When UAE fit-out firm Bond Interiors was commissioned to take on hotly-anticipated new hotel ME Dubai by Meliá, they also took on the challenge of upholding Dame Zaha Hadid’s legacy.
Managing director Saad Moaswes and Steve Kiernan, general manager, walk us through the fit-out and how Bond Interiors captured and completed the design intent in record time, against the background of intensive value engineering and a building shape that defied standard fit-out details.
Summing up the 10-month project, they say: "We are grateful to be commissioned by Omniyat, who has an exceptional track record on delivering unique properties, to bring this global landmark project to life
"With a scope that included the full fit-out of highly-specified 93 rooms and suites, the atrium, all-day dinning, a gym, spa, conference centre, public areas, back of house and basement offices; Bond Interiors completed the project on site in record time. We did this by overcoming numerous challenges and in doing so brought the late Pritzker Prize winner’s signature swoops and other architectural flourishes from concept to reality. The hotel’s bespoke interior involved extreme fit-out engineering that started with demolition followed by major structural, civil and steel work.
"Bond Interiors is honoured to be a part of Dame Zaha Hadid’s legacy. We are privileged to have been able to partner with the best in the industry for the successful handover of this iconic project."
Who designed and delivered the project?
Zaha Hadid - Design Concept
HBA - FOH & guestroom from and ID perspective
Bishop Design - All day dining from and ID perspective
Bluehaus - BOH areas
CSA/Bluehaus - MEP
Bond Interiors - Interior Fit Out
ASG - Architect of Record
Mirage Leisure & Development - Client’s Project Management
What was the initial interior design brief? Where did the inspiration come from?
As Bond Interiors is the fit-out contractor, design related questions would be best answered by the concept designers themselves i.e. Zaha Hadid Architects. However, we do have some quotes from other online sources:
Dubbed the Opus, the cube-shaped structure with a void through its centre is the late Pritzker Prize winner’s only project in Dubai to be designed by her both inside and out. “The idea is to create an opening onto the city and to frame these views,” Zaha Hadid said in 2007 after unveiling the initial proposal.
The new ME by Melia Dubai within the Opus, will be a contemporary interpretation of the Melia experience drawing inspiration from its chain of hotels in London, Cabo, Cancun, Barcelona, Madrid and Vienna.
How was this achieved?
In the execution of the design concept, a collaborative approach was adopted from the very beginning, to understand the key factors of the build.
This was followed by a practical hands on approach from all stakeholders, linked together with best practices and methodology used in all construction phases of the project. Quality control was paramount and no element of this was left unscrutinised by the Bond Interiors team.
Were there any changes or additions to the original plan and schedule?
Yes. The variations raised the value from the original scope of works by an excess of 30 million approximately.
Upon commencement of work, the variation in the scope of work became evident with change notifications for the following elements: Additional demolition works were included. Extensive additional MEP works were included into the scope. Additional civil/architectural works were also added that continued till the end of the project.
What were the challenges and successes?
Of the challenges, the main was the budget constraint as it limited flexibility in procurement in terms of both time and cost. Despite this challenge, Bond Interiors managed to capture the overall design intent while maintaining high-end quality.
The shape of the building though interesting, was equally challenging as standard details were not applicable in the fit out.
Within stringent time constraints, working simultaneously in all areas with ongoing structural alterations required in-depth planning and control by the Bond Interiors team to successfully hand the project over within the allotted duration.
What are three specific interior design highlights of the new project?
The spectacular curves created in gypsum are a part of Zaha Hadid’s signature swoops and Bond Interiors skillfully captured the design intent by bringing the concept to perfection in reality.
The concept of the steel flowers in the atrium, has been delicately built to blend into the curves thus creating a flowing movement as though they have grown together as one.
The glass balustrade fabrication and installation proved to be quite a challenge for Bond Interiors’ in-house team but nevertheless successfully carried it out with an end product that was worth the effort.
What new elements are you bringing the market?
More than introducing new elements, Bond Interiors invested time and effort into the planning and methodology of the project execution.
Intensive value engineering exercises were also conducted alongside to ensure that all specifications maintained the required grade in terms of quality and design element. These put together assisted in the completion of the project in a record time of 10 months.
How much was invested in the project, both time and money?
The project was completed in a record time of 10 months on site.