Image: ABC Bank project by Havelock One Interiors

Maria Cristina Doctor, Havelock One Interiors’ architect and design manager based in the UAE, and
Riyah Gravador, interior designer from Havelock One Interiors, Qatar’s office, discuss office design, build capacity, and advanced technology.

In conversation with Havelock One’s design team – Maria Doctor (MD) and Riyah Gravador (RG).

According to you, what are the significant factors influencing office/workspace design trends in 2022?
MD: Collaborative workspaces offering agility and flexibility are some of the significant trends that have been created for offices, especially in this region where teams are composed of diverse backgrounds. This design trend draws each employee to engage more efficiently, helps build rapport and can inspire the employee to be more of a team player. We are now in the era of modern technology and viewing commercial spaces as a home away from home, so workspaces being agile and flexible is undoubtedly a primary consideration in office design trends. Sustainability is also widely embraced by many as it has benefited most companies in terms of productivity and a healthier workplace.
RG: We are now in a post-pandemic world, and everything we have learned and endured for the past two years has changed and influenced how we design our current offices/workspaces. At Havelock One, employee wellness is a priority; hence, we adopt the best office design placement in our locations. And we ensure that our design proposals for offices are agile, biophilic and remote-work capable, which has been the office design trend for a few years now.

Maria Doctor and her team, UAE

Is there a high demand for incorporating sustainability and green options in commercial properties based on the enquiries received so far?
MD: Yes. As this advocates green practices and impacts the design and construction life cycle. Given Havelock One’s track record as a premium turnkey service provider in the commercial fit-out space, our team of professionals ensures that the materials we procure for our projects are responsibly procured and meet sustainability requirements. RG: It’s our design philosophy and has always been the major factor considered in our design. Having a sustainable commercial office/property not only helps the environment but also positively impacts office culture and well-being in the workplace.

Riyah Gravador and Maha from Qatar office

What is the demand/aspiration towards having AI and technology-embedded workspace?
RG: We believe AI and technology are crucial in today’s workspace. We need to start implementing intelligent ways to ease the flexibility of working in the office and remotely. Innovative solutions such as smart video conference screens that double as a whiteboard and meeting room booking systems hugely boost efficiency and connectivity. the next few years, technology and AI influence will grow as many offices now embrace anything that can make work efficient with task automation and machine-learning systems already in our hands.

What is the process you follow taking a design brief from the client?
MD: As I represent a brand and not just as an individual designer, I usually combine creative, analytical, and realistic approaches and present them to the client. My proposal is based on what I have filtered out of the broad range of ideas that won’t overwhelm them. We do inject design elements that tell the brand story within the given space. As being in the Design and Build industry, we also provide inception to implementation views at various stages for seeking client approvals.
RG: Most of the time, while taking the client’s design brief, I put myself in their place, how they feel and see things with their own eyes. After considering everything along with the site survey, I map the key points down and sketch my ideas on a piece of paper so that the visuals from my imagination are in black and white, and it will be my roadmap through the concept design. This roadmap is backed up with further research and the selection of finishes and materials through our vast collection of physical materials and FFE catalogues.

Do you offer solutions for ergonomic or tasteful furniture?
MD: Yes. Ergonomics is a priority, and we even offer value engineering in the event of any budget constraints. RG: We have partnered with reputable and high-quality office/workspace furniture makers at all price points to suit every requirement.