The executive office of Dubai Holding designed jointly by Sneha Divias and Marie Laurent, counters creative stereotypes in this high-profile workspace.
Creative collaborations are not exactly new to the design industry but, when an award-winning interior designer and a sought-after architect join forces, the result has to be impactful enough to make a significant impression. One such collaborative project between Sneha Divias Atelier and architect Marie Laurent has led to an innovative executive office, which highlights the blurred divisions between work and personal life in the digital age. Switching off completely is not an option in the current work environment, where the pace is fast and deadlines are short. We now live where we work, and work where we live.
Inspired by the prevalent culture, Divias and Laurent worked on a brief which required them to create a third space between residence and office – ambiguous, yet well-defined with purpose. “Within the new Dubai Holding headquarters, we designed the executive offices of the Chairman, CEO, CREO and the Majlis.”
Dubai Holding represents a collective of companies across 12 industries and is the driving force behind an innovation-led economy in line with the UAE government´s vision. Inspired by this foresight, the design of the office also supports the firm’s values, while exemplifying a mix of sophistication, energy and layers. “The concept was required to stay away from the standard preconception of what corporate space should look like, and imbibe warmth, detail and functionality,” says Divias.
The interior space plan cleverly uses and divides the areas between reception, lounge, meeting room, private office, private area with dressing room and washroom, as well as a generous balcony. The private office, which is slightly elevated than the rest of the space, has a boutique atmosphere, and can be accessed from the lounge. It can be completely concealed with a full-length sliding panel, presenting an unobtrusive exterior view.
There is an overall level of intrigue and personality, featuring eclectic objects, bespoke furniture and a Poltrona Frau task chair. Practicality and comfort aspects have been carefully considered to ensure that they respond directly to the brief,” says Divias. The private area concealed behind the office includes mirrored dressing and washroom with a minimalist, bespoke marble vanity counter. The sliding panels make it possible to enclose the meeting room and office or to open it all up as an open working space.
“The biggest challenge was to have a clear direction of how unconventional the space could be for an organisation of this nature,” says Divias, who wanted to create a versatile space, yet retain a well-defined line betwen work and living spaces.
The geometric table with brass legs in the meeting room particularly stands out. “We designed the table to allow a seating composition, where people can face each other comfortably and engage in conversations,” explains Divias. “In the typical long linear conference tables, it becomes difficult to have eye contact and interact with everyone.” This solution also provides room for a higher seating capacity because of the angled sides, while also allowing users to have a better view of the screen during presentations.
Divias and Laurent have used diverse materials throughout the project, such as oak timber, lacquer, brass metal and grey tiles. “The materials have been applied as part of the holistic scheme, and as per the light and specification needs of each area, which tie it all together,” says Divias. “We have kept the finishes neutral, clean, with a timeless contemporary sensibility about them.”
The lounge has been designed like a comfortable living room with varied furniture, which includes armchairs supplied by Nakkash Gallery, bespoke pieces from Kreations, and a rug from The Rug Company, supplied by The Odd Piece. All the accessories and styling through the areas was curated by Arternative and this adds a layer that connects all the details, ranging from architecture books to sculptures and marble objects.
In the meeting room, Divias and Laurent have attempted to strike a balance by incorporating a soft touch to its corporate mandate by adding elements such as the herringbone-patterned timber flooring. A particular highlight of this room is an artwork by renowned Iranian artist Farhad Moshiri.
The different layers of interior architecture, bespoke furniture and interesting art present a new archetype of workspace, which is redefining the way we work and live.