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  • Mennah Darwish

When Less Is Really 'More': Luxury at another level

A Duplex Penthouse in Dubai Marina


Welcome dear viewers to the first blog post in our Timeless series. In this Series we showcase projects where our customers may request design consultations for their properties. The consultations can encompass a scope for design presentations only, where we present mood boards, material boards and conceptual design drawings. However, lucky for us, none of our customers stop there and they always ask for full design & Build/ Furnishings solutions. Here in this ultra luxurious duplex Dubai Marina penthouse, we explore the base build of the unit and we will indulge in the intricate details of furnishing this property in record time (two weeks!).




Design Concept & Mood boards


In this tower, as the interior designer for Select Group, we wanted to achieve a different mood for the property. We wanted to preserve the luxury and high living feels, as showcased in the likes of the residential towers at Marina Gate. However, we wanted to offer our customers a rich, raw and industrial vibe in the material palette and the color tones which we select. Hence, we focused on the usage of wooden textures, monochromatic tones in the metal and glass & concrete walls at the main reception.




Fit-out and Base Build


In every property, the quality of the fit-out works shapes an extremely crucial part of the development's success in the market. Nowadays, investors are more attuned and aware of the available finishing levels in the market. Hence, they can pick and choose their properties and hold it to the highest level of standards. Understanding this very well, we ensured that no compromise was to be done on the fit-out quality and finishes.


Starting off with the flooring, as a main feature of the penthouse, the imported Italian marble 'Orobico Grigo' steals the show once you enter the penthouse. Combined with the floor to ceiling glass façade, the natural light brings out the warm and cold tones in this magnificent natural flooring. Each piece was handpicked in order to achieve a 'book matched' marble flooring. 'Book matched' means the marble veins are aligned in the marble blocks before they are laid down for installation. In such way, the final product will have continuous marble lines which can stretch for meters at a time. The same marble was used fully for the ground floor and the staircase of the penthouse.




Double the height, Double the luxury


Considering the penthouses available in the market for sale in Dubai Marina, it is extremely rare to find a duplex with full waterfront views on the marina, floor to ceiling facade and still be able to have a double height volume within the unit. Such double height volumes add grandeur which not every developer can afford to add. Lucky for us, our splendid duplex penthouses have this added value for money feature. The double height volume comes with its customized and integrated lighting feature, which is part of the base build of the unit. The lighting feature can also be seen from the top level where a vision panel is installed, in the living room, of the master bedroom in order to achieve uninterrupted views of the Dubai Marina from the 34th floor.




'Life is what you bake it'


If someone was to calculate the time we spend thinking about food, buying food, cooking food, eating food and then dreaming about the next meal... I think we were to find that we spend half of our time contemplating and indulging in the subject. Hence, as an Interior Designer, I find it absolutely crucial to design and build the most ergonomic and convenient kitchens and dining rooms. With ample storage spaces, full height glass cabinets, integrated Italian appliances from 'Miele', this kitchen is the ultimate definition of beauty and good design. We wanted to keep a natural marble look for the kitchen countertop, however taking in consideration the durability and cost. We decided to go with the Spanish countertops from Dekton - Cosentino. They have a marvelous collection for countertops with astounding technical properties that can withstand all wet and heat criteria for an active kitchen.




Flushed Away


Bathrooms will forever be my favorite and most challenging part of any project. In this specific tower, when we were in the process of procuring the sanitary ware for the apartments and the penthouses, we had to find a way to provide USPs (unique selling points) for our property. I decided to accept an invitation to Germany to visit the head quarters of the world famous sanitary ware solutions 'Duravit'. They were adamant that their product holds the highest record for quality and design aesthetics. During the trip, we visited all the production facilities for their ready made vanity units and china ware. It was an eye opening experience where one got to understand the intricate workings of joinery, plumbing, raw material...etc.


At the end, we decided to award the job to Duravit, with their local partner United Supplies, and the full tower was supplied with ready-made-German vanities, ready to be installed on site. The final product was magnificent and breathtaking as it paired phenomenally well with the Italian porcelain marble-look alike tiles. However, these vanities and Italian tiles were not the only feature in the bathroom, the main feature was the vision panel installed in the master bathroom shower. With direct views onto the bedroom, hence on to the marina and the golf course, the bathroom becomes a major attraction in this penthouse. I mean, how can you resist a nice hot shower among the direct views on the Dubai Marina?




'Luxury is in the Details'


Now, can we please talk about my favorite thing in this penthouse? Exactly, "the details"! During the photography session of this penthouse (which was done all by yours truly), I started realizing how much time we have spent on the little corner details of this project. I will not dive in too deeply within the matter as I intend to share it all in my next post "The top 10 details we love to curate for our projects".


However, here is a snippet of the details we designed specially for this penthouse:


1. Center pieces


No matter how amazing a dining table looks or even how expensive it is, a table is never fully dressed without a center piece. And mind you, when we say the words 'Center piece' we are not simply referring to 'a piece'. On the contrary, I am a huge advocate for assembling a center piece from myriad different bits and bobs. Below is the kitchen dining table center piece we pieced together from 3 different suppliers:

  1. Zara Home : Clear Glass vases

  2. Ebarza: Natural Calacatta marble tray

  3. Bloomr: Faux flowers


2. Side tables & Decor


Never underestimate the power of a thoroughly constructed side table. Personally, I find the usage of magazines and imagery, in a space, very important. The colors, the images, the texts, the tones and the textures all become subliminal messages in the environment. So the next time you are about to hand over a space to your customer (or even if you are setting up your living room before receiving guests) try to select a few books or magazines with noticeable features (text, colors, shapes... etc) and scatter them around the room in a way where your guest can perceive it subconsciously. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book used when staging up a property for sale. The designer or agent will add Luxury branded books with bold text "CHANEL" or "ROLEX" to send subliminal messages to the investor about the property. I genuinely recommend you try such an exercise and do not forget to let me know how it works out for you in the comments section!



3. Furniture: Always Mix & Match


If I can write a book on the secret super powers of mixing and matching, it would be called "The Secret Super Powers of Mixing & Matching!". Not enough people understand the uniqueness that can result from this habit. Designers need to spend months and years in training their eyes to spotting the objects as they pinball between shops, boutiques and malls. As a designer myself, I pride my own ability to not only mix and match but indulge in the process. Oh that rush of excitement and euphoria one gets when you find the perfect marble frame picture that has the same finish as your coffee table... Happiness for days! Hence, I chose this main shot of the Formal living & dining room space in this penthouse to share with you some of the suppliers we worked with to put this stunning space together. As mentioned previously, we only had 2 weeks to put this together with a brief of "Mennah, it needs to look stunning" - so, pressure much?


Local Furniture suppliers:

  1. Caspaiou: Meridiani Sofa

  2. EDM marble: Custom marble side tables

  3. The One: Coffee table with nesting tables

  4. Carpet Centre: Floor Carpet

  5. Natuzzi: Dining table & chairs

  6. Accessories:

    1. Robinsons Home section (now it is closed but they had amazing pieces)

    2. Marina Home

    3. Ebarza

    4. Zara Home



Last but not least, do not forget to head over to Select Group's website to see the virtual tour of this stunning property. Please note that depending on availability, the sales consultant can advise the available units for sale.

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