Property rights

The new offices of Al Mazaya Real Estate reflect the contemporary style the brand is keen to promote.

Bluehaus integrated technology with LCD screen and wire management
Bluehaus integrated technology with LCD screen and wire management

The design of Al Mazaya Real Estate's new offices at Dubai Healthcare City was based on an existing concept previously developed by Bluehaus at the existing Mazaya office at The Gate Building DIFC. The design brief for the new 1100m² office utilised methodologies developed in its Gate premises founded on larger open plan workstations and closed management offices.

The two main departments: Mazaya Customer Service and Mazaya Project Management needed to be interlinked and yet accessible through the main reception area. The company also required a showroom with integrated meeting facilities and canteen area (café' style). In addition, every department desired its own meeting room, executive offices, open workstations, copy/fax counters, storage, server room and a pantry/breakout area.

Darren Lyon, design manager, Bluehaus, explains that continuity of the brand image in the designated sales area was important: "The client wanted to impress upon potential clients the brand's commitment to quality, style and good design, which would transfer across to its product portfolio. We wanted to incorporate the client's marketing strategy by creating a reception, lift lobby and showroom that reflected the brand. It is impressive and emotive with a glowing halo ‘destination' lit logo in the lift lobby and additional branding on desks."ks."

"As we designed the original Dubai office in The Gate we took elements that worked for the client and us, and evolved them in to the new scheme - primarily the curved suede fabric feature wall in the lift lobby, which wraps around a D.B. column that could not be removed during initial demolition stage prior to fit-out works. Secondly we used one of the white textured wallpapers (by Muraspec) from the first office in the second," Lyon explains.

Lighting was used in an experimental way, with a 'moody' entrance and the logo lit in such a way that it became the shining light glowing in the darkness, providing a subconscious feeling of direction and achievement for the visiting clients. Lyon says: "The design was about contemporary style, intrigue, brand presence, innovative lighting techniques, reflectivity and contrast. I designed a 'Building at night' tower in black glass with fibre-optic lights to hide an awkward column in the middle of the reception area. These lights are on a series of timers, which highlight the passing of time through the day. This was complicated to explain and I ended up on site with Babu, the Summertown Project Manager and some of his team, (all from Summertown contractors) manually feeding hundreds of fibre optic cables into tiny holes until 1 am one morning."

Lyon opted for a timeless high contrast black and white colour palette, softened with natural oak timber joinery and a smattering of corporate blue so that the client could highlight its products through models and visual graphics. "Fit-outs cost a lot of money and should be designed and built with long life-times in mind," he adds.

The ceiling has exposed areas including piping and ventilation services painted grey; 60x60 gypsum ceiling tiles (Caspian) with aluminium white powder coating; gypsum finished with Jotun's off-white paint and hanging stainless steel laminated light rafts.

For the flooring, Interface was chosen to supply 50x50 carpet tiles in coffee and sesame. Other areas were covered in a combination of dark grey 30x30 anti-static vinyl flooring; white crystal marble with matching grout; semi solid 14mm natural oak, and a custom-designed rug in corporate Mazaya blue, which softens the look.

Muraspec wallpaper adorns some of the walls with painted surfaces by Jotun and natural oak from BSH Walls and Floors. The blue suede wall cladding was sourced from Morwan furniture. Window treatments were manual roller blinds from Senani.

Lyon cites the timescale as being the most challenging part of the design: "The time frame was tight. This is most common in Dubai and I believe our industry knows that the situation's getting critical. Everything suffers when programmes are reduced to such a degree. When the design stage from concept to tender is completed at a fierce pace it is difficult to take a step back and really think about the project from every angle, and ask yourself in a critical manner if the design will be a success in all areas. The only time you get a chance to do that is while sleeping and dreaming!"

With an academic background in furniture and product design, and as a trained cabinet maker, Lyon's favourite part of the project was being involved with the in-house team on the technical details, specifically the custom furniture. He explains: "We had some great ideas, like an oval table for models that rose from the floor at the push of a button (which was never built). It gives me job satisfaction when I see what was once a sketch made real." He continues, "there are quite a few details that have been successful, and I'm pleased as they are experimental. The furniture (supplier- ABC - Rajah Fakhouri) was selected at length by myself and the client project manager, (Tareq Dalloul), and was worth the time spent. I had a meeting in the newly completed boardroom and loved the feel of the leather conference desk."

When asked if he would have done anything differently, Lyon simply says: "I spent a few hours on site post completion, on my own, asking myself exactly that! Basically I take everything and learn lessons from what we've done, be it failure or success. It's humbling to stand on site and see quite how many people are involved in even a small project - a quick doodle on a napkin can ultimately involve tens of people who's lives and those of their families are affected, influenced, changed by it."

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