When JLL decided to upgrade its regional headquarters in Dubai, it wanted to make a statement about the two faces of the company. On the one hand, it’s a multi-billion dollar global firm based in Chicago – an international reach that’s part of the firm’s DNA. At the same time, the company was determined to stress its deep ties to the Middle East and North Africa.
The design brief was clear: create a space to tell both stories.
Alan Robertson, CEO of JLL MENA, explained: “At JLL we provide global experience with a local angle. This design is a true reflection of that theme, showcasing the international nature of our company while also exhibiting our commitment to and understanding of this wonderful region.”
JLL commissioned Pallavi Dean Interiors to deliver the vision. Design director Pallavi Dean revealed the firm’s approach: “From the outset, we knew we wanted to be subtle and clever in the way we infused local references into the design language.
Statues of gold eagles, pearls and a miniature dhow were never an option!”
Manifestations on the glass walls of meeting rooms strike the right balance. Dean worked with graphic designers to take old maps of the seven emirates of the UAE and create abstracted, geometric patterns inspired by the cartography.
“You could walk past them every day and not know what they are, but subtly they contribute to the global-meets-local narrative,” says Dean. “Old 19th century maps on walls are so tired and clichéd – we wanted something that captured the local geography and history, but with a very modern interpretation.”
Fabrics for the seats in the reception area are another example of discreet local influence.. They fuse the vibrant red corporate colour of JLL with a pattern inspired by Bedouin weavers who Dean discovered in a traditional workshop in Al Ain.
Not everything has a local flavour. The choice of materials – polished ceramic tiles on the floor and high gloss walls in the reception area – were picked to make the space feel bigger, brighter and more welcoming. While the backlit frosted glass with sandblasted JLL logo were used to deliver the corporate branding in an understated, elegant way.
JLL’s Robertson said the final design has delivered real impact: “The new reception has made an astounding difference to the experience our clients have when they visit our office. This is where first impressions are created and we now truly look like the world-class organization that we are.”