End-user is key to creating residential projects says Lacasa

Architects need to put themselves into the mind of the end-user when it comes to designing successful residential projects, according to Emad Jaber, founder of Lacasa.

The company, whose name actually translates as “the home” from Spanish, is a specialist when it comes to providing dwellings.

And part of that expertise is down to ensuring the design team takes on board the reaction of the person or family who will finally inhabit the premises.

Dubai Wharf waterfront project.

Jaber said: “The architect needs to visualise themselves living in the building they are designing. The ego of a designer is always there and it is necessary as it allows the creative process. But in residential cases it most definitely needs to be managed within the framework of a project. Functionality is a key and that has to be balanced with the look of the design, that’s the challenge.

“Imagine you [the architect] are the end-user. When you enter into an apartment what do you want to see? It’s not just about the space. It is about the look and feel. I travel a lot and in a hotel you always find something different. So the same idea can be recreated in residential projects. The spaces can be left minimal so that they can be personalised. Even as small a thing as moving a vase of flowers can make a difference.”

When designing for individual clients, who will live in the building once it is completed, communication is vital according to Jaber.

“What is necessary is to sit down with whoever commissioned the building and their family as well. Then you can find out what it is they want. Their personal habits are important, where do they want to have breakfast for instance?

Functionality and form combine.

“Do they get up early and prepare for work with some food, a read of the papers and some coffee? If so they might need a larger room near to the bedroom. Or do they get out of the door quickly, after just taking a shower? Then that isn’t so important.These are factors which make the need for space different.”

The size of apartments is also a factor in design, said Jaber, who added that Lacasa looks to its buildings still being fit-for-purpose in 75 years.

He said: “We in Dubai are known as a luxury destination with many wealthy people having second homes here. If you compare the sizes of apartments compared to those in Europe they are much larger. That is something that this place is recognised for.

“It’s economically important as well. If a developer, for example, is known for producing small spaces then they won’t sell.”

Buildings should be operational 75 years on.

Mathematics also plays an important part in residential design, according to Jaber. He explained: “As I feel that dimensions in a room should not go beyond a certain level, calculations need to be made,” he said. “If you have a room which is 4m x 4m but it also has a 60cm wardrobe that makes it smaller, obviously. So you have to ask, is it still functional?

“If not, how can it be made so? One idea might be to expand that room, if it is, say, a master-bedroom at the expense of a guest room, which isn’t used as much.”

Emad Jaber, founder of Lacasa.

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