CID takes you inside Bruno Guelaff’s Studio where the founder and his team have created an interior that allows their creativity and talent to flourish.
With his latest office design, Dubai-based designer Bruno Guelaff proves that not “every shoemaker’s child goes barefoot”.
Even though it may be a challenge for a designer to create a space where they can showcase all of their talents and beliefs, Guelaff and his team say “there is no better feeling than to design a space for yourself”.
“If you cannot design for yourself then how can you design for anyone else,” wonders Guelaff as he takes us inside his 130m2 office in Jumeirah Lakes Towers in Dubai.
Upon entering one is not greeted by a typical office reception setting, but a sleek white corridor with a floor to ceiling glass panel recessed on all sides complete with a view through the directors design space and directly out to Emirates Golf Course.
“Every morning when I open the office door, I instantly breathe a sigh of relief that I am at work!
“That is not a typical expression one has when arriving in their work environment, but that was the idea behind the design,” explains Guelaff.
Natural light is a precious commodity to all employees and the driving force behind someone’s mood as well as their creative process. Wall to wall windows surround the office with a view extending from the ocean side where the iconic Burj Al Arab stands to the villas disappearing into the desert.
“Calm, serene, and fresh are the words that come to mind when we arrive. These emotions are so important for a healthy workspace, especially when the workspace is a creative one,” comments Guelaff.
The flooring is a satin white ceramic large tile, which extends throughout the space, reflecting the natural light and keeping the space cool. The majority of the design elements in the office are custom designed including all the light fixtures. Each one measures 2.5m in length and is made of riveted powder coated sheet metal concealing the light source behind frosted acrylic slivers.
As well as illuminating the space, light also serves to illuminate design in more ways than one. The 3.5m custom light table serves as sketching centre where the design team can congregate and share ideas all the while ‘illuminating’ their tracing paper while sitting on custom wooden blocks.
The open office area also comprises the main worktable where each design team member has ample space. The custom table is made of whitewashed ash wood in a matte finish with powder coated steel legs. The cable management has been incorporated within the table to avoid any cluttered wiring systems. The custom desk measures a length 3.5m with internal steel reinforcement bars to accommodate the centre ‘supportless’ weight.
At the breakout area, original Bertoia Chairs from the 70’s have been fully restored in Houston, Texas and powder coated with a dynamic paint scheme.
“It is our job to show our clients that ‘design’ is such an important tool in any space as it affects all the senses. If the client is comfortable and in turn feels inspired in our own office space then we have achieved our first step.
“We have stripped the typical cluttered office formalities and have focused on an open shared space. We know we have done well because each time a person comes to the office for the very first time they simply smile and comment: ‘I feel so relaxed here, this feels just right’.”
Boris Ejsymont, regional manager at Solid Nature, who frequently visits Guelaff’s studio, comments: “The minimalistic design alongside the white colour and the view, puts me into a zen-like state.”
Another of Guelaff’s client, Ameena Jensen, regional sales manager at Kvadrat Maharam Arabia, also comments: “The studio itself starts a conversation with its essence of white simplicity, well-designed mix of glass, wood, stone and lightning.”
The director’s office is separated by a clear glass partition within a thick white wood frame, which continues the sense of openess.
The back wall features a laser-cut matte grey artist’s rendition portrait with a tagline reading ‘this ain’t no Disneyland…’ The tagline has personal meaning to Bruno as a professor during his design education tried to limit his youthful creativity by saying ‘Bruno, this is not Disneyland…’
He never forgot it and kept a digital sticky note with the tagline at the bottom of all his screens over the last decade to remind him never to limit himself, never let anyone keep him down and keep pushing to express himslef.
“Whatever we dream up, whatever we build, it will be consumed by all the senses of our clients as well as the public, which will simply result in an emotional response. Therefore at the end of the day are we not just designing people’s state of mind,” concludes Guelaff.