In this apart­ment in Ma­rina Ar­cade in Dubai, sim­plic­ity and so­phis­ti­ca­tion co­ex­ist with func­tion­al­ity, colour and craft. De­signed by Roar (formerly called Pallavi Dean In­te­ri­ors), the space is a cel­e­bra­tion of fuss-free, con­tem­po­rary de­sign.


When I was asked to cre­ate a show apart­ment with ir­re­sistible emo­tional ap­peal for the new Ma­rina Ar­cade devel­op­ment in Dubai Ma­rina, I de­signed it for Lara. She’s 36, mar­ried, and had just had her first child. Lara is a high achiever who is climb­ing the cor­po­rate lad­der in a big me­dia com­pany, but she’s jug­gling that with be­ing a hands-on mum. Lara loves high-de­sign, high-fash­ion and high-so­ci­ety par­ties—but she and her hus­band are also acutely aware of the prac­ti­cal­i­ties of fam­ily life. That’s the thing with show homes—they’ve got to be multi-func­tional, be­cause peo­ple need wildly dif­fer­ent things de­pend­ing on their mood. A cosy re­treat af­ter a tough day at work; an In­sta­gram-wor­thy party space; clever stor­age for suit­cases and the iron­ing board; a place to do a cou­ple of hours work af­ter the kids have gone to bed.

So, for this home, in­spi­ra­tion was sought from a broad and eclec­tic cross­over of de­sign ref­er­ences and styles. This ap­proach gave a won­der­ful depth, rich­ness to spa­ces. So for this apart­ment, we didn’t just fol­low the prin­ci­ples of res­i­den­tial de­sign—we were in­spired by ho­tel de­sign (the over­all con­cept), mu­seum de­sign (the cor­ri­dor), café de­sign (the kitchen), school de­sign (chil­dren’s bed­room) and of­fice de­sign (the in­tel­li­gent use of zon­ing—al­beit on a mi­cro scale—in the lay­out of the liv­ing cum din­ing area).


Dubai Ma­rina has al­ways been a great lo­ca­tion, with the en­vi­able lifestyle op­por­tu­ni­ties and ameni­ties of the Ma­rina and JBR on one side, and Dubai’s me­dia and tech busi­ness hub on the other. Go­ing be­yond the purely cos­metic, we in­sti­gated struc­tural changes, knock­ing down walls to cre­ate new rooms and tweak­ing the floor plan. Specif­i­cally, the orig­i­nal plan had no room for a house­keeper—a musthave for many Dubai fam­i­lies. We have used colour to cre­ate a sense of con­ti­nu­ity through­out the home. The colour pal­ette takes its cue from the re­cep­tion lobby—a muted, neu­tral base pal­ette—with a blue ac­cent colour in­spired by Emi­rati artist Mat­tar bin La­haj’s Gal­lop­ing Horse paint­ing in the re­cep­tion lobby. A sec­ond ac­cent colour, mus­tard, was added as a beau­ti­ful com­ple­ment.


We have used a lot of mir­rors and re­flec­tive sur­faces to give a sense of the apart­ment be­ing flooded with nat­u­ral light, and to make it ap­pear larger that it is. In the mas­ter bath­room we car­ried the wall cov­er­ing onto the ceil­ing to cre­ate a sense of in­ti­macy, a tech­nique typ­i­cally used in lux­ury hos­pi­tal­ity de­sign. In the mas­ter bed­room, over­sized flow­ers and emer­ald, jewelled tones cre­ate a lux­u­ri­ous yet re­laxed vibe. For the din­ing ab­stract graph­ics of

ART OF LIV­ING The for­mal liv­ing room (above); study area in the chil­dren’s room (be­low)

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