loomingdale's, Giorgio Armani, and Catherine Malandrino aren't the only major imports at the Burj Khalifa, the 2,600-foot-tall United Arab Emirates tower formerly known as the Burj Dubai. On the third story, health care based on a Western model is offered at the Dubai Mall Medical Centre, an NBBJ
-designed alternative to local public options.
Whether circumstances call for an echocardiogram, a capped tooth, or a touch of Botox, traffic is heavy and truly multicultural: local elites rubbing shoulders with expats from Asia, Europe, and the U. S. To avoid an "airport lounge" feeling, senior lead designer Karen Eskandari explains, her team prepared a mood video exploring the sensory aspects of a visit to the medical center. What would it smell like? How would a door handle feel?
The 60,000-square-foot project borrows luxury-hospitality elements such as marble flooring. A color palette emerged when NBBJ pixellated photographs of the region's landscape: taupe, pearlized cream, white, silver blue, and sea blue. Water, the ultimate luxury for desert dwellers, became a metaphor not only in terms of color but also in terms of shapes. CNC-milled MDF wall panels ripple like the surface of a pond.
Imagining how rain puddles, Eskandari designed free-form carpet insets to anchor separate seating groups in the spacious central waiting area. Semicircular ceiling tracks allow sheers, highlighted by recessed LED fixtures, to be pulled around each grouping for partial privacy. The sofas and ottomans inside are round or curved in deference to the region's traditional flowing clothing, prone to snagging on sharp corners. It's seating that would not appear at all out of place in the designer shoe department at Bloomingdale's.
Photography by Tim Griffith.
CONSTANTINE COMMERCIAL: CARPET (WAITING AREA).
QUENTIN THOMAS ASSOCIATES: LIGHTING CONSULTANT.
ZENER STEWARD ELECTROMECHANICAL: MEP.
DEPA: GENERAL CONTRACTOR.