Commercial Interior Design - - Contents - WORDS: NAMITHA MADHU

XBD Collective gives an in­dus­trial spin to the cor­po­rate of­fice of Bri­tish print­ing firm, Taws, in Dubai De­sign District.

Since its es­tab­lish­ment as a print­ing com­pany in the UK in 1978, Taws Prin­ters has gone on to work with sev­eral pres­ti­gious brands such as Dis­ney and Nike. When the com­pany de­cided to as­sign the in­te­rior de­sign of its 168m2of­fice in Dubai De­sign District to ar­chi­tec­ture and in­te­rior de­sign firm XBD Collective, the brief was clear cut. "The de­sign was to be in­no­va­tive, stylish and have a slightly in­dus­trial look and feel," says Ellen Srei­hoel, the founder of XBD Collective. "Our client re­quested that our de­sign should in­cor­po­rate per­sonal touches with at­ten­tion to de­tail and that it was im­por­tant that our con­cepts re­mained in line with the iden­tity of the cor­po­rate brand and re­flected the his­tory of the com­pany," she con­tin­ues. "To cre­ate the cor­rect aes­thetic, we were asked to in­clude old print­ing machin­ery along with re-cre­ated ver­sions of orig­i­nal [type­set­ting] let­ters, as well as use teal to launch the brand's of­fi­cial new colour scheme." The of­fice in­cludes a wait­ing area, two ex­ec­u­tive of­fices for man­age­rial

staff, a large con­fer­ence room for pre­sen­ta­tions, a small meet­ing room near the cof­fee bar for shorter meet­ings, and a work­ing area that could ac­com­mo­date up to 12 staff.

“We were given a shell and core base and asked to zone off ar­eas to ac­com­mo­date mul­ti­ple spa­ces with vary­ing func­tion­al­i­ties to be in line with the client’s us­age spec­i­fi­ca­tions,” Søhoel ex­plains.

To show­case the brand’s his­tory, the of­fice in­cludes sev­eral dis­play units through­out its premises.

“It was im­por­tant that we in­cluded shelv­ing units and light boxes for the use of back­lit graph­ics and to ex­pose prod­ucts, to all the main ar­eas (es­pe­cially in the cor­ri­dor and con­fer­ence room). The client’s idea was that they would be able to show­case the work and image of the brand while lead­ing clients down to the con­fer­ence room,” she com­ments.

The en­trance area fea­tures con­crete look­ing tiles, wired glass and ‘old look­ing’ typ­ing let­ters moulded in

brushed bronze to give an in­dus­trial, yet wel­com­ing and de­tailed aes­thetic essence to the space.

“Th­ese ‘old-look­ing’ let­ters hang spo­rad­i­cally on cus­tom-made wooden pan­els in the en­trance and are built out to give a 3D ef­fect. The pan­els are lay­ered to en­hance the de­sign and com­ple­ment the lac­quered dis­play cab­i­nets in teal,” says Søhoel.

The wait­ing area is a mix of com­fort and ef­fi­ciency. “A prac­ti­cal be­spoke leather bench and leather clad wall pan­els, with back­lit acrylic strip light­ing, bring an el­e­ment of com­fort jux­ta­posed with the harsher tex­tures of the op­pos­ing wall and the more in­dus­trial, farm­house loft pen­dant lamps and his­tor­i­cal print­ing machin­ery,” she re­marks.

The cof­fee bar is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the in­dus­trial look and fea­tures vin­tage rope and wa­ter pipe pen­dant lights.

“The bar is made from a wood ve­neer base and ar­ti­fi­cial back­lit onyx stone top. Wire bar stools pro­vide ad­di­tional seat­ing and con­tinue the in­dus­trial theme into the cor­ri­dor,” Søhoel com­ments on the space.

A 1.3m-wide cor­ri­dor leads from the cof­fee bar down to the smaller meet­ing room, ex­ec­u­tive of­fices and con­fer­ence room.

“Each area has been sec­tioned off us­ing wired glass in a black metal frame with slid­ing doors in the same fin­ish. Shelv­ing and dis­play units were cre­ated on one side of cor­ri­dor and acrylic light boxes were in­stalled for show­ing high qual­ity back­lit graph­ics. A vin­tage guil­lo­tine sits at the far end of the cor­ri­dor as a main fo­cal point,” says Søhoel.

The small meet­ing room just off the cof­fee bar hosts a high-gloss lac­quered ta­ble with a chrome base and white leather vis­i­tors' chairs.

The ex­ec­u­tive of­fice houses black pow­der-coated alu­minium pen­dant lights from Tom Dixon, that il­lu­mi­nate the space and hang di­rectly above a cus­tom­made desk in tim­ber ve­neer. The desk as been built around the ex­ist­ing col­umn as a prac­ti­cal de­sign so­lu­tion.

“The same fin­ish is used for the back-wall shelv­ing unit built on top of her­ring­bone pat­terned wall­pa­per from Phillip Jef­fries. Com­mer­cial car­pets were used in th­ese ar­eas as a cost­ef­fec­tive floor­ing so­lu­tion,” Søhoel says.

The con­fer­ence room, be­ing an im­por­tant space for the client, fea­tures higher end fin­ishes.

“Shelv­ing units with brushed bronze metal in­lay were cus­tom de­signed for dis­play pur­poses and large acrylic light­boxes were added on ei­ther sides for demon­stra­tion of back­lit graph­ics, all of which were en­cased in a wired glass frame. The 3.5-m be­spoke con­fer­ence ta­ble is the fo­cal point of the space with a white lac­quer top and cen­tral strip in brushed bronze that con­tin­ues up from the base of the ta­ble. Wooden floor­ing was used to give a slightly more high-end feel,” says Søhoel

The main workspace takes on a more sim­plis­tic aes­thetic. It is de­signed to ac­com­mo­date be­tween 10 to 12 staff, along with large print­ing machin­ery.

“Stor­age was cru­cial, so we built ex­tra stor­age around the col­umn and along­side the walls of the workspace,” says Søhoel.

1 The re­cep­tion area fea­tur­ing metal let­ters in brushed bronze.

212Old print­ingmachin­ery had to bein­te­grated into thedecor.

33Teal ac­cents are inkeep­ing with Taws'new brand iden­tity.

44A leather-cladbe­spoke bench addsa note of com­fort tothe wait­ing area.

55Vin­tage Edi­son bulbpen­dant lights in thecof­fee bar.

66A vin­tage guil­lo­tine isthe fo­cal point in thecor­ri­dor.

7Acrylic light boxeswere in­stalled forshow­ing high-qual­ityback­lit graph­ics.7

8 8The wait­ing room justoff the cof­fee bar.

1010The main workspace.

99The high­lights ofthe scheme are itsin­dus­trial ac­centsand vin­tage print­ingde­tails.

11The 3.5-m long ta­blewith its brushedbronze in­set is thefo­cal point of thecon­fer­ence room.11

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