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Thu 1 Feb 2007 12:00 AM

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Modern Masterpiece

Business Bay’s West Wharf cites that ‘quality of life’ is at the heart of its design inspiration

The launch of West Wharf in December 2006 generated headlines as the award-winning architect of Emirates Towers, Hazel Wong, was behind the design. Last month saw the laying of the first stone and CID caught up with the interior designer from RMJM, Angela Wiethoff, to discuss how the ‘unpretentious architecture’ that Wong is famed for influenced the interiors.

“The architecture advocates timeless, bold, clean lines and a simplicity of form, and we have duplicated this in the interior design with high ceilings, full-height glazing and light, bright finishings and materials,” Wiethoff says. The entrance lobby is double height and finished in Italian natural grey marble, stone, timber and glass. The ceiling is lowered leading into the lift lobby creating a welcoming gesture, bringing the double height down to human level. The ceiling is a white paint lacquer, which matches the glossiness of the marble, and the matching feature wall is ‘light grey tiger’ Italian stone polished to look like stainless steel.

Each apartment in the 18-storey block differs in size, and therefore design, with some enjoying inimitable views of The Burj Dubai and the twisting Dancing Towers. “I wanted to emphasise the views and the natural light and so chose materials that highlighted these attributes, such as porcelain tiles in light grey.”

She adds: “We wanted to avoid beige as it is everywhere and people are getting tired of it. All the ceramics are in a washed white, which has a hint of grey, which enlarges the space.”

A light grey quartz is used for the kitchen countertops and in the bathroom, while all the timber veneers and kitchen cabinets are a natural washed oak to give warmth.

Wiethoff verifies that the bathroom design is very modern, with smooth clean lines in an Italian style. “We can’t confirm the manufacturers yet, but the clients (CFH) are only sourcing through top quality suppliers. There will be concealed pipes and oversized showerheads. It will be a very efficient design.”

Wiethoff is particularly keen to stress the originality of the three penthouses: “The architects handed the apartments over to me to tailor-design each penthouse individually. For instance one of the penthouses is a duplex, with a glass bridge linking the master suite to the rest of the upper floor, suspended over the open living and dining area below. The master suite is much more than just a bedroom as well. It has its own living space, with a reading area adjacent to a bath, with a transparent glass screen in between the two areas. It is a very communicative space.”

She continues: “The interior design should improve what the architecture started. It is much more than a living space. I always look into the details and try to set a new standard in interior design. Understated elegance of the design should make people feel comfortable and relaxed. Business Bay will be a very busy place, so their home needs to feel like a retreat where they can relax away from the buzz outside.”

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