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Wed 10 Dec 2008 04:00 AM

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Luxury living

The new World Trade Centre Residence merges style, elegance and quality in a homely and inviting setting. Lauren Hills steps inside to find out more.

The new World Trade Centre Residence merges style, elegance and quality in a homely and inviting setting. Lauren Hills steps inside to find out more.

From the outset, the interiors exude spacious simplicity. Awash with natural light, the subdued tones of the marble walls and floors of the lobby are enhanced by eye-catching features such as the tall, glass vases filled with flowers, the intricate hanging glass lamps and the red Italian leather sofas.

The lobby is just a taste of the elegant, contemporary design that is evident throughout the building.

The World Trade Centre Residence is Jumeirah Group's first residential development under the recently-created Jumeirah Living brand.

The company entrusted the international design firm TRO Jung/Brannen with the task of translating the philosophy behind their prestigious hotels and resorts into a flagship residential development.

"Jumeirah Living is a natural extension of the Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts brand. The World Trade Centre Residence is sublimely designed to the highest specifications and reflects Jumeirah's renowned standards in luxury and hospitality," said Julie Shields, group general manager of Jumeirah Living.

"TRO Jung/Brannen was chosen to design the interiors because it is an international, award-winning firm which is dedicated to design excellence and creative outcomes, and has a strong synergy with Jumeirah," she continued.

The firm was tasked with ensuring that the 1.2 million ft2, 377-unit building was converted into an icon of quality and elegance for the Dubai market. A strong vision of simplicity, quality and comfort was shared by both TRO Jung/Brannen and Jumeirah Living.

According to president of TRO Jung/Brannen, Duncan Pendlebury, the phrase ‘Dubai contemporary' effectively encompasses the elegant and stylish design approach of the World Trade Centre Residence, and sets the building apart from other addresses in the region. "Our goal was to provide a building that sits on top of the quality ladder in Dubai and provides a unique and elegant setting for the residents," he explained.By envisaging how the resident would experience the building, Pendlebury and his team aimed to create a space that would feel less like a series of apartments, and more like a coherent home.

"Every building has to have a story and as a designer you have to be able to delineate that story at the beginning of the project," he noted.

"The story ties into the fact that this is not just an apartment building, this is somebody's home. There are 377 apartment units there, and we approach the design from the resident's perspective. How do they feel when they are driving up to the building? How does it feel for the resident when they arrive at the building with their family or with their friends?"

Both the public and private areas of the building were designed to feel like home, and there was a very specific agenda for the spaces to ensure that they evoked a range of emotional responses. The lobby and public spaces, such as the restaurant and health club, were designed to be striking and memorable, while the apartment spaces were designed to be more elegant, classic and homely.

"From the lobby to the landing, the restaurant and the health club; these elements are all part of the home. Your home doesn't begin at the apartment door; all the public spaces are part of it too," Pendlebury pointed out.

The interior canvas is a simple coming together of timeless materials such as wood, marble and carpet, while striking splashes of colour are used to enhance the spaces in exciting ways.

"The materials are kept simple in order to maximise the quality and elegance. The interior is mostly made up of marble, polished plaster and hard wood detailing. We chose not to use too many different materials, and because it is a large building, that was a bit of a challenge. We felt that the fewer materials we used, the more classic it would be," said Pendlebury.

The colour palette was selected to enhance the classic, elegant nature of the interior. Adding to this, the Jumeirah Living residence has been designed with a 100-year lifecycle in mind, so in creating the interior space, TRO Jung/Brannen was pushed to produce an interior that could  be enjoyed for many years to come.

"We didn't choose the colours out of today's catalogues, but rather out of the sense that the building needs to be as welcoming today as it will be ten, or even twenty, years from now."The ground floor lobby and the landings are accented with striking red leather B&B Italia sofas, and the red is complemented by the warm, semi-translucent marble slabs that line the walls in these spaces. The restaurant, on the other hand, has been designed using bright, contemporary shades of orange.

In contrast to these very strident colours, a more subtle but equally effective plum has been utilised within the apartments. The different shades create a clean contrast to the white walls and dark wood finishings, creating a colour palette that is warm and rich, while still being easily customisable.

"The choice of colours for the interiors was very deliberate," says Shields, "The different shades of plum are modern yet edgy and therefore are representative of the World Trade Centre Residence, Dubai," Pendlebury maintained.

The furniture chosen within the residence in both the public and private spaces was a way to add colour, design and an exciting edge to an overall clean and classic space. It was all sourced from B&B Italia and was chosen to further echo the aura of quality, elegance and comfort.

"The furniture in the arrival floor and the club is all very contemporary, it's all Italian, and it is meant to be something unique, something that you are not going to see everyday. This is the area where people's guests are going to be coming into the building, and it will create a memory," said Pendlebury.

The furniture used within the apartment itself is more subdued, but still stylish. Leather and chrome are prominent features of the furniture in the lobby, on the landing and in the restaurant, while softer, more cotton-based textiles cover the furniture and cushions within the domestic space.

A wide range of light sources was selected for both decorative and utilitarian qualities, but lighting was ultimately utilised to create a consistently homely atmosphere throughout the building.

Within the public spaces - the lobby, landings and restaurant area - light features include Italian-made glass pieces that are designed to be intricate and eye-catching. They serve to further facilitate the idea of an arresting entrance that aims to create a memorable first impression.

"The rest of the lighting, in the apartments themselves, was created to be very subtle, almost invisible. We didn't want anything too elaborate in the apartments, as we wanted to create a level of light that was warm and welcoming. The apartments have a lower level of light than the public spaces, as we wanted the light to be more domestic in character," Pendlebury detailed.From the choice of materials and furniture to the colours, textures and lighting, Pendlebury enjoyed great creative freedom within the project, he maintained.

However, he noted that the challenges he experienced are those that many designers, developers and contractors are feeling in the current Dubai market.

"Materials were inflated in cost, and difficult to get, and contractors were manning a number of different projects at one time," he said. "[However] these challenges were often overcome by a very attentive management team led by [Jumeirah Living]."

Jumeirah Living was involved in every step of the implementation of the design, especially when it came down to the soft furnishings chosen from the B&B Italia range. "The interior reflects contemporary elegance and sophisticated luxury for effortless living", said Shields.

"We are very happy with the World Trade Centre Residence and have already received some positive feedback from our owners and guests."

While Pendlebury and the TRO Jung/Brannen team have completed a plethora of projects across the world, from luxury apartments and hotels to state-of-the-art hospitals, Pendlebury has pinpointed Jumeirah Living's World Trade Centre as one of his favourites projects to work on.

"I really enjoyed the collaborative process and the interaction I have been able to have with the tenants. I have been lucky to meet quite a few of the people living here, and that has been very rewarding," he said.

"I met one of the tenants who owns quite a few of the apartments in the building, and he said to me, ‘You must be so proud. It must be like finishing a wonderful painting'. And I thought, what a great thing to say."

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