A solid investment
FACE Architecture + Design’s principal reveals the creative vision behind the renovation of the Commercial Bank of Dubai
The principal of Dubai’s FACE Architecture + Design reveals the creative vision behind the renovation of Commercial Bank of Dubai.
Robert Fernandes, principal of FACE Architecture + Design – and known in the region for his stunning work for Anantara Eastern Mangroves, Mall of the Emirates & The Pyramid Club – has transformed the Commercial Dubai Bank of Dubai into a place of respite, tranquillity and opulent minimalism, representing both the vision of his client and his own progressive design philosophy.
“Our firm’s main interest in this project was to create an opulent private banking hub in Dubai. Our client’s ideology is providing optimum banking solutions in the simplest possible way; one that aligns with the interests of its powerful clientele. We used the idea of opulent simplicity as a starting point, engaging the project needs through a minimalist lens. Our design doesn’t burden customers with frills and pastiche intervention,” explains Fernandes.
The 7000 m2 luxury renovation included a brief that emphasised the design preferences of the bank’s clients. Colouration, shadow and light played key roles in the design, as did rich materiality and texture.
“‘Obsidian meets the Midas Touch’ was the key idea of the design, set within earthen tones. The juxtaposition of powerful and reflective materials resounds in the space quite elegantly. Our use of onyx, travertine, brass and leather was meant to invoke cultural parallels with Western European luxury while being geometrically arranged to Middle Eastern spatial configurations. Lighting also plays a key part, with part the main spaces warm and familiar,” says Fernandes.
The Hak flooring is particularly striking. “Each element plays off the other to exhibit the design intent; continuity in the design transfers from the floors to the walls and the ceilings. The flooring in particular was designed to create a subliminal pathway to guide customers around the private bank,” he explains. “The prayer room flooring is orientated towards a pillar of light, to denote the Qibla direction, rather than using traditional signage. The corridor and transition spaces play with intense changes in patterning, material and colour to inform the user of the importance of each space in the bank.”
The team at the flooring supplier, Woodfloors Middle East, also made a huge difference. “[They] have been a pleasure to work with; in addition to the fact that the material quality is unrivalled, as a designer it was a pleasure to work with a team that exhibited an acute understanding of materials from other disciplines and displayed a keen interest in homogenously merging [them] into the other design elements,” he says.
Lesly Lobo, Managing Director of Woodfloors Middle East, adds: “To turn