Bluehaus design concept with universal appeal

Dubai World tasked Bluehaus with creating a single design concept for all

Slight variations in the colour scheme can be found on different floors.
Slight variations in the colour scheme can be found on different floors.
The 16-person boardroom table.
The 16-person boardroom table.
Feature furniture introduces a splash of modernity in the reception areas.
Feature furniture introduces a splash of modernity in the reception areas.

When Dubai World decided to consolidate its various business units under one roof, Bluehaus was tasked with creating a single design concept that would appeal to all.

With offices scattered across the Jebel Ali Free Zone, Dubai World recognised the need to collect all of its business units under one roof. So, it acquired six floors in a Limitless building in Jebel Ali and asked Bluehaus to come up with a unified design concept that could be applied across the board.  

“The company needed to consolidate all of its corporate divisions, so we had to come up with a standard that we could apply to all of these business units – one approach that could be applied to all,” explained Cathy Ingram, senior design manager at Bluehaus.

“Defining the brief and coming up with something that suited everyone was definitely a challenge. The CEOs from all the different divisions had to compromise and agree on a single identity,” she continued.

While the design of each floor is largely uniform, there are slight variations that pay tribute to the different business divisions occupying each level.  

Splashes of colour create isolated accents at various points – in the form of wallpaper in the breakout areas, a strip of carpet at the foot of the reception desk, or a block of coloured glass hugging the wall. For each business unit, a different colour is used, infusing each floor with splashes of either purple, orange, grey, yellow or green.

Another variation comes in the type of wood used in the reception areas. While most business units favoured walnut, the entry point to the human resources department is instead decked in maple.

For Ingram, it was these reception areas that presented the most scope for creativity. “We tried to have a bit of fun in the reception areas, while making sure that we instilled the values of Dubai World. The company has been around a long time and people know it. We needed to reflect that in the reception areas, but we also wanted to introduce a modern twist.

“We’ve got the walnut timber, which is dark, in combination with modern elements such as glass, lighting and feature furniture in bright colours. We’ve also tried to soften it up a little with the strip of carpet,” she explained.

An overriding influence in the design was the concept of transparency, which manifests itself in the open, light infused configuration of the space.

“The current Dubai World offices are quite dark, so we introduced the concepts of transparency and open communication, with the use of low height partitions and plenty of glazing.”

Each floor contains a large meeting room, which, Ingram noted, was designed to the highest specifications. A large wooden table capable of seating up to 16 people extends across the room, while the floor is emblazoned with a custom-designed carpet sporting the Dubai World logo.

Another key consideration was the fact that the Limitless building is a temporary setting for the Dubai World offices, as the company eventually plans to relocate to a site on the Palm.

“This was temporary office accommodation,” Ingram confirmed. “Dubai World will hand the offices back over to Limitless when they eventually take up residence on the Palm.”

This introduced a new complication as, in addition to the various invested parties at Dubai World, the design had to gain the approval of the appropriate parties at Limitless. It also meant that Bluehaus had to create an interior that could be easily adapted to suit a new set of tenants.

“We had to build flexibility into the design because we needed to create a space that could be easily taken over by a new tenant,” Ingram confirmed.

As a result, the whole office is built on a modular standard, where each module can be converted into either a manager’s office, a two-person workspace or a six-person meeting room.

The design also paid tribute to sustainability considerations, particularly when it came to the selection of both lighting and carpeting.

“Measures were taken to try and make this an environmentally-friendly fit out, and there are two primary areas where you can put sustainable considerations into place, the carpets and the lighting,” Ingram maintained.

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