A new independent company created by Emaar chairman Mohamed Alabbar, known as Eagle Hills, has recently moved to the 12th floor of Abu Dhabi’s Capital Gate Tower Building. Designed by Dubai’s award-winning boutique design firm, Bishop Design, the 2.3m dirham office has a raw and rustic appeal executed to suit the warehouse-inspired look that the initial brief had asked for.
Paul Bishop, managing director of Bishop Design, explains that the space, which measures at 1000m2, was meant to accommodate areas including the reception, a waiting area, various meeting rooms and communal break-out and refreshment facilities. The new office was also to include a combination of partially closed and open plan office environments ideal for private meetings, personal time for staff or group discussions and collaborations.
Bishop says: “The design aesthetics were to embrace and convey the sense and ambience of an urban warehouse, raw and unfinished. This was to incorporate an eclectic variety of both vintage and contemporary furniture selections, material finishes and accessories giving the space an overall refinement and elegance.”
He adds: “Every item throughout was thoughtfully and painstakingly selected, allowing for a truly intriguing visual dynamic to be established that best reflects and defines the client’s brief without appearing thematic or faux in any way. Ultimately, the focus of the design was to create a fully operational office environment incorporating all these sentiments both spatially and aesthetically, as set out by the client at the onset of the project.”
To communicate the raw, urban expression as Bishop put it, the design team used earthy materials like bespoke concrete for the walls and floors, as well as a variety of brick types and combinations. Connecting the spaces together are elements like original vintage furniture, lighting and accessories.
By applying modern and contemporary items and finishes, the various pieces are seamlessly brought together, with base finishes maintaining a rather minimalist look including concrete, distressed wooden timbers and blackened Galvanised steel.
In addition to the various zones previously listed, the office also boasts nine office spaces, six hot-desking unit areas, dining areas including a café and an espresso bar, and two general seating areas. The open plan area accommodates over 90 people.
Bishop adds: “The main challenges other than that of which was to accommodate all the client’s spatial requirements and internal departmental relationships, was that of creating an equilibrium between the two very diversifying styles not only from an aesthetic perspective but also one of adapting the vintage furniture pieces not commonly used in an office environment.”
Bishop also notes that in using furniture that was an unconventional choice for an office design, he had to modify the pieces so as to “facilitate the operational and functional requirements of both the individual and of the company.”
Another challenge that the design team faced was the application of the strong sense of style and aesthetics of the given brief, without it becoming thematic. It was, in a sense, to maintain as much authenticity as possible.
Bishop Design worked with a number of suppliers to bring together the entire scheme. Restoration Hardward was contacted for the loose furniture, lighting and accessories, while Superstudio provided the task furniture and various desk systems throughout. Finasi provided the task chairs.
Throughout the office are a number of small trinkets and belongings that give the space a sense of time and history, while the exposed soffits and heavy use of glass, steel and concrete mark the interior as a reflection of the now.
Bishop explains: “The entire space is in itself the break-out feature, full of textual layering of both materials and a physical layering of space. Raw, urban and contemporary are harmonised with the curious array of accessories, objects and the differing furniture types and styles used within.”
The concrete, metal, wood and leather used throughout adds a masculine feeling to the space, while the floor the ceiling windows draw warmth from the natural sunlight. Every element of the design, down to the paper holders on the individual workstations, have been considered and meticulously chosen to create a world that seems to drive itself on the importance of modernity.
The office’s inhabiting company, Eagle Hills, is a global developer of mixed-use, master-planned communities. Its open office layout reflects its values and principals of creating sustainable lifestyles.
Bishops adds: “This concept created takes on a fresh and somewhat differing approach to the standard commercial working environments that are commonplace within this region, not only in its creative open plan spatiality and work ethic, but also in the application of its ‘steam punk’ interior philosophy: What the past would look like if the future had happened sooner?
“That was achieved and exemplified through the use of diversifying interior styling and finishes that was applied within establishing a subtle discourse and equilibrium between the vintage, reclaimed and restoration pieces coupled with a more contemporary design selection.”
This article was originally published in Commercial Interior Design in January 2015. Photo Credit: Bishop Design.