846.

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

01. Meydan Hotel DESIGN: TEO A. KHING DESIGN CONSULTANTS

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wo unavoidable influences shaped the design of the Meydan Hotel. The hotel’s unique location – towering over one of the world’s most prestigious racetracks – called for a design scheme infused with equine references. At the same time, Teo A. Khing Design Consultants, the firm responsible for the architecture and interior design of the project, wanted to ensure that the hotel stayed true to its cultural context. As such, the design embraces local influences and traditions, as well as the region’s Bedouin heritage. “The eclectic combination of horse and local culture, with a touch of modernity, created several possibilities for a genuinely unique design which is most appropriate only for the Meydan,” explained Teo Ah Khing, managing director of the Dubai branch of Teo A. Khing Design Consultants. A flowing canopy at the ground level of the hotel, on the trackside, is a modern imitation of an Islamic tapestry wall hanging. In

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this instance, metal is used as a defining element to create a sleek, contemporary interpretation of a highly traditional concept. In the hotel lobby, monumental arching pillars mimic the fronds of the ubiquitous palm tree – a fundamental and recurring motif in local Bedouin culture. “Arabic geometry, which is a regular design feature in the region, was represented by the regular use of horseshoe patterns in the interiors – a contextual reference to the Arabians and to the Meydan racecourse,” Khing said. Throughout the interior, a rich colour scheme was complemented by a palette of luxurious materials. “The colour scheme focused on three main colours, gold, black and silver, which convey a strong sense of richness and modern sophistication. These elements were complemented by the warm tones of fabrics, leather and timber. The combination of textured and smoothed surfaces produced an eclectic design that is modern, timeless and elegant,” said Khing. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

02. Banyan Tree Al Wadi DESIGN: ARCHITR AVE DESIGN AND PL ANNING

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

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hen it came to selecting a location for their first ever resort, the founders of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts settled on a 600-acre site in Phuket, Thailand – vast swathes of picturesque coastal land punctuated by lagoons of the most intense cobalt blue. It soon transpired, however, that the extreme intensity of the blue had little to do with the marvels of Mother Nature and was, in fact, the result of extensive pollution from the site’s previous tenant, a tin mine. Rather than walking away, the founders dedicated themselves to cleansing the acid-laden soil and planted more than 7,000 trees, painstakingly transforming an ecological wasteland into the environmentally-sensitive site of the first ever Banyan Tree resort. The company’s inherent respect for natural environments is reiterated in the Banyan Tree Al Wadi in Ras Al Khaimah, the brand’s debut property in the UAE. First and foremost, the Ras Al Khaimah resort was designed to blend unassumingly into its striking desert backdrop, noted David Barclay, assistant vice president of design, Architrave Design and Planning, the design arm of the Banyan Tree

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Group. “At Banyan Tree Al Wadi, the interface between the desert and the resort is intended to be as seamless as possible, providing guests with the experience of staying ‘in’ the desert,” he said. Consisting of 70 Al Rimal deluxe pool villas and 31 Al Khaimah and Al Sahari tented pool villas, the resort sits on 100 hectares of desert plains, 60% of which is dedicated to a nature reserve housing indigenous wildlife and flora. “Designed to retain the natural feel, topography and vegetation of the desert, the pool villas are constructed on valley floors between existing dunes, thus

maintaining a degree of privacy and consequently preserving the site naturally,” said Barclay. Every Banyan Tree resort has its own distinct sense of character, and the Ras Al Khaimah property is no different. It is the first Banyan Tree with its own nature reserve, horse and camel stables, water home, bird hide and falconry mews. The emphasis is on creating a symbiotic relationship between the resort and its physical surroundings, while embracing local influences and the natural quirks of the selected site. The resort, which has been dubbed ‘an oasis of indulgence’,

has very consciously adopted Middle Eastern design influences. Customised geometric Arabesque motifs are reiterated in light fittings, fretwork, timber and glassreinforced concrete panelling. “To enhance the sense of adventure, we used elements of typical regional architecture,” Barclay said. But while the design ethos is predominantly Arabian, there are also subtle Asian undertones throughout, as the ultimate aim was to create a delicately balanced design that was respectful of the hotel’s distinctive, Middle Eastern setting, but also paid homage to the company’s Asian roots.

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03. The Yas Hotel DESIGN: JESTICO + WHILES AND RICHARDSON SADEKI

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uilt in a mere 22 months, the iconic Yas Hotel is the brainchild of New York architects, Asymptote Architecture, and designers Jestico + Whiles and Richardson Sadeki. The first hotel in the world to span a racetrack, The Yas Hotel’s extraordinary 5,000 LED panel gridshell drapes it in a vibrant shroud of lights. This 219m expanse of sweeping steel and 5,096 diamond-shaped glass panels creates a ‘veil’ that flows over the two hotel towers. The hotel consists of 499 rooms and 14 entertainment and dining options, set in two separate buildings connected by a bridge overlooking the Yas Marina Circuit. Inside the hotel, bespoke furniture, created to fit the buildings’ unique shape and character, makes for highly distinctive spaces. Bathrooms are housed in a frameless glass box, mounted with fine silk sheer panels. Public spaces flow together easily,

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with the filtered lights from the gridshell highlighting a contemporary design scheme. The lobby features a modern interpretation of the Arabian mashrabiya, where lightweight white latticed walls map out private zones. The diamond patterns of the lattice cast intricate, decorative shadows on to their surroundings. In contrast, the upholstery is deep purple and indigo, created using pigmented colours and stains, rather than flat dye, to create a very natural feel. The Yas Hotel features two concept bars by Georges V, the visionaries behind the internationallyrecognised Buddha Bar brand. The bars boast prime locations: Skylite is perched on the rooftop of the main tower and Rush is set in the adrenaline-evoking bridge above the Grand Prix circuit. Intimate dining can be found in the hotel’s eight restaurants, which serve everything from seafood to pan Arabic and contemporary Asian cuisine.

FAVOURITE 50 | Commercial Interior Design

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

04. Armani Hotel Dubai DESIGN: GIORGIO ARMANI

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FAVOURITE 50 | Commercial Interior Design

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

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rom the A-shaped swimming pool to the capital ‘A’ carved into each and every sugar cube, Giorgio Armani made his mark on every inch of his debut hotel. This relentless reiteration of the brand starts in the lobby of the Armani Hotel Dubai, where a series of bronze columns arch overhead, meeting at a point to create a towering collection of artful As. Beneath the arches, mirroring their shape, lie two oversized sofas. The combined result is a consciously contemporary, highly fashionable take on the traditional majlis.

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The A-shaped arches are a recurring theme – they reappear on the hotel’s logo, and then again, as a creative alternative to run-ofthe-mill table legs. The message is clear: this is an Armani hotel in more than just name. The hotel exists as a largerthan-life showcase of Giorgio Armani’s creative breadth. The world-famous fashion designer is reported to have overseen every single element of the design, from soap bars to suites. In fact, getting the shape and colour of the soap right took a rumoured 22 months, and was inspired by a pebble that Armani

came across whilst on a beach in his native Italy. “I had not been involved with construction itself but I followed every single step in design and style,” said Armani during the grand opening of the hotel on April 27. Fino International was enlisted to transform Armani’s vision into a workable reality. “Almost everything was doable – it just took a while and some real guts. Difficult decisions had to be made. We had to translate it into a constructible site that met the standards of the world’s tallest building,” said Talal Saeed, MD, Fino International. Armani Hotel Dubai occupies floors concourse to eight, as well as levels 38 and 39 of Burj Khalifa. The property consists of 160 rooms and suites, complemented by 144 private Armani residences, located on floors nine to 16. When he was first approached by Emaar Properties to design a hotel, Armani questioned whether he was the right man for the job – given his minimalist sensibilities. Armani recalled saying: “Are you sure you want me? I believe in minimalism, less is more. And when you looked at what was happening here [in Dubai five years ago] you would have thought exactly the opposite. It was a very different style”.

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

05. W Doha DESIGN: UNITED DESIGNERS

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n the owners of the W Doha Hotel & Residences, United Designers found a client willing to take risks, push boundaries and, most importantly, invest in good design. A rarity indeed, noted Ian Bayliss, the company’s creative director. Adding to the sense of responsibility that came with working for such a trusting, open-minded client was the pressure of introducing the innovative W brand in the Middle East. “It was a big responsibility. We were looking after a brand that we want to work for again, we were new in the region and we were looking after our client’s money. It did weigh heavily on us,” Bayliss said. Inspiring, iconic, innovative and influential are the words thatStarwood Hotels & Resorts uses to describe its W brand. Or, more philosophically, ‘a storybook encounter of style and soul’. United Designers’ job was to translate the brand’s inherent sense of whimsy, playfulness and cutting-edge style in a Doha setting – and the end result is bold, lively and infused with energy. For a start, the design doesn’t shy away from colour. Taking a detour from the muted beiges and off-whites so often used in a hospitality setting, United Designers called upon a varied and rich palette. “We were determined to get some colour in there, and some vibrancy, especially in the restaurants. For the hotel, we have a palette of greys and blues and silvers, so it is understated

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where it needs to be calm. Where you need to have fun – which is what a W hotel is all about – we used reds and oranges and glossy surfaces to get some energy in,” Bayliss detailed. Setting the tone for the rest of the hotel is the Living Room – ‘W speak’ for lobby. A three-storey space with mezzanine levels, the Living Room is important not only because it introduces the W brand, but also because it physically links a range of other areas. The height of the space was initially quite daunting, Bayliss noted. As a solution, he drew inspiration from the most local of local sources. “I found this mosque where over the prayer area they had suspended these beautiful light fittings in a circle, just to create a bit more of a human scale and make the prayer area more comfortable. We studied those pendant light fittings and redesigned them for the W.” This is one example of how traditional influences were incorporated into what seems, on the surface, to be an entirely contemporary design. “It was important to us not to just come and impose ourselves,” Bayliss said. The aim was to understand the cultural heritage of Doha and make sure that the W slotted into the overall landscape, whilst simultaneously bringing something new to the city. “I think Doha is a very cutting-edge and contemporary city. It is very forward thinking and we wanted to tap into that,” Bayliss noted.

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

06. Park Hyatt Jeddah DESIGN: GILLES QUIFFET

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et on reclaimed land on the shores of the Red Sea, Park Hyatt Jeddah is influenced both by its waterside location and by the old town of Jeddah. “The multi-faceted resort is a remarkable feat of engineering that has reclaimed prime waterfront land from the Red Sea, while retaining the delicate surrounding marine life. The 34.5 acre complex offers sweeping views of the sea and the world-famous King Fahd fountain, with its over 1,000fthigh plume of water,” commented Rady M. Rady, general manager, Park Hyatt Jeddah. The property is located minutes away from Jeddah’s central business district, but presents itself as a serene, self-enclosed haven. In contrast to the high-rise buildings that characterise Jeddah’s skyline, the 142-room resort is a low-lying, five-star retreat. The main hotel is complemented by 10,000m² of spa, wellness, meeting and F&B facilities. The Lazurde Meetings & Events Centre

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features 2,500m² of meeting and banqueting facilities, and is accessible via a dedicated entrance. According to Rady, the interiors of the hotel promote the Park Hyatt ethos of “understated elegance and personalised, luxurious style”. French interior designer Gilles Quiffet and architect Patrice Hart were responsible for translating this brand promise into a property that would appeal to affluent business and leisure guests visiting the rapidly growing city of Jeddah. When it came to the design, Quiffet and Hart created a residential-style scheme that fuses European and Arab-Andalusian influences. An interplay between the modern and the traditional defines the Park Hyatt Jeddah. “The beautiful gardens and striking interior design create a haven of understated elegance. Modern artwork and designs merge with traditional ArabAndalusian features, setting a new standard for contemporary luxury,” Rady elaborated.

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

07. Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat DESIGN: HEIT Z PARSONS SADEK

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ompleted at the beginning of 2009 and undertaken by Heitz Parsons Sadek (HPS), a complete renovation of Al Bustan Palace InterContinental Muscat demanded a design scheme that wouldn’t be dwarfed by the reputation, stature and dimensions of the property itself. An Omani landmark set against a dramatic backdrop, the hotel called for truly striking design statements, and HPS responded accordingly. For a start, a 3.5m crystal fountain was introduced in the atrium – the last fountain of a comparable size having been built in the 1930s. “Another exceptional design element is the completely authentic Preciosa Austrian crystal chandelier that glitters 13m in length in the atrium dome. The visual impact of this piece is unparalleled to anything that has ever been seen in a hotel property of any

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kind,” said Ayman Sadek, principal designer at HPS. The designers recognised that guests would enter the property with high levels of expectation, and aimed to impress with contemporary reinterpretations of traditional forms and textures. “Classic lines and forms in furniture and lighting received contemporary restyling, and colour palettes are definitively vibrant yet palatial throughout,” Sadek said. “The property is a destination and therefore guests have a certain level of expectation relating to the interiors. HPS redefined in many ways what it takes to successfully provide luxury and opulence,” Sadek continued. “Traditional themes are more abstracted and recreated so that the guest remains connected but at the same time intrigued. The common thread throughout the project is the feeling of remarkable elegance,” he added.

Local influences presented a major source of inspiration. “There are strong undertones of traditional Middle Eastern flavours in the interiors but the applications and interpretations are all new, fresh and contemporary. HPS felt that it was very necessary to use the culture as a foundation from which to build a story for guests to immerse themselves in. “The magnetism of Middle Eastern culture, shapes and feelings provided an invaluable tool from which ideas and concepts could be developed to a higher level.” Custom-designed furniture, lighting, rugs and carpets, handmade wood carvings, mother of pearl inlay, gold leaf and unique crystal details all contribute to the overall grandeur. These were complemented by Crema Marfil marble, cappuccino onyx, gold alabaster and local Omani stones, as well as high-quality fabrics and silks from Europe and Asia. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

08. The Address Downtown Dubai DESIGN: WA INTERNATIONAL

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

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s development giant Emaar’s first venture into hotel management, The Address Downtown Dubai had to act as a larger-thanlife showcase of the company’s hospitality ethos and ambition. Claire Craig and Helen Skea of WA International were responsible for the interiors, and developed a high-end contemporary scheme infused with subtle Arabian twists. “What we tried to do was create something that was not completely minimal and modern, because it would date. “It is warm and sophisticated and quirky in many ways, but it is not over the top – and in ten year’s time it is still going to look like it fits into the building,” explained Helen Skea, associate at WA International. The region’s rugged mountains, undulating sand dunes, stunning seascapes and striking sunsets acted as a basic inspiration point for the entire design. Golds and bronzes interplay with reds and oranges, and are infused with flashes of blue to create a palette that mimics natural landscapes from across the region. “We used the desert landscape, wadis, dunes and mountains as inspiration. The whole concept was a contemporary take on the

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Arabian landscape. Everything is quite subdued. We’ve tried to keep that through the background colour palette. Where we’ve got more drama, like in the bars and restaurants, we’ve introduced silvers and blacks, in the form of Saint Laurent marble, chrome and glass,” Skea said. The overall shape of the building had a fundamental impact on the interior design – and was the source of some major challenges. “Because of the shape of the building, there were 44 different guest room types. And they were not slightly different but majorly different, so drawing packagewise for the team, it was a real challenge,” Skea revealed. The curvaceous configuration of the building, which was free of sharp lines and edges, warranted an interior where organic and undulating design elements dominated. Fluidity was key. Public spaces are open and flowing, with separate areas blending seamlessly into one another. Even the boundaries between outside and inside were blurred, with the external landscaping seeming to flow into the building in a conch-like wave that almost ushers guests in. Textures also play on the natural, organic theme to create

depth, warmth and movement. “We were trying to emphasise the natural elements with the use of different materials – from the polished palasandro marble floors, backlit bronze metallic undulating wall features, rich fabrics and dark textured woods,” said Skea. The number of wall hangings was kept to a minimum but the pieces that do feature are characterised by their three-dimensional nature. “Where there are works of art, large sculptural and textural statement pieces have been commissioned, made of natural elements such as wood and shells, which maintains the organic theme and adds extra depth to the space,” said Skea. While wall art was kept to a minimum, bold, oversized sculptures and exotic lighting features were introduced throughout the property to add a healthy dose of additional drama. Glass sculptures by the British artist Amanda Brisbane complement bespoke pieces from the acclaimed Alan Mayburgh to inject splashes of colour and quirkiness. Light fi xtures were custommade by Preciosa, the Czech manufacturer of genuine Bohemian-cut crystal products, and are one of the hotel project’s most striking features.

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09. Six Senses Hideaway Zighi Bay DESIGN: SIX SENSES HOTELS & RESORTS

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

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estled in a hidden fold of Oman’s rugged Musandam region, Six Senses Hideaway Zighi Bay is quietly challenging conventional perceptions of luxury. The resort is a rare example of how high-end hospitality can seamlessly co-exist with social responsibility and environmental sensitivity. It is also an important example of how a design can embrace local influences and sustainable principles without sacrificing on quality and, more importantly, economic viability. A key focus of the Six Senses Group is to create resorts that are in complete harmony with their environment and natural surroundings. Resort size, location, and topographic and thermal conditions are carefully considered before a resort is built, and the company is constantly exploring new ways to improve its carbon and water footprint. “With this in mind, Six Senses Hideaway Zighi Bay was designed to blend in with the rugged natural surroundings of the Musandam region, combining the element of luxury to deliver a rustic chic decor. To do this, rather than using conventional materials, Six Senses opted for traditional ones such as date

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palms, limestone and timber, and used traditional building styles (wattle) to reflect the surrounding indigenous village style of the Omani peninsula,” said Tara Hammond, environment and social responsibilities officer, Six Senses Hideaway Zighi Bay. “The entire property is built using masonry walls which are left unplastered, adding a rustic flavour. The interiors have stucco walls, mosaic floors created from pieces of local limestone, and the villas are all fitted with furniture constructed with wood, all made onsite by local craftsmen, and left unembellished to give a

wholesome, organic and sustainable look,” she continued. The resort consists of a series of low-rise buildings set on an unadulterated bay flanked on all sides by a dramatic, jagged mountain-scape. A restaurant snuggles into the mountain-side, some 293m above sea level. “The signature restaurant has been designed and constructed to blend in with the mountains without damaging the mountain rock and ruining the aesthetics or interfering with the biodiversity of the local environment. This gives guests a unique opportunity to experience a dramatic dining

experience, without causing disturbance to the surroundings.” Unsurprisingly, the company was committed to sourcing materials locally. The limestone used for the floors was extracted from the surrounding Hajar mountains, while date palms, known locally as ‘jareed’ were sourced from local plantations in Dibba. Materials that could not be found locally were sourced from neighbouring countries such as India, from responsible, certified suppliers. The end result is effortlessly Omani – ceilings are constructed in traditional flat-beamed style, and date palm lattices make up shutters, doors, partitions and roofs. These are entwined with ‘jareed’ to allow inside temperatures to drop slightly, offering welcome respite in the hotter months. “Luxury is not necessarily material possessions such as goldplated marble bathrooms, but what busy city business people often lack – space and time,” Hammond pointed out. “So, by offering space in a natural environment and time to enjoy it, guests get their luxury. When our competition catch on and see the success of our resorts I think this approach won’t be so rare anymore; it’s just a matter of time,” she predicted.

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10. Makkah Clock Royal Tower DESIGN: RICHMOND INTERNATIONAL

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ith a 1,005-room hotel project, size and scale dominate the agenda. So when Richmond International was commissioned to design the Makkah Clock Royal Tower, a Fairmont Hotel, the scale of the project was a key driver in the design process – the significance of its location was another. The holiest city in the Islamic world, Makkah’s primary industry is to support the annual Hajj pilgrimage, which alone attracts up to three million people per year. The hotel forms part of the Abraj Al Bait complex, which incorporates seven towers and is adjacent to the Masjid al Haram mosque and the Kaaba. The Makkah Clock Royal Tower complex includes over 500 shopping outlets and food courts, luxury apartments on levels 30 to 52, five ‘Royal’ floors, and the 1,005-room Fairmont Hotel,

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which covers a further 28 floors. There are a total of 76 elevators. Facilitating the movement of throngs of people was one of the most important elements of the design, explained Terry McGillicuddy, designer, Richmond International. “A major challenge was to understand, integrate and accommodate the circulation of a very large number of guests and visitors who need to access and, more importantly, exit the building, particularly during the calls to prayer,” he said. The spiritual significance of the site also fundamentally impacted the interior design. “The importance of this religious location was a key factor in the creative process; the balance and simplicity of the traditional and modern Arabic design of the interior reflects the spiritual nature of the location and the sense of humility surrounding the Haram,” McGillicuddy pointed out.

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

11. The Monarch Suite DESIGN: ROYA INTERNATIONAL

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ot only is The Monarch Suite at The Monarch Dubai the Middle East’s largest suite for sale at 1130m², it has also held the title of World’s Leading Suite, as awarded by the World Travel Awards, for two consecutive years. But in spite of these accolades, the suite, which was designed by Ròya International, remains one of Dubai’s best kept secrets. Located on the 32nd and 33rd floors of the hotel, and accessible only with a special key card, the suite is spread across two floors. This is a major asset, explained Bertrand Margerie, The Monarch Dubai’s executive assistant manager, because it means guests can keep one area private for their family and one area public for business and entertaining. The suite is designed to promote a sense of immense space, calm, relaxation and luxury. Although there are vibrant fabrics and striking lighting, there is none of the gaudy opulence that one might expect of the region’s largest suite.

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Margerie explained why. “It was designed as a private apartment for the owner, however, he considered the potential of money from that positioning and unique setting at Number One, Sheikh Zayed Road [and decided] to leave it for rent,” he revealed. “Our typical guests are individuals with very high incomes, company CEOs, directors, owners and royalty,” Margerie continued. While there are a lot of Arabian influences, the suite offers a very peaceful and understated design, in keeping with the ambience of the rest of the hotel. “It’s a mix between outside and inside. It is very vast. I have always associated volume and space with luxury. Its not overpriced as well, in my opinion,” he said. And of the fact that the suite seems to keep a very low profile? That is quite deliberate, said Margerie. The hotel has only used The Monarch Suite as a venue to hold a handful of events itself and it has only recently been opened for very high-profile product launches. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: HOTELS

12. Radisson Blu Hotel Yas Island DESIGN: AUKET T FIT ZROY ROBINSON

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multi-layered, multidimensional lighting sculpture hovers over the lobby of the Radisson Blu Hotel Abu Dhabi Yas Island. Composed of linear, copper-coloured components suspended at varying heights, it is a contemporary take on the traditional chandelier, explained Anne Kuzyk, head of interiors at Aukett Fitzroy Robinson, the company responsible for the architecture and interiors of the Radisson Blu and its sister Park Inn property. A smaller version of this ‘contemporary chandelier’ hangs above the check-in counter. Like its more sizeable counterpart, the underside of the structure is mirrored. “The idea is to reflect the views of the island back into the space,” Kuzyk pointed out. This idea, of bringing the outside in, is a cornerstone of the overall design. Barriers between the indoors and outdoors have been

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systematically broken down, with an emphasis on inviting natural light and panoramic views deep into the interior. With mangrove-covered sandbanks, the grassy expanse of the Links golf course, and the unending blue of the Arabian Gulf all to be found on the hotel’s doorstep, Kuzyk had a rich palette of natural influences to draw upon. So, in Business Class rooms, a textured headboard made out of beige plaster mimics the motion of sand dunes. The room’s colour palette is inspired by the sunset, and by the continually-shifting colour of the sand. “We’ve used all very natural influences, but in a very contemporary way.” Another striking feature of the interior is its refusal to shy from colour. From walls and floors to bed covers and accessories, spaces are infused with vibrant hues. “People look better in colour and so do designs,” Kuzyk maintained.

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

13. North 55 DESIGN: BLUEHAUS

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

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ven the business cards for Dubai-based creative agency North 55 are free from corporate pomp. The back of each card is different – the company’s employees are free to fill the space with the graphic of their choice. It is this kind of emphasis on personal expression and creative freedom, unfettered by overrestrictive brand standards, that characterises the North 55 offices. An independent print and online design agency with some 16 members of staff, North 55 had been operating out of Dubai Media City since 2000 before deciding to invest in its own space in Grosvenor Business Tower. Having secured its own premises, North 55’s owners were keen to invest in an interior that would communicate its creative flair. “We wanted to do something a little more fun; something brighter, a little more creative,” said Craig Falconer, creative partner, North 55. “The last thing we wanted was a standard, modular office or a cookie-cutter solution. If your interior doesn’t reflect your personality, it’s hard to sell yourself as a creative agency,” he continued. Falconer and his partner worked closely with Dubai-based interior design firm Bluehaus to translate

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the North 55 ethos into a funky workspace. “They had an idea, right from the beginning, of what they wanted. A lot of people say creatives working with creatives is tough, but I think in this case, we actually made a good team,” said partner, Bluehaus, Ben Corrigan. From the very outset, the message is clear – this is no ordinary, run-of-the-mill interior and no ordinary, run-of-the mill company. The reception area is dominated by a handful of very strong, visually-striking design statements: a Smeg fridge emblazoned with the Union Jack; funky light fixtures; and an exposed brickwork wall

with ‘North 55’ graffitied across it. “The graffiti was a really nice touch,” said Corrigan. “They commissioned it from a guy in Canada. The old brickwork was another idea of theirs. They wanted to have that feel of maybe a backstreet London practice.” From the reception, a rainbow arch leads into an informal seating area that looks straight into the main office. Falconer was keen to avoid the sterility of a ‘dentiststyle’ waiting room. “We have no problem with clients coming in and seeing what we do. It was important that they were ushered into a seating area that overlooks

the working area. The clients are part of what goes on in this office,” he explained. This emphasis on transparency is reiterated in the extremely openplan design of the main office area. “There is a real sense of openness. We wanted to make it very open plan because of the way the work flows. We have a very fluid, borderless work flow,” Falconer said. “We also have a fairly flat management structure; everyone is entitled to a strong opinion. This is reflected in the space. Nobody is vying for the corner office. I cringe when I go into offices where your rank is defined by your furniture.”

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

14. Majid Al Futtaim Headquarters DESIGN: WOODS BAGOT

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amed ‘Office Design of the Year’ at the 2009 CID Awards, the Majid Al Futtaim headquarters are elegant, hightech and drenched in natural light. Designed by Woods Bagot, the offices cover ten floors in a tower

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built specifically for the privatelyowned retail property developer. The project represented a significant culture change for the organisation. The aim was to create a more open working environment with fewer closed offices. This was complemented by dedicated team meeting rooms on every floor, and open breakout areas. To reinforce a sense of adaptability, there are identical layouts on all office floors, to maximise opportunities for future expansion and team collaboration. There is also a dedicated floor for public meetings, and a dedicated floor for training facilities. The design follows the natural curvature of the building façade. This was central to the planning of all custom items, from the breakouts areas and partitions to the joinery detailing. “It’s a project we are all proud of,” said Duncan Parkinson, principal and leader of the workplace sector, Woods Bagot.

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

15. The Environment Agency DESIGN: RW ARMSTRONG

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t is fitting, of course, that the offices of The Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi would be inspired by the topography of the UAE. The sabkha, or salt flats, that line the coast; the dominant desert landscape; the mountainous terrain that snakes along the Omani border; the dunes of the Empty Quarter; and the islands that hug the coastline; all had an influence on this interior design scheme. RW Armstrong was responsible for the interiors of the three-storey office. “The project brief was for 12,000m² of office space. The agency was interested in a design that reflected its values and that showcased the UAE’s environment, but was also sustainable,” explained Mona Salem, senior associate and programmes director, RW Armstrong. As a highly prominent entity, The Environment Agency receives a high number of dignitaries from around the world, Salem explained.

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Furthermore, the offices are located in Abu Dhabi’s prestigious Al Mamoura Building, which presented an additional incentive to get the design absolutely right. Home to the Mubadala Development Company headquarters, Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council, and various other high-profile inhabitants, the Al Mamoura building is no stranger to good interior design, Salem pointed out. RW Armstrong introduced two distinct themes on each of the office’s three floors. Each theme was characterised by a specific set of forms, textures and colour schemes, which shaped the flooring, ceilings, façade and furniture. And throughout the design, the focus was very much on sustainability. “The office has a luxurious feel, but it’s still sustainable. We used a lot of recycled materials, environmentally-friendly materials, and materials with a low carbon imprint,” said Salem. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

16. CEVA Logistics DESIGN: BAFCO

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ocated in a striking pyramid-shaped structure, the CEVA Logistics office and warehouse in Dubai needed an interior that would match its edgy exterior. It also had to be an open-plan, collaborative environment where individuals and teams could perform with ease and efficiency. According to Nasim Eshghi, senior

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designer at Bafco, the company responsible for the design and fit-out of the new offices, the scheme had to facilitate four main work modes: focus, collaboration between clients and departments, learning and socialising. “CEVA Logistics is one of the largest global logistics companies in the world. Their workplace is much like a warehouse where every point of contact is an opportunity to be efficient, secure and reliable,” said Eshghi. “The workplace of CEVA, as designed by BAFCO, is focused not on pushing paper and individualised tasks; it is designed to promote a collaborative environment where individuals and teams create greater organisational value and higher business performance.” An open-plan environment was developed using Spyder workstations by Shetug. Freestanding and able to neatly connect and share electrical and wire management, the Shetug was a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution, Eshgi explained.

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

17. MCAN DESIGN: IMAGINATION

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hen Imagination was called in to design new offices for branding agency, MCAN, it immediately recognised the importance of creating a space that would inspire prospective clients and employees alike. “Not only did the environment have to impress MCAN’s clientele, it had to inspire the creative team working within,” noted Alfred Johnson, managing partner, Imagination. “MCAN’s identity as a branding consultancy had to show in its interior. The company’s highend clientele had to be assured of the company’s creative depth as soon as they walked in,” he said. The brief was for a transparent, modern, luxurious, Arabianinspired environment, and Johnson started by capitalising on the view. Set on the 21st floor, the offices boast striking views over Dubai’s Sheikh Zayed Road and The Palm, Jumeirah. Johnson then opted for rich materials and deep, luxuriant colours. “We planned the space as a journey that the clients are

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led on by MCAN. The chesterfield leather perforated wall cladding displays their completed project logos, while the graceful deep brown herringbone parquet floor was blended with the sunset onyx column and bar cladding, complemented by quarter-cut ebony veneer,” he explained. “The floor-to-ceiling curved glass was conceptualised to enhance the space that we worked with, and to create an element of transparency and flexibility that MCAN rightly portrays as a firm.” This was complemented by an intelligent approach to space planning, to create an office that is both highly functional and aesthetically striking. “The combination of materials, complemented by the space planning of the work environment, brought about an original creation,” said Johnson. The centrepiece is the reception area, where a backlit, ‘egizaino’ onyx column dominates, bringing “an aesthetically pleasing element to an otherwise mundane necessity”, Johnson concluded. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

18. Barclays DESIGN: R AREFORM BR ANDING

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ccording to its website, Rareform Branding creates extraordinary expressions of visual and verbal language that stop people in their tracks. Perhaps not the kind of creativity that one would immediately associate with a bank, but when Barclays needed interiors for its new regional headquarters and retail banking branches in Emaar Square, Downtown Dubai, it called on the services of Rareform’s Dubai branch. The initial brief was for 10,000m² of space extending across four floors of offices, as well as Premier and Barclays retail branches on the ground floor. One challenge with a project of such scope and size was keeping up with the rapid growth of the business, which continued unabated as the project unfolded, noted Guy Willis, design director, Rareform Branding Dubai. “A staff matrix was provided at an early stage but due to the expanding nature of the business, over what was a significant development period, there was a certain amount of flex and variation in staff numbers over the course of the project,” he noted. While the finished product is characterised by its simplicity, quality is the resounding theme that runs throughout. Understated, elegant, practical and affordable are the fundamental concepts that Willis worked around to create a space that sets itself apart by not trying too hard.

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“A lot of projects are over detailed for the sake of it, when keeping things simple has always been my motto. There are no superfluous or frivolous details within the project. All elements are there for a reason. God is in the details, they say, and I’d like to think we provide clean, logical solutions to any client’s brief. The wow factor comes from the juxtaposition of materials and considered detailing.” In keeping with the understated elegance of the project, Willis worked with a muted colour palette for fi xed elements and injected splashes of colour and life into the mix with loose furnishings, fresh flower displays, accessories and unique artwork. Furniture selection was the result of extensive research. “We visited a series of suppliers in Europe and eventually went with Bene for the desking system and Herman Miller for the chairs.” As is to be expected, ergonomic considerations impacted every design decision, Willis explained. One noteable characteristic of the offices is the range of formal and informal meeting points built into the design. This, Willis maintained, is reflective of a prevalent design trend making its mark across the globe. “I think, generally, businesses are more aware these days of the value of design, and of the fact that productivity and staff attraction and retention are greatly enhanced by the quality of the environment,” he said.

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

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Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

19. Nokia Siemens Networks DESIGN: BLUEHAUS

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he Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) office in Dubai Internet City is an innovative workspace designed to support a whole new way of working, focusing on networking, mobility and interaction. The design came out of an extensive investigation into the work styles of employees at NSN. Employees were classified into three categories: ‘mobile’, ‘campus mobile’ and ‘desk-based’, and allocated space according to function. The 6,000m² facility was completed in July 2009 and Cathy Ingram, senior design manager at Bluehaus, oversaw the project. “Through research, NSN discovered that the emerging way of working is varied and not as rigid as in the past,” she explained. “NSN discovered that on average, workstations were occupied 47% of the time, with people spending one third of their day in meetings. In an office designed on

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hierarchy, 10% of the staff ‘own’ 20% of office space. “A CEO, for example, may be given a large office, a PA, a private meeting room and a lounge. What NSN found was that these people are actually the most ‘mobile’, spending significant time out of the office in meetings or travelling,” Ingram continued. “In the changing economic climate, office space is becoming premium; if you can save money by looking at how much space you really need, companies can really make a difference to their bottom line,” she noted. In practice, this means that desk sharing is implemented and every workstation is cleared at the end of the day so that it can be used by anyone the next day. And with desk space reduced to a bare necessity, there is more space for hot desks, phone rooms, meetings rooms, informal breakout spaces and lounges.

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FAVOURITE 50: OFFICES

20. Med Gate Sales Centre DESIGN: KCA INTERNATIONAL

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escribed by KCA International as “a collage of style and proportion”, Sama Dubai’s Med Gate Sales Centre in Tunis, Tunisia, features a rich palette of materials and textures. Wood and stone are combined with colours more commonly associated with textiles, jewels and precious metals, to create a rich design that blends modern day finishes with age-old techniques. In the reception lobby, KCA International drew upon Mediterranean influences, combining them with Arabic elements to create a contemporary space that captures the essence of modern Tunisia. “Taking a simple, recognisable motif, we play with scale and texture to create a destination statement. The introduction of modern materials such as glass and nickel adds a subtle suggestion of the contemporary nature which dictates the first impression

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of the sales centre,” according to KCA International. In the main sales area, Moorish arches and vaulted ceilings in light tones of plaster introduce impressive scale. Decorative elements frame entries and define levels. Modern grandeur is coupled with intimate spaces and repetition of form, before guests arrive in an open forum defined by vaulted ceilings pierced with sky lights. Multi-faceted lighting fixtures bring decorative detail to the simple volume of the model area. Meanwhile, ‘dealing rooms’ promote a sense of intimacy. Pattern and relief feature in the flooring, ceilings and wall panels, while furniture relates to the gentle curve theme seen elsewhere. The VIP area draws upon richness of colour, form and light, translated into a curvilinear room where jewels and beads of silver shimmer behind majlis seating adorned with velvet and silks. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

21. The City Hospital DESIGN: ELLERBE BECKET

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ealthcare design often single-mindedly focuses on the comfort of patients – entirely forgetting the distraught families, friends and carers that surround them. So when Ellerbe Becket was called in to design The City Hospital, the first multi-disciplinary healthcare provider in Dubai Healthcare City, it decided to address this discrepancy. As a result, the sixth floor of the hospital features a fully-enclosed health club, work-out area and health and beauty facility that offers hair styling, make up and massage therapies. A pool area has been designed to offer a relaxed leisure setting, with a hot tub and plunge pool at either end. “The family is often a key part of the care-giving support in this region and there is often inadequate attention paid to their needs and interests,” explained Jim Lewison, interior design director, Ellerbe Becket, Minneapolis. These leisure facilities also highlight how healthcare design is

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increasingly calling upon hospitality design for inspiration. With The City Hospital, the aim was to create a unique, top-end facility, with finishes, materials and retail and F&B facilities to rival a five-star resort. The 353,900ft² hospital was designed to appeal to international patients, as well as UAE locals who might otherwise travel to the UK or US for their healthcare. “The interior design is more contemporary and international in style. This communicates to the client that the healthcare provided will be world-class and will include all the latest technologies and practices,” said Lewison. Ensuring that the project was culturally sensitive called for extensive research, as well as workshops with the owner and close communication with in-house staff of a similar cultural background. “One challenge was finding the correct balance between culturally sensitive design while reflecting the more progressive and forward-looking attitude of Dubai,” Lewison maintained. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

22. Al Jawhara Centre DESIGN: ENRICO BOT TA

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ahrain-based Enrico Botta Architecture and Interior Design was responsible for designing an auditorium, pre-function hall and VIP areas within the Al Jawhara Centre for Molecular Medicine and Inherited Disorders. “The architectural concept represents a mother (the main building) embracing a child (the auditorium). In developing the interior design concept, this was taken into account. “This subtle metaphore was maintained by keeping continuity amongst the different spaces, both in terms of materials as well as in terms of lines and visual perception,” said Enrico Botta, founder of Enrico Botta Architecture and Interior Design. “The design of the access corridor and pre-function hall suggests an organic and concave shape as a metaphore for an umbilical chord connecting the mother and child. The lines are thus smooth curves flowing freely on the floor, marking the transition among the different

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materials and avoiding any abrupt transition between the spaces.” The same lines characterise the ceiling and add to the general perception of the entrance and reception areas as a spatial continuum. The circular shape of the room and the organic dome-like shape of the ceiling contribute in making the space overwhelmingly welcoming. Moving on from the prefunction hall, visitors experience the “soothing embrace” of the auditorium, Botta explained. “The utmost attention was given to the study of sound reverberation to ensure the best speech intelligibility in this space, which is designed for scientific activity. The ceiling and walls combine technical efficiency with a design that wants to address and preserve the warm, feminine feel of the entire project.” From the gentle contrast of the colour scheme, to the tangible quietness and the soft, gentlyperfumed Poltrona Frau leather of the 500 seats, the auditorium was designed to offer its visitors a comfortable, enriching experience.

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

23. Dubai Chamber of Commerce DESIGN: BLUEHAUS

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hen Bluehaus was commissioned to oversee the refurbishment of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce offices, it had one clear objective: to create the best chamber in the world, a facility that could comfortably compete with the likes of London and New York. Bluehaus’ scope of work included workplace consultancy, design, design co-ordination and project management. The project – which covers 12 floors and a total area of 9,000m² – was carried out in a series of phases, in order to minimise disruption. The space was triangular in shape, which created challenges, but also opportunities. The main challenge was utilising the floor space to its maximum efficiency. At the same time, the shape presented the opportunity for the lift-lobby to open up into a deep central area, and encouraged a

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sub-division of the space into two separate wings. It also allowed for the creation of a central hub, which encouraged maximised interaction. As part of the revamp, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce also wanted to promote a more transparent and communicative working environment. Bluehaus responded with centralised break-out areas to encourage interaction, and phone-rooms and glazed manager’s offices to create more transparency. All meeting rooms were contained on two levels, as opposed to the office floors themselves, to manage security and encourage better management of meeting use and times. Sustainability was another priority for the Chamber of Commerce, which can now claim to have the first ‘LEED for Existing Buildings’ certified offices in the Arab world. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

24. Command & Control Centre for DP World’s Container Terminal DESIGN: BROADWAY INTERIORS

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

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hen it came to a new command and control centre for its Container Terminal, DP World wanted a sophisticated, contemporary, forward-thinking, cost-effective control room that would become the flagship of the operation. In response, Broadway Interiors created a space that combines ultra-modern materials with the very latest in audiovisual technologies. The design concept follows a monochromatic theme, using black and white as the primary

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colours, complemented by hues and accents inherent in DP World’s corporate colours. To achieve the functionality required, Broadway introduced bespoke, futuristic-looking, custom-made operator consoles, which were designed to contain a range of telecommunications equipment, including 22” plasma screens suspended on fully manoeuvrable monitor arms. Ergonomic chairs enable users to successfully and comfortably carry out their day-to-day responsibilities, helping DP World to achieve its organisational goal of

becoming a leader in container terminal cargo operations. A highlight of the space is the operation’s control room, which features a controllable, electrostatic glass that can be transformed from clear to opaque. In addition, a Barco digital screen was used, which is ideal for control operation centres and consumes less power. To further minimise energy wastage, all offices were equipped with occupancy or motion sensor lights, and also use biometric technology for total security.

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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FAVOURITE 50: PUBLIC SECTOR & INSTITUTIONAL

25. Dubai Metro DESIGN: KCA INTERNATIONAL

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ccording to John Carolan of KCA International, the company responsible for designing the trains and stations for the Dubai Metro, the emirate now boasts one of the most unique and groundbreaking public transport systems in the world. “I think it will set new standards for people to follow. Stations do not have to be cold, hard and unfriendly. They don’t necessarily have to be glamorous, but they can be rich. And that’s what we were trying to do. We were trying to add a degree of richness and vibrancy,” he said. “It was interesting. When we first started, one of the engineers was saying: ‘These are stations, people will have their heads down, they won’t be interested’. But why not make them look up? People do walk around with their heads down all the time; but when you look up, your whole world changes,” he added. Before KCA started designing, it examined metro systems in

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other parts of the world, including Moscow, London, Singapore and Paris. In many cases, stations were hard-edged and unfriendly, and dominated by concrete, glass and steel. The aim was to make the Dubai Metro very different. “Our philosophy worked around the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. The great thing about this was that you had design and you had colour, so you could mix and match and get quite a lot of variables. When we were doing historical sites, such as Union Square or Al Ghubaiba, we also looked back at historical references to the place. One of the other things that we did was include historical imagery. “We also had a long discussion with the client about whether they wanted decorative light fittings in there. We showed them examples initially, just to put it out there. We expected them not to like it, but they did, so in the main underground, we’ve got chandeliers,” Carolan noted.

FAVOURITE 50 | Commercial Interior Design

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LIGHTING

Showrooms in Jeddah and Riyadh

and

JEDDAH (HEAD OFFICE) Rawada Street Omnia Center P.O. Box 12679 Jeddah 21483 Saudi Arabia Tel. +966 2 669 3241 Fax +966 2 668 3069

CONTRACT FURNITURE

aralazem@technolight-ksa.com

RIYADH Tahlia Street Olaya P.O. Box 17420 Riyadh 11484 Saudi Arabia Tel. +966 1 462 1150 Fax +966 1 465 5406 www.technolight-ksa.com

Technolight was established in 1980. Over 30 years, Technolight has become one of Saudi Arabia’s leading suppliers of lighting fixtures, lighting control systems, wiring devices, contract furniture and security systems with branches in Jeddah, Riyadh and Khobar. We take pride in being the first lighting company to enter the Saudi market and to offer a professional lighting concept solution, marking a landmark in the right direction. Not only did we introduce some of the most prestigious lighting brands and lighting solutions to the Saudi market, but we have also set a professional lighting standard in the Saudi Market.

Our outstanding performance could not have been realized without the family team of Technolight. In fact, our family consists of 57 highly trained sales engineers and installation staff. In addition, we have two showrooms in Jeddah and one in Riyadh all of which are superbly located right in the heart of the city.

Technolight is run by a management team. The managing director and five managers representing different administrative areas of expertise who convene periodically. They run analysis with never-ending improvement cycle. Technolight has several departments. There are lighting design dept, sales dept, marketing dept, financial dept. pricing dept, and other various activities. Technolight sales stock policy is to keep running items always in stock. We have about $4 million in stock which gets updated on regular basis.

Some companies we represent exclusively in KSA are as follows: ERCO (Interior & Exterior Lighting) • WE-EF (Exterior Lighting) • BTICINO (Wiring Devices) VITRA (Office & Home Furniture) • CLIPSAL ( Diming Systems) • COOPER CONTROLS (Diming Systems)


FAVOURITE 50: LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT

26. The Loft DESIGN: BROADWAY INTERIORS

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FAVOURITE 50: LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT

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collaboration of industry leaders, Neocasa is a platform created to showcase the very best in contemporary design. It was also created to provide a canvas for locallyestablished interior designers to showcase their skills. Its debut project, The Loft, is located in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR) and was a collaboration with local design firm, Broadway Interiors. It was officially unveiled in October 2009. Loft living is a particular passion for Chris Barnes, managing director of Broadway Interiors, he explained. “One of the things with loft living is that you try to embrace the fabric and the structure of the space that you are provided with. In the JBR towers, no two lofts are actually alike so you have to work with the space you are given. You have to embrace what is already there. You try not to conceal but to embellish,” he said. Barnes was invited to create a space that would reflect the styles and tastes of a modern-day executive. He also tried to infuse the design with an Arabic twist. “We tried to create a very neutral space, which is uplifted, with sensitivity, with a little bit of red. Red isn’t the easiest colour to work with; it’s got

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to be just right to work, but I think we have achieved that here, supported by some lovely artwork,” Barnes detailed. “I’m a very visual person and I think some of that is reflected in what you see here. I’m also very sensitive of the fact that we are living in the Middle East and am very appreciative of the opportunities that has given me.” The Loft, which was spearheaded by Shahriar Khodjasteh, group marketing director of Al Aqili Furnishings, features cutting-edge products from some of the biggest names in the industry. There is a Porsche Design Kitchen by

Poggenpohl, with a Sub-Zero builtin refrigerator. Mirror TV’s in the bathrooms came from Ad Notam; the home automation system was supplied by Platinum Vision, contemporary furniture is by i4Mariani from Italy, and artwork was supplied by Hengameh Mahvi. Technogym provided state-of-theart fitness products. “Our partners have become stakeholders in the concept. They are very similar to us in their attention to detail and quality, as well as their high standards of service, and they were completely committed to the project,” commented Khodjasteh.

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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27. Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire DESIGN: CHRISTIAN GHION

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eflets, designed by Christian Ghion, was established by threestar Michelin chef Pierre Gagnaire. “The menu has specialties that the chef calls ‘multisensory hits’, created by blending unexpected tastes and textures,

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and this concept is mirrored in the outlet’s design,” explained restaurant director, Etienne Haro. “From day one, the interaction between the menu and the design was very strong. What helped most is that Christian Ghion knows Pierre Gagnaire. Having a completely blank canvas to work with allowed the designer total freedom to develop a restaurant that would match Gagnaire’s food,” he added. The restaurant is located within the InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City. “A private elevator transports guests from the lobby of the hotel directly to the restaurant, where the reflections theme is carried through via a mirrored corridor and mother-of-pearl walls to the seating area beyond. “Lavender-coloured Murano glass chandeliers are suspended above baroque furniture, creating an unmistakable statement of style and decadence, yet with a fashionably contemporary finish.”

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FAVOURITE 50: LEISURE & ENTERTAINMENT

28. Neos DESIGN: WA INTERNATIONAL

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he art-deco inspired Neos sits on the 63rd floor of The Address Downtown Dubai. Its striking design concept is summed up in three words: ‘elegant, exclusive and exquisite’, which WA International, the designers of the space, feel captures the energy of Dubai. The ‘elegant’ refers to the sleek and modern décor, which includes sculptural pieces, dramatic lighting and an eye-catching graphic backdrop. The ‘exclusive’ tag ensured that the design was infused with glamour and sophistication, which was imperative to attract an international clientele. The ‘exquisite’ element refers to the excelling of expectations in both design, service and menu. WA associate, Helen Skea, explained that the company wanted to create a space that “oozes elegance and is sumptuously comfortable, inspired by the vibrant architecture and outrageous decadence of the 1920s”. The concept is loosely based around the art deco period, with

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a contemporary twist. “We chose art deco as it encompassed all the trademarks of the seductive, decadent lifestyle of that period.” The space was heavily inspired by the work and life of the artist Tamara de Lempicka, whose strong use of colour and powerful portraits perfectly sum up the art deco movement. Lempicka is famed for her stylish and sleek androgynous portraits, which fuse cubism with a sense of decadence. As lift doors open into the space, guests are confronted with full height glazing, with a view of the lake, the Bellagio-esque Dubai Fountain and of course, an uninterrupted view of the iconic Burj Khalifa tower. Before the windows, however, the primary view is over the cast-lit bar feature. The dramatic lightinfused central bar is mounted on black Star Galaxy natural granite which gives the bar a floating effect. The reflective quartz in the granite is emphasised by the sparkling lights, giving a mystical quality to the space. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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29. Hakkasan DESIGN: GILLES & BOISSIER

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aunched in London in 2001, Hakkasan was envisaged as a ‘Chinese Nobu’. Nearly ten years on and the brand is recognised as having set new standards in Chinese cusine and haute Chinois interior design. The original Michelin-starred London location has spawned sister restaurants in locations as far reaching as Miami and most, recently, Abu Dhabi. Located in Abu Dhabi’s landmark Emirates Palace Hotel, the newest addition to the Hakkasan family opened on June 1. With a capacity of 165, the new restaurant

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is anchored by chef Lee Kok Hua, from Hakkasan London, who has worked under the guidance of Hakkasan head chef Tong Chee Hwee for five years. Recreating the Hakkasan ethos in a UAE setting fell to Paris-based design firm, Gilles & Boissier, which was also responsible for the interiors of the Hakkasan restaurant in Miami, as well as the W Hotel in Pudong, Shanghai and the Hotel 1850m in Courcheval. “We were asked to bring the London urban spirit to Abu Dhabi, while creating a modern authentic Chinese experience. It had to be elegant and sophisticated,

creating a new level of luxury dining in the emirate,” said founder, Gilles & Boissier, Patrick Gilles. According to Gilles, Hakkasan blends the traditions of authentic Cantonese cooking with a modern flair and opulent style. “Hakkasan revolves around immaculate attention to detail, from what you find on your plate to the space that surrounds you. Everywhere you look, you must feel the exquisite craft that went into the ambience, just as with every bite you take, you feel the passion and love that went into the food,” he said. The Hakkasan design ethos centres on the slogan, ‘Bring Back the Dragon’, a response to the way in which Chinese restaurant design has shifted away from its colourful cultural roots towards a stark modernism. As a reaction to this, the décor of Hakkasan has sought to regain a distinctive ‘Chineseness’ with rich, sensuous overtones. The interior also aims to promote a sexy, nightclub feel. Core components of the Hakkasan brand, which are also evident in the Abu Dhabi restaurant, include blue glass, a ‘caged’ dining area, and a contemporary European reinterpretation of Orientalism in the design of furniture, fittings and equipment. The overall impression is one of cool charm.

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30. Switch DESIGN: K ARIM R ASHID

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arim Rashid, one of the most prolific designers of his generation, with over 3,000 designs in production, work in over 35 countries, and over 300 awards under his (no doubt very funky) belt, is no fan of The Dubai Mall. Rashid made his UAE debut in the mall, with a colourful fusion restaurant called Switch – a project that wouldn’t have been realised at all if the mall’s management had had its way. “The management of the mall did not like the design and said it did not fit the mall language. I encouraged my client to pursue a fight with them to have it built. “Just because the mall has bad, banal interiors, it does not mean that the public does not want interesting, inspiring shops and restaurants,” he said. Rashid set out to create a powerful, clean space with strong perspectives; a restaurant that would act as “an oasis, free from chaos and clichés”. The overall intention was to build an iconic reference for Dubai, an aim that resonated with Rashid’s client, Deem Al Bassam, director of Switch. “We built Switch as an icon for Dubai,” she said. “This was Karim’s promise, from day one. The design will pull people in; the food and service will bring them back.” Al Bassam kept the brief open and unrestrictive. According to Rashid, the only real request was for a space that was very ‘21st century’ and would change

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throughout the day. “I didn’t want to restrict him. I didn’t want to give him guidelines, as that would just limit him,” she said. “If you go to a designer, you have to trust them.” Rashid responded with a design that he describes as “technorganic, sensually minimal, global yet Arabic, inspiring and rich, with data-driven fluidity”. In layman’s terms, it is dramatic, organic, bold and entirely original. The space is relatively small, with a capacity of 78 seats. It is shaped by two key elements – backlit, back-printed glass walls, floors and ceilings smothered in stylised Arabic script, and an undulating fiberglass wall that curves over a 22m-long banquet seat. Both elements were strongly influenced by the Middle East. “The backlit ceiling consists of stylised, inspirational Arabic phrases; the lit, undulating lines on the floor evoking a digital running river. “The undulating walls and continuous wave seating are an abstraction of the curvature landscape of a desert, creating an interesting texture for light and shadow. The walls are inspired by Arabic script, which I love.” On the ceiling, selected words capture Rashid’s design philosophy, as well as his perception of the evolving nature of design and culture. This is an obvious statement of Rashid’s design intent – but one that is hardly necessary. From the colour palette to the curves, the space already has ‘Karim Rashid’ written all over it, both literally and figuratively.

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31. World Trade Club DESIGN: CHADI TABBAH

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s the members-only World Trade Club prepared to open its doors to the public for the very first time, it also took the opportunity to embark on its first real refurbishment in 25 years. Design consultant Chadi Tabbah was called in to oversee a refresh of the Dubai landmark, which is set high on the 33rd floor of Dubai’s World Trade Centre. “The story of the design is the signature element of the World Trade Club for me – the entire concept weaves together to create one space,” Tabbah said. “I created a journey through several continents, which took me nine months to design, and a year to execute,” he added. As visitors arrive they are greeted by the sight of a huge painting of a maritime-inspired map, incorporating geographical lines, stars and the moon, hanging behind the reception desk. “This is where the story begins,” said Tabbah. “The journey through the World Trade Club is like visiting

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different continents, as the map is also repeated on the carpets in the corridors, but on a much bigger scale,” he continued. “To the right of the reception desk is a golden plate, symbolising the North Star, another signifier of direction. Beneath it, flooring is made from black granite sourced from the UAE, mixed with tiny gold mosaics from Spain, creating a grand flooring space.” This concept of navigation between continents brings a combination of cultures together in one space. Authentic local artifacts and early photographs of Dubai and the ruling families of the UAE, give the club a local ambience. “The pictures on the wall of the corridor are dated from the 1940/50s, showing the heritage of Dubai – the owners understandably wanted to keep these images, and make a special display. “I took the old pictures and scanned them onto a film – inserted them inside a mirror and placed tiny lights behind the mirror,” Tabbah explained.

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32.

Nobu Dubai DESIGN: ROCK WELL GROUP

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he LA-based Nobu Matsuhisa Group of Japanese restaurants, co-owned by Robert de Niro, made its Dubai debut in an 11,500ft² eatery within the much-publicised Atlantis Hotel. The task of converting the cavernous space into a setting worthy of one of the world’s biggest names in Japanese dining fell to the New York-headquartered Rockwell Group. “To begin with, this restaurant was an extremely large white box, probably the largest one level space we have worked with for a Nobu restaurant. The challenge was transforming this space into a series of experiences and environments that created a coherent whole, and also captured the energy of Nobu and Dubai,” said David Rockwell, founder and designer, Rockwell Group. Nobu Dubai represents an evolution of the design concepts developed for the chain’s other restaurants around the world, with an emphasis on craftsmanship, natural materials and storytelling. “We have collaborated with Nobu on its restaurants since the opening of the original Nobu restaurant in New York. This design is an evolution of many of the concepts that the firm developed for the flagship Nobu Fifty Seven,” said Rockwell.

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To inject some local flavour into the Dubai restaurant, the design scheme incorporated traditional Arabian elements, as well as echoes of the beachfront. “This particular restaurant reflects the Dubai beachfront context, with large-scale hand-woven abaca panels made of abaca rope and steel surrounding the restaurant walls and ceiling, evoking an aquatic environment. Accents of traditional Middle Eastern vernacular architecture, such as hand-wrought iron columns of flowers, leaves and buds, are also prominent,” Rockwell detailed. The woven abaca panels represent a signature element of the restaurant interior. “Elliptical-shaped translucent panels surround the bar lounge, and are covered with large-scale cherry blossom. These threedimensional, computer-generated woven abaca panels surround the walls and ceiling of the main dining room, creating an experience akin to being immersed under an ocean wave,” he added. Moving through the restaurant, a fresh mixture of wood and steel reinforces a natural feel. “For all the selected materials, our goal was to use the crafted, textural, natural materials, and marry them with accents and homages to the

Dubai location, making this restaurant truly unique and fresh.” The space also incorporates a mixture of flooring styles. Floors through the main bar area, sushi bar and restrooms are paved with simple slate, while black and white terrazzo embedded with pebbles, runs along the floor by the lounge. Describing the work of the Rockwell Group as ‘collaborative’, ‘choreographed’, ‘theatrical’ and ‘immersive environments that foster connections’, Rockwell believes that Nobu Dubai was the result of a ‘cross-disciplinary mish-mosh’ of personalities and talents that all collaborated and brainstormed to come up with innovative ideas. “It’s all about blurring the boundaries, allowing a plurality of interests to compete, always being alert to the possibility of new juxtapositions, unexpected collisions, to the wealth of inspiration available from cultural landscapes around the globe. “In all our work there is a focus on creating the environments where guests and visitors want to stay and occupy, to connect, share the moment, and to return,” Rockwell said. “So, I want the spaces I design to make emotional connections with people and provide memorable shared experiences,” he concluded.

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33. The Juala Spa DESIGN: HIRSCH BEDNER ASSOCIATES

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he Juala Spa at the Grand Hyatt Doha is defined by its name, which translates from Arabic to mean ‘journey’. Visitors are invited to retreat fully into the all-encompassing folds of the spa. “Touch, texture and sound were essential drivers in creating this journey of retreat and respite for the guest, and in ensuring that they leave with new memories,” explained Michelle Evans, managing associate, HBA Dubai, the company responsible for designing the hotel and all associated facilities. The exterior of the spa reiterates the overall architecture of the Grand Hyatt Doha. The aim was to create a structure that drew upon local cultural heritage and traditions – and treatments were designed to promote a similar blend of influences. The 4,000m² sanctuary features a total of 12 luxurious treatment suites, including two couples suites, a relaxation area with a tranquility pool, a health club, a retail boutique and a ladies’

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salon. Vast, open spaces promote a sense of luxury and grandeur, while floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow natural light to flood in. When it came to materials, HBA favoured natural, light-coloured stones, river pebbles, rich, warm, wood-colour tones and ornate carved wooden panels, to reiterate an overall sense of tranquility. Water is a central theme and runs throughout the design scheme, Evans continued. “The element of water is the heart of this spa. It is strongly used throughout the space, which elicits many moods for the senses, such as sound, as it meanders through the interiors; sight, with the reflection pools in the relaxation areas; and touch, through the treatments.” Ultimately, it is the effective blend of old and new that contributes to the overall success of the interior, Evans suggested. “We sought to create an elegant and timeless design by seamlessly combining elements of the old world and the new, while evoking all the senses,” she said.

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34. Okku DESIGN: LW DESIGN GROUP

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n LW Design Group creation, Okku is an achingly trendy addition to Dubai’s night scene. The Japanese restaurant/nightclub in The Monarch Hotel opened its doors to Dubai’s glitterati in 2009 and has fast become the place to see and be seen. Taking centre stage above the bar is a mesmerising aquarium filled with pulsating jellyfish, adding a hint of atmospheric danger to the dark and sultry interior scheme. Water features reflect the flicker of hanging candles and lit curtain dividers provide a moody light. The contemporary Japanese design is created by using dark, robust materials that retain a sense of mysticism and exoticism. Black wrought iron screens and balustrades complement the dark stained timber and honed granite panels, while circular white leather seating introduces a more playful vibe to the distinctive design. Okku was designed “to give a very private and intimate feel”, explained co-founder, Okku, Markus

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Thesleff. “Design to us is equally important as the quality of our ingredients and the passion of our staff,” he said. “We’ve incorporated the four base elements of earth, wind, fire and water in the design. The outlet is spread over three levels. “Everything has a story, with lots of personal touches that reflect our passion,” he added.

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35. Persia Persia DESIGN: BISHOP DESIGN ASSOCIATES 56

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esigning an interior for the top of a pyramid is always going to be tricky. In the case of Persia Persia, a restaurant at Wafi, Dubai, designed by Bishop Design Associates, the job had the added challenges of leaving the existing decoration and structure intact. Venues at Wafi are defined by a pervading Egyptian theme. It is seen in stained glass windows, murals, fixed décor and, of course, the pyramid itself. Up top, the restaurant had to be built into a single large open space, fragmented by an unusual floor plan. “The whole space was very fragmented before, with no spatial interaction going on, just one open area within the huge apex of the pyramid,” said Paul Bishop. “We had to work around what we inherited and give it a more human scale. We couldn’t touch the pyramid murals or other Egyptian elements,” he noted. The brief was, quite simply, to create a Persian restaurant. “Wafi was flexible and while it could have been heavily themed, we looked at how we cold take this musical, poetic, artistic culture and give it a space that is a bit more contemporary.” Key to achieving what was required was a series of layers.

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“We opted to try and mask the murals, so people don’t see them but are still exposed to them,” said Bishop. “If you like, we’ve put a veil over [the space] to create its own identity and autonomy. “People are exposed to different areas, not just left in a giant space, with no connection to anything. We also had to create a connection between the two wings of the space and the main dining area.” The design focuses on creating texture and leaves few surfaces flat. For example, wall panels are MDF finished with a high-gloss white lacquer and carved with traditional Persian patterns. One

side of the dining room is screened off from the lobby using large castglass panels, which are opaque and decorated with a geometric pattern. “What we’ve achieved through carving, indirect light, accents of material and decorative lighting means we don’t have to overplay the space; there is detail everywhere but it all blends.” Fabrics feature heavily. “They are beautiful materials, but it’s not solid; it could all be removed because it’s totally demountable.” Not only do they cast a veil over some of the existing décor, the fabrics are used to create structure in a space where structural changes

were not permitted. They combine with a mass of natural light, which floods in from the terraced areas and the pyramid’s central core. Creating a distinctly Persian look was a key part of the challenge. With a strong and clearly identifiable culture to represent, Bishop had to balance elements of the traditional and modern to please both the old guard and the young and fashionable. Bishop’s feeling was that the culture’s design language would be recognisable, it would just be a question of application that would make the design either contemporary or classic.

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36. Emirates Golf Club DESIGN: BREWER SMITH BREWER GULF

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ecognised for its unique built form and its association with the Dubai Desert Classic, the Emirates Golf Club clubhouse, originally designed by Brewer Smith Brewer Gulf (BSBG) in 1987, is currently undergoing a refurbishment and upgrade of its facilities. BSBG has once again been commissioned to lead the consultant team in designing and delivering a modern and functional upgrade to all interior spaces, including bars, restaurants, retail outlets, kitchens and other facilities. BSBG’s new design of the clubhouse reconnects the interior spaces by minimising internal partitions within areas such as the family dining restaurant. Similarly, the Spike Bar, overlooking the lower terrace, has been opened up by relocating the bar to the rear and creating a large, flexible seating and buffet dining area adjacent to the large windows. The new expansive internal layouts capitalise on the large vertical volumes provided by the

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iconic, Bedouin tent-inspired forms. Enhanced connectivity to the surrounding landscape is also key to the design’s success. Challenges associated with working within a complex existing structure have been overcome by BSBG through detailed investigations and analysis during the design stage and a ‘hands on’, daily involvement with the contractor. Materials and finishes such as rare granite, Italian marble, bespoke furniture and exotic timbers were chosen to create a modern, clean and airy interior, while maintaining a warm and welcoming ambiance which is essential to comfortable and inviting clubhouse design. Specialist lighting design complements warm timber finishes, providing a relaxing and non-confrontational space. Complementing the extensive interior works is a major upgrade of the surrounding landscape, terraces, swimming pool and gymnasium. A new state-of-the-art wellness spa with seven treatment rooms is also under construction. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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37. Capital Club DESIGN: DESIGN WORLDWIDE PARTNERSHIP

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he 1,500m² Capital Club in Bahrain is set over two floors, and encompasses a bar, two dining rooms, private meeting facilities, a lounge and a library. The firm responsible for its interiors, Design Worldwide Partnership (DWP), tried to create a series of highly individual spaces that promote a strong sense of character. “It was critical to give people some variety so the club didn’t feel the same in all the various rooms,” said Kristina Zanic, founding partner, DWP. “The client, Russell Matcham, executive director of Signature Clubs International, was open to this idea, so we have rooms that are very light and luxurious, and others that are dark and intense. There is personality in each of the areas.” In the lounge, shades of cream and taupe dominate, with splashes of aquamarine and burnt orange for contrast. The Members Bar, meanwhile, is highly intimate, with ceilings and walls that are clad in a dark walnut finish. The bar, on the other hand, is clad in a whisky coloured onyx, while low seating is coupled with high stools. The library is home to a more traditional design style. Art sourced from Thailand and the US is coupled with rugs from Istanbul to create a cosy retreat. “The library is very eclectic and I guess it’s more my style,” said Zanic. The Signature Grill Dining is brimming with dark wood and black textured leather panels that line the walls. The ceiling is part

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smoked bronze mirror and part tan-coloured suede fabric. The carpet is jet black, with a curved pattern that gives it a softer edge. Booths are lined in red leather and a velvet curtain detail. The design comes to a climax in the Anan and Jade rooms. The Jade room is shaped by an overridingly Chinese design language. “In the Jade room we used shades of green and gave this a very oriental and Chinese feel. “Beautiful green onyx was used for the floors and table tops, and there are rich carpets in chocolate brown with Chinese patterns in a deep green shade, which were all custom-designed,” Zanic said. The Anan room promotes a far more regional feel. In stark contrast to its Asian-inspired counterpart, the Arabic-themed space is almost entirely decked out in shades of taupe and off-white. Mashrabiya-patterned stone wall panels divide the space and are brought into focus by light fittings designed in Istanbul. “I also spent time going to Damascus and designed several pieces of mother of pearl furniture, which really helped to create a feeling of authenticity. The ceiling is an interesting series of triangular shapes in a 3D effect. The carpet also reflects the pattern,” Zanic highlighted. “The views are also very special and I always say that the inspiration of the room was to feel like you were a part of Bahrain, as you simply blend in with the city and its architecture,” Zanic concluded.

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38. Mango Tree DESIGN: STE VE LEUNG

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ango Tree, an old Thai name recognised in major cities across the globe, made its regional debut in Souk Al Bahar, Downtown Dubai. The restaurant’s interiors were created in collaboration with interior designer Steve Leung and lighting consultant Tino Kwan. A key theme running throughout the restaurant is the concept of nature, evident in the continuous use of materials such as wood, granite, marble and travertine. Glass and leather are also used – a combination of materials all meshed together in one space. Foodmark, the owner of the restaurant, did not want it to be overwehelmingly ‘trendy’, hence the use of timeless, classic materials. Panga Panga, sourced from Asia, was used on the floors of the pavilion dining area. In addition, stainless steel finishing was used to edge the wooden tables. Following the themes of a traditional Thai home, the restaurant is divided into four areas – each with

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its own name and its own unique atmosphere and focal point. On arrival, customers are faced with a glass mural corridor that runs right the way through the entrance of the restaurant and lounge/bar area. Here, the focus was very much on alignment. Etched using acid to create a checkered effect, the lines on the glass run all the way across to the bar area. This concept of alignment is consistent throughout the entire restaurant interior. The corridor leads into the main restaurant area. Referred to as the ‘living room’, the space encompasses three seating booths topped with golden silk pillows to create elements of luxury, individual dining tables, and a large communal table. Taking advantage of the size of the dining table, Kwan and Leung turned the concept of dining into a feature through a large wooden chandelier suspended over the table’s wood and marble surface. The chandelier was hand made from antique wood.

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39. Ken Lo’s Memories of China DESIGN: ENRICO BOT TA

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ith Ken Lo’s Memories of China, Enrico Botta Architecture and Interior Design was presented with the opportunity to build a restaurant venue from the ground up. “I was given a free rein in conceiving this entirely new building. The only requirement imposed by the client was that it should be unparalleled in the country [Bahrain]. This ambitious target, together with the unusual shape of the plot, ignited the creative process,” said Enrico Botta. The initial imprint of the design came from the triangular shape of the plot. Although this presented a challenge in terms of space planning, it was also “loaded with an inner dynamism that infiltrated the whole project to give it a sense of movement and growth, as in a futurist sculpture”, Botta explained. Structurally, the building is characterised by the extensive use of

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cast-in-situ reinforced concrete, to create cantilevering and extremely long, clear-span structures. The structural concept is entirely unique in Bahrain. “The interior takes on the same principles, guiding the architectural design. The articulation of the space is shaped by the unobstructed double height void and the sloping roof. “The various levels of the floor, which include a mezzanine overlooking the main dining areas, combined with the magisterial use of mirrors and décor elements, contribute in giving the visitor a sense of spaciousness, in spite of the small footprint of the building,” Botta detailed. The lighting and airconditioning systems are also completely integrated into the design, so that not a single AC grill can be spotted throughout the restaurant. The lighting offers two very different schemes for day-time and nighttime operations. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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40. Fire Of Brazil DESIGN: INOUI DESIGNS

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acked with natural materials and heavy textures, the Fire of Brazil restaurant in Bahrain’s Seef Mall offers a sensory overload. Adapted from the existing Fire of Brazil concept restaurant in the USA, Inoui Designs was asked by its client to take the original design and inject it with an upmarket feel. “The idea was to turn a casualstyle restaurant into a five-star, quality dining experience by making it more lavish,” explained Hamad Janahi, general manager, Inoui Designs. The 650m² space was divided up into different areas to visually segregate the floor area. The restaurant is cleverly made to appear larger through the use of islands and raised areas. Once the space was divided up, the next challenge lay in the logistics of retaining the same feel of the restaurant’s US counterpart in terms of the types of materials used, overall style and atmosphere, while consciously upgrading the design to a higher

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level. “The original Fire of Brazil design used a lot of bamboo and stones giving it a more casual atmosphere,” Janahi explained. Inoui complemented a bamboo ceiling with a range of natural materials such as jute and rattan furniture, teamed with a light cream upholstery. All the furniture, chairs, waiting-lounge sofas, in addition to the bar lighting, floor lighting and corner hanging lights were custom-made in Indonesia by a company called Pronabon. In keeping with its American sibling, and to ensure that the design lived up to the restaurant’s name, fire is a key element in the design, Janahi explained. “Fire itself is used to create a special effect and the fireplace is positioned in the central area as a main feature and important element.” Domed extractors are placed above the individual fire islands and the same finishing effect is echoed in the design of all elements, such as the pendant and wall lights, to guarantee harmony within the interior design.

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41. Golestan DESIGN: HIRSCH BEDNER ASSOCIATES

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he hypnotic vibrancy of ‘Persian’ turquoise inspired the design of Golestan, an Iranian eatery located in the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. According to Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), the design firm responsible for the restaurant’s interiors: “Persia’s sky-blue turquoise has always been a magnet for beauty seekers throughout history. It is found extensively in Iran’s north-eastern city of Neyshabur, dating back to 4,000 BCE.” Vibrant blue-green hues reappear throughout Golestan’s interiors, starting at the entry where accent glass mosaics are set on a bed of white Carrera marble. A uniquely-designed, full-height turquoise chandelier descends from the ceiling in a spiral form, reaching towards a crisp marble floor, and echoing the floral movements of traditional Iranian patterns. Rich silver metal works, in-laid marquetry panels, and handcrafted enamel vases stand out against white marble walls.

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Close attention was paid to details and finishes in order to ensure that the space retains an individualistic character. Solid rich walnut flooring with inlaid silver engraved metal tiles adds to the richness of the space, while chairs in embossed custom floral leathers in white and turquoise, tipped with silver accents, create texture and depth.

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42. Zuma Dubai DESIGN: NORIYOSHI MUR AMATSU

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uma Dubai’s interior concept was created by designer Noriyoshi Muramatsu of Tokyo design firm Studio Glitt — the man responsible for the interiors of Zuma’s other restaurants in London, Hong Kong and Istanbul. “He was inspired by the six elements of earth, fire, iron, wood, water and air,” said Elmar

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Pichorner, operations director of Zuma Dubai. “The aim was to create not only novelty but also a sense of nostalgia. Noriyoshi tried to create the space for guests to enjoy walking around and looking at beautiful views within the restaurant,” he explained. Interior design is crucially important in the upmarket segment of the F&B market, according to Pichorner. “Guests with higher disposable incomes not only choose the fundamental offering of food and beverage, but very much also take ambience into account when selecting a preferred venue. “If you had two outlets to choose from that both have identical F&B offerings and price, one located in a barren space, the other with a comfortable, attractive interior, where would you go? “The thing to remember is that design has to create an ambience that appeals to all senses — sight, touch, smell, and sound — as well as being flexible enough to allow the venue to adjust the experience through the day’s moods.”

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FAVOURITE 50: RETAIL

43. Debaj Couture DESIGN: INOUI DESIGNS

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ahrain-based Inoui Designs was faced with a rather singular task when it was asked to create a retail space for local design brand, Debaj Couture. “Our challenge was to convert a run-down, abandoned town house into a modern haute couture retail venue where fashion and design meet,” explained Inoui’s Dinan Salaheddine. Covering a total of 260m², the interior is split into two distinct sections. One is dedicated to ‘casual’ pieces that anybody can access, and the other is dedicated to the more exclusive, ‘couture’ collections. “In this section the pieces are treated as jewels and displayed with a spirit of mystery where only exclusive customers can view them, providing them with a special, VIP service. This is to enhance curiosity and encourage interest,” said Salaheddine. The overall design scheme has a distinctly Arabian feel, infused with a high-fashion edge. An

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indoor catwalk dominates, and comes complete with professional lighting and a live projection feed. This is complemented by a striking colour scheme. “The palette chosen was a contrast of black and white, with a dominating touch of ‘Royal Magenta’ patterns – the perfect background to ensure that the attire on display was not overpowered. “Going to the exterior, we stripped the old house from its current features by taking it back to its basic concrete finish. A zen-styled garden area can be converted into an outdoor fashion event venue with the availability of a suspended catwalk that extends from the indoors,” Salaheddine detailed. Flanked by water features, the outdoor catwalk is a striking addition to the overall design scheme. “Having an outdoor elevated podium for grand fashion shows, with the building as the backdrop to those events, is an innovative and original feature of this design,” Salaheddine said.

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FAVOURITE 50: RETAIL

44. Gina Shoes DESIGN: CAULDER MOORE

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he Gina Shoes store in Dubai Mall marks the spectacular transition of a highly successful but family-based London business into a bonafide global brand. Gina Shoes has been operating from a workshop in North London for fifty years, creating crafted, jewel-like products. For its Dubai debut, it needed a store that would communicate the ethos of the brand. The space had to speak of beauty and opulence, whilst highlighting the crafted detail and bespoke quality of each shoe. Set on the ground floor of Dubai Mall, the 85m² store was created by the UK-headquartered Caulder Moore Design. “For the brand’s international debut we reflected the unique Gina motif, the distinctive colour palette and subtle branded elements, whilst introducing bespoke items and luxury finishes on a grander scale, combined with a high-impact fascia to make a powerful statement as the ultimate exclusive shoe destination in the visually spectacular Dubai Mall,”

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said Ian Caulder, creative director at Caulder Moore. “The main areas of interest are the exterior fascia, the vertical scale of the interior features such as mirrors, light boxes and bespoke ring-shaped Swarovski chandeliers suspended from the ceiling, and the contrast between the main front floor area and the couture, serviced area at the rear.”

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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45. Mirdif City Centre DESIGN: RTKL UK

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irdif City Centre is noteworthy for many reasons – not least because it could be the last big retail project to open in Dubai for some time to come. The mall is very much of its time, and acts as a clear indicator of how Dubai’s retail industry is evolving. For a start, it is one of the first retail developments in the UAE to be built with a LEED Gold rating in mind. “We decided that we wanted to be the first of a new generation of sustainable malls, and not the last dinosaur,” said Jonathan Emery, senior vice president, project management, of mall operator, Majid Al Futtaim. This was something that guided the design from the very offset, explained Ken Christian, director of RTKL UK, the architecture and design firm responsible for the master planning, concept and interior design of Mirdif City Centre. Another defining characteristic of the new mall is a distinct lack of gimmicks and over-the-top attractions. Instead, the emphasis

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was on creating a straightforward, comfortable shopping experience. “While our aspirations for the design were high, we also knew that we had to create a space that was warm and welcoming rather than super glossy,” said Christian. The design scheme is based on the idea of a ‘desert villa’ which features a collection of enclosed and semi-enclosed spaces connected by a series of ‘streets’ and passageways. A racetrack layout, bisected by a central street, makes the space easy to navigate. In keeping with the desert villa theme, the food court areas draw inspiration from the patios and courtyards commonly found in local architecture. Interior landscaping plays a significant role in the overall design of the mall, and supports its ‘green’ approach. Water features and soaring palms form part of the interior, creating an indoor oasis. This is complemented by an abundance of natural light, which is filtered through intricate ceiling and wall finishes.

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FAVOURITE 50: RETAIL

46. Manolo Blahnik, Dubai Mall DESIGN: DATA NATURE ASSOCIATES

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hanks in no small part to a Ms Carrie Bradshaw, the name Manolo is synonymous with women’s shoes of the most sought-after variety. The task of creating Manolo Blahnik stores to house these design masterpieces has increasingly fallen to Data Nature Associates – the London based architectural, interior and design company founded by Manolo’s niece, Kristina Blahnik, and her husband, Nicholas Leith-Smith. Manolo Blahnik stores in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Turkey, Ireland, Athens, Jakarta and Dubai Mall already sport the Data Nature design stamp. “The Manolo Blahnik concept is that every shop has to be unique to its identity, to its culture, to its artisanry, and to its nature,” Blahnik noted. “When we started looking at Dubai we realised that the danger of looking too much into Arabic culture is

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that spaces can become a little bit of a cliché. We wanted to take it one step further, so we started looking at Dubai in terms of its geological and natural elements. “There are huge coral reefs being killed because of the expansion of Dubai and these are beautiful and unique. We also looked at crystallised salt, because I understand that there are these incredible salt fields outside Dubai. Obviously, we also looked at the desert and the Bedouin lifestyle.” A key challenge faced by Data Nature was the height of the space. “In a space that is 5.2m high, something as small as a shoe is going to get swamped. So we brought in a very plain grid to give scale to the object. We also had to lower the ceiling somehow, so we thought why not take this opportunity to create a datum of Tom Dixon lamps, which absolutely captures that Arabic feel.” Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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47. Ajmal Perfumes DESIGN: PORTL AND DESIGN

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FAVOURITE 50: RETAIL

Heritage is a doubleedged sword,” suggested Abdulla Ajmal, deputy general manager of Ajmal Perfumes. “On the one hand you have the trust and the grounding and the foundations, but on the other hand, you are old, especially in this part of the world, where novelty is so important.” The multi-million dollar, familyowned business is one of the region’s leading manufacturers and retailers of perfumes and beauty products. But, after nearly 60 years in existence, it was time to closely examine the brand, explained Ajmal, the third generation of the family to be involved in the business. “Over the last few years, we’ve been doing a lot of soul searching; questioning where we stand as a retailer and as a brand,” he explained. By-products of this soul searching were a refreshed image and a new retail concept, which was first unveiled at Ajmal’s BurJuman Centre store. Once it has been fine-tuned, the new concept will be rolled out across some 200 stores around the world. The company, an established local player, also has global aspirations, which further accentuated the need for a revamp. Essentially, Ajmal required a retail

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concept that would be accessible to a global audience but not so far removed from its roots as to estrange its predominantly local customer base. “We needed a concept that wouldn’t be too alien or intimidating, because the Arabic perfumery tends to be very different and quite alien.” In terms of brand positioning, the company adopted the mantle of ‘ethnic chic’, with a brand promise that centres on innovation, creativity, quality and value. For the design of its BurJuman store, Ajmal appointed Portland Design, an established British retail specialist that was able to answer Ajmal’s call for a ‘retail concept designer rather than just a store designer’. “Basically, the brief was very very brief. They took the time to understand our operations. They took the time to understand our vision, where we are going, what we want to be in five year’s time. We did not dictate how the store should be; all we said was that it needed to offer a different experience,” Ajmal explained. With its new space, the company also wanted to explore new ways of doing business. “Typically, in this part of the world, everything is counter based. The customer comes to the counter

and the sales person shows them something. We wanted to move away from that typical salesman/ customer relationship.” The store was divided into two parts. One section is self-service, where customers are able to interact directly with the products. “Of course, a sales person is always there to answer their queries but the customer can feel free to just wander about and try out samples and testers,” Ajmal detailed. As part of its new brand personality, Ajmal also adopted a new motif. “This geometric design has been picked up from Arabic architecture and has been given a floral form. The concept is that it flows and as it gets further and further away; it fades, which represents fragrance and smell. “We also consciously started thinking about what it is that we actually do. We needed to clearly define that in marketing terms. So we have taken on the tagline ‘crafting memories’. The most intense form of unlocking a memory is fragrance. It’s a fact.” In order to craft the desired experience, the interior uses Erco LED lighting and semi-transparent Corian counters gently infused with light. Ceiling and floors have been kept simple to ensure that focus falls firmly on the products.

Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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48. Etisalat Dubai Mall DESIGN: IMAGINATION

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aving already designed seven outlets for Etisalat, Imagination was given free rein when it came to the telecom giant’s Dubai Mall retail space. “They gave us the freedom to create, within their specified requirements, an environment that would be unlike any other retail experience that their consumers would have been part of,” explained Alfred Johnson, managing partner, Imagination. The aim was to create a brandenhancing, cutting-edge space that built on the ‘new age’ feel of Etisalat’s other outlets. In previous stores, Imagination had used organic shapes, futuristic materials and biomorphic detailing to create an exciting new brand identity for Etisalat. The intention was to take this one step further in the Dubai Mall. “The Etisalat Dubai Mall outlet explored the realm of using

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biomorphic fluid architectural detailing in a way that had never been done before in the region. “Every aspect of this creation was developed from the client’s brand ideology and detailed to elevate and reinstate their position as technological pioneers in the region,” Johnson detailed. “Having specified their mandatory requirements within the retail space, we proceeded to craft various elements, such as quick ‘E’ workstations, freestanding displays, a branded visual aid and wall-mounted display units, from their corporate identity.” The freestanding displays grow from fluid lines at the base of the floor into crystal glass tops that showcase Etisalat’s product. “And the wall mounted displays were drawn from biomorphic lines resembling the Etisalat logo, all the while being complemented by the fusion and LED-etched glass walls on either side of the store.” Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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49. Villa Moda Atlantis DESIGN: STOIQUE

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estled in a hotel that speaks of the sea, on a man-made island built from sand, Villa Moda’s outlet at Atlantis, Palm Jumeirah Dubai enthusiastically embraces the natural elements on its doorstep. Sand was incorporated as an elemental building material, used to plaster the walls and coat the floors. A clear, shiny resin was then poured over the sandy floor and, inching up onto the base of the walls, creates the vivid impression of water washing up into the store. The effect, oddly realistic and undeniably original, acts as a gentle reminder of the shop’s unique setting. In addition, the contrasting elements of sand and water, wet and dry, and smooth and rough, set the tone for an environment characterised by seemingly contradictory influences. Designed by Japanese firm Stoique, the new shop blends old and new, local and international, and the authentic with the progressive. Antique Middle Eastern furniture is juxtaposed with advanced Japanese design and technology to symbolise a harmonic coexistence between the modern and the traditional. The contrast between sand, the most fundamental and primitive of materials, and the luxury fashion items on show, represents another striking contrast – but the

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comfortable interaction of these two extremes acts as a deliberate representation of harmony between the past and the future. For Eric Stowe of Stoique, it is the fusion of simple materials and advanced technologies that best characterises this project. “We wanted to use the natural materials of Dubai with the technology used in Japan. Bridging these elements symbolises the blend of culture and technology, which is part of the concept.” The Atlantis outlet is testament to the unique approach to retail design promoted by Villa Moda founder Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah, the so-called ‘sheikh of chic’. Established in Kuwait, the Villa Moda brand is highly designorientated, but also committed to the promotion of an authentic Arabian aesthetic. In the Atlantis store, a sense of comfort is heightened by the selfenclosed, almost insular, nature of the space. At its core stands a separate, boxed off area that acts almost as a shop within a shop. An enormous wooden door stands ajar at the entrance of the shop, and is both overwhelming and alluring at the same time. The effect created is almost vault-like and the impression is of a space hidden from view, full of mystery and promise. This sense of mystery is continued on the walls, where unintelligible etchings protrude from the sandy surface.

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FAVOURITE 50: RETAIL

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Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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50. S*uce DESIGN: ABOVE CONSULTANCY

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*uce, a ‘trend boutique’ in Dubai, first opened its doors in February 2004. Following its success as a women’s fashion haven, the store went through a major expansion and refit, in a design collaboration between Zayan Ghandour, co-founder and creative director of S*uce, and Eiko Fujita-Summers, a senior designer at Above Consultancy. In spite of the extension, Ghandour wanted to maintain the impression of ‘walking into your best friend’s wardrobe’. “The design brief was very unconventional. It emerged through the collection of a lot of ideas all mixed together from Eiko’s travels, books and magazines, along with mine. Most of the time, collectively, we had so many ideas and we just didn’t have enough space for all of them,” she said. The extension features trademark ‘S*uce’ features, such as designer chandeliers, white concrete flooring and gold-finished fi xtures such as hanging rails and

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cabinet detailing. However, it also embraced new features, including photo-wall-frames used to display accessories, kitschy neon signs and furniture from Tromp L’Oleil. Despite having introduced new and improved design elements to the space, Fujita-Summers worked hard not to completely wipe out the original ‘old’ look of the store. “With a refit, for me there always has to be some kind of transition,” she explained. The design of S*uce is essentially a theme that’s growing and developing. The original S*uce, according to Fujita-Summers, “had a very strong style but it didn’t have a catching point or much focus... but it was really easy for me to look and expand on the existing idea itself.” Now, walking into the store, the difference between the ‘whiteside’ (old), and ‘gold-side’ (new) is immediately noticeable. Using a strong palette of gold, pink and white – the space’s main identity colours – the interiors flow into each other in a seamless design. Commercial Interior Design | FAVOURITE 50

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INDEX

01. 02. 03. 04. 05. 06. 07. 08. 09. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

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Meydan Banyan Tree Al Wadi Yas Hotel Armani Hotel Dubai W Doha Park Hyatt Jeddah InterContinental Al Bustan Address Downtown Dubai Six Senses Zighi Bay The Makkah Clock Royal Tower The Monarch Suite Radisson Blu Yas Island North 55 Majid Al Futtaim The Environment Agency CEVA MCAN Barclays Nokia Siemens Networks Sama Dubai Tunis Sales Centre City Hospital Al Jawhara Centre Dubai Chamber of Commerce DP World Dubai Metro The Loft Reflets Neos Hakkasan Switch World Trade Club Nobu Dubai The Juala Spa Okku Persia Persia Emirates Golf Club Capital Club Bahrain Mango Tree Ken Lo’s Memories of China Fire of Brazil Golestan Zuma Debaj Couture Gina Shoes Mirdif City Centre Manolo Blahnik, Dubai Mall Ajmal Perfumes Etisalat, Dubai Mall Villa Moda, Atlantis S*uce www.constructionweekonline.com


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Commercial Interior Design - 50 Favorite Interior Designs