• An ITP Business Publication October Vol.8 Issue 10



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    www.designmena.com4 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    8 DESIGN UPDATEA round up of the latest design news in the MENA region and abroad, including Amjad Al-Hajj, designer, The Horologist

    PROFILEFit out contractor, turnkey provider and supplier of bespoke joinery works, Summertown Interiors reveals all

    CID AWARDS 2012A round-up on this years glamorous show which recognised the regions top designers

    INTERVIEWLars Waldenstrm, founder, LWDesign Group, tells his incredible story revealing just how he fell in love with Dubai

    FEATUREHigh-end retail design is experiencing a new trend that is set to radically shift designers with their latest concepts

    SUPPLIERS YOUSHOULD KNOWAn in-depth look at specialist fl ooring suppliers who explain why their products are essential

    INDEX 2012Read about this years Index wrap-up with some of the most interesting news to emerge from the event

    PRODUCTSWhats new in the market

    OPINIONJason Lewis, founder, Limah Design Consultants, discusses wayfi nding

    22 6724


    October 2012VOLUME 8 ISSUE 10









  • W H E R E T H E S T Y L I S H , I N N OVAT I V E D E S I G N

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    PRECIOSA GULF, FZCO JAFZA View LB 19 Office 2407 Jebel Ali Free Zone P. O. Box 18185 Dubai, United Arab Emirates

    P + 971 4 884 8234, Ext. 202 F + 971 4 884 8235 M + 971 50 551 9086 E [email protected]


    www.designmena.com6 October 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

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    An ITP Business Publication October Vol.8 Issue 10



    At the time of writing this, exactly two weeks have passed since my rst day in the of ce as the new editor for CID. I have barely had a minute to stop, pause

    and prepare myself, not only for a relocation having previously been based in Cyprus, but to also famil-iarise myself with this incredible industry.

    My previous background was in travel and tour-ism which involved me visiting many destinations within the Middle East and North Africa staying in some of the regions best hospitality options. Walk-ing into many of these hotels, on more than one occasion, that wow factor kept popping up as I was impressed by the incredible interior design

    work and attention to detail. So, to cut the long story short, when the opportu-nity came for CID I didnt hesitate one bit.

    Many of you reading this have probably already met me as during these past few weeks there was the small matter of INDEX which, upon telling you it was my rst week at CID at the time, you all looked at me and said how it was a bap-tism of re! There was also the CID awards which were a great success and I have made it a mission of mine to attend as many meeting requests, cocktail events... you name it, I have been there!

    Im thoroughly looking forward to working with each of you as it is clear to me how much passion you have for this industry so please do get in touch and send across all your news and developments to me and lets continue this passion together.

    New beginnings

    MARIO HAJILOIZIS, [email protected]

  • www.designmena.com8 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    UAE: J+A Gallery, a new space in Al Quoz, held its opening on Septem-ber 10, 2012 displaying an array of salvaged items from the industrial era in Germany as well as other countries in Central Europe.

    From rst glance, the European antique industrial goods seemed out of place in modern day Arabia. Still, keeping the content close to context was important as the two partners admitted there was no better place to exhibit items from German factories than in a place like Al Quoz.

    For us it was clear that the gal-lery should be in a warehouse or an industrial area because most of our items come from an industrial era, said Sebastian Jaroslawski, found-ing partner of the gallery.

    In addition to the objects t-ting the locale, the partners also acknowledged Al Quozs status as one of the main art hubs of Dubai.

    It was very convenient for us as we thought that Al Quoz is an artsy place already - we dont have to invent it as an artistic place, added Arne Augustini, partner at J+A gallery.

    The partners focus of displaying these items in Dubai was to reveal to the city the origin of industrial design, the evolution of the Bau-haus period as well as displaying the basis of the materials that we use in design today.

    We didnt come to Dubai because we were art dealers who though oh, we should go to Dubai because its a posh place to go to. We have been living here for many years doing different things but now we just want to do something else - something more for the mind and the spirit and for the soul too, Augustini explained.

    Jaroslawski also explained how

    seeing these items, which are originals from the 1920s and 30s factory age, gives an educational aspect to the gallery.

    This age is missing in Dubai, he said. There was no industrial era. It went directly from a nomad culture to a communication era.

    Both Jaroslawski and Augustini have been collecting the items on a private basis in Germany, with no intention to sell. The original items that were in the gallery had been their initial shipment.

    We didnt know what to show as there are so many things and we didnt know the market for these items here. How will people react? Augustini remarked. Its an eclec-tic mix of a lot of different things but we just wanted to show the differ-ent aspects of this style.

    We think individual collectors may be interested. Also interior designers and architects may like the objects and use them in a res-taurant as decoration, he added.

    The items themselves are indeed diverse. From the Wella lamp, Jaro-slawskis personal favourite - which had once been a hair dryer from 1927 turned into an alien-like lamp - to a streamline fan, a favourite of Augustinis. Hailing from 1950s Germany, it sits on a wooden table which is made from working benches in factories with the stand taken from one of the legs of an antique projector.

    We want to show these things are also useable. Whats the point of just putting something some-where and not touching it? said Augustini.

    The idea of up-cycling is an extremely important part of our concept. Instead of throwing things away we are up-cycling them to hopefully give them an even better

    value, he added. The exhibition is not the only fea-

    ture of the J+A gallery. The partners are also planning on holding lec-tures and talks about architecture and design of the industrial age as well as have movie nights from the era.

    They are additionally hosting a photography exhibition in No-vember of contemporary German photographer, Dertram Kober, from the partners hometown, Leipzig.

    Were also trying to push artists

    from my home town to exhibit here, said Jaroslawski. There is a lot of potential there, he added.

    The opening night aroused a truly foreign feel with the large ware-house dispersed with industrial items and the melodic sounds of German music.

    Augustini concluded: The idea was to have something which was completely different from everything that you see in Dubai and once you come in you enter a completely different space.


    Bite the dust



    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012 9


    www.designmena.com10 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    UAE: At the beginning of the nancial meltdown, I thought,

    why dont I start a new busi-ness? laughed Amjad Al-Hajj, the talented designer behind the popular sculptural clocks of The Horologist.

    Having previously worked on several businesses that were related to crafts and interior t-outs, Al-Hajj nally decided to

    settle down to clock-making, a hobby that was previously prac-ticed as in-built wall decorations in his home.

    I am fascinated with ne objects, he said, explaining how clocks symbolise for him the inevitable time issue.

    This may sound extremely philosophical but time is really an issue for me: the precision of time, punctuality. I have always been captivated by Swiss watches that are 200 and 300 years old. So, this is my vision down the line, he added.

    The Horologist works with a high-quality Swiss company that provides the mechanisms for each of the clocks, but the design process is not the only part that ful ls the maker.

    I like to nd philosophical explanations to everything, he explained, adding that designing clocks has always satis ed his absorption in crafts as well as his

    philosophical interests.When asked further about the

    particular style of his clocks, Al-Hajj made no hesitation to state that he is a lover of minimalism and clean design.

    Im de nitely a purist! he confessed. Im into pure design which is why I admire my rst collection so much. At some point you have to create a response to the market needs, but that is why the rst couple of designs of mine will de nitely always be my favourites.

    Some of them are just prod-ucts of my dreams. I wake up in the morning and theyre there in my head.

    The Horologists collection in-cludes The Signature, the line that most evokes the personality and taste of the designer, The Collec-tion and, the latest collaborative line, Eternal.

    Eternal, if having seen Al-Hajjs previous designs, may seem a little out of place at the begin-ning, but the clock maker assures that he still tried to maintain his principles when designing the new project.

    A collaboration with famous crystal brand, Swarovski, the Eter-nal collection combines a large mixture of materials including crystal, wood, granite, marble and glass with the crystals highlighted


    Time is of the essence



    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012 11

    as the main pre-dominant part of the design.

    The new collection was also recently showcased at Index 2012 where The Horologist made its debut appearance.

    I might be coming out of my purist shell but experimenting can always be interesting, said Al- Hajj.

    The Horologists trademark ma-terials include fair-faced concrete and stainless steel, untouched and untreated.

    I believe if you start treating things, they become arti cial in contrast to using something pure and raw, he continued.

    I think that concrete is ex-tremely under-rated. It is used exceptionally well in Europe on buildings that are just fair-faced concrete but I wish we could see them more in this region, com-mented Al- Hajj.

    With a background in architec-ture, Al-Hajj stated that a lot of his clock designs can be interpreted into buildings. To him, the clocks are more of an art piece than a house accessory.

    They are more of a sculpture because, nowadays, I dont think people look at clocks, with the increased use of mobile phones, so I would say they have a higher artistic value.

    Once someone from an art gallery in Dubai saw the pieces and proposed making a clock with the hands standing still so that it becomes purely an art piece, continued Al-Hajj.

    But the hands on the clock are still ticking and its time for The Horologist to now look to the future. One of my designs was proposed to be turned into a building in Saudi Arabia, chuck-led the designer.


    www.designmena.com12 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Luxury living

    UK: Dubai-based hotel rm, Jumeirah Group has opened the Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living in the Park Lane area of London.

    Combining the services of a ve-star Jumeirah hotel, the brief

    for the interior space remained quintessentially British, designed by Anoushka Hempel.

    Comprised of 133 apartments, the hotel is located in the iconic building by British architect Edwin Lutyens dating back to the 1920s. However, both interior and exterior spaces are different.

    There is a very different look in-side because you come in through this old faade, and immediately you are greeted by a chic concierge desk. You can then take an elevator to the second oor and step out

    into a high atrium. Its really going from older British into the modern, said Astrid Bray, general manager, Grosvenor House Apartments by Jumeirah Living.

    The atrium, as Bray describes, is certainly a talking point when guests arrive into the property: Theres a fabulous light coming down from the ceiling on a wire which is just a great piece of struc-ture. They call it the luminous pen-dant which is designed by ProLight especially for the hotel.

    The colours change throughout the day and night and dont ash, its just a very interesting subtle change, she added.

    The eight storey building consists of regular three- to four-bedroom apartments and one oor for single-strata penthouses.

    The penthouses feature private terraces making the most of the sur-rounding views of London.

    The basic design of the studios up to the three bedroom apart-ments has one design and the penthouses which are four and ve bedrooms are a different design. The penthouses are richly deco-rated in colours such as blacks and creams. The other apartments have more grays and tan colours, very easy living which give it a different feel, Bray explained.

    Bray mentioned that it is not only the penthouses that have outside balconies, but also three apart-ments on the lower oors.

    It is quite unusual in London to have outside space, Bray added, and went on to explain the various, magni cent views that the terraces

    reveal: At the front of the apart-ments, you have amazing views right over Hyde park, and on the other side of the apartments, just the most beautiful views of Mayfair with all the chimney pots and all the rooftops going right the way down to the city so you can even see the London Eye and the Shard, she explained.

    I cant even begin to pick which is my all-time favorite view, she added with a laugh.

    The interiors of the hotel com-bine classic yet contemporary Brit-ish design using dark oak timber ooring, with fashionable tailored

    wall panelling, oversized stone bathrooms, Darlington glassware and Royal Doulton china.

    I would describe it as very Brit-ish chic, Bray commented.


    www.designmena.com14 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    A taste of the seasons

    UAE: The boutique Dubai-based real-estate investment, develop-ment and management company, H&H Investment and Develop-ment has appointed Adam Ti-hany, hospitality designer, Tihany Design to develop the concepts of the restaurants at the upcoming Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach.

    Having over three decades of experience in restaurant design, the designer has created signa-ture spaces for celebrity chefs in locations such as the One&Only Cape Town, Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas, The Westin Chosun Seoul, The Joule, Dallas, to name but a few.

    By appointing an award winning and world-renowned

    designer such as Adam Tihany to give his vision to the three signature restaurants at Four Seasons Resort Dubai, we are raising the bar even higher and ensuring that we offer something original, unique and distinctive to the region, outlined Shabab Lut , CEO, H&H Investment and Development.

    With its sophisticated blend of regional and international in uences, contemporary Dubai is the ideal setting for this project and these venues have been designed with that discerning audience in mind, added Tihany.

    The design concepts consist of three venues complete with diverse personalities and atmo-spheres entitled; the Souk, the

    Yin and Yang Grill and the Aura. Souk is located on the ground

    oor and provides a contempo-rary vision of the exible Arab food market combined with the concept of all-day dining. Dining underneath a grandiose vaulted ceiling that induces an open-air market experience, the guests at the restaurant also have the chance to walk around the spce and sample foods from interna-tional cuisines.

    Located on the ocean front by the pool, the Yin and Yang Grill is an Asian-inspired restaurant with lounge areas. The outdoor lounge area allows for a soothing atmosphere and the warm re-side sofa pit provides a calming space with magni cent views.

    The interior space is designed in modern style, combining dark furnishings, warm lighting along with a decorative patterned screen which connects the space to its landscape.

    The nal restaurant concept is Aura, a glossy rooftop lounge with a futuristic ice lounge oating over a dimly lit raised

    platform. It consists of contem-porary cabanas and private seating in uenced by the Majlis, a traditional seating space in the region. To add to the liveliness of the restaurant, the interior combines vibrant colors and bright textures, creating a space for dynamic design.

    The upcoming ve-star resort is spread across 62,000m2.



    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012 15

    A Wide Selection of Designs andSurface Finishes.

    Bedienen Sie sich aus einer Vielzahl von





    www.designmena.com16 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Through the glass

    UAE: With a client like Novelis, the worlds largest aluminum rolling company, Dubai-based Bluehouse Group decided that using alumi-num products was the perfect way to translate the rms work into its of ce space.

    In terms of material, the idea was to try and use aluminum prod-ucts, said Francois Papastefanou, interior designer at Bluehouse Group. This is why we went with a very prominent system partition aluminum frame: to translate the work of the client.

    Papastefanou explained that the of ce space itself was very small with only 12 workstations. In order to enhance the space even further, Bluehouse proposed a more uncon-ventional design to what the client had in mind.

    We got images of current of ces that the client has and we proposed them to try something really out of the box with the of ce in Dubai, the designer said.

    We used the system partition as a glazed partition to allow for full transparency so as you walk into the of ce, you get full transpar-ency through the entire space and through the meeting rooms, right into where all the work stations are set, he continued.

    Another main feature in the of ce is the timber wall made from natural ash. It can be fully perceived through the space as well due to the transparency of the glass partitioning.

    Papastefanou explained that the design was kept as minimal as possible using crisp white walls,

    white furniture and white worksta-tions which contrast with the black screens. The minimalist approach allows for the accentuating of the curve and junction details with ceil-ings and partitions.

    The lighting was another integral part of the of ce design with natu-ral light coming through because of the transparency in the space.

    We also managed to minimise manifestation on the glass because of the system partition that we used, said Papastefanou.

    However, not all of the lighting is kept natural. We used slim lined, strip lighting which is offset at dif-ferent angles.

    There is nothing perpendicular or parallel about the walls in the space, everything runs off at dif-ferent angles. We translated that

    back into the ceiling design which was how we laid out the lighting, explained the designer.

    He additionally mentioned that there were rooms at the back of the of ce which werent directly in-cluded in the transparency scheme in order to ensure some form of privacy for the main directors.

    The rest of the space is designed more experimentally for added space and an interesting outlook, with a big boradroom containing a 70 inch interactive display and smaller meeting rooms.

    The designer stated that uniting the space was the most important part of the project.

    We wanted an element of open-ness and transparency through all the space so it could all become one, he said.


    www.designmena.com18 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Crateful design

    EGYPT: There are over 20 million date palm trees in Egypt, revealed Manar Moursi, founder, Studio Meem. Palm midrib (gireed), a secondary product of these palm trees, is the material Studio Meem has used to create their Palm-crate- Off the Gireed collection.

    Moursi further explained that 35kg on average of palm residues are obtained per tree annually and about one million metric tons of date palm biomass is wasted from seasonal trimming.

    Our rst product line aimed at nding industrial use of date palm

    midrib as a substitute for exported wood products and to reduce the waste produced from the annual pruning of the date palm popula-tions, she said.

    But what makes the palm midrib so vital to Studio Meems palm crate furniture is its ties with the urban Egyptian culture.

    From Ancient representations of the Egyptian market to the contemporaneous Cairene street, the gireed crate is undoubtedly the most abundant and widely-used container, she said.

    From simple fruit and vegetable crates to birdcages and chicken coops, to display tables, the crate is used in markets as a storage vessel or transportation basket. It is a vessel which contains within it, not only the products it carries but its own rich cultural histories and meanings.

    Although Moursi assured that she sees the contemporary urban street as a dense eld of creativity, integral for the studios design process, it didnt stop her at all from visiting many of the villages on the outskirts of Cairo to work with artisans.

    It is an area that is considered

    peri-urban by many architects and urbanists - and often ne-glected. We are hoping to inspire use of sustainable materials in construction and furniture in vil-lages that are quickly urbanising and becoming a part of the larger Cairene agglomeration, she said.

    It is in the villages that the palm crates are made. The same crates that Studio Meem use to create bookshelves, side tables, and garden systems.

    Palm crate making is an artisanal craft which is labour intensive and slow. The processes related to crate making involve intricate body movements which are translated to linear grids. Each handmade crate is almost the same but profoundly unique in its dimensions and grid, re ecting a wabi-sabi aesthetic of imperfec-tion, transience and incomplete-ness, she explained.

    The collection seemingly seeks to re-interpret the typical manner and function of these palm crates by contasting and collaging them with other materials.

    It seeks to question what has been lost in the age of mass-production, over-consumption and disposability, while still allowing the crates to be seen as new ob-jects of beauty and signi cance, Moursi explained.

    Off the Gireed has been exhibited for the rst time in the Alexandria Library in Cairo including furniture pieces like the Hang bookshelf, Tala & Tamara sidetables, Fold coffee table, the Array bookshelf and Pouf.

    Studio Meems participation in the Design is a Verb Exhibition at the Library of Alexandria allowed the products to be seen by a wider public, she concluded.

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    For more than 50 years, Delta Faucet has been a leader in creating

    better ways to experience water. Whether its contemporary or

    traditional youre looking for, youre sure to find plenty of smart

    and stylish options from Delta.

    See more innovationsfrom faucets to showers to accessories




    www.designmena.com20 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Rock this town

    UAE: Al Shamsi, the Emirati distrib-utor of bathroom solutions rm Roca, opened its new showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road on September 19th. The opening featured the col-laborated Armani/Roca collection for the rst time in the UAE.

    The location is excellent as it is next to Burj Khalifa which is a more cosmopolitan area, said Victor Shoone, country manager Middle East, Roca.

    Shoone explained that the neigh-bourhood isnt the typical place one would choose to open a bathroom showroom in Dubai.

    Our objective with this show-room is to really put Roca on the map and to get away from the traditional sanitary market idea we face with our presence in the Sala-din road in Deira, which is known

    for sanitary-ware products. With this showroom, I think we are really showing Roca in a different light, Shoone outlined.

    The 1,100m2 space includes two oors with the rst oor as the at-

    traction centre, displaying the new Armani/Roca collection. The second oor comprises Rocas expansive

    bathroom collection including ac-cessories and tiles.

    Shoone stated that the company has been growing, especially in Dubai, adding that the recovery from the previous year has been extremely positive: It is possible to say that we are most probably growing much faster than the rest of the market as we are having growth gures that are going into the

    double gures, he said.Other than growth rates and new

    showroom openings, Rocas Middle East manager explained that one of the company aims is to add to a better sustainable society: We care about the environment so all our factories are aiming to be zero waste factories by 2020. All our products and solutions aim to reduce water and energy consump-tion at home.

    He explained that 70% of water consumptions are caused by bath-rooms so reducing water consump-tion is a must.

    In our solutions we aim to reduce water consumption which means smaller capacity systems and new technologies that save wa-ter, he added. We also have our factories which is the responsibility of Roca as a manufacturer. This is a factor that sets us apart from other

    suppliers, he added. We have created a foundation

    called We Are Water which col-laborates with Unicef and Intermon Oxfam and any additional new activities that we hold to talk about the foundation on a global scale which is co-ordinated with the United Nations. The last event, the World Water Day, is a design contest that is in collaboration with the UN, Shoone informed.

    The new showroom in Dubai had been designed by Barcelona-based designer Francesc Refe, who has worked with Roca on several other projects in the Middle East.

    He is a designer who is really able to create innovative spaces for the commercial sector, said Shoone. I think he has done a great job.

  • FotosferaCarpet tiles made from plants?

    Fotosfera is a pioneering collection made from a yarn with 63% bio-based content. The key ingredient? Oil from the seeds of the castor bean plants.

    Fast-growing castor bean plants are rapidly renewable, and grow in hot, dry climates, in sandy loam soil. Hardier than many other crops, they can thrive in land prone to erosion, and only require water once in up to 25 days.


    22 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Summertown InteriorsW HO A RE W E?

    Summertown Interiors offers superior quality interior solutions as a t out con-tractor, turnkey provider and supplier of

    bespoke joinery works. With specialist experience in commercial of ce, education

    and retail projects for global Fortune 500 companies, government authorities and

    local businesses, we are often selected as the preferred UAE t out partner for many

    of the worlds largest project management rms and interior architects.

    As the rst t out contractor in the UAE to occupy LEED Gold certi ed interiors, we have rst-hand experience of executing

    green interior projects.

    USPsThe Summertown team is made up of archi-tects, planners, and project managers who

    interpret client requirements and suggest solutions prior to and during the projects development stage. All of our projects are

    executed in accordance with the interna-tionally recognised ISO 9001:2008 quality

    management system and are delivered with minimum wastage of materials and

    energy. We adopt a consultative approach to every client brief we undertake and

    ensure that each project is delivered to the highest quality. This approach ensures

    that our green projects surpass the most stringent environmental standards. We

    believe in walking the talk and not just talking the walk and we feel that by doing so, we are credible as an organisation to

    our clients, our industry partners, and to our employees. We are proud to be the rst t out contractor in the UAE to occupy LEED

    Gold certi ed interiors, and we can actively demonstrate the reduction in energy con-sumption and ways in which we were able Summertown Interiors LEED Gold certi ed of ce

    Summertown Interiors showroom


    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012

    Retail store at The Change Initiative

    Coffee shop at The Change Initiative - the UAEs rst sustainable store

    to improve staff productivity: 32% reduced water consumption 54.98% reduced building lighting energy Provide 30% more fresh air than recom-

    mended ASHRAE standards, improving air quality and staff productivity

    PROJEC TSSummertown Interiors has delivered proj-ects for some of the leading Fortune 500 companies present in the region including AXA Insurance, ABN Amro Bank, Procter & Gamble, SMBC Bank, Motorola, Standard and Poors, Parsons Brinckerhoff and 3M. Most recently, we delivered four green projects including The Change Initiative, 3M, AXA Insurance and Caterpillar.

    WHAT S NE W ?Sustainability forms the cornerstone of our CSR strategy and we are working to continuously improve both project deliver-ables and industry best practice in relation to sustainability. Last year we committed ourselves to a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) to become a carbon neutral organisation by 2020. To put this into ac-tion, we formed the Eco-Leaders green committee, an internal task force of nine employees who are responsible for leading this initiative across ve business verticals - clients, suppliers, people, operations and measurement. In the twelve months since we launched the Eco-Leaders committee, we have achieved 26% of the deliverables outlined in the 9-year plan. Summertowns Green Plan has been chosen as one of the case studies that will be used by the Dubai Chambers Centre for Responsible Busi-ness to educate other UAE businesses on Integrating CSR into Business Strategy.

    CONTAC T US We welcome visitors to our showroom in Jebel Ali and can be reached at the following phone number or e-mail address for busi-ness enquiries or visiting appointments:Phone: +9714 805 3300 E-mail: [email protected]: www.summertown.aeTwitter: @SummertownUAE

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  • CID AWARDS 2012

    24 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

  • Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012

    CID AWARDS 2012



    Members of the regions interior design industry converged at the Jumeirah Emirates Towers on September 25, celebrating

    the sixth annual Commerical Interior Design (CID) Awards.

    The awards are designed to pay tribute to companies and individuals shaping the regions urban environment.

    From a Sikh temple in Dubai to a luxury beach club and hotel in Abu Dhabi, a young and upcoming talented designer, to an indus-try stalwart synonymous within the region, and beyond. This years entries were truly rep-resentative of the regions successful interior design industry.

    There were 15 award categories in total, covering the whole spectrum of commercial interiors, from hospitality, of ce and retail, to outdoor public sector and institutional.

    LW Design picked up four prestigious

    categories: Interior Design Firm of the Year, Outdoor Design of the Year, Pia Sen was the Interior Designer of the Year and Lars Walden-strm won the Commercial Interior Design Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Fresh into the regional design community, Laura Bielecki from GAJ, won Young Interior Designer of the Year after demonstrating her unique talents on a variety of impressive regional and internarional projects.

    Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi by Wilson Associates walked away with the Interior Design Firm of the Year: Hospitality award while The Farm by Etcetera Living received Interior Design of the Year: Leisure & Entertainment for its impres-sive leisure and tasting experience.

    In the Interior Design of the Year: Of ce awrd category, Falcon & Associates by AK Design reaped the rewards for its striking of- ce design.

    Gurdwara Temple by Bishop Design received

    Cyril Zammit

    fair director,

    Design Days Dubai

    The judging panel

    the Interior Design of the Year: Public Sector & Institutional award for its religious charity project aiming to create a space for worship for the Sikh community in Dubai.

    Interior Design of the Year: Residential category was won by Palm Jumeirah project by Von Saldern Hamed Design while Interior Designer of the Year: Retail was picked up by Miele Gallery by Miele.

    The Change Initiative by HOK was graced as the winner of the Sustainable Design Initiative of the Year award and Interior Contractor of the Year was given to AMBB as the contractor that delivered regularly a high standard of work which has been clearly respected by its industry peers.

    Ross Visitacion from AK Design was privileged to have won the Behind the Scenes Award for his ability to bring positivity into the workplace and, under demanding circumstanc-es, displaying exceptional leadership skills.

    Dariush Zandi

    owner, Total Arts

    Kevin McLachlan

    head of interior

    design, GAJ

    Marcos Bish

    managing director,


    Ana Seixas


    director, Interface

    Karen Hay

    founder, Stickman

    Linsey Thomson

    interior design

    teaching fellow,

    Heriott Watt

    University, Dubai

    Pallavi Dean

    design director,

    Pallavi Dean


  • CID AWARDS 2012

    26 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

  • Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012 27

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    28 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design Firm of the YearWINNER: LWDESIGN

    LWDesign has been selected as the winner for the Commercial Interior Design 2012 Interior Design Firm of the Year award.

    This award is presented to the design com-pany that has produced the most impressive body of work in the Middle East over the past 12 months.

    According to the judges, LW Designs win-ning entry set itself apart for its focus on creative concepts and attention to detail that distinguished itself from competitors.

    Isabel Pintado, managing director said: Its a superb award to win. This is one of the few nights where the design community gets together and its great to share it with them.

    She added: Its been a good and a tough year; the situation is not like it was ve or six years ago, but it has been good.

    We focus on hospitality and F&B and work throughout the region.

    Highly commended in this category was AK Design, for their fresh talent and unique style however, LWDesign was recognised for creating some exceptionally great, new and inspiring world-class designs.

    The rm came up against other players in the eld with equally impressive interior design portfolios to offer including Bishop Design, Bluehaus Group, Innoui Design as well as Woods Baggot

    AK Design Bishop Design Bluehaus Group Inoui Design Woods Bagot


    Its a superb award to win. Its great to share it with the design community.

    CID AWARDS 2012

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  • CID AWARDS 2012

    30 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Designer of the YearWINNER: PIA SEN

    Pia Sen of LWDesign was crowned with the dis-tinction of Interior Designer of the Year at the 2012 Commercial Interior Design Awards.

    Described as possessing designs that were both clean and stylish and captured the intended mood of the place, the judges also said that she served as an inspiration to younger designers and has an impressive portfolio of built work. One judge added that: She knew how to put everything together and create magic.

    Sen was unable to make an appearance at the award ceremony and her trophy was picked up by Jesper Godsk, co-founder of LWDesign.

    When asked why she deserved to win the the Interior Designer of the Year, he simply said: She won because shes the best.

    The Interior Designer of the Year award was created to recognise a professional, forward-thinking individual who consistently delivers original, intelligent and effective design solu-tions for their clients.

    Also highly commended for this award category was Danijel Pocanic of Woods Bagot, for his crisp lines, attention to detail and quality awareness. According to the judges, he expressed a dynamic air, colour and material appreciation and effortless construction ap-pearance.

    Danijel Pocanic

    Woods Bagot

    Afaf Ebrahim

    Inoui Design

    Jason Roberts

    Bluehaus Group

    Jennie Davidson

    AK Design

    Laurent Haddad

    RW Armstrong

    Paul Bishop

    Bishop Design


    She won because shes the best.

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    32 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Young Interior Designer of the YearWINNER: L AUR A BIELECKI, GAJ

    GAJs Laura Bielecki is the winner of the 2012 Young Interior Designer of the Year award.

    Given to the most promising commercial interior designer, under the age of 30 and currently working in the Middle East, Bielecki was selected as being the most impressive multi-skilled individual who could successfully design across diverse avenues of the interior design industry.

    Judges said her work was stunning, and commended her role in sharing her passion for design through social media.

    Im so shocked and overwhelmed to have picked up this award. Im going back to Canada soon for a well-deserved vacation and,

    as soon as Im back in Dubai, the hard work continues, said Bielecki, when she picked up her award.

    GAJ work on projects worldwide including cities like Montreal, Miami, New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Mumbai, Doha, Cal-gary and Edmonton. Bielecki works in different sectors of interior design such as commercial and hospitality.

    Bielecki was able to beat off stiff competi-tion from; Amr Metwally, head of architecture division, Hamad Medical Corporation, Emma Stinson, founder, Studio Em, Heba Helmy, in-terior designer, Highgate Interiors, and Olivia Howard, interior designer, LW Design.

    Olivia Howard

    LW Design

    Amr Metwally

    Hamad Medical Corporation

    Emma Stinson

    Studio Em

    Heba Helmy

    Highgate Interiors


    Im so shocked and overwhelmed to have picked up this award.

    CID AWARDS 2012

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  • CID AWARDS 2012

    34 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Lifetime Achievement AwardWINNER: L ARS WALDENSTRM, LWDESIGN

    After making its debut last year, the Commercial Interior Design edito-rial team has, once again, presented the Lifetime Achievement award to an individual who has stood out throughout the industry this past year.

    This years winner demonstrated continued quality throughout his work in a long and successful career, full of signi cant milestones, plus a consistent contribution to the development of one or more organisations.

    Lars Waldenstrom, founder, LWDesign was lucky enough to receive this years title and was chosen due to his work on high pro le and icon-ic projects in the UAE, and his ability to work under a lot of pressure.

    Upon receiving the award, Waldenstrom said: To win such an award means everything to me. Its a tribute to the hard work thats been undertaken over the last 35 years here in Dubai.

    When I rst came here Dubai was unknown and I originally started by working on some projects for Sheikh Mohammed and, since then, Dubai has grown immensely.

    He added: I cant pinpoint one particular achievement which stands out over the others but if I had to choose something I would say that the Grosvenor House Dubai and Buddha Bar project stand out. Im proud of each and every project Ive worked on over the years.

    Its increasingly dif cult to dine out in Dubai without unwittingly stepping into an LW-designed space. Conceived as a hospitality interior design practice, LWDesign Group launched in 1999. The trademark of LWDesign is its clean lines and functional spaces.

    LW Design has worked on some of the most signature projects includ-ing Okku restaurant i, Yalumba restaurant, Warehouse bar and restau-rant, Indigo Indian restaurant, Flavours on Two restaurant, the Garry Rhodes 2010 restauant as well as the Cadiz - DXB - Terminal 3 project.

    The rm also includes an impressive portfolio of architectural pracit-ces across the Middle East region.

    Its a tribute to the hard work thats been undertaken over the last 35 years here in Dubai.

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    36 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design of the Year: HospitalityWINNER: PARK HYAT T ABU DHABI BY WILSON ASSOCIATES

    Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi by Wilson Associates has picked up this years Interior Design of the Year: Hospitality award.

    Their winning project was described by the judges as a sculptural space that achieves the right balance between minimal and extrava-gant. The judges added further that it was a beautifully bold, yet, sensitive scheme, and very sophisticated.

    Its so exciting. We absolutely love the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi. Since it opened we have been excited to take all our guests to the property and we are so happy, commented senior inte-rior designer, Sarita Stewart.

    The process happened in our Singapore

    of ce and for us at the Abu Dhabi of ce, it was design implementation. I hope, with this award, we can see some growth in the region. We have done so many prestigious projects here in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and I hope that this award solidi es our growth process.

    Furthermore, judges highly commended U + A Architects in this category for Capital Gates Towers saying: Conceptual priority has remained the driving force for the spatial ar-rangement, material selection and installation of this interior. Wilson Associates overcame tough competition amongst companies such as LWDesign, AK Design, Fino International, and the Ritz Carlton project by HBA.

    Caoital Gates Tower by

    U + A Architects

    Crown Plaza by Fino


    Eastern Mangroves Hotel

    by AK Design

    Grosvenor House by


    Ritz Carlton DIFC by HBA Shaza Al Madinah Hotel

    by LW Design


    Since it opened we have been excited to takeall our guests to the property and we are so happy.

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    38 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design of the Year: Leisure & EntertainmentWINNER: THE FARM BY ETCETER A LIVING

    The winner of the Interior Design of the Year: Leisure & Entertainment award for 2012, which covers spaces such as restaurants, bars, cafs, spas and tness centre, went to The Farm by Etcetera Living.

    Described by judges as being, eco-friendly with a contemporary and clean feel, The Farm by Etcetera Living was inspired by the Zaal family vision to make Al Barari more than a residential community. The facility aims to open up the development to a wider audience by creating a good quality tasting and leisure experience and developing a fresh approach to the act of dining. The 80-seat contemporary restaurant is surrounded by green lawns and

    natural gardens and also offers customers the opportunity to comfortably dine outdoors on the deck, suspended over the lake.

    Commenting on receiving the award Lina Helmer, interior designer, said: Its amazing. We were really hoping to win. The project is in such a beautiful location and the design is very different. It doesnt feel like Dubai.

    Nahal Kadora, interior designer, added: The Farm is a good place to escape to. Id say the design is very harmonious, light and airy. It was a very nice surprise to win this award.

    Additionally, highly commended in this cat-egory was the restaurant and lounge concept, Toro Toro by LWDesgn.

    Toro Toro by LW Design B Attitude by LWDesign Embassy Club by


    Koi Abu Dhabi by Bishop


    Legends by Broadway


    Mosaic by LWDesign


    The project is in such a beautiful location andthe design is very different. It doesnt feel like Dubai.

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    40 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design of the Year: OfficeWINNER: FALCON & ASSOCIATES BY AK DESIGN

    This years Interior Design of the Year: Of ce award was deservedly handed to Falcon & As-sociates by AK Design.

    Recognising the best interior design for a corporate of ce space or place of business in the Middle East, the judges described the winning project as: Contemporary design that is aware of the local and cultural context. The judges also said that the arrangement of spac-es combined with creative forms, materials and lighting details displays creative approaches in all areas of this interior.

    On receiving the award Jenne Davison, as-sociate architect, head of interiors commented: I am absolutely excited, this is just fantastic! I

    had such a wonderful team to work with. Our project is all about a story and creat-

    ing a narrative and then turning it in into a space. We were working with the local context and trying to translate that into deserts and mashrabiya designs.

    Highly commended in this category was Clyde & Co by Woods Bagot, which the judges said stood out because of its detailing, quality control and material selection. The project stood out from the other projects including the Herbert Smith by Woods Bagot, Private Finance Corporate by Bluehaus Group, RSB by KPS, Tamdeen Studios by Colacion Studio and another of ce project by AK Design.

    Clyde & Co by Woods


    Al Mojil Investment

    Of ces by AK Design

    Herbert Smith by Woods


    Private Finance Corporate

    by Bluehaus Group

    RSB by KPS Tamdeen Studios by

    Colacion Studio


    Our project is all about a story and creatinga narrative and then turning it in into a space.

    CID AWARDS 2012

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  • CID AWARDS 2012

    42 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design of the Year:Public Sector & Institutional WINNER: GURDWAR A TEMPLE BY BISHOP DESIGN

    The winning entry in the Interior Design of the Year: Public Sector & Institutional category is a religious charity project aiming to create a space for worship for the Sikh community in Dubai. Being the rst of its kind within the Middle East, Bishop Design created a venue that was visually dynamic and true to the Sikh culture and combined contemporary elements.

    The judges described the project as a spa-cious and contemporary design yet classic and simple that seems to show a lot of respect and understanding of the Sikh religion.

    The 2,640m2 project is now complete with its dynamism re ected through the layering and build up of a textured surface that created a three-dimensional construct. The element of serenity is also integrated with the use of wooden wall panels illuminated from behind.

    The award was collected by Paul and Ellen Bishop, founders of Bishop Design.

    The idea behind this project was because, throughout Dubai, there was not enough space to pray. We never expected it to be so highly appreciated, remarked Paul Bishop.

    Abu Dhabi Terminal by

    Broadway Interiors

    Pet CT Centre by Amr


    Sheikh Zayed Desert

    Learning Centre by Fino


    Smile Centre by Inoui


    The Training Centre by IR


    The Womens Museum of

    the UAE by Enrico Botta



    Throughout Dubai there was not enough space to pray.

    CID AWARDS 2012

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    44 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Interior Design of the Year: ResidentialWINNER: PALM JUMEIR AH PROJECT BY VON SALDERN HAMED

    The winning entry in the 2012 Interior Design of the Year: Residential category is Von Sal-dern Hamed Design, a project that aimed to re-de ne the idea of glitzy glamour in the region with neutral shades, sumptuous textures and elegant proportions.

    Arched architectural features and excessive detailing made the shell of the project appear heavier with spaces that are enclosed, hinting at an invisible link between the different parts of the house. The design also combines old and new design with mixes such as a Louis XVI sofa, a Victorian stool and a modern sleek table that all adds to the historical lineage of interior design.

    The project was described as, being el-egant and subtle where all the elements come together effortlessly with the design ethos resonating throughout all the stages between concept and completion.

    The judges said: The detailing and clean lines of the spaces shown are subtly created but with maximum effect.

    The award was picked up by Rania Hamed, principal of Von Saldern Hamed Design. I think the project won due to the attention to detail. The concept was carried out throughout the whole project. There are so many elements such as a majlis and a family room, but they come together very well.

    Burj Khalifa residential

    project by Bishop Design


    Al Barari by Bishop


    Palm Villa by Tao Design Private by Broadway


    Palm Villa by Bishop


    Villa by Blanchard


    There are so many elements such as a majlisand a family room, but they come together very well.

    CID AWARDS 2012


  • CID AWARDS 2012

    46 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Praised by judjes for its: Modern linear composition and interesting play of horizontal planes, the Monte Carlo Beach Club by LWDe-sign was awarded Outdoor Design of the Year.

    Opened a year ago, the design is kept simple and elegant with the use of natural materials and a neutral colour palate to re ect nature, serenity and beach scenery.

    Harmony is created through the seamless ow between interior and exterior spaces with

    an aesthetic use of scale, vistas, screening and materials which aims to welcome guests to a relaxed and serene environment.

    The judges outlined that the project shows the ability to create an outdoor space in a

    multi-storey building, offering a fantastic space for employees.

    Mark Klever, associate, who picked up the award alongside Allan Johnston, said that a lot of passion went into the project and combines the strengths of the company.

    We have always been strong in the hos-pitality sector so we are going on with more hotels, resorts and beach clubs, he said. We also know that we are very proud about the project so we are very happy that the judges thought so too. The project re ects all the hard work we put into it. Its interiors, architecture, structural, engineering a combination of all the companys strengths put together.

    Hakkasan by Woods Baggot Private Garden by Broadway Interiors


    We are very proud of the project so weare very happy that the judges thought so too.

    CID AWARDS 2012

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    Light Design Experience

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    48 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Sustainable Design Initiative of the YearWINNER: THE CHANGE INITIATIVE BY HOK

    The Sustainable Design Initiative of the Year was awarded to HOK for The Change Initiative Project. The design aims to present sustain-able interiors that have a high percentage of re-use, recycled and rapidly renewable materi-als without appearing rustic.

    A contemporary project that engages both retail and business visitors alike, the Change Initiative utilised an existing building which was rehabilitated to form the new store.

    Combining a range of solutions in ve main categories, the 4,000m2 facility includes the Change Initiatives Whole of Life business model comprised of energy, water, waste, food and lifestyle.

    The company is now working on projects in-cluding the Adnoc headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the new airport and the Heart of Doha in Qatar.

    The judges described the project as an im-portant and innovative initiative in the region and one of very few projects in the UAE that is LEED Platinum certi ed where boundaries were pushed.

    The award was picked up by vice president, Christopher Brown, who took time to thank the client for the opportunity: We are very privileged and we thank our client for giving us the opportunity to work on such a thrilling and boundary-pushing project, so without them we wouldnt have the opportunity to be involved.

    HMC PET by Amr Metwally One GE Solution by AK Design Saadiyat The Point by NAGA Architects


    We are very privileged and we thank our client forgiving us the opportunity to work on such a thrilling project.

    CID AWARDS 2012

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  • CID AWARDS 2012

    50 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    CID AWARDS 2012



    For his ability to multi-task and be available at any time to allow for a seamless production, Ross Visitacion, document controller, recep-tionist and administration assistant won the Behind the Scenes Award this year.

    The judges said that people like him make the sun shine in the workplace because they work with a smile on their face even under extremely demanding circumstances, display-ing true leadership skills and are an example to others.

    Visitacion expressed his excitement and his nervous butter ies and said how much he liked to multi-task in the company and continue learning and growing.

    I have stayed more than four years at AK Design and I excelled in the company because it has such a friendly environment, he said.

    I can explore my many interests there since its a quality interior design company and they also taught me how to be involved in the design process.


    Summertown Interiors

    Highgate Interiors



    Interior Contractor of the YearWINNER: AMBB

    For the third year running, the Commercial Interior Design Awards included a Readers Choice Award, which called on the interior design community to put their experience and expertise to good use by selecting this years Interior Contractor of the Year. Every single company that submitted an entry for this years Ccommercila Interior Design Awards was asked to simultaneously vote for their preferred interior contractor.

    The aim was to identify a contractor that delivers a consistently high standard of work and is respected by its industry peers.

    Those who nominated the winner thought this project stood out due to its ability to in-novate and upgrade its practices.

    The company opened an upholstery divi-sion, upgraded its marble and stone facilities and is looking to expand its joinery operation.

    It was also said that AMBB garners consis-tent repeat business in the industry which is

    highly commendable, according to the judges. This year, AMBB received the highest num-

    ber of votes in the category, followed closely by DEPA, Summertown Interiors, Highgate Interiors and ISG.

    This is the third time out of four years that we have won, but I didnt expect it tonight, said Peter Bruce, managing partner.

    Its always down to the team, and we are lucky to have a good team, he added.

    The AMBB Group of companies have been operating in the GCC region for over a decade and have established of ces and operations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

    Felix Santos, design

    manager at Bluehaus


    Babe Aguirre, head of the

    technical team at Bishop


    Halimah Mohamed, of ce

    manager at LWDesign

    Maricel Trinidad,

    document controller at

    Bluehaus Group

  • CID AWARDS 2012

    52 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    AHEC Outstanding use of AmericanHardwood in the Middle East Award WINNER: WOODS BAGOT FOR HAKK ASAN PROJECT, DUBAI

    The American Hardwood Export Council has opted to use the CID Awards again this year to acknowledge the most outstanding use of American Hardwood for a completed project in the Middle East.

    The Council acts as an international trade association for the US hardwood industry and represents over 50 export markets. The award was presented by the director of the American Hardwood Export Council for Africa, the Middle East, India and Oceania, Roderick Wiles.

    Shortlisted for this award were Bab Al Bahar Spa by Bishop Design and Metdist Of ces by Bishop Design with a high commendation for Al Bateen School by Dewan Architects.

    However, this years winner was the Hak-kasan Project, Dubai by Woods Bagot.

    The award was picked up by Banah Mustafa, architect and Steven Velegrinis, senior associ-ate urban design practice leader.

    Being on stage felt great, said Velegrinis. We have won quite a few awards over the years and each and everyone has felt just as special. Its so ful lling to pick up this award as the amount of wood and craftsmanship needed was of a very big scale, he continued.

    Woods Bagot, a design studio specialising in

    the design and planning of the facilities, served as the executive architects for the project, fol-lowed by their involvement in the execution of the Hakkasan Abu Dhabi, which was also nomi-nated for the same category at the Commercial Interior Design awards last year.

    With both traditional Chinese and Arabic de-sign sharing certain elements such as screens and latticework (mashrabiya), the design of Hakkasan Dubai has evolved as a modern international interpretation of eastern Chinese design, said Velegrinis.

    Hakkasan, the modern Chinese restaurant group, was established in London 10 years ago. Woods Bagot has delivered projects for this global client in other cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles and Shanghai.

    New to the Dubai restaurant is an outdoor terrace, which seats am additional 88 people, and steals the spotlight with cascading wooden pavilions, that have been made out of American red oak, surrounded by a wall of lush green vegetation, Velegrinis described.

    The existing outdoor environment was a concrete and bitumen car park. During the summer the temperatures reached up to 70 degrees centigrade prior to the development.

    Its so fulfilling to pick up this award as the amountof wood and craftsmanship needed was of a very big scale.

    CID AWARDS 2012

    The garden also needed to minimise excessive water use as well as mask the unpleasant ele-ments of the structure while, at the same time, sustainably reducing temperatures.

    Continuing the linearity of the oor materials for the adjacent interior dining area and the exterior dining deck, the materials were varied to create a pattern that runs horizontally and vertically up the parapet wall.

    The materials were chosen both for their sustainability and life cycle bene ts, but also

  • CID AWARDS 2011

    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012

    because they manage to sustainably reduce heat gain and ambient temperatures without requiring water.

    Hakkasan is a worthy winner of this years award incorporating the trademark Hakkasan elements a dining area, lounge and blue-lit bar section but also featuring the signi cant use of American red oak, which provided a warm complement to the luxurious interior of the restaurant, said Roderick Wiles.

    The project does indeed combine the Hak-kasan elements with the inclusion of rooftop recreational area with re ection ponds, sunken seating, water features, a dining area and a gar-den. The dining cage and all supporting struc-tures are made from American black walnut.

    Through our partnership with the Com-mercial Interior Design Awards, we are looking toward further strengthening our ties with the regions top architectural and design rms in line with our mission to raise awareness about American hardwoods within specifying commu-nities across the MENA region, said Wiles.

    These awards continue to provide a unique and exciting opportunity to see some of the best projects in the region and we are con dent that American hardwoods will maintain their position as a preferred material for architects and designers in the region, he concluded.


    54 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012


    A chanceencounter


    56 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    strength and feeling he has, not only for Dubai, but for his profession as well. I have a genuine warm feeling for Dubai and the people here, I love it, he said. They provide me with so much inspira-tion. Everything I say is from my heart.

    Before delving deep into his incred-ible journey, Waldenstrm revealed, with great pride, how fortunate he has been throughout his roller-coaster career: I often say I am not a designer. I am equipped with good taste and the ability to surround myself with very creative and talented people.

    However, its not just down to those facts alone. Even the man himself admitted that his illustrious career probably wouldnt have happened if an out of the ordinary telex from Dubai wasnt received. Its actually more than that. Its like a saga, he remarked. At rst I was working in the of ce furniture

    industry and I was the designer respon-sible for of ce landscapes. I could do an of ce landscape with my left hand without even looking. When I received the telex, I was the general manager for a small subsidiary within the group. I

    1 & 2

    Raf es Dubai's lobby

    has been designed to

    feel luxurious


    Toro Toro is

    bathed in striking

    burnt orange tones


    Grosvenor House

    Dubai, created for the

    high-end segment

    ors, Sweden, August 19th, 1941, Lars Walden-strm, a man who would grow to become the world-renowned interior designer we know today, was born. Little did anyone know, at that particular time, that he would become

    such a well-known, and respected gure who has, literally, shaped the Dubai landscape as we know it today. In fact, even the man himself had no idea of what path lay ahead. Little introduction needs to be made but, amongst his most admirable interior works he has accomplished with his team include the iconic Emirates Towers, Grosvenor House Dubai and Buddha-Bar.

    Taking his seat, in preparation for the interview, and with a glaze through the windows opposite, Waldenstrm says, Wow, just look at that. Its incredible. For a man who has been here for over 30 years, and to still be made to feel breathless, such a short and simple statement clearly demonstrates the

    looked at it and it said: Can you please come down and discuss your plans for the Iranian Club? It was in a place called Dubai. I didnt know anything about it at all, the only thing I knew was from a globe in my kids room so I could pinpoint where it was and I found it in the Gulf.

    We were a very small company of only 10 people and only doing special design for big of ce furniture but, it seemed to me, that it was an interesting project so I decided to go.

    Having concluded his business with the Iranian Government representative, it was then time for him to go back home to Sweden. Flying with KLM, a young, inexperienced Waldenstrm was unaware that it was common practice, during the mid 1970s, to phone up and con rm a seat 72 hours in advance. I was told that by the gentleman I met and I didnt know that I had to do something like this. My English also was so bad at the time.

    I was standing in his secretarys room at 19:30 and talking with this lady from KLM who said to me that I couldnt

    1 2


    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012

    get on to the ight as my seat wasnt con rmed. I tried to convince her but there was no chance. I was telling her about my kids, that it was Christmas, but still no chance.

    What happened next would not only de ne Waldenstrms career but it would change his life completely. All of a sudden, the door opened to the of ce. This man walked in and stopped where I was standing and said to me: So what are you doing? I looked at him and said that Im trying to get a seat to Sweden but its impossible... Give me the phone, said this mystery gentleman, he took the receiver from me and said; Im adviser and engineer to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, give this man a seat. He then gave the receiver back to me and the woman from KLM said to me: Sorry sir, we have now upgraded you to rst-class. I thanked this gentleman, who I knew nothing about, and told him how nice it was for him to help me. What time is your ight tonight? he said to me. I told him it was at 2am. Ok, where are you staying?... I said at the InterContinental... Ill pick




    58 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    you up at 12, and then he walked out. I then realised that this guy came into the of ce in order to go and see my contact, he stopped with me on his way there, did this, and then he walked out again.

    Seemingly saved by this generous gentleman, Waldenstrm headed back to his hotel and, in typical Swedish style, had his briefcase in one hand and raincoat/newspaper in the other. The time was 12 and I thought if hes not here by 12:10 I will take a taxi.

    Then I see a Range Rover coming up and there was this man who I hardly recognised and he told me to jump in so I did. In those days, the journey from the hotel to the airport was just a ve minute drive. While I was sat there

    he asked me: So what are you doing in Dubai? and for me to explain to him that I was working for a Swedish of ce furniture manufacturer who has been asked to make a proposal for a club house at an Iranian Club, and with my poor English, I simply said to him that I work in interior design. He then said to me: Thats nice, can you design a pal-ace? and I said, of course, its a piece

    of cake. I gave him my business card and without even really thinking about this, two weeks passed until I received two rolls of drawings about H.H. Sheikh Mohammads hunting palace out in the desert. I then went back to Dubai and before I knew it I was in H.H. Sheikh Mohammads majlis and there were 60 Arabian men all wearing their white cloaks and so many falcons. I remember that I was wearing my suit, with my tie up to my neck, and I could tell that sweat was getting bigger and bigger down my back. I then realised that I was here with the His Highness surrounded by all these people. He said my name and then everyone else shouted my name, so I picked up my two suitcases and I walked up to him. I came down on my knees and opened up my suitcases and showed him my proposals.

    What Waldenstrm then presented was a perspective with mirrors and a sculpture in the middle and, hanging from that dorm were 30 encrusted pi-geons. It was beautiful, he comment-ed. But I learnt very quickly that they dont like pigeons, they obviously prefer

    falcons because they were all over the place! I said to H.H. Sheikh Mohammed that these were 30 falcons and he said to me: These are not falcons; they are pigeons so make sure they will be falcons. Within this perspective as well there was a beautiful chandelier and there were ashing colours coming out of it, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed said to me: I like coloured bulbs and coloured lights, and I replied: But sir, you dont need to have coloured bulbs... No I like colours he replied: Yes but this is not glass, this is crys-tal, I said. What do you mean? I told him that within this crystal there are all the colours in the world coming out, so can we do it my way rst and if he still didnt like it I would personally change all the bulbs.

    Two to three years later H.H. Sheikh Mohammad and I were coming out of the balcony and there was this sudden ray of light coming in. Im not over-exagger-ating but this thing was sparkling like no tomorrow and he looked at it and turned to me and said: You were right.

    The rest, as they say, is history.


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    60 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design


    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012


    Pop your colour 21 3


    62 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    Since the global recession, retailers in general started to realise that they had to do more than just open the doors and hope for customers to come. They knew they had to get proactive and interactive with their customers and engage them on all levels which lead to some cool new developments especially in the world of visual merchandising, says Stinson.

    But regardless of the international hype of stores taking on new identities, this retail design phenomena doesnt seem to be implemented in the Middle East region.

    I dont know if it is because of the mall culture or the lack of the high street but I dont see the recent trends being implemented here. Perhaps the de nition of high-end is different in the region, Stinson explains.

    It is a shame because there is such tremendous potential to do some inspiring stuff with retail design in the region, she adds.

    1, 2 & 3

    Manolo Blahnik store

    in Dubai Mall

    4 & 5

    Sel dges Louis

    Vuitton concept store


    Interior designer,

    Sara Cosgrove


    Nick Leith-Smith

    of Data Nature


    Anew trend has hit the stores with experts observing that the high-end retail market is going through a radical shift

    with its concepts. Stores have taken a liking to words like personalised and pop-up over ones like identical and standardised.

    In recent times retail design seems to have gone through a radical revolu-tion with the big trend over the last few years being the ultra cool and awesome pop up retail movement, states Emma Stinson, designer for Dubai-based inte-rior architecture and design company, Studio EM.

    Sara Cosgrove, head of interior de-sign, The Studio, Harrods also observes that retail design is moving away from neutral mass market design.

    High-end brands have started em-ploying this novel movement into their store designs such as the UK Selfridges Louis Vuitton concept collaboration with Yayoi Kusama.

    Paul McElroy, partner at UK-based Kinnersley Kent Design questions the implementation of concept stores in the Middle East and its level of success in the regional market.

    I would ask where they are going to happen, he says. Unless the malls or the leasing teams are prepared to give over space, which is most vital. Look at Dubai Mall: huge costs on rent but where is the experimentation? Its down to the malls to give up space instead of putting in another concession.

    Data Nature Associates, a London based international architectural, inte-rior and graphic design company, have worked on the Manolo Blahnik store in Dubai Mall which seemingly falls under the boom of todays retail trends.

    Nick Leith-Smith, architect and principal of the company, states that not only do the Manolo Blahnik stores re ect the new, international retail trend in the region; they are in fact ahead of the game.





    Commercial Interior Design | OCTOBER 2012

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    When we originally started to think about a global retail concept for Manolo Blahnik in 2007, it was decided to make every shop a unique design - a regional concept store. The shops are intended to be an installation inspired by location, drawing from discussions with Manolo Blahnik himself on local art, architecture and lm, says Smith.

    We consider local materials and craft traditions. Material and fabrication are key to our design process and provide a cultural grounding, he adds.

    Kinnersley Kent Design is working on the House of Fraser department store in Abu Dhabi and has also integrated the local heritage and culture into the design of the space.

    Explaining how the team did tremen-dous research on peoples homes in Abu Dhabi, McElroy says the location of the department store itself is evocative of the regional culture and habits.

    It is located in the old market square in Abu Dhabi which is where the trade

    used to happen. The idea was to turn it back into a new 21st century shopping mall. Its based on that ethos which is why part of it is still kept as a souk which was again a way to try to stay sensitive to the local environment, he continued to explain.


    evocative of the nearby desert (Rub

    al Khali) topography and visual salt

    ats (Sabkha).

    The colourful low seating, Beaton

    brass table tops and also the

    hanging lamps were inspired by

    Bedouin tent living quarters.

    The carved timber screen

    tessellation was taken from a local

    coral form and is reminiscent of

    Islamic architecture.7


    64 OCTOBER 2012 | Commercial Interior Design

    But even with these one in a million store concepts like Manolo Blahnik and the Abu Dhabi House of Fraser, Stinson observes that this is not enough to put the Middle East on the map for its experimentation in retail design.

    Having been born in Dubai and watching it grow throughout my life, this is something I am so passionate about, she confesses.

    We have brands, the oor space, the budget and the materials available to create inspiring retail interiors that break the mould. We just need to start breaking some of those moulds rather than teetering around them and playing it safe, which has been done by a few retailers but just not enough of them, Stinson adds.

    Cosgrove, in contrast, argues that the Middle East isnt actually missing a beat in the retail sector.

    Ultimately, concept stores provide some purpose in the Middle East and you tend to see more standard luxury boutiques but the level of design thats going into these boutiques can often be quite conceptual. The installations in the

    luxury end of Dubai Mall are conceptual in terms of its execution so I dont think they are necessarily missing out, Cos-grove expains.

    Local and independent businesses are seen by the experts as the leaders of these trends rather than the franchised high-end luxury brand names.

    Were noticing a whole generation of independent businesses who are not on the level where they buy design, but are starting to realise that they also want

    to invest in design. We are de nitely seeing more enquiries from businesses that are not on an international level; but more local who are running small businesses and want to go up to the next level, McElroy offers.

    Stinson agrees, using examples of independent stores like Sauce who created a character for themselves that sets them apart from typical retail stores in the region.

    Art collaborations also being big hit of the retail trend, the status of the art scene in the region comes to question.

    How big is it to collaborate? asks McElroy. Weve talked about that on many projects: Where can we get local artists involved? The art scene is ex-ploding but still tiny. I would argue that it hasnt breached across to the retail scene. Its going to need strong clients to back it up.

    Stinson points out that straying from conventional retail design should always be important.

    We are paid to design which means to create and generate, not copy, paste and imitate.


    as warmer colours and timber to

    re ect local tastes.

    Lingerie department designed to be

    more private and discreet to respect

    local culture.

    Larger tting rooms to accommodate

    for local dress.

    8, 9 & 10

    House of Fraser in Abu

    Dhabi by Kinnersley

    Kent Design


    Emma Stinson of


    8 9





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