Location: 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th foor, Harbour Front building, Dolmen City Karachi Design Firm: Surround Design Team: Farhana Abdullah, Anwar Ali Quettawala, Syed Mehdi Hasan Consultants: A.A. Techno Engineers (Electrical), Iceland (Mechanical) Area: 42,000 sq. ft.
Photography: Sayem Ghayur
The design duo Anwar Ali Quettawala and Farhana Abdullah extend infuence and relevance to architecture and interior design interventions in corporate spaces in Pakistan with their wide portfolio. A design team famous for their stimulating interiors yet grounded with functionality, they manifest a distinct style that follows modern straight and uncluttered lines, brazenly interspaced with primary geometrical forms, that importantly addresses the layered complexity of eastern cities and culture. The head offce at Harbour Front has a foor dedicated to the Engro group of companies – Engro Foods, Engro Power Generations, Engro Fertilizers, a shared cafeteria and praying space for employees. Occupying a total of 42,000 square feet, the Engro Head offce benefts from a spectacular view of the sea, the city, and most excitingly, the demonstrated transition of the city as it meets the sea front: sandy shore and then water. There are multiple layers of reference that this interior project draws to its immediate context to both the site as well as the architecture of Harbour Front. For example, the continuous nature of the sea refected in the curves in plan, in the nautical themed windows and pronounced waves in the fooring, columns and ceiling pattern in the Engro Cafeteria. The circulation too has been designed so that the circle fts comfortably in the triangular plan, without contesting it. Perhaps it is important to mention that interior design is often criticized for being insensitive to the language of the structure or the immediate context; this myth is negated by the articulate interiors of Engro. The project is an evidence of what successful negotiation between landscapes, relationship of mass and volume, stylization, storytelling and interplay of materials can accomplish for the experience of a space. Branding has been demonstrated by modifying the palette of colours and material to refect the embodied energy or association with the organisation’s vast profle of companies. In a meeting room, for example, the deep red tones refected in the photograph of an Engro factory in action is reinforced through a larger abstract painting in reds and repetitive circular forms. The abstract work reinforces the idea of diligence, consistency and quality without having to pen or engrave the words as reminders. The interior addresses the complex layering of various dimensions of the company coming together, yet clearly and subliminally deviating, spaces of work for various departments.