Established back in 1980, ATI Consultants, Architects and Engineers have seen steady growth. With offices in Dubai, Sharjah, Istanbul, Tokyo, Kiev, Almaty and Moscow, the teams have successfully delivered more than 700 projects around the world.
So, what was their initial brief to themselves? And how was it be on both consultant and client-side? Who was the demanding one in their team? And what were some of the challenges they faced while executing their office, which the team describes as both millennial-friendly and timeless?
“I started my career with Hans Pfitzer Architects in Stuttgart, Germany until 1977 when I moved to the UAE. After three years, I decided to go on my own, and I haven’t looked back ever since. In the past four decades, we have designed and completed more than 700 projects worldwide,” explains Necdet Ajun, CEO of ATI Consultants, Architects and Engineers which he established in 1980.
With Ajun’s oldest son Altug and his wife Dilara following his footsteps, the same passion and talent to create universal, bold, sustainable, yet cost-effective designs just happen to run in the family. This architect duo managed to implement these same core values in their own office space in the heart of Dubai.
“In celebration of our 40th anniversary, we decided to relocate our team to a newer, larger space that better reflects our new brand vision and creative work we do,” says Altug Ajun, executive director at ATI Architects. “This office is now home to our staff, including architects, designers, managers, directors, CEOs and administrative staff.”
As Altug explains, their goal was to create several distinct areas within an open-plan, collaborative space, to both inspire their teams while maintaining a future-oriented working environment. The entire office space consists of four separate adjacent office units making up a total area of 460 square meters.
ATI’s new brand identity and colours needed to be reflected throughout the interiors in a subtle, yet creative way. The colour red can be quite aggressive, so only accents of reds were used to cohesively complement the overall neutral colour palette.
“Geometric shapes and diagonal cuts were applied to align with our new brand identity,” comments Dilara Ajun, ATI.’s creative director, explaining that the overall concept was inspired by the use of origami and paper, so often used and symbolized with the architecture practice.
Dilara continues: “A natural, recycled, oak wood with a special organic dead matt finish is the main element, complementing the raw, earthy feel of the office. Geometric red falcons also decorate the ceilings as a symbol of respect and honour to the UAE.”
To begin, the office was divided into three zones - public, semi-public and private. The space plan was then further divided based on the functional groups.
Manager, boardroom and CEO rooms were created to feel calm, quiet and private. With Burj Khalifa views, a warm colour palette and light wood, a relaxed, serene vibe has been created. With custom-made acid-edged glass used for tabletops and shelf sizes to showcase 40-year-old projects, the CEO, manager room and boardroom are both premium and practical.
“Together with ATI team, we’ve chosen to work closely with our partners from B&T Design that successfully delivered some of their bestsellers, Pera chairs and stools, ToBe armchairs and workstations as well as custom-made desks as per Dilara’s design,” explains Marina Petrovic, marketing and business development manager at OFIS.
Pera product family includes chairs, lounge chairs and barstools with a broad range of different base and seat options. Mid-century inspired form and easy-going design of the Pera chairs made it one of the best sellers for B&T Design for many years.
Our design team at OFIS also made sure that designers who are working long hours can stay comfortable, so we proposed ergonomic C-mesh task chairs from Benel from Singapore, a brand that OFIS has been representing in the UAE for almost two decades.
Private lounge areas have been spread around and in between B&T workstations to create a less formal and more collaborative atmosphere where designers can meet to exchange ideas. The office also entails a dedicated ‘quiet zone’ for relaxing, deep concentration and research.
“ATI’s garden, which is their common area between public and semi-public zones, is used as a multipurpose space. It includes a library, casual meeting area and an event zone for internal presentations. Following their brief to create a secret garden and a relaxation area for employees, we’ve added Interface Touch & Tones carpet tiles in shades of green,” says Melia Abs, concept designer at OFIS.
“Our sample room area was created in the heart of the office to be used for both client presentations and our design team,” comment Biljana Mandaric, senior designer at ATI. “The dead corner without direct light was utilized to house the latest market materials and showcase industry equipment and sustainable materials.”
In addition to permanent workplaces, open, creative zones and relaxation spaces were designed. These moveable, cosy spaces have been created to offer more free-flowing, studio interaction between teams. To increase the visibility of numbers on the doors, rooms have a broken shape and all desks provide flexibility with an open office layout to encourage collaboration.
“Ergonomic furnishings, good lighting, great acoustics, good air quality filtration... Yes, I think we ticked all the boxes,” adds Biljana.
For the past 34 years, our design team at OFIS has been working closely with numerous architects and designers in the UAE, sharing our insights and expertise, and helping them choose the right furniture and flooring products for the spaces they design. If needed, we also provide other complementary design services such as space planning, 3D renders and drawings, product specification and selection, tender packages, and mood boards.
Commenting on the collaboration process with our team, Dilara says: “OFIS team is a well-organized and very supportive team with an excellent variety of quality furniture and flooring products.
“They called me, the picky one, but I’m so happy with the final outcome. We have an office that feels well and performs well,” Dilara admits.
Without a doubt, ATI’s new office is an excellent example of the qualities a workspace should exhibit; a place where one chooses, and desires to work in.
“I’m so grateful that we now have a space that allows us to be creative, to collaborate and concentrate,” concludes Altug.
We have lots of exciting and inspiring projects in the works, so stay tuned for more “In Your Space” videos in the coming months.
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