One of the newest buildings to open its doors at Dubai Creek Harbour is Vida Creek Harbour, a four-star hotel designed by Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ).
“GAJ is one of the largest and longest-established UK architectural and design practices in the UAE. Throughout our history, which spans 30 years, we have created some of the country’s most prized and loved buildings. An award-winning and multi-disciplinary architecture practice, we have specific expertise in the design of government and commercial buildings, residential, education, leisure, and hospitality projects as well as master planning across the entire MENA region including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, and the UAE.”
“Vida Creek Harbour draws its nautical design inspiration from the marina the property overlooks. This theme is translated into an “elegant yet relaxed atmosphere with the characteristic simplicity that defines the Vida brand”, GAJ tells Commercial Interior Design.
GAJ made use of materials such as curved wood with accent elements in brushed bronze. Leather combined with textiles in undulating textures accentuate references to the ocean, water, and maritime life. It also ties Vida Creek Harbour to the local heritage.
“The location in Creek Harbour dictated the direction of the interior design brief,” says GAJ. “It was intended to reflect the marina lifestyle and also be the first hotel in this immense new development. It had to be a timeless design as this area will likely be the next Downtown Dubai in the years to come.”
As the fourth Vida Dubai Creek Harbour hotel in the line-up, finding a balance of the design that respected the values of the brand yet had its own personality was a key part of the design process. “It was important to grasp certain elements from the original Vida Downtown in order to maintain strong brand identity, yet it was imperative to give it its own character determined by its surrounding,” GAJ adds.
Many of the items designed for Vida Creek Harbour are bespoke. To support in-country value, local materials, and regional art and craftsmanship, GAJ was mindful to make use of what it could source nearby.
“Many items have been designed especially for this project and thus we worked closely with local craftsmen to ensure the best quality. We also had a strong emphasis on developing the art package with local artists, which aided the process as they were able to provide support during the installation process.”
For more of a laid-back lounge experience, Vida Creek Harbour has the Stage2 coffee bar, which serves breakfast lunch and dinner. It can accommodate 55 guests indoors but those that want to enjoy some of the best views of the city tend to spill out onto the outdoor terrace, which accommodates up to 140 guests comfortably. The sunset view from this terrace is one of the best in the emirate.
“Symmetry is one of the strongest elements perceived throughout all areas providing the space with order, simplicity and grace, which are essential components to include in a space. Lastly, the textures and overall colour palette perfectly tie in together the character of the project,” GAJ adds.
The team was required to retain the back-of-house and service areas, but efficiency studies suggested increasing the number of rooms to maximize the feasibility of the project. Additionally, the number of food and beverage outlets was reduced from three to two to increase the size of the meeting room. Both created challenges for GAJ.
“Dealing with these and other design changes made the project a very organic and ever-growing entity to deal with. Despite the obvious design implications, accommodating these variations within the existing program was the main challenge.”
All projects have challenges. But these challenges serve a purpose: to deliver a better product. With its stunning panorama of the Dubai skyline and elegant interior design and architecture, GAJ has added another must-visit property to the UAE’s portfolio of hotels.”
ARTICLE BY COMMERCIAL INTERIOR DESIGN