Pandre Special Architecture, a boutique design practice, has made extensive use of American hardwoods to create a tranquil ‘outdoor’ setting for an award-winning majlis at a villa in Dubai, UAE.
According to Mark Klever, head of design at the Dubai-based Pandre Special Architecture, the design intent was to create a place of hospitality, entertainment, relaxation and reflection at an existing villa in Nad Al Sheba.
The villa supports the garden majlis architecturally, with the external stone-faced elevation providing a visual backdrop and spatial element to the “outdoor room” sitting area.
The informal, modern annex complements the ‘formal’ majlis located inside the more traditional family villa. The new majlis building is a contemporary installation; the terraces float above the ground as if to remain disconnected and temporary, while the existing classical villa with banded stone panelling and Islamic arches remains strongly grounded.
“The interior design brief was to provide a complementary experience to the existing formal majlis in the main villa. Through the use of warm timbers and natural stone, we were able to create a beautiful and comfortable space to enhance the relaxing indoor-outdoor living experience,” Klever explains.
As such, the cantilevered roof and opening glass walls create an open, peaceful, shaded ‘outdoor’ living area, enabling the owners to experience the tranquil ebb and flow from the majlis out to a landscaped garden, he adds.
The canopy roof, supported by four columns, acts as a tent poled awning stretched over all the internal components camped within. Further, the functional components of kitchen, and washrooms are stand-alone rooms clad in stone and timber and are separated by views to pocket gardens.
“This project gave us as designers an opportunity to develop many custom-built elements throughout, particularly in timber,” says Klever.
American hardwoods have been used in a number of areas across the project such as American oak for the flooring, cladding and columns as well as for the bespoke tables and chairs. Black-stained American oak was also used for the custom-designed dining table, whilst oak was also used for the ceiling cladding and panelling.
The majlis retains a feeling of openness and relaxation achieved by daylight and the landscape permeating the envelope of the building. It is a place of hospitality inviting a domestic landscape into its interior.
“The majlis space feels, and is, neither inside nor outside. It inhabits the ‘inside-outside’ threshold like a rocking chair on a veranda,” Klever remarks.
The Nad Al Sheba garden majlis won Pandre Special Architecture the ‘Outstanding use of American Hardwood in the Middle East’ award at the Commercial Interior Design (CID) Awards 2018 held last month.
The award was sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) for the seventh time. It was presented to Klever by Roderick Wiles, AHEC regional director, and Kurt Seifarth, regional agricultural counselor for the US Foreign Agricultural Service.
AHEC is the leading international trade association for the US hardwood industry, representing all the major US hardwood production trade associations.
Pandre was praised by the judges for its ‘extensive and thoughtful use of American hardwoods in this modern annex project, which complements the traditional majlis inside the villa’.
“We were delighted to sponsor these prestigious awards yet again and to support the immensely talented, diverse and burgeoning design community in the Gulf. The winning design creates an excellent showpiece for American hardwoods in the Middle East, which are extremely well established as a design material,” says Wiles.
“Sustainable American hardwoods are now beginning to enter new and exciting commercial markets and as the world re-embraces timber as a building material, it is hoped that they will become recognised more for the possibilities they can offer in all aspects of design and construction,” concluded Wiles.