Viewing Pleasure

Being a commercial interior designer attached to a property development company is a challenging role. Not only do your designs have to be cost-effective, have mass appeal and be timeless, you are effectively making decisions on what people will have in their homes and therefore see and use every day. At a critical stage in the development of The Views project in Dubai, adjacent to Emirates Golf Club, Emaar opens its doors to its new show apartment of the soon to be launched Mosela Tower and invites CID to take a look around.

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By  Charlotte Butterfield Published  August 4, 2006

|~|Emaar-body1.gif|~||~|Being a commercial interior designer attached to a property development company is a challenging role. Not only do your designs have to be cost-effective, have mass appeal and be timeless, you are effectively making decisions on what people will have in their homes and therefore see and use every day. At a critical stage in the development of The Views project in Dubai, adjacent to Emirates Golf Club, Emaar opens its doors to its new show apartment of the soon to be launched Mosela Tower and invites CID to take a look around.

The Views development is a real mix of mid and high rise buildings, named after Mediterranean rivers, boasting units from studios to four bedrooms, built on either side of a central 3.5km lake. Situated within the Greens, its proximity to Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City as well as the main Sheikh Zayed route to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi makes the location an enviable one.

When Emaar launched the Golf Villas they were sold out in just one hour, and Towers like Turia are completed with residents already moving in.
Mosela Tower, featuring a cluster of apartments, lies at the far end of the site. The development is marketed as an elegant mid-range option targeting a professional, mixed market.

||**|||~|Emaar-body2.gif|~||~|Padmini Acharya, interior designer for Emaar, explains that the first step in designing apartments is to pinpoint the demographics of potential buyers: “Research into who we think will buy each development is key to creating the right look which will have mass appeal in that age range or cultural group.”

She continues: “The façade of Mosela has a hint of Arabic influence while it is also contemporary, so we envisaged them as appealing to a young market of both European and native origin. The façade and location are very important. For instance, at Burj Dubai we did the show apartment in cool blues, since we had to create a feeling of calm as there was no discernible view. But with this development, we wanted to utilise the views and therefore we introduced inviting accents of green and earthy tones. The interior design always has to relate to the environment.”

Padmini Acharya, after graduating in Interior Design, has been working in the field of design for over 7 years firstly as a consultant with a private establishment and now with Emaar Properties. “Working for a developer like Emaar is rewarding because you are appealing to a mass market and you know a lot of people will be seeing your work – but it is quite challenging as well to try and find a happy balance between all the potential buyers we’re hoping to target.”

||**|||~|Emaar-body3.gif|~||~|She adds: “For a private palace or large residence, often the client will have very set ideas about what they want in terms of concept and then you have the scope to really explore creative solutions and go a bit wild with the design. But for mass market appeal, working for a developer, the design needs to be as appealing as possible to a wide range of people. and that is a challenge.”

The tiled flooring, the stone vanity countertops (kitchen and bathroom), the general paint (ivory colour), the kitchen cabinets and wardrobes in all the rooms, the bathroom and kitchen fixed fixtures and sanitaryware - all come as standard with the apartments. Therefore selecting items with the widest appeal is imperative.

Acharya chose Australian Blackwood timber imported from Furniturehaus for the wardrobes, door surrounds and kitchen cabinets. “Buyers can choose between three colour combinations for the wood, marble and the general décor. It is very interesting to observe the preferences of various cultural groups – not many people choose the light wood choice, but a lot of our Asian clients opt for medium colour wood and pinky marble while the Europeans plump for the dark wood choice,” Acharya says.

The kitchen cabinets are always custom-made, and, in this instance, are teamed with a non-porous granite work surface sourced locally from Emirates Palace Marble. So were the basin surrounds and marble used in the bathrooms. All the sanitaryware is by Bagno. “We went for high-end products because we want these permanent fixtures to last as well as be visually appealing,” says Acharya. “I always prefer to source locally — all the tiles and ceramics are from RAK Ceramics. In the kitchen, all the appliances are chrome and by Bosch, which are complemented by a stainless steel splashback.”

||**|||~|Emaar-body4.gif|~||~|Behind the sink Acharya installed a smoked glass splash back from Gulf Glass, which looks translucent with under cabinet lighting directed onto it. In the show apartment, each furniture piece is designed and specially manufactured for Emaar, depending on the type of development and the target market. For instance, when The Lofts at Burj Dubai Downtown were launched, the show apartment was done in a modern minimalist style. Each furniture piece is designed specifically for the spot it will be placed so as to adhere to the specifications.

“As interior designers for Emaar we work closely with the architects and project managers,” says Acharya. “For example, with Mosela at The Views, we [the interior design team] realised quite quickly that the floor plan didn’t work as well as it could, as the lounge area was very small and might not fit in two sofas, so the architect tweaked the design and minimised the dead space in other areas of the apartment to enlarge the living space.”

The finishing touches that the interior design team had to inject into the show apartment to help potential buyers visualise a finished flat are carefully chosen to have mass appeal. The wallpaper is from European company, Squisito. The silk wallpaper in the living room is reminiscent of French retro patterning. “These things go in cycles, like fashion. Heavily-textured papers seem to be taking a back seat at the moment in favour of more delicate, intricate silk designs,” Acharya explains.

Other accessories for the show room were sourced from a variety of Dubai stores including THE One, Baiti and Ramesh Gallery. The fabric panels were from City Palace Factory and the flooring is by Nexus. Acharya adds: “I am a big fan of minimalism, so when I do a show apartment, I have to remove myself completely from it and think of the wider audience, not just what I would like! But I think this apartment is luxurious and simple at the same time and gives a good indication of what can be achieved within the space.” ||**||

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