Dubai-based interior design studio Styled Habitat has been commissioned to complete the interiors of the new regional headquarters and R&D centre for Norwegian paint and coating company, Jotun in Dubai Science Park. Styled Habitat’s approach of uniquely interpreting a client’s personal expression into the design lent itself to a close collaboration with Jotun, ensuring the company’s first project of its kind in the region reflected the strength of its brand values, translated through the interior design studio’s signature contemporary design language.

“Based on excellent references, Styled Habitat has been selected as the interior designer of Jotun’s new project, the regional headquarters and R&D Centre in Dubai,” said Jan H. Lorentzen, project manager, Jotun. “Reflecting the business Jotun represents with regards to products, appearance is very important. Interior design should not only be pleasant to look at but also reflect Jotun’s values and quality. Styled Habitat has put great efforts into designing a beautiful environment which we can all be proud of.”

Rabah Saeid, Styled Habitat

Located on a 12,000msqm plot, the headquarters and R&D labs are set inside two separate buildings, designed by Netherlands-based architecture firm Royal HaskoningDHV – led by architect Hisham Al-Hayouti – in line with Jotun’s guidelines and brand expression. The architecture embodies Scandinavian simplicity and modernity coupled with a sustainable and innovative design. Upon completion, the buildings are set to accommodate regional administration and R&D staff of up to 230 people.

Styled Habitat followed the same design principles, paying homage to Jotun’s Nordic roots and Scandinavian sensibility of ‘Functionalism’ through a concept that offers a timeless and honest design, finely crafted using natural materials with a focus on simplicity and functionality. “We studied the architecture by Royal HaskoningDHV and continued the same design language into the interiors with simple forms created to maximise light at every turn and bring the space to life. Focussing on simplicity and functionality, as with all Scandinavian design, we emphasised natural elements, minimalist furniture and impactful lighting,” said Rabah Saeid, founder and creative director, Styled Habitat. “One might run up the conclusion that the Jotun headquarters, one of the biggest manufacturers of paints worldwide, would occupy a space that is decidedly colourful. However, we intentionally chose a more subtle approach. We stripped the interior’s core of colour and allowed for natural light and materials to flood the space, using colour as accents,” said Saeid. The neutral colour palette that is maintained throughout the entirety of the interior space allowed for colour to be emphasised as focal points and viewed as art within the space.

Company culture was another key consideration within the interior design, resulting in a mix between open and closed office spaces as well as carved out breakout areas on every floor to allow for multi-functionality and team gathering. Using nature as the main inspiration, Styled Habitat recreated elements of the Norwegian forest through vertical elements that create a warm strain of modernism. Vertical wood slates can be found in the reception and canteen area in a white oak finish to keep with the light and airy Scandinavian colour palette. Vertical elements also trickle into the handmade Kyushu tiles, which offer a mixture of lux and matte finishes to further emphasise the interplay of light and shadow within the design. The canteen, which is created to be a cozy, warm, and inviting restaurant-like space, features three different seating styles. Bench seating has been selected for a quick coffee or bites, while booth seating is designed for a cosier feel; ideal for larger groups. Finally, the loose table seating option is flexible and can be customised for even larger group functions and parties. The selected furniture is all stackable and can be easily removed to create a large, open space for events. From exterior to interior, the design focuses on purist simplicity, complete with white walls and Oak wide wood planks by Kahrs that runs along with the concrete flooring for an industrial look. Flos lights have been selected for a sleek, modern aesthetic, its black fittings punctuating the space.