Understated elegance and unconventional thinking define the interior design of Redknee’s office in Dubai, UAE, which was crafted by The First Ferry, a Dubai-based international boutique design office.
The First Ferry was tasked by Redknee, a global provider of OSS/BSS (operational support systems/business support systems) software products solutions and services to the telecommunications industry, to deliver an office design on par with the brand’s image. Also, the office is located in Jumeirah Lake Towers – the hub of the IT and media industry in the emirate.
“The brief from the client mentioned the need for an offbeat office design that echoed the traits of solutions provided by Redknee – a team of creative thinkers who present unconventional solutions for its clients. At the same time, the office required a professional undertone that was distinct and worthy of an industry leader,” says Prateek Chaudhry, skipper and founder of The First Ferry.
The Redknee office is an example of The First Ferry’s vision of niche interior designs. The company’s key area of expertise – IT and web solutions – is encapsulated in the use of the name of a spider, synonymous to spinning webs, according to Chaudhry.
This idea was further extended from the branding phase into the interior design phase. Some literal cues have been picked from the Redknee spider itself, for example – the use of bright colours representing the arachnid’s habitat and the gigantic installation of the spider in the reception area. This playfulness is blended with a sophisticated corporate undertone.
Some of the important elements in the design strike a chord that resonates with the brand identity not just with the clients or visitors but also with the employees and staff at the office. The gigantic handcrafted spider by the reception desk is the first noticeable element. The workstation/bay area is crafted on the blueprint of a spider web.
A phone booth adds to the vibe with a retro English look which also functions as a meeting room. The waiting area is crafted in a manner that delivers a homely and comfortable ambiance within a corporate environment.
“The reception desk is built with backlit hollow strips carved out to create a uniquely aesthetic design. The workstation area, while dressed in the sartorial corporate culture, exudes a quintessence of congeniality while combining an appropriate amount of privacy for the employees to function at their best.
“These workstations are strategically placed around carbonfibre trees forming a subtle web-like arrangement. The breakout area is another important element that enriches the employee culture in its own way,” he says.
Chaudhry further says: “The key design feature held with high esteem within the team is the gigantic spider art installation. The First Ferry was founded with a vision to propagate art. An artist from India was invited to the office to sculpt the piece out of fibreglass. The hairy coating was pasted onto the piece. The entire assembly was then painted in black and red to create the magnified version of the arachnid.”
An abstract colour scheme flows through the space, depending on the theme of the area. The reception area has taken a brand-centric approach with reds and whites. The space carries a sophisticated undertone setting the moods upon entering the office. The team’s bay carries a unique combination of purple and red in order to add a sense of quirkiness and vibe to the space and complement the web-like seating arrangement around the tree installations.
The conference rooms on either side follow a minimal theme and the colours for the space are plain, assisting in channelling the focus of the discussion over the interiors. The breakout area, on the other hand, follows an exactly opposite philosophy to that of the conference room; the emphasis is to create a relaxed environment for employees and that is apparent in the selection of playful and vibrant colours that stand out on the floor.
“Redknee’s office is a result of the client’s own vision for the company and the essence of the brand. The furniture follows a geometric definition due to the client’s vision of providing well-defined services with no hidden corners or niches. We have created a space so uniquely representative of Redknee and all that it stands for,” he comments.
The space is a culmination of a variety of elements and The First Ferry has seamlessly assimilated them to enrich the design. The office sports a bright environ and this is supported by the floor covered with ceramic tiles and the walls treated with a soft-matte finish paint. Certain spaces are treated with a wood parquet floor. Most of the furniture is crafted in a choice of wood and metal. The breakout area has a soft green carpet, delivering the experience of stepping into a lawn.
“Personalised designs require custom-built furniture and decor. Hence, The First Ferry adheres to a different set of specifications and guidelines for the furniture and other elements in accordance to the nature of each project. All pieces are manufactured at our very own joinery and delivered to the site after a stringent quality assurance check. Every element, right from the shelves, cabinets, glass doors and cabin structures to the pod chairs, workstations and the pots are manufactured in-house,” he says.
Commenting on some of the challenges faced while executing the project, Chaudhry says: “The short span of time to complete the design and execute the entire project was a major challenge. The idea of blending creativity and a corporate theme together seemed impossible at first, but with constant experimentation and one week of sleepless endeavour, this mélange finally clicked. The result is an extraordinary brand-centric office space.
“While The First Ferry doesn’t follow current trends and believes in the philosophy of absolute distinction, it is important to know the current trends. Most offices have moved beyond an orthodox trend and adopted a fusion of two themes. This eclectic integration mainly consists of contemporary design on one end of the duality – inspired by the interiors of many multinational offices. On the other end sits a choice of either regional-traditional – a design that inherits its cues from the culture and design of a certain country (American, Japanese, Scandinavian, Indian, etc); or abstract – a style that breaks away from geometry and conservative designs, medieval designs and modernism. Each of these designs is also infused with a unique trait that defines the identity of the space.
“Gone are the times when a functional office space was the need of the day. The rise of start-up culture over the past decade and a thirst to add more meaning to the brand beyond just the role it plays with consumer-centric marketing play a larger role in shaping the company in the minds of the employees and everyone who visits the space.”
The First Ferry, according to Chaudhry, is an art house. “We demand excellence in design within all our facets – interior design, architecture, exterior design, bespoke furniture and project execution. Our objective is to deliver a splendid project in a manner that exceeds the client’s expectations in every manner,” he remarks.
Apart from Redknee, The First Ferry owns a portfolio across a variety of spaces. In the commercial sector, some of its notable projects include the block-design-inspired Ideatree Office, 7G Media Consultancies in Business Bay, Dubai, and El Dorado – a space soaked in simplistic luxury.
In the residential sector, The First Ferry has completed the design and fit-out for a luxury residence on the 55th floor in the Burj Khalifa, an earthy themed villa in the Springs community, Dubai, and an eccentrically rustic apartment in Tower K at Business Bay, which is inspired by the iconic elements of the city of Mumbai in India.