A Dubai-based interior design studio, DZ Design, has just unveiled its latest office design in Dubai for Abrao Group’s regional head office in Dubai. The new office is located on the 26th floor in Burj Al Salam tower, one of the busiest commercial buildings on Sheikh Zayed Road.
Spanning 3,800 sqft, the team at DZ Design had four months from an initial design to completion. Abrao’s new office is currently home to 25 employees and it’s designed to support the company’s future growth.
1. People-centric design
“This is what we would describe as a simple but people-centric office that supports the day-to-day work of a busy logistics company,” says Dina Murali, design director at DZ Design.
“It’s small office space so the client’s major concern was how will we fit everything in. Hence, this is where a clever design comes in place. You see, there is no unused corner in the office. And every storage area is cleverly concealed so the space seems more spacious.”
Abrao Shipping is a part of the India-based Abraogroup, founded in 1936.
“As part of its expansion into regional shipping hubs, Abrao Shipping Services was founded in 2005. Dubai was our first choice for an office location,” comments Vinod Gopinathan Nair, Finance Manager at Abrap Group, adding: “We wanted a simple, open, and airy office space. The design should make the staff and clients feel at home and welcomed. DZ delivered on its promise.”
1. Modern office design in Dubai
DZ Design chose a contemporary modern office design in Dubai, bringing warmth through timber finishes and indoor greenery. The greatest impact was made in the open-plan and lounge area, which doubles up as an informal meeting room.
“To achieve this, we’ve chosen a very natural colour palette and finishes that go well together. Light oak was used for the wall panelling with two natural green walls, combined with grey marble and carpet flooring with the hints of Abrao’s corporate blue colour,” explains Murali.
Due to the nature of their business, the design team needed to create two separate entrances – one for the client-facing reception and one for the document and paperwork deliveries. At the main reception, the counters and the back wall are all cladded in Volakas marble while for the flooring they chose Fior Di Bosco marble, adding a sense of luxury.
Abrao Shipping previously rented their offices, which had a traditional office set-up with cubicles and high partitions between employees.
Dina continues: “Open-plan offices are notoriously known to be distracting and noisy so we had to make sure acoustics are done right. In all ceiling panelling, we added acoustic baffles and chose carpet flooring, which absorbs more noise than any hard floor.
3. Storage space solutions
Like any company in the shipping and logistics business, Abrao’s office was overflowing with paper so Dina and her team maximised their storage spaces wherever possible. In an open-plan office, along the long wall, the team designed built-in concealed storage with light Oak wood panelling.
Dina’s favourite design feature is the lounge room.
“Never underestimate the power of a well-designed and comfortable sofa,” she says.
“As the client told me, the majority of their deals are not made in the boardroom but over a cup of coffee in this lounge area. This is a space that serves as an ice breaker when meeting with potential clients but it is also used by their employees when they want to relax.”
The boardroom features a beautiful custom-made table made out of a single marble slab. Comfortable white leather chairs go perfectly with the table.
Due to structural columns, DZ Design wasn’t able to place the employee area next to the main window. The client wanted to utilise as much natural light as possible so instead of adding frosted glass for privacy, DZ Design installed a switchable film. When the boardroom is not used, the natural light comes directly through the windows into an open-plan area.
4. Luxury chairman office
“For the chairman’s office, we’ve chosen more luxurious finishes and furniture. A large-size black marble slab was installed on the wall. With its interesting grains and fluid patterns, it acts as an artistic and sophisticated backdrop. Light oak wooden flooring brings warmth and luxury, complemented by a well-designed executive desk, luxury sofa and lounge chairs,” adds Murali.
Although the office has a quite small footprint, DZ Design managed to create additional so-called “third spaces” in the pantry and a small lounge area.
This is a space where the team comes for a coffee break or to have lunch together. All appliances are built-in and concealed.
“I think we can all agree that Asian cuisine is delicious, but the smell and strong flavours can be overpowering to those not used. So we wanted to make sure that the kitchen is tucked away while the team feels comfortable bringing their favourite foods to work,” concludes Murali.