Dubai-based design firm, Roar, has opened an outpost in London in response to international enquiries and an ongoing commission in the city’s historical Chelsea borough with a residential developer. “London will always be a creative innovation hub and now an epicentre from which we can work on International projects. We will be working with global partners, developers and suppliers, leveraging knowledge from our diverse portfolio while continuing to enhance our research and strategic approach to design.” says Pallavi Dean, founder of Roar.
“This is not a start-up, but scale up for Roar” says Christina Morgan, who has worked with Dean since 2009 and been part of Roar (formerly Pallavi Dean Interiors) since the inception stages. Morgan will head up the London team and continue Roar’s support of the industry’s higher education with links to The Royal College of Art’s mentorship programme, the school where she also studied architecture. “Pallavi and I previously guest lectured at the American University of Sharjah for a semester, an experience I personally gained so much value from. The process connects us to emerging undercurrents and we get the opportunity to share our knowledge while remaining relevant.”
Roar has noted interesting trends from London, the UK and wider Europe; the buzz of co-living, co-working, the merging of education, workplace and hospitality sectors, demand for ‘affordable and sustainable luxury’ and the impact of data and technology on design. “These trend threads can already be recognised in our projects for Sheraa Entrepreneurship Centre, the first Delano Hotel for the Middle East and the ‘digital-analogue’ Nursery of The Future. Roar’s approach has always been to challenge the mainstream, while proposing innovative strategies that still make good business sense for the client” says Kathryn Athreya, managing director of Roar, MENA.
Morgan adds: “The world is more connected and moving faster than when we set out five years ago. The users of our spaces are well-informed global citizens with complex demands on spaces to deliver the right experience. Having a hub in London allows Roar to react quicker, align with global markets and essentially be an active part of the agile community we are already designing for.”
This latest studio opening comes hot on the heels of other UAE-based architecture firms - such as Anarchitect by Jonathan Ashmore - taking their practices international. Dean and her firm have been widely recognised in the MENA region as one of the most successful boutique practices, having won in multiple categories at the Commercial Interior Design Awards 2018, as well as being recognised internationally.