Our head of design, Rita Estephan, was one of the speakers at this year’s Work Design Summit, organized by Index Design Fair at Dubai World Trade Center. In a panel discussion titled “Demystifying design and build in workspaces”, the speakers were discussing the advantages of design and build in construction, and everything that it entails.
“I’m sure that there are fit out companies that are purely budget-driven and that’s causing this sentiment in the industry and A&D community. However, I’m also sure that all of us sitting on this panel greatly value the design,” said Rita, and added: “As a company, you have to decide, which model works the best for you and your clients. All of us at Motif Interiors, believe that design is an integral part of everything we do. And we progressed in that journey over the last 10 years.”
As a head of design, Rita is currently heading a team of 15 designers and 3D visualisers. “So, trust me, we're fighting for design from an initial stage, first to win a project and then through to the execution, making sure that what we designed actually gets built.”
For Rita, designing based on the client's budget is often a challenge where designers can prove their strengths and expertise and come up with a concept that’s in line with the clients’ business requirements but also meets their design and budget expectations.
Commenting on the advantages of design and build in construction, Rita agreed with other panellists, that when you have strong in-house design capabilities, the advantages of design and build companies outweigh other construction models.
She said: “Firstly, we have full control over the process; from an initial concept stage through to design and project execution. And with our in-house joinery, our team has a greater understanding of the materials, finishes and furniture, which we also keep in stock for fast-tracked projects.”
The panel was also asked to comment on how fit out companies can strengthen their internal capabilities to ensure design projects remain relevant and have integrity.
“At Motif Interiors, we focus on workspaces only so our design team is staying on top of all workplace trends and evolution. We are also attending all design exhibitions and international furniture fairs thus learning from other product designers and furniture manufacturers,” Rita explained.
Discussing whether the hybrid model can help reduce the gap between traditional design-bid-build and design-build construction models, Rita said: “We have worked with multiple interior designers on projects to help them achieve their initial design concepts. We love working with smaller design studios that don’t have in-house capabilities to fully develop the project as we’re able to collaborate and combine our capabilities and strengths. This hybrid model is what we’re looking to implement more in the future and has been proven as a successful model for our clients.”
The panel also discussed how the world of work has changed post-Covid and what are some of the major requirements from the clients.
Rita mentioned that there is a certain change in spatial requirements, which is coming from both Motif’s clients and their employees who now have more say in how their offices should look like.
“All of our clients are looking for more collaborative areas, creating that homey feeling where their employees feel more comfortable. Ergonomic furniture is not news, but we’re seeing a greater demand for height-adjustable desks and fully ergonomic chairs, smart furniture to plug in their devices, and meeting pods that are easily bookable via app for privacy to connect with other team members online. Kitchen and pantry areas that double up as cafeteria and multi-purpose collaborative areas that serve for informal meetings and team gatherings. Oh, and good quality coffee is a must,” Rita concluded.