In the heart of the city’s downtown district, light plays on the soft, off-white walls of this Zen Dubai apartment; a blend of earthy textures, clean lines and bespoke elements that pay homage to the dynamic owner’s Asian heritage it is a tranquil retreat soaring above the buzzing Emirate.
Natural light, modern lines and a carefully calibrated material palette combine in creative Creative Augustine Wong’s haven in the heart of the city.
The apartment is the home of Augustine Wong, a creative and brand consultant for the luxury sector, who first discovered the interior designer Vera Dieckmann, founder and CEO of XO Atelier, on Instagram. “During the COVID pandemic, we initiated a creative dialogue via direct messages, where we discovered a shared appreciation for each other’s design sensibilities and aesthetics,” Dieckmann recalls. “One day, Augustine approached me with the idea of designing his apartment, even before he had finalised the property. We had an immediate connection and shared vision that made us a perfect match.”
Wong’s main objective was to create streamlined, minimal interiors in natural shades of cream and off-white, which would incorporate references to his Asian heritage without being too cliched; a vision that chimed with Dieckmann’s own preferred sleek, uncluttered aesthetic. Key to his brief also was the need for ample, built-in storage space to discreetly house personal belongings.
Dieckmann worked to a restrained, tone-on-tone neutral colour palette, adding comfort and warmth with a carefully curated mix of furniture and finishes. “We selected materials with varying textures and structures, ranging from matte to satin, crackle effects, and high-gloss surfaces,” she says. Light-bleached oak and textured fabrics add further depth and interest to this Zen Dubai apartment.
Asian design aesthetics are referenced in the Japanese-inspired wooden paravents, folding slatted screens that filter the light and shade the master bedroom from the cityscape beyond; and the rippled glass partitions that separate the bedroom from the master bathroom, allowing a connection between the two spaces and a flow of natural light into the bathroom, another allusion to Asian design principles.
In the guest bedroom, a pull-down bed lets Wong use that space as he wishes; if there are no guests staying with him, the bed neatly folds into a bespoke wall panel design that also conceals storage space, leaving the floor free for yoga sessions.
Light, in fact, performs a key decorative role in the interior, both in the way natural light is directed and filtered, and in the mix of sculptural light fittings and a system of concealed lighting that provides atmosphere in the evening and illuminates the integrated bespoke artworks provided by artist Latifa AlSaeed, a close friend of Wong’s. Much of the furniture was custom-made in the UAE to XO Atelier’s detailed designs; while other pieces from Wong’s own collection have also been seamlessly incorporated into the scheme.
The palette, furnishings and light come together to create a mise-en-scène that blends Wong’s personality and heritage with an updated model of modern minimalism. “Vera helped me visualise, and suggested some ideas that I would never have thought about,” says Wong of their creative collaboration. “I really like how she experiments with texture and materials; it’s a truly different lens and shows how material can be pushed to another level. It’s been an eye-opening learning curve for me as well.”
Ultimately, this Zen Dubai apartment delivers just that, a monochrome oasis of calm, where every detail is intentional and everything has its place (sometimes even hidden from view)!