Pallavi Dean’s interior design studio Roar celebrates a hybrid of crafts and cultures in this office design

SEP 11, 2020 | By Sakshi Rai
A cutesy seating arrangement is positioned beside the printing station and locker unit; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
BuzziPleat acoustic surfaces in muted shades adorn the walls of the meeting room; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
A wall-mounted artwork by Emirati artist Khalid Shafar displays the traditional khoos weaving technique; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
A meeting lounge is integrated as part of the CEO'S office; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
The printing station also features a zip tap nearby for water; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
View of the minimally designed reception area; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
The collaborative space offers various seating options and configurations; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
A set of three, woven palm leaf artworks by Khalid Shafar further enhance this cushy setting; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
Viewed from another angle, the collaboration area showcases tiered seating, a lounge, standup workstations and a variety of flora; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
Phone booth-cum-deep workspaces feature chairs in diverse forms and styles; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
A circular table serves as an open, meeting spot. On the right is a series of meeting rooms with BuzziPleat laden walls; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project
Naught One seaters are placed in the breakout zone; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

The newest addition to One Central—Dubai’s pioneering business district—is a novel workspace for Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda. The office, crafted by Pallavi Dean’s interior design studio Roar, was conceived with a design sensibility matching that of the brand’s headquarters in Tokyo. 

Sprawled across 23,000 sq ft, the contemporary decor of this workplace stems from a serene blend of Japanese aesthetics and local references. The practice took inspiration from the brand’s rich native heritage while aiming for a distinct global identity—both enhanced by, and with context to its location.

“When the worlds of art and science intersect, we get great design, and this office is a clear example of such an encounter. The space is designed around three themes: Japanese values, Emirati culture and data-driven design. The result is an intuitive yet reasoned project,” divulges Dean, founder and creative director of Roar.

Abstract bird-like acoustic surfaces are suspended above the wooden furniture, which employs hints of red in its frames and edges; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

A vibrant red hue—in keeping with the company’s primary colour—along with motif renditions of their logo make recurring appearances throughout the interiors. Also seen are various Arab, especially Emirati design elements, including a series of artworks by Dubai based creative Khalid Shafar. His pieces employ khoos, a local palm weaving technique that’s traditionally applied to build house roofs and floor mats.

Sleek storage cabinets, ergonomic seaters and latticed partitions pave the way for a streamlined design aesthetic; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

It is interesting to see how Roar has achieved a seamless confluence of diverse cultures through similar crafts and concepts. “For example, while the Japanese use rice straw to weave traditional tatami mats, the Emiratis use palm tree leaves. We like this underlying, subtle synergy in between,” explains Dean.

Solitary cubicles allow employees to work alone when needed or take phone calls; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

In order to maximise the utilisation of the floor plate, the practice collaborated with Herman Miller’s workspace specialists for Space Allocation Modelling (aka Sam Analysis). As a result, 35 percent of the office is conceptualised as ‘hive’ zones for individual work, 29 percent is for meeting spaces, and breakout zones for informal social interactions comprise another 13 percent.

Slatted screens increase ventilation and visual connectivity between the workspaces, which use Herman Miller desks and Shaw carpets; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

Apart from its global fusion style and understated yet intricate aesthetic, the construction also impresses with its sustainable built. The project is LEED silver certified, uses energy efficiently and has a layout that facilitates ample ventilation, thereby controlling pollutants and other contaminants.

Acoustic fabric clad light fixtures are suspended above all desks. In the foreground are Rocker chairs from Naught One; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project

Borrowed from ancestral Japanese design philosophies, the architectural language is restrained and employs shoji screen geometry. Materials such as wood, raw concrete and paper textures offer organic overtones to the office and are also instrumental in illustrating Takeda’s core values—integrity, fairness, honesty and perseverance.

Scroll below to see more images of Takeda’s Dubai office by Roar…

Traditional shoji screen geometry is seen in the wall cladding as well as the joineries on the table; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project


Meeting zones are kept casual and interactive; Photograph courtesy Oculis Project


Aluminium glass partitions by Kaprel separate the meeting rooms; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project


Spherical lamps illuminate the linear strips of wood and raw concrete surfaces; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project


Detail of the intricate paper and wood panelling; Photographs courtesy Oculis Project