Studio visit: Brand Creative

DesignMENA visited Brand Creative’s eclectic and graphic-inspired office in Tecom and spoke to its co-founder Carla Conte about how they started out and inspiration behind the office design.

Brand Creative began its work in 2011, when there was “a downtime in Dubai,” as Conte describes. She said: “A lot of retailers were still actually investing in dubai but couldn’t afford to go to the big agencies and I just felt like, ‘Ok, this is a good niche. I want to keep working and want to give people something new and really fill the gap’ and it immediately took off.

“We started four and a half years ago and never had a slow time,” she added.

The company started with two people, Conte and her husband and work partner, Mohammed El Hijazi, “but by the end of the first year we had 5 people and then between then and now, we are up to 11 people”, Conte said.

The firm are now planning on opening a branch in India and are currently undergoing all the legal procedures. With four more designers based there, Brand Creative will make up 15 employees in total.

The firm has well-rounded disciplinary components featuring interior design, architecture and, as uncommon as it is, graphic design.

But Conte states that the graphic design section is of great importance to the office and will continue to strive.

“I think this is more my style, but I love the idea of designing graphics and having them as part of the environment. We articulate space using graphics. Its like being an interior designer but sitting with a graphic designer and coming up with a pattern, something that then he can take and bring into the business stationery, the business cards and the logo.”

“Everything is consistent and when you say that you are branding spaces you really are,” she added.

Conte explained that “sometimes we only get branding and logo projects and although it is not the core of the firm, we are an interior design firm first and foremost, but business wise it helps.

Speaking of designing the space, Conte said: “It’s obviously very open concept and when we first inherited the space, we couldn’t do much with it. So a wall existed and another room existed but with the meeting room, we opened up the wall and we had the opportunity to put a door there but I thought, as a designer, one thing that would be helpful to other designers, even if they can’t be in the meeting, is to be able to hear what is happening, to hear the reaction of the client and to understand the subtle nuances of the feedback.”

She continued: “In terms of spatial arrangement, I had to put a window in my office because I thought I cant be one of those bosses. I need to be part of everybody else.”

When asked to describe the signature parts of the office, she replied: “Neutral tones, very graphic, lots of custom pieces, patterns. The black and white photos are people we consider geniuses. I wanted to surround myself with positive people even if its only in photographs.”

Speaking of future plans, Conte said that she is looking to grow the firm. “There is a bigger space on the same floor so we thought about moving there and keeping this one as a sample space.”

Last year we had interviewed Carla Conte for the first time for Commercial Interior Design magazine. Read the article here. 

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