Since its establishment as a printing company in the UK in 1978, Taws Printers has gone on to work with several prestigious brands such as Disney and Nike.
When the company decided to assign the interior design of its 168m2 office in Dubai Design District to architecture and interior design firm XBD Collective, the brief was clear cut.
“The design was to be innovative, stylish and have a slightly industrial look and feel,” says Ellen Søhoel, the founder of XBD Collective.
“Our client requested that our design should incorporate personal touches with attention to detail and that it was important that our concepts remained in line with the identity of the corporate brand and reflected the history of the company,” she continues. “To create the correct aesthetic, we were asked to include old printing machinery along with re-created versions of original [typesetting] letters, as well as use teal to launch the brand’s official new colour scheme.”
The office includes a waiting area, two executive offices for managerial staff, a large conference room for presentations, a small meeting room near the coffee bar for shorter meetings, and a working area that could accommodate up to 12 staff.
“We were given a shell and core base and asked to zone off areas to accommodate multiple spaces with varying functionalities to be in line with the client’s usage specifications,” Søhoel explains.
To showcase the brand’s history, the office includes several display units throughout its premises.
“It was important that we included shelving units and light boxes for the use of backlit graphics and to expose products, to all the main areas (especially in the corridor and conference room). The client’s idea was that they would be able to showcase the work and image of the brand while leading clients down to the conference room,” she comments.
The entrance area features concrete looking tiles, wired glass and ‘old looking’ typing letters moulded in brushed bronze to give an industrial, yet welcoming and detailed aesthetic essence to the space.
“These ‘old-looking’ letters hang sporadically on custom-made wooden panels in the entrance and are built out to give a 3D effect. The panels are layered to enhance the design and complement the lacquered display cabinets in teal,” says Søhoel.
The waiting area is a mix of comfort and efficiency. “A practical bespoke leather bench and leather clad wall panels, with backlit acrylic strip lighting, bring an element of comfort juxtaposed with the harsher textures of the opposing wall and the more industrial, farmhouse loft pendant lamps and historical printing machinery,” she remarks.
The coffee bar is a continuation of the industrial look and features vintage rope and water pipe pendant lights.
“The bar is made from a wood veneer base and artificial backlit onyx stone top. Wire bar stools provide additional seating and continue the industrial theme into the corridor,” Søhoel comments on the space.
A 1.3m-wide corridor leads from the coffee bar down to the smaller meeting room, executive offices and conference room.
“Each area has been sectioned off using wired glass in a black metal frame with sliding doors in the same finish. Shelving and display units were created on one side of corridor and acrylic light boxes were installed for showing high quality backlit graphics. A vintage guillotine sits at the far end of the corridor as a main focal point,” says Søhoel.
The small meeting room just off the coffee bar hosts a high-gloss lacquered table with a chrome base and white leather visitors' chairs.
The executive office houses black powder-coated aluminium pendant lights from Tom Dixon, that illuminate the space and hang directly above a custom-made desk in timber veneer. The desk as been built around the existing column as a practical design solution.
“The same finish is used for the back-wall shelving unit built on top of herringbone patterned wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries. Commercial carpets were used in these areas as a cost-effective flooring solution,” Søhoel says.
The conference room, being an important space for the client, features higher end finishes.
“Shelving units with brushed bronze metal inlay were custom designed for display purposes and large acrylic lightboxes were added on either sides for demonstration of backlit graphics, all of which were encased in a wired glass frame. The 3.5-m bespoke conference table is the focal point of the space with a white lacquer top and central strip in brushed bronze that continues up from the base of the table. Wooden flooring was used to give a slightly more high-end feel,” says Søhoel.
The main workspace takes on a more simplistic aesthetic. It is designed to accommodate between 10 to 12 staff, along with large printing machinery.
“Storage was crucial, so we built extra storage around the column and alongside the walls of the workspace,” says Søhoel.