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Swiss Bureau’s concept for the forum explored the confluence of tradition and modernity.

With renowned blue-chip multinationals, global entities, governments and boutique business as clients, Swiss Bureau Interior Design is known for delivering progressive workplace environments with a focus on creating dynamic collaborative spaces that become the focal point of the project.

“We see ourselves as the conduit for businesses to align diverse people for common goals,” says Joakim de Rham, Co-founder, and CEO. “Our design approach is centered on creating environments that will foster change, creativity, and discovery.”

This creative path was evident in their design for the forum space that was inspired by the concept of a ‘tribe’. “Across time, in every region and culture, like-minded people have gathered at a ceremonial place to learn, exchange ideas and collaborate,” explains Joakim. “Our concept for Downtown Design’s forum was our attempt to acknowledge the diversity of the regional design scene while celebrating our similarities as we come together as a creative community at Downtown Design.”

Led by Zoe Allen, the studio’s Design Manager and quite unlike their typically contemporary projects, the forum was a juxtaposition of traditional and modern elements punctuating the industrial set up of Downtown Design’s purpose-built venue. Inspired by Bedouin culture, an array of handwoven carpets by Samovar  provided a dramatic and unexpected backdrop for this year’s talks to unfold.

An assortment of Moroccan poofs integrated with Pedrali chairs and low hanging bead and cane lamps by Tribe  connected heritage with a contemporary outlook – mirroring the creative approach consistent across the regional design scene. The overall result was an eye-catching space that was eclectic, yet familiar, and demarcated only by a permeable screen of plants, which celebrated its location as the heart of the fair. 

“A group needs only two things to be a tribe: a shared interest and a way to communicate,” says Joakim, citing the American author, Seth Godin. “Our concept for Downtown Design’s forum was our attempt to acknowledge the diversity of the regional design scene while celebrating our similarities as we come together as a creative community at Downtown Design.”

Swiss Bureau Interior Design worked with Contractors MHID, 7 Stars Carpentry & Joinery. as well as Interior 360 and BHS Walls & Floors to realise their vision for the Forum at Downtown Design 2019.