Heights of luxury

Keen to offer bespoke residences that offer uber luxury with privacy, the developer of Dubai’s latest super-prime residence, The 118, Downtown Dubai, has engaged leading hospitality design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) to fashion the interior look for its plush show apartments.

The 28-residence tower was launched by Signature Developers in February this year and is positioned in the heart of Downtown Dubai, home to the city’s most notable landmarks such as Burj Khalifa and the Opera house.

The 118, Downtown Dubai, which comprises 26 full-floor residences and two duplex penthouses, has been intelligently designed from the ‘inside-out’, where the floor plans and layouts were developed first and the exterior shell was created later.

A bedroom in the Classic show apartment.

A bedroom in the Classic show apartment.

“Fashion is able to transform one’s personality, create a completely new style for someone, or shift perceptions. The same can be said for the interiors of a home, which reflect the taste and style of its residents,” says Raju Shroff, director of Signature Developers.

HBA has designed the two show homes at The 118 in the Classic and Contemporary styles, using bespoke pieces from luxury brands such as Fendi Casa, Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors and Gianfranco Ferre Home.

“We briefed HBA to design two styles, Classic and Contemporary, to cater to different preferences, and display the flexibility of an apartment; how the right pieces of furniture, textures and finishes play an important role in enhancing The 118 lifestyle,” comments Shroff.

He says the building was raised by eight floors so that every apartment has panoramic views of the city and fountains. The first residences start from the 14th storey.

The residences at The 118 offer what others don’t, claims Shroff, adding he personally oversaw its development along with his business partner Jayant Ganwani.

Amber Wave ... the chandelier glides through the lobby, like a wave.

Amber Wave ... the chandelier glides through the lobby, like a wave.

“This was an incredibly personal project for both of us, not only as our first, but it was something that we conceived with our lifestyles in mind. We wanted to create something that was both personal to the owner, but that offered a level of service and security not associated with a villa. It has been built according to our specifications, with the end-user in mind,” he says.

He continues: “We offer exclusivity; ours is not just another building that sells based on a cost per sq ft. We have just one residence per floor, giving residents complete privacy and exclusivity with arrival into their own personal foyer on the floor.”

The 118 gets its name from its plot number. “We wanted to keep it simple. Like in London or New York, some of the best buildings are known or named by the location and number, for example, the 432 Park Avenue or 77 Mayfair,” says Shroff.

The desire was to make this ‘the’ residential address in Downtown Dubai. “We have developed The 118 to provide a Manhattan experience with Mayfair finishes, right here in the heart of Dubai,” he adds.

Amongst the facilities available at The 118 are treatment rooms for massages and steam rooms, a 4,000-sq-ft sunset lounge on the rooftop for private functions, and a 25,000-sq-ft poolside garden and deck. Also, residents have access to private elevators, which means two owners won’t even need to share an elevator.

Other comforts include three oversized parking spaces for each residence, with each bay designed to accommodate a large luxury vehicle - with options to buy more space. There are also 20 parking spaces for visitors.


The Interiors

Furnishing over 6,000 sq ft of home can be a daunting task, but HBA set about crafting the spaces with comfort, style and modernity. The subtle tonality of the materials and finishes provide a fresh, natural backdrop, designed to complement a wide range of fabrications and textures, and it was this neutral palette that allowed placement of stunning furniture to complete the look for the show apartments.

Sarah Hamid, project director and interior designer at HBA, took the approach of ‘lateral living’, promoting effortless movement through each of the living spaces, creating a seamless transition, while imbuing each space with a distinct personality.

She says the owners of Signature Developers were intricately involved at every stage of the design process.

“They were looking to create amazing, playful living spaces, built with the end users in mind,” Hamid says.

She continues: “The vision of a truly unique address was initiated early on by exploring the idea of lateral living. This led to the blueprint of the interior layouts for each unit spanning a full floor, giving way for that extraordinary arrival experience of stepping out of the elevator into one’s own private lobby.”

What HBA has created is synchronistic duality; one that has comforts of a private and pristine mansion with the surround of urban cosmopolitan living – enhanced by the panoramic spaces, high ceilings, 3.75 m-high floor-to-ceiling windows and grand doorways.

Quality has been the cornerstone of the development of The 118. Right from the marble that has been used in the lobby to the hard wood floor in the residences. All materials and appliances used are of the highest quality brands, like Meile, Siematic, Kohler or Hafele, says Shroff.

The residences have a combination of stone and pearlescent finishes, with neutral colour palettes. The terraces are spacious with marble flooring.

The interiors of the Contemporary-styled homes have rectilinear forms in a cooler palette, parquet flooring in the bedrooms and marble flooring in the living and public areas – with the show apartment featuring pieces by Fendi; while the Classic-style units have curvilinear designs in a warmer palette and marble flooring throughout the residence – with the show apartment boasting Roberto Cavalli furnishings and pieces.

Signature Developers has also commissioned a bespoke chandelier for the atrium of The 118, Downtown Dubai at a cost of Dh1 million ($272,200). The artistic chandelier is called ‘Amber Wave’ due to its appearance of gliding through the lobby, like a wave onto the beach.

This objet d’art weighs a whopping 1,600 kg and was created by Preciosa Lighting of the Czech Republic, using Bohemian hand-blown crystal glass that is a combination of crystal, light amber and smoky taupe glass. The individual crystal glass elements are suspended from a wire while the frame is made of aluminium with stainless steel plates. The glass components used are longer than usual, measuring approximately 60 to 90 cm. Preciosa’s artisans and craftsmen spent over 700 hours on-site to construct this beautiful installation.

“The brief from Signature Developers was to create the dancing tentacles of an octopus. We took this inspiration and collaborated with Preciosa. This unique piece represents both form and function and completes the look of the atrium,” says Hamid.

Due consideration has also been given to environment-friendliness, says Shroff. In this regard, he says the sanitary ware used has high-jet performance and low-flow flushing systems. All the faucets have flow limitation and special spray jet technology, allowing the mixing of water with air to keep water consumption down. Throughout the public spaces, premium LED lighting control systems with integrated sensors have been used.

The 118 has won two accolades at the Arabian Property Awards 2016-17 namely under the Highly Commended Apartment and Highly Commended Interior Design Apartment categories. In addition, the property was also shortlisted for the Society of British and International Design Awards 2017 under the Show Flats & Developments category.