Swiss Bureau has completed the design of the common areas for the new Tecom Knowledge Park in Dubai, using the concept of the ‘tree of knowledge’, that appears across various elements of the interiors.
Having already completed the auditorium, management offices, and food court, the interior design firm focused its attention on the common areas including the entrances and hallways which are located across three atriums.
Using the metaphor of the tree of knowledge, Swiss Bureau used a real tree, located in the central atrium and set under a skylight. The tree is encircled with a bench, allowing it to play both a conceptual and functional role.
The metaphor of the tree continues in other parts of the interiors, such as the back-wall of the reception area which is constructed out of GRG and coated in textured concrete paint.
The design also includes a tree bark mural which is a custom-designed wallpaper, as well as ringed lights above the bench that mimic growth rings of a tree.
“The foremost criteria in designing a public space like this, used predominantly by teenage college goers and young professionals, was to use materials that were durable and not easily stained or damaged,” the designers said.
The firm used locally-sourced porcelain tiles which possess a “realistic texture, making it appear almost like a raw concrete surface”. This is complemented by a warmer travertine texture in the atrium areas, while a wood effect porcelain tile is used in the corridors.
“To keep project costs within budget and keeping in mind that this design would be rolled out to 18 other buildings, different paint textures are used to create interesting variations in the walls,” the designer explained.
“Planning the space well was critical to the design, as thousands of people walk through this space on any given day. Previously the atrium space was largely empty with some dated furniture and was only used as a transit space. To bring about a cultural change, a centralized seating was introduced. In the main atrium this seating is located around the tree and is a key design feature; in the other atriums, this is a customized seating unit.
“Clustered lounge seating has been added into either side of the atrium and this encourages people to spend time in this space. To bring in colour to space where most of the finishes are neutral, the lounge seating has accent colors of a soft green that is in tandem with the green tree in the centre.”