Ship shape

Ascending the elevator to the 40th floor of Al Shatha Tower in Dubai Marina, expectations are soaring. As a leader in the global marina design and build industry, Global Island Yachting has a reputation for creating some of the most exclusive marinas in the world.

  • E-Mail
By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  April 6, 2006

|~|global-Yachting-Body-1.jpg|~||~|Ascending the elevator to the 40th floor of Al Shatha Tower in Dubai Marina, expectations are soaring. As a leader in the global marina design and build industry, Global Island Yachting has a reputation for creating some of the most exclusive marinas in the world. It is currently in the process of building 40 marinas in the region and thus its Dubai office had to reflect its reputable position and appeal to both local and international clientele.

Ralf Heron, CEO of Global Island Yachting, Dubai, explains that the choice of location was incredibly important to the company: “The physical placing of the office was of prime importance; we had to have a view of the sea. It is the nature of our business and so we wanted it to be central to the design.” Once the choice of location was decided upon, work started immediately and with unprecedented speed. Work started on the offices on the 10th December and they moved in on the 10th January. When Heron was selecting the design company, flexibility was key. “We knew that it would be a challenge to co-ordinate. Particularly as the whole fit-out was done over the Christmas and New Year period. In short, Spencer Interiors performed a miracle.”

In just one year, new commercial design company, Spencer Interiors, has already successfully completed 36 projects. It concentrates on office and showroom design and director, Arun Koshi, explains that this project was really interesting and enjoyable to work on. “This was a dream project in many ways — because of the timing constraints, decisions had to be made on the spot, so there was no to-ing and fro-ing between designer and client, materials were selected and designs were finalised with minimum fuss.”

||**|||~|global-Yachting-body-2.jpg|~||~|Spencer Interiors completed the whole package: design, construction and even the electrics. Heron says: “It was much easier that way to get one company to co-ordinate the whole thing, I didn’t want to get into the whole cycle of dealing with five different sub-contractors, not when we were on such a tight time schedule.” He continues, “when we put the design out to tender, getting the project completed in time was the key concern.”

Entering the reception area, the first impression is one of being on a luxury yacht; dark cherry-wood panelling is divided into large squares by strips of chrome, offset by crisp white walls. The same focal wall was used in the director’s office too. “Because the space is so vast, we knew certain walls in key areas had to have special treatment, and create a focus point, and so we decided on installing the wooden panelling, and interspersing it with chrome joins. The wood was from a local supplier, and we made it in our own joinery.” Koshi explains, “I am so happy with the end result, it surpassed even our expectations!”

He adds: “We wanted to create an environment that wasn’t too ultra-modern, but because a lot of the major shareholders are American and like the overly contemporary look, we had to incorporate elements of modernity, and the chrome squares on the focal walls are the perfect way to do this.”

Electronic frosted glass doors lead from the reception into the first open plan office. Faced with 3,600 sq.ft. of empty concrete floors and walls with massive circular pillars scattered throughout the open space was a daunting prospect. Obviously the pillars were structural, so they had to incorporate them into the design, in an unobtrusive way. “I told Arun that we had to have a certain number of offices set around a central boardroom and he did the rest.” Heron says. “The only other part of the design that I insisted upon was having a lot of glass in the office. I wanted to be able to see the sea from even the internal offices and meeting rooms. To maintain the view wherever you are.”

||**|||~|global-Yachting-body-3.jpg|~||~|Obviously, being so open-plan has privacy issues, but these were overcome by installing silver Venetian blinds encased in glass on both sides throughout the whole office, giving privacy and letting in natural light at the same time. These blinds, and the white canvas roller blinds in the directors’ offices were manufactured by Spencer Interiors in its own Dubai-based factory.

The majority of the furniture was custom-made by Al Samaa Furniture and Frontline Carpentry in Sharjah. Koshi says: “Everything had to happen at such a fast pace and this company was amazing, the craftsmen would come and measure up in the morning, we would either describe what we wanted or show them a design and they would deliver it two days later. When one office was finished they would start measuring up for another.” Heron adds: “The speed at which they produced good quality, reasonably-priced products was amazing, very impressive indeed — in fact they were so good I have commissioned them to make things for my home too!”

The desk in Heron’s office and the large oval table in the boardroom were imported from Italy from Dubai representatives, Hyssna International. The carpet was from Roya and due to lack of stock it had to airlift the rolls of carpet in from Canada, but even this arrived in good time.
A great deal of consideration went into choosing the lighting for the whole office scheme. Every room has a variety of lighting options; the reception and the boardroom have round suspended ceiling panels with recessed lighting, cove lighting and individual spots, all with automatic dimmers. Other technological additions include electronic screens that come out of the ceilings; an integrated network system using Enterprise Software – they even had to raise the floors so that the vast amount of cables are hidden from view. “We were very lucky with the landlords; the only restrictions they gave us were concerning the fire alarms and A/C units. Apart from that we were given a completely free reign to adapt the space to our need,” Koshi explains.

The office is completed with large marine-inspired prints of power yachts and sailing boats that were purchased from the marine photographers, Franco Pace and then framed locally. “It was very important to me that everything had to be finished before moving in here as I knew that when we moved in our daily work would take over and we’d never get round to completing it.”

To finish the offices with such a high level of detail and quality in just one month is impressive and what’s more, the whole project actually came in under budget too… ||**||

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code