The Swiss have arrived


UAE: The Swiss Business Council has designed a new office in the Swiss Tower located in the heart of Dubai’s Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

As a prominent interior architecture firm and a member of the Swiss Business Council, it seemed an obvious choice for the designers would be Swiss Bureau Interior Design, a creative, UAE-based interior design company founded by interior architect Joakim de Rham and Maher Al Zarooni.

The design firm had to create an office that would be ready to receive the Swiss Business Council board and members, as well as delegates and business partners.

The goal, according to de Rham, was to create a minimalist environment, but with a number of elements symbolising Switzerland and the sponsors of SBC.

He went on to add: “[Aside from] chocolate, banks and mountains, Switzerland is world famous for its cleanliness, its clockwork efficiency and its welcoming friendly people. So I had to represent all this in a small environment.

Immediately after the visitor [passes through] the entrance, I wanted him to be sure he was in a ‘Swiss place’. In terms of design I wanted to reach something simple, which would emphasis the Swiss flag, [and] the dynamism and creativity of Switzerland.”

The office includes a welcome entrance, working area and board room, with all three sections openly joined together to make one entire volume, separated only by a granite wall.

Intending to reflect the Swiss community in Dubai, de Rham’s design includes a number of Swiss cultural ingredients like the vibrantly red ceiling with light cut-outs, which represents the Swiss flag. Another factor is the granite wall, a commonly-used material in the SBC’s home country.

De Rham explained: “The material we used is laminated maple parquet. It has been applied on the flooring, as well as on the wall supporting the SBC council logo. Using it on the floor and parquet [is a] reminder of the Swiss chalet, but [we] applied it in a more contemporary style.

Working with a small space left a number of challenges confronting de Rham, such as how to give the sponsors exposure. However, de Rham found a refined solution to honour the sponsors’ contributions by placing nearly a dozen lit up panels that display their logos stretching across the left wall.

“On the wall separating the office and board room we applied flamed granite. Granite is very common in the Swiss Alps. This wall is supporting the main sponsors of the SBC, so that is the reason we wanted something ‘heavy’ giving the effect of strong foundations,” de Rham said.

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