Greenline Interiors celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, as one of the world's most prestigious interior design companies whose impressive achievements include the Ruler's Office in Dubai, the Dubai International Airport, the private quarters of former US president George Bush and the world's tallest hotel, the Burj Al Arab.
The company was set up in 1975 by Samir Badro, who viewed the UAE as an "ideal springboard for a worldwide design, manufacturing and contracting company dedicated to excellence''.
One of its early projects was the Dubai International Airport followed by some palaces for the Ruling family of Dubai. The company spread its wings overseas by setting up its first office in the US in 1983 and then moving into Europe. Today, Greenline employs over 700 people and has offices in the UK (London), US (Miami, Los Angeles), France (Paris), Italy (Milan), Syria (Damascus), Lebanon (Beirut) as well as its UAE offices in Dubai, Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.
The company's hospitality division has been associated with many prestigious projects around the world.
Greenline attributes its success to its ability to undertake turnkey jobs through three distinct areas of specialisation. "We create the concept of design in our in-house design department, we manufacture the furniture and fit-outs and, finally, we are interior contractors for our own designs or even those of others. This, obviously, is an advantage for our clients because we are capable of taking turnkey jobs," says Badro, who is the company's chairman and chief executive officer. "Thanks to the facilities we have at Greenline, we are able to undertake almost any project.''
One of Greenline's latest, and perhaps most stunning, achievements is the new Burj Al Arab in Dubai, considered to be the first seven-star hotel in the world, where the company was able to execute, in record time, all of its 200 suites and two grand suites, the entire reception area, beauty saloon and several outlets.
Badro says that the company is rightfully proud of the fact that it was able to complete the work on schedule without compromising on key quality standards.
Greenline was asked help choose all materials used in the designs and to this end, company staff set out to personally source materials from all over the world: Brazilian Azul Bahla granite, Swedish and Scottish leather, Canadian wood, German veneers, Italian marble and hi-tech impact-resistant mirrors made in the UK.
"Greenline does not subcontract work as we have three factories, based in the UAE, that are capable of executing all work in-house. Everything was manufactured at our factories, including all the fixed joinery,'' explains Badro. "Highly-skilled workers meticulously crafted all the fixed and moveable furniture, and this proved a major advantage in terms of time and flexibility, as it allowed the hotel to inspect, modify, enhance products and designs during manufacture, which would not have been possible had the work been done overseas.''
The Brazilian granite was used for the Royal suites in the hotel. These lavish suites boast bathrooms with small tiles that are injected with 18-carat gold, and wallpaper hand-painted by European specialists. A majestic Italian-marble stairway lies at the entrance to the suites, and 18-carat-gold leafwork is present throughout the suites as well as throughout much of the hotel.
The entire interior furnishings and fit-outs in the suites were custom designed, including the TVs and wall panels, while the furniture was hand-crafted to the exacting specifications laid down by the client. The beds feature an innovative mechanical rotary base.
Describing some of the company's other challenging projects, Badro says: "Overseas, we did a luxury hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, and an opulent residence on the river Thames in London. Both locations have similar cold climates, and yet I managed to evoke very different moods and ambience in each. The hotel suite was designed in earthy tones, to offer guests visual protection from the bitter cold outside. Exotic woods were used to create an overall sense of warmth and tradition. The London residence, however is bright and spacious, in contrast to the dark grey exterior. To achieve this , skilled painting techniques and elegant accents of gold leafing were used throughout the residence."
Another of Badro's creative projects was an elegant 42,000 sq ft mansion in the New Market suburb of London, where he successfully integrated the equine environment that is prevalent outdoors into the design theme. "Colours were delicately balanced to create a homely ambience, away from the cold and grey outdoors, while bird's eye and birch woods were hand-carved and hand-finished. Fabrics from France and custom-designed pure wool carpets add to the warmth of the interiors, while 24-carat gold-plated Strass Italian chandeliers set the rooms alive,'' says Badro. "And the piece de resistance was a hand-carved glass wall with an Arabian horse motif.''
Commenting on the project for George Bush, Badro says: "Greenline was deeply honoured when it won a contract to design and execute the private quarters and office of the president, located on the grounds of the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
"The project brief was to create a cosy, functional and elegant apartment that the President and his wife could use as a retreat while visiting the library, an apartment that has an underlying theme of simplicity, devoid of pomp.
"Greenline set about this task by choosing bright colours juxtaposed against the warm, dark cherry wood to create a fresh and friendly environment. Bush's personal vintage accessories collection were used to accentuate every corner of the residence.
Though better-known for working on palaces and elaborate residences, Greenline's project portfolio has also comprised impressive corporate headquarters. Badro elaborates: "A project that I particularly enjoyed designing was for a busy chairman of an international firm. This project was a balancing act between the beautiful and the functional, the modern and the classic, the hectic business environment and the serene homely feeling.
"The colour white was predominantly used throughout, from the white-painted ceiling and walls, to each custom-designed piece of furniture selected, to the book-matched Italian statuary Carrara marble used for flooring. A contrasting black and white marble effect, with gold leaf accents, was used in the cornices and the furnishings.
"This blended perfectly with the selection of the imported French fabric used on the upholstery. The special attention to detail in the lighting positioning enhanced the beauty of every piece. The result, a harmonious combination of modern, sleek-looking furniture, combined with some of the world's greatest achievements in art pieces, being authentic paintings or genuine objets d'art," says Badro.
Greenline is the parent of a couple of subsidiaries with its three factories in Dubai and Sharjah of which Al Diwan is a part. Greenline's retail outlets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Fauchar, display Greenline-manufactured furniture and branded accessories. The latest addition to the group of companies is Dataline Technology, which is an information technology (IT) solution provider. For the new millennium, Greenline has reinvented itself in terms of a new image, being an ISO 9001-certified company and with all that this implies in terms of excellence. The silver anniversary, says Badro, marks "25 years of hard work and dedication to our clients, while maintaining the highest quality and standards''.