In this perpetually evolving city, it seems that new roads, buildings and even entire neighbourhoods can appear, seemingly out of nowhere, overnight. Indeed, such is the case with the Dubai Design District (d3). Just a year after the “Meet d3” event, when Dubaians were introduced to a portion of their city’s new hub for artists, designers, boutiques and entrepreneurs, companies have started moving into their new offices. The area is still very much coming together, with many offices still under construction, but the energy of a district filled with similarly like-minded creatives is already palpable. The Qode, a luxury public relations and events management company, were among the first inhabitants, and Bazaar Interiors takes a first look inside their offices.
The Qode, which started primarily specialising in fashion and cosmetics, has recently been carving out a niche in the art and design industry - working with prestigious brands such as the Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery, The Rug Company, Cuadro Gallery, Artspace and Edge of Arabia amongst others. Moving to d3 was a logical choice for them, to take advantage of the creative synergies in the new district, to be closer to their clients, and to accommodate an ever-growing team.
The reception area in the firm's offices
The Qode’s neighbours include Art Dubai, Design Days, Brag, Sauce, Nadine Kanso of Bil Arabi and the Nakkash Gallery. There are plenty of opportunities to network within the common spaces, and sometimes even the private ones. “Nadine Kanso is in the next building and we frequently stand at our windows and wave to each other from our offices,” laughs the Qode’s Managing Partner Dipesh Depala. It’s not just newer entities; established luxury brands such as LVMH, Christian Louboutin, The Chalhoub Group, Chanel and Christian Dior have also taken up residence.
Like most offices in d3, the Qode’s property, which was originally two offices, arrived shell and core and needed a full custom fit-out, for which the company appointed famed Lebanese interior designer Vick Vanlian.“Fun, luxurious and edgy were the key words in the brief” recalls Vick,
Dipesh and Ayman Fakoussa, also Managing Partner, are both larger than life personalities, respected businessman, and men-about-town. It was a challenge to find a balance between their respective styles. “That was the tricky part, Ayman and Dipesh have two very different approaches to design,” recalls Vick. “I had carte blanche to do anything I wanted within the brief as long as they jointly agreed and approved. The merger of both their minds into one is what creates magic in their work and contributed to creating a unique space with great energy.” The project took four months to conceive and an additional five months to complete by the contractor, Vertical Space. It was particularly challenging to fit all the needs of the company in the designated 300 square meters space. Provisions had to be made for storage, a showroom, a conference room, administrative offices, a pantry, both managing partners’ offices and an ever-growing team.
Ayman Fakoussa and Dipesh Depala in the lobby of their d3 office building. Dipesh wears Diesel Black Gold jeans, Berluti bag, Sama eyewear, D1 Milano watch, tee-shirt, jacket, and shoes, all COS. Ayman wears Fendi shirt, Diesel black gold trousers, Sama Eyewear, jacket, shoes, and bag, all Berluti
The actual shape of the office is somewhat oblique but Vick’s design helps make the lack of right angles less jarring and more seamless. This is most evident in the work area the team calls “The Island.” The playful asymmetric joint desks give each person privacy while retaining plenty of room for communication. The Island has quickly become the heart of the office, where colleagues will mingle throughout the day. Ayman says,
The Jotun concrete paint finishes lend a contemporary, industrial feel while furnishings from Cities, Nada Debs, The Odd Piece and The Rug Company keep the space warm and inviting. The office is appointed with an impressive art collection. In Dipesh’s office sits a portrait of Egyptian singer Om Khalthoum by Chant Avedissian. Ayman’s office showcases a gallery wall of American artist Hunt Slomen’s signature subject, bunny rabbits, set against a white brick-effect wall. A series of photographic portraits by Nadine Kanso hang in the main workspace behind The Island.
But perhaps most arresting is Emirati artist Farah Al Qasimi’s “Sunset Circus,” which hangs in the conference room. “In this series, the artist attempts to capture fleeting feelings of contentment and wonder,” says Cuadro Gallery owner Bashar Al Shroogi. The whimsical image of a clearing in a forest sits at the end of a conference table fashioned out of a single piece of oak timber and designed by Vick. The raw wood of the conference table draws the viewer’s sightline towards the artwork. “It’s as if the table top fell out of the photograph and landed in the conference room,” Bashar adds. The overall effect is one of serenity and calm, offering a much sought-after space of quietude for the busy executives. It is where Dipesh chooses to retreat during the day. “The conference room is filled with a very peaceful energy. Sometimes I just go in there to sit, contemplate and think about what’s next.”
Photography: Aasiya Jagadeesh. Words and Styling: Nausheen Noor
This article first appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors