Regional designers are eschewing seasonal trends for design philosophies that will have long-term impact on the well-being of the end-user.


‘The well-traveled and informed clientele today gravitates toward the notion of ‘New Luxury’ which rather than opulence focuses around experience’ says Jonathan Ashmore, Founder & Director of Dubai and London based practice, Anarchitect. By integrating social, wellness, entertainment and home office spaces, home-owners and developers are increasingly translating proven hospitality design concepts into their residential projects. ‘We also see resurgence of redevelopment and conversion through contemporary interventions into existing spaces; to create modern, unique, livable homes, as clients are yearning for character, authenticity and sense of identity for their properties.’


Dusty pinks, Terracotta and Ochre: for Pia Lakshmi Sen, Associate at LW Design, this year’s colours are a reflection of our evolving values. “Hues such as Dusty pinks and Terracotta which in the past have been really difficult to put forward – they were perceived as too feminine or delicate - will find greater prominence in design schemes.”


According to Pallavi Dean, the Founder of multi-disciplinary studio ROAR, ‘One of the big problems with office design is ‘cookie cutter’ syndrome: it’s hard to tell if you’re in Denver or Dubai.’ Her solutions lies in evidence-based design. Understanding the organization, doing a proper needs analysis to establish deep empathy, and giving the client and their staff what they really need, not what they superficially want will be the key to delivering work-space solutions that are unique responsive to their locality. ‘Engaging the local design community – be it commissioning work from local craftspeople or specifying works by regional product designers – will immediately imbue sense of place and time – and make the project utterly original.’


More and more hotels are looking to build a sense of community – not only amongst guests, but also by better appealing to their neighborhoods, they are inviting the city into their sphere. ‘Clients are keen to explore more avenues for a greater social interaction throughout a property,’ says Isabel Pintado, SVP, Wilson Associates. ‘Soon, in-room mini bars and refreshment cabinets will be a thing of the past as informally designed hubs featured on every floor will offer opportunities for  guests to interact and lounge without the commercial agenda of a bar or restaurant.’ On the other end, F&B outlets designed to attract the residents of the city are fast replacing rooms as the mainstay of the hotel’s revenue model. ‘Overall we see a strong push on out-of-the-box dining concepts that will attract the city crowd. This puts the demand on the designers to innovate and raise the bar, especially in the Middle East.’


‘Public buildings and spaces are becoming less and less about representing an image, and more about how the population experiences and interacts with those spaces’ says David Lessard, Design Director, H+A. The human dimension becomes critical as well-being advantages tie in with commercial potential of public buildings. ‘The community and the public building have to be thought about as one. A great example is the new generation of office towers that are opening up their ground floors spaces to create open, community spaces. Not only does the community get something back from the building, their footfall benefits the real estate.’ As a result, consideration for the 1-to-1 human interaction, how one is going to interact with and use these spaces will differentiate successful public projects from others.