Stately estate

Stately estate

The Tamdeen Group, Yvonne Colacion

Tamdeen’s corporate headquarters feature an impeccable mix of contemporary design, elements of Arab culture, and ‘retail display style’

The Tamdeen Group is one of Kuwait’s most significant companies in the real estate and project development industry. Founded in 1982 under the name Tamdeen Real Estate, its business includes developing shopping centres with leisure and entertainment areas and its projects combine traditional design with contemporary architecture.

The architect of record for the Tamdeen corporate offices was SSH and the initial design was done by Yvonne Colacion under the aegis of RTKL.

After RTKL dissolved its corporate interiors division during the recession, it was decided that Colacion would continue to lead the project through to completion. Colacion is an interior designer who was a senior associate at Gensler for 11 years, and then vice president of corporate interiors at RTKL. She set up Colacion Studio in 2006.

“Tamdeen Group’s 50,000 square foot corporate headquarters was initiated under the aegis of architectural firm RTKL International. However, due to the global recession, its corporate interiors group in Los Angeles and Chicago was dissolved. It was then decided that Colacion Studio would continue to lead the project through to completion,” said the designer.

“This was a natural decision as I had developed a rapport with and an understanding of the client. The success of any design project is largely about professional chemistry between the owner or the owner’s representatives and when this works, the momentum stays in place.”

Colacion completed the design of the corporate offices and was encouraged by The Tamdeen Group to open her own firm, while continuing to lead the project. With the client team and relationships well-established, this transition was smooth and effortless.

Colacion Studio was designed to service a number of prestigious projects, including Farah Villa, which consists of three private estates overlooking the Persian Gulf; and the M/Y 360 luxury motor yacht, where the interior has an art deco-inspired contemporary design. The 162-foot-super yacht includes an on-deck jacuzzi, wine cellar, helipad and suites accommodating up to 10 guests.

“Having a creative understanding of integrated real estate commercial development, and the enhancement of communities, was critical to this project,” said Colacion.

“Having completed a fairly involved brand analysis with the brand specialist Fitch, Tamdeen Group’s concept of its brand was well in place.

“The design needed to reinforce its brand and mission statement but also needed to be authentic to the Tamdeen Group’s visionary perspective of the retail experience in the Middle East, as well as its commitment to the firm’s surrounding community.”

The design team focused on creating a three-dimensional physical space which translated the message of the brand both internally and externally. It was important to the client that the physical space be both dynamic and charismatic, while celebrating the firm’s cultural heritage.

It also wanted to recognise its diverse workforce—creating a tapestry, through design, of the world’s leading international professionals.

“Tamdeen Group not only has a local presence in Middle East real estate development, but also has a true international reach into the retail world. Despite the trend towards virtual retail centres via on-line communities, people in general still desire a need to come together and share information in a corporate setting,” she added.

“Planning work environments today for agile and dynamic businesses need to include a keen observation of not only full-time work environments, but diverse work styles, as well. Work station modules and quantities were designed to meet this future need.”

With Colacion Studio’s translation of the brand, coupled with the changing evolution of work and play, the firm created a planning and design approach which spoke to each person’s individual, personal and community persona, reinforcing diverse cultures in the group.

The geographical location of the headquarters inspired the final design of the interiors. To take advantage of Kuwait’s desert sun, it incorporated a large skylight to bring daylight into the space.

The sun’s heat was strategically filtered through various methods, including the installation of a synthetic mesh window shade in a conference room, UV films on the skylights and large windows, as well as a suspended screen of honeycomb aluminum on the ground level, which partially veils the top flight of the teak and steel stairway.

To evoke the feeling of being in a desert oasis, the firm added a vertical garden wall in the ground-level reception area, as well as two more stacked garden walls in the double-height atrium, totaling a 20-foot high lush green feature wall.

The design team incorporated cultural elements of the Gulf region throughout the 50,000 square foot space, by featuring traditional Arab geometric patterns (custom designed by Colacion Studio) on various surfaces and textiles; as well as artful Arabic script, which was used as signage in several spaces.

“When Colacion Studio came onboard to complete the design of the Tamdeen Group headquarters, the primary concern was to keep the momentum of the project intact,” said Colacion.

“We were fortunate to have an excellent architectural development team already in place along with a regional architect partner to assist in the local jurisdiction building requirement. Keeping momentum was easy.

“What became a challenge was designing a project which reinforced a complex and diverse company brand, and planning for a physical environment which needed to accommodate change. Like many organisations today, success begins with a company’s ability to accommodate change in business demands and adapt to the ebb and flow of a diverse work group.

“We targeted furniture providers and vendors worldwide who could not only offer smart, aesthetically pleasing products, but would understand the changing needs of this sophisticated client.

Haworth International and Bene were two companies that were able to provide a complete family of products which were flexible, and worked well for this international client. The outcome is a beautiful international environment, which communicates style and agility, and has the smart mechanics of change for a savvy real estate company.”

The studio is currently working on three private residences (totaling 80,000 square feet) in Kuwait overlooking the Persian Gulf, as well as two private town houses in Beirut, and a number of high-end projects in the US.

It plans to expand its portfolio of luxury yacht design, as it recently forayed into the yachting industry with its design of the award-winning Motor Yacht 360˚. The 162-foot super yacht, based in the French Riviera, has been recognised by the Society of British Interior Design, as well as Charterwave, which listed the luxury vessel as one of the ‘10 Best Yachts with Contemporary Interiors’ of 2011.

“I feel so privileged to be working on this international level, and to be spearheading the design of such prestigious and unique projects,” said Colacion.

“I’m grateful for the global inspiration I have derived from these travels.”

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