Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), an interior design firm specialised in hotel and hospitality design since 1964, is experiencing a tremendous demand for its award-winning services and is drawing on its extensive, world-wide resources to meet the challenges and deliver the projects on time.
“We have quite a lot of projects at hand and more are in the final negotiation stages. The scale of development in Dubai is phenomenal, which has actually required us to expand and bring in more designers, consultants and associates from various HBA offices across the world,” says Sylvie Gagnon, senior managing associate for HBA.
Already, the firm is bringing to life a seamless mix of themes and cultures into the interiors of the Ritz Carlton in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Grand Hyatt West Bay in Doha, Qatar and redesigning the existing Hilton Corniche Abu Dhabi.
One of the most exciting projects for HBA is the Dubai Pearl, where the firm is currently involved in designing the interior themes for a 60-storey five-star hotel offering breathtaking views of The Palm, Jumeirah.
“Movenpick has been named as the operator for this hotel. This property will be a new concept and more than a flagship of the Swiss chain in the region. They want the design and interiors to be exclusive, the likes of which have never been created. They are looking for something very special with a ‘wow’ aspect that would set the standards for future hotel designs,” says Associate Michelle Evans.
This huge project comprises 15 exclusive serviced office floors, 500 hotel rooms, superb spa facilities, a large ballroom with additional meeting rooms, sports and recreation facilities as well as an exclusive club at the top of the property.
Associate Sayeli Uysal adds: “We have also been awarded the contract for the design of another hotel at Shaikh Zayed Road for which the operator has not been named. This again is a high-rise hotel property with some 500 rooms. Designed by BRT (Bode Richter Teherani), a well-known architectural firm from Hamburg Germany, the property has dedicated 4,000 sq m for exclusive restaurants and food and beverage outlets. Designing such huge spaces and merging them with the rest of the hotel design is a huge challenge.”
Among other developments, HBA is also associated with a resort hotel in Fujairah, a 200-room hotel property that requires total concentration in order to bring out the best in a complex architectural concept for the various parts of the hotel.
“What we have at hand is a forerunner for what we expect to follow. We are in negotiations with a number of developers and are expecting a lot more projects. We are not just concentrating on Dubai. We serve a much wider area and plan to continue to build upon our relationships with our existing clients and to develop new relationships for the top projects across the region,” HBA managing associate Markus Stebich indicates. “We are currently executing projects in Kuwait, Qatar and Pakistan. We are about to start on a huge development in Bahrain and will soon make an announcement to that effect.” HBA, which is well recognised for designing hotels across the world, has already worked on various projects in the Gulf region.
“HBA has a reputation to maintain as we have already designed some of the most iconic properties in the Middle East such as the Grand Hyatt and the Taj Palace in Dubai, the Grand Hyatt in Muscat, Aqaba Bridge Movenpick Hotel in Jordan, and Hotel Inter-Continental Phoenicia in Beirut,” he adds.
The firm has a strong presence across the globe, having designed more than 800 properties for all the major hotel operators.
“From space planning, concept development, furnishing layouts and material selections for all public areas, including the guest rooms and suites, the corridors, the lobby and reception areas, the public restrooms, the meeting rooms, the ballroom, the restaurants to spa and fitness areas, HBA is involved in everything,” he says.
HBA opened its Dubai office in 2000 with a three-member team led by Sylvie Gagnon, an experienced designer with nearly 20 years at the firm. It currently boasts a specialised 20-member team, which will see new inductions very soon.
“We have attained a double-digit growth which is phenomenal for a dedicated design consultancy and this reflects the market potential as well as our dedication to delivering the best in design in a professional manner. The scale of development is dictating our future expansions and it does not stop with Dubai alone. The whole region is seeing unprecedented boom and HBA wants to contribute by making a difference to hotel design and interiors,” Stebich points out.
“We expect to continue growing in the next few years. There are a lot of projects coming up and to meet the challenges and increasing demand for specialised personnel, HBA can draw on resources from its offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, London, Dubai, Delhi, Singapore, Shanghai Hong Kong, Brisbane and Tokyo, which are manned by more than 240 employees,” he concludes.