Abu Dhabi is offering immense opportunities to the design industry, reports Nikki Busuttil
As one of the architecture and interior design companies of choice in the UAE, international design firm dwp (design worldwide partnership) has for several years now been actively involved in many of the new and on-going developments in Abu Dhabi, providing integrated services from master-planning, architecture and landscaping to the interior design, graphics and signage of spaces.
With an impressive array of international corporate clients, in its vast and varied portfolio, including numerous blue-chip organisations, dwp is well set to cater to the many multinational companies who have an eye on the emirate.
Red Hat, Beijing, China.
As Abu Dhabi’s development and expansion extends across all commercial to residential, retail and civic sectors, it is a thrilling time for the design industry as opportunities abound. To cater to the country’s planned economic growth, developers are answering the call for more commercial buildings and at a higher grade, to attract businesses.
“Some of the most exciting new office tower developments are Sowwah Square, Ettihad Towers, Central Market and The Gate. We see these, as the new generation of office tower developments in Abu Dhabi that truly cater for the A-Grade office environment, with facilities to match. This fully opens up the prospects for exciting interior design options for our clients,” comments Linda Van Der Walt, regional business development director for dwp.
“Our design philosophy is all about simplicity and elegance in undertaking any design solutions, and these new towers allow optimal application of our design approach.” dwp’s multinational corporate clients include Zain, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Reuters, Nokia, Red Hat, Siemens, Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank, Mindshare, Microsoft, Nestlé, HSBC and BMW to name but a few.
This experience, and the fact of having a cross-border network of design professionals across industries to pool from, as well as already being established in the UAE and able to cater to the cultural sensibility requirements of the market, is what stands dwp in good stead in Abu Dhabi.
John & Johnson, Bangkok.
“We draw on our design talent and prior experience with clients in other countries, where we have offices or have worked in before with clients. Our teams support each other, across our many design studios worldwide. This collaborative approach, appreciated by potential clients, is often a key factor in winning contracts,” notes dwp regional managing director, Robert Troup.
The rising quality of facilities management companies for these developments is also playing a large part in the success of such developments and diversifying them from other developments and their competitors. Ensuring quality design standards by tenants and prequalifying designers such as dwp enhances the buildings’ reputations. The developers and facilities management companies often recommend these design companies to potential tenants for interiors services and fitouts, which, in turn, guarantees that a high level of service, design and delivery is maintained. Top-class buildings attracting high-end clients require luxury design.
dwp successes: Mercedes Benz
showroom in Damascus, Syria.
In terms of design trends, commercial clients in Abu Dhabi tend to be open to innovative design, with a sense and flavour, in varying degrees, of Arab culture and flair. In general, new offices are now handed over to tenants with raised floors and high quality ceilings in place. There is a tendency towards a more contemporary design style, yet functionality is key. The roles of staff within their companies influence the layout and type of desking. Hot desks for sales staff and large offices with majlis and private meeting rooms attached for VIPs are frequent inclusions in commercial interior design. Reception areas are where the main design features and branding are explored, to make the greatest impact for a strong first impression of the company.
One such prestigious project currently under development in Abu Dhabi is the IPIC’s (International Petroleum Investment Company) headquarters, which is currently under construction. Commissioned to lead the development of Abu Dhabi’s first five-star office building within an Atkins-designed iconic 35-storey, tiered tower for the new 89,510-sq-m headquarters, dwp created an innovative, fresh approach, to housing the company’s facilities within this landmark building. The interiors evoke a brand experience of quality, grandeur and a magical link to the modern concept of Arab heritage, by intertwining advanced concepts and materials with modern Arab motifs. IPIC staff and associates have been provided with dramatic and memorable spaces.
Maysan Towers in Abu Dhabi
Movement and flux are expressed through decorative wall panels and ceilings, while the lighting was inspired by the building’s architectural language. Facilities include a fine dining restaurant, spa, fitness centre, gallery, library, boardroom and meeting facilities, with an industrial feel, reflecting the power business sphere and a modern affluence.
In the Middle East, dwp has offices in both Bahrain and Dubai, and the latter is ideal for project supervision and liaising with clients such as IPIC in Abu Dhabi, as it is just an hour’s drive away.
“We always like to maintain close working relationships with both clients and contractors. Great collaboration all round ensures client satisfaction every time,” says Linda.
This may also explain why, despite the global economic downturn, dwp iscontinuing to grow in strength in the region. Its solid reputation for outstanding design and projectdelivery is assured by a loyal client base and continuous word-of-mouth referral. A significant portion of this success is due to its ability to win high-profile projects not only within the UAE but also in other countries such as Georgia, Angola, Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, ranging from workplace, banking and finance, hospitality, retail, education, healthcare, residential and civic.
Looking ahead, dwp remains optimistic about Abu Dhabi’s growth prospects and that it will continue to play a part in the emirate’s development.