Xworks in Start Up Magazine

In the latest issue of Start Up Magazine you have had the chance to read a nice little article about the important issues you need to consider when you are creating a new office – whether as a start-up founder or a more established business – and the man behind all the insights and advices is our very own Søren Kræn. As we know many of you might not come across the magazine, we just want to share the article with you here, so that you will have the chance to read it. So here we go: Office design for start-up founders Soren Kraen, CEO at Xworks Interiors LLC, reveals the important issues to consider when you are creating a new office Whether you are designing a completely new office or redoing an old, there are several things you need to consider before starting. Because your choices matter – as they will affect the office environment more than you think. Several studies have shown that how the office is designed not only impact the overall productivity of your employees, but also their overall happiness at work. Of course, we cannot offer you a single formula for creating the perfect office, as that depends completely on your needs, but we can guide you through some of the things that you need to take into careful consideration. First of all, IT have changed the way we design offices now a days. With laptops, WIFI and mobiles being an integrated part of our lives, we no longer require the same static workplace, nor the same amount of desk space, as we once did. Flexible work spaces makes the modern office This means that many companies today are embracing a more open layout with smaller desks for the individual employee, and bigger open areas for team-meetings and brainstorming-sessions. However, most companies still keep some smaller closed meeting rooms for private meetings, client meeting and for when someone needs a quiet place. Because it is important to remember that with an open office, there will be more sounds around you than if you sit in a smaller closed office. “Break Out” areas The latest trend within the Interior Office Design Industry is “Break Out” areas. Areas in the office where the furniture have a more homely feel and often is the area designed to stimulate creativity. A place where the employees can go to work, have workshops, brainstorming-sessions or just take a quick break. Stand up meeting tables Another micro-trend are those high sleek meeting tables that force you to stand up during meetings. It is healthy for you to stand more and studies have shown that standing up during e.g. shorter team-meeting can reduce the meeting time by 34%! And that is quite a lot. However, do have a normal meeting table set-up too, as it will be tough to stand up doing hour-long meetings. Ergonomics is the new ‘black’ In Europe ergonomics have been a big deal for many years, but now it… Continue reading Xworks in Start Up Magazine

Xworks in Commercial Interior Design

n the June issue of Commercial Interior Design you can find a little nice article about Xworks Interiors under the section “Suppliers you should know”. As we know not all of you will have the chance to read the article directly in the magazine, we have decided to share the text with you right here. Because we don’t want you to miss a thing. Here we go: Tell us about your company? Xworks Interiors was founded in 2009 by Søren Kræn, who has been working in interior design and fit-out for more than 25 years in the UAE. The firm presents many years of valuable experience in the market. We deliver full turnkey interior solutions with services consisting of interior design, fit-out and furniture. We are specialized in corporate offices and other commercial work. Our mission is to provide the UAE market with innovative, international quality products and services. We want to build the offices of tomorrow, focusing specifically on topics such as ergonomics, the environment, indoor nature, natural light and intriguing design. We have streamlined our services into a coordinated sequence beginning with design, product and furniture selection through professional project management that results in delivery on time with required quality. We are also always in close dialogue with our clients. What projects have you recently been involved in? We have been involved in a number of projects over the years. Our clients and portfolio include various well-known companies such as Bapas Bar, Gilead Sciences Dubai, Open Text, Ernst & Young Middle East, HQ Creative, Maersk Line, Park Hyatt, BAE Systems, Hella Middle East and Murdoch University, to name a few. Recently, we have finished projects for Lindt&Spungli, JCB, and Glander International Bunkering. What challenges did they present? We always try to think about challenges more as unforeseen opportunities. These opportunities will allow us to grow and allow us to showcase just how capable and experienced we are in delivering projects of the highest quality – even when things becomes a little challenging. Most projects, especially those that possess a high degree of complexity, require a detailed and focused coordination from start to finish, and that requires skilled and experienced  project managers, which we have. What are you most looking forward to for the rest of 2015? We are looking forward to the completion of our current projects, such as the big training facility we are building at the moment for Maersk Training. We are also looking forward to getting started on some of the many exciting projects we have on the horizon. However, more than anything we are looking forward to opening up a branch of Xworks Interiors in Abu Dhabi very soon. We are finalizing all the paperwork at the moment, and we cannot wait to get started. What trends do you see in the Middle East with regards to it out? The Middle East. just like many other regions, is going through a rapid change when it comes to designing corporate offices. Today, the modern office… Continue reading Xworks in Commercial Interior Design

Project of the Month: Glander International Bunkering

Our Project of the Month this June is a project we just finished off for Glander International Bunkering – a project we are very excited about finally being able to show you all. Glander International Bunkering is a world respected trading and brokering firm specialized in marine fuels and lubricants, and they needed a completely new office here in Dubai – an office that office would spread through a complete floor. Xworks Interiors was selected to do a full turnkey build including all the designs. We chose – in collaboration with Glander – to design an open space office with a great focus on ergonomics and the overall work environment. The design is held in light and bright tones with a focus on natural light, acoustics and, as mentioned before, ergonomics. We have only used good quality materials and furniture, and we have focused on creating a modern open space office with break out areas and even and in-house fitness center for the employees to relax, exercise and be social. All to improve and support a good and healthy work environment at the office. As ergonomics and healthy work positions was in focus we supplied the whole office with quality height-adjustable tables and good adjustable office chairs too. In order to enhance the acoustics in some areas, such as smaller meeting rooms, we designed some modern looking fabric upholstered walls. The CEO & CFO wanted a solution where they would be a part of the open office, but still have the possibility of closed privacy for meetings, so we came up with the solution of electrically movable glass walls/doors that would allow them to be an integrated part of the office, when the walls are open, but give them privacy when closed – without them becoming completely shielded off. As to the furniture we supplied Glander with pieces from Holmris, Howe and Haworth. The carpet was supplied by ege carpets and the ceiling from KnaufDanoline/Danogips. Want to see more pictures? Then just click right here!

ege carpets’ tile backing gets awarded with Cradle to Cradle certification

Our carpet partner ege carpets has recently been awarded with the prestigious Cradle to CradleTM certification for their patented carpet tile backing. As a result, ege carpets is one step closer to cementing that their Ecotrust Backing is one of the most environmental-friendly tile backings on the market. A Cradle to CradleTM certification ensures that a carpet backing supplied by ege carpets is manufactured under conditions which ensure that valuable resources remain in a closed cycle, and in the same time customers can be assured that the carpets have minimal impact on pollution and that residual materials are recycled. The idea behind the Cradle to CradleTM certification is that the Earth’s finite resources should not go to waste. Instead they should be used in new contexts – with no detrimental effects on people or the environment. Something we really like here at Xworks.

New Managing Director to join the Dubai Office from August 1st 2015

We are very happy to announce a significant addition to our team in Dubai. Kaj Helstrand has decided to return to Dubai, following 5 years based out of Singapore in a global role with one of the largest office furniture vendors in the world. He will be taking on the role of Managing Director of Xworks’ Dubai operation. Through his experience as a Workplace Strategist and Designer supporting global companies, combined with his perfect understanding of the UAE market from his 7 years with Gemaco Interiors UAE (2003 – 2010), he will be able to bring immense value to Xworks’ clients. Kaj will be a trusted advisor in creating workplace designs that link directly to our clients’ business and people needs. Kaj is fully aligned with the ‘Xworks mindset’ of ‘no organization is stronger than the people who make it’ – the level of employee engagement and job-satisfaction you find in the workforce, is a reflection of the inner values of a company  – and a well-designed workplace can serve as a great enabler to achieve just that. Søren Kræn will continue as Executive Director, overseeing the overall responsibilities for both the Dubai and the Abu Dhabi office.

It’s a special XWORKS DAY today

Today is a very special day for Xworks Interiors LLC. Not only is it our 6th anniversary, but today we also officially open our new office in Abu Dhabi, and we are so excited about the future. It goes without saying that it is a HUGE thing for us to be able to launch a new office in Abu Dhabi exactly 6 years after we opened Xworks Interiors LLC here in Dubai. It has been a dream of ours for a while to open an office in Abu Dhabi, but we didn’t want to take any chances, so we have waited for the right moment. And it’s now! The business here in Dubai is going great. We are now at a place, where we get to work on a lot of exciting projects, and we are growing at the right pace – with all the right people, and we love every single moment. That’s why we believe it is time to open in Abu Dhabi too, so that we can meet the growing demand from clients based in the capital of UAE alongside with our business here in Dubai. The process in Abu Dhabi has taken a little longer than we anticipated, but we are finally there! We now have our license, an office and even the first employee besides from Torben Hildebrandt, who is our Managing Director in Abu Dhabi. Without Torben as the Managing Director, we would probably not have started up in Abu Dhabi just yet, because we believe that choosing the right people is key for our business, and Torben is just that – the right man for us and for our business. So today is one big happy day here at Xworks Interiors. And don’t worry. Even though we are – right now – only celebrating all the good things in-house, we are planning to do a little something for partners and clients later this year. We just want to have everything up and running smoothly first. 6 years. 2 offices. We wonder what it will look like in another 6 years. Greetings Søren Kræn

oject of the Month: Executive Office in DIFC

It is time for another Project of the Month, and this time we have selected a project we did in cooperation with LW Design. It is a project we are very proud of having been a part of and we are very happy with the result. The project was a high-end executive office in DIFC, and was based on a very high-end design, high-end specs and only the best materials. As the client wanted a very exclusive office, LW Design created an office that was inspired by great and classical design – but with a modern twist. Furthermore, we had a strong focus on the choices we made in regards to the materials and finishes. Therefore, it was a very detail oriented job, where we only selected the best items of the highest quality available to us – all the way down to the light switches. And we must say that the result speaks for itself. The client needed an office with a lot of storage and display options – without compromising the exclusive look and feel, they wanted. So we found ways to build clever and discrete storage solutions in the finest wooden materials that we also used for wood panels all over the office. We also created ledges to display projects in the same materials to really emphasize the exclusive look. Another detail we are very proud of is the big concrete wall in the reception area. This feature adds something extra to the overall exclusive look, and it gives the office a very modern touch as well. Something that has become very popular the last couple of years, and we have now completed a few projects with such walls, and they just look good every time. The colors chosen for the office are the very trendy, classical earth color tones. These colors are calm, quite neutral and creates a sense of balance to a room. And this is exactly what the client wanted. The office should be exclusive and neutral, so that all the projects on display at the office would stand out. As to suppliers, we used ege carpets for the floors, Danogips for the ceilings and the furniture was a mix of Haworth, Forma 5 and Carl Hansen. Want to see more pictures of this beautiful office? Then just click here!

Project of the Month: Maersk Training

It is time for yet another Project of the Month, and this time we are sharing a project we just finished for Maersk Training here in Dubai. Maersk Training is opening up its first state-of-the-art training facilities in Dubai South and Xworks was selected as the full fit out contractor including the design. This new training facility will be used for advanced operational simulation training with special focus on safety and competence in offshore drilling and maritime operations. In order to accommodate Maersk Training’s simulators and training equipment we had to pay immensely attention to the MEP works, as the machinery have certain additional demands from the electrics and A/C in order to operate properly. In terms of the design of the training facilities and offices the focus was on functionality, which means that form follows function in this project – without compromising the style of Maersk. As to suppliers we have for this project provided our client with furniture from Offecct and Forma5 – while the carpet was supplied from Ege Carpet and the ceiling from KnaufDanoline. If you want to see more pictures from the project, then just click right here

Everyone you should know

Xworks Interiors is thrilled to share with you its latest collaboration with the well known magazine Commercial Interior Design. You can now grab your copy and learn more about Xworks’ future projects and services in their supplement “Everyone you should know”. To make sure that you are up to date with what is happening, you can also find the article below. Enjoy your reading. Tell us about your company. In a reality where the only constant factor seems to be change, creating the space in which we all are guilty of spending most of our time awake engaging in ‘work’, is a serious taks. At Xworks, we are very aware of this, and of our clients’ need to be competitive. At the same time, however, we are very mindful that a welldesigned workplace can stimulate users to interact, move, be open, and engage, essentially creating a thriving workforce. And a happy employee is a productive one! We deliver full, turnkey interior solutions, from front-end analysis of utilisation and workstyles, to workplace design and project management, through to construction and furniture supply. Søren Kræn established Xworks Interiors in 2009, following years in leading positions at large interior fit-out firms in the UAE. With more than 25 years of UAE experience, we know the market dynamics very well. Experience is critical to Xworks’ success, as the complexity and richness of the multicultural demographics in this region make it challenging yet exciting to operate here. Today, we are aware that office design goes well beyond mere aesthetics. In fact, workforce demographics, new technology, space allocation, mobility, and awareness of health in the workplace are all changing the office landscape and affecting working patterns. Our mission is to explore and challenge any changes in the market’s needs, and to provide our clients with workplace solutions that support a sense of well-being while encouraging productivity – in clear alignment with are shifting from a “bigger is better” mentality to a “smaller but smarter” approach to office design. They have realised that more efficient design enhances productivity and retention, which has a direct impact on the company’s effectiveness. Human-centric design is another important trend embraced by the industry more recently. We believe that the health and wellbeing of employees is now at the heart of any office design requirement, due to its positive impact on productivity. Studies show that with this comes lower staff turnover and decreased employee costs overall. Data-driven design is also a key trend we have identified in our industry. Companies are looking for ways to use data and insights to keep employees comfortable, and to engage them in the office design process in order to give them a space they like to work in. the clients’ business strategy and brand. What projects have you been involved in? We have been involved in a number of projects over the past 7 years. Our clients and portfolio include a number of blue chip companies such as VISA, Gilead Sciences Dubai, Ernst & Young, HQ Creative,… Continue reading Everyone you should know

WELL interior design standards in Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Shifting Office Fundamentals in 2017

In recent years we have seen an increase in innovative offices spanning across the globe. Trends began with implementing in-house company gyms, bike storage to encourage a more environmentally friendly and fitness-orientated lifestyle, as well as colourful conference rooms and canteen menu’s designed by leading nutritionists. From these subtle changes have emerged studies documenting the positive effects office design has on business performance. In 2015 Robertson Cooper studied 7,600 employees from 16 countries and found that office design is affected by both the “presence (or absence) of natural light, decorative plants, windows, and a private desk space.” Without just one of these elements, the employees experience a negative effect, which is both detrimental to business performance and mental health. In response to this shift, the WELL Building Standard™ was created. WELL interior design focuses on seven elements they believe are imperative for a positive workplace: Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. These standards reflect the evolving office which parallel’s the evolving demographic. Millennial’s now dominate the work stratosphere in the world’s professional cities.  Nowhere is this more evident than in Dubai, where 80% of the professional population is made up of people under 45 years of age. With the freelance business booming, it is vital that employers adopt these modern improvements to attract this socially conscious and forward-thinking group of employees. Millennial’s will continue to influence change in office innovation in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. They desire a career that provides a sense of purpose and contributes to the greater good – office design in Dubai must reflect these goals. 2017 is set to be a pioneering year in conscious office design in the UAE. Here are some of the trends that can boost positivity and business performance: THE OFFICE DESK Jeff Pochepan, the president of leading office design company Strong Project states, “Adjustable height desks, treadmill workstations, data-integrated personal tables, and “wireless” desks are swiftly dominating modern commercial workplaces for one simple reason: they adapt to the employee’s needs, they don’t require the employee to adapt to it”. COLLABORATIVE FURNITURE Collaborative furniture encourages conversation and collaboration, which in turn fuels ideas and creativity. These pieces are shaped to bring people together. Whether it’s bench seating, or inward facing sofa’s, collaborative furniture facilitates interconnectedness within the team. NATURE Studies show that psychological health can be improved through the mere presence of “nature”. Spaces that have natural light, potted plants to circulate oxygen and engage workers in gardening practices – these are two ways to bring nature to your workplace and interior design in Dubai. Dr. Chris Knight from Exeter University and his team traveled around the world experimenting with different methods in order to discover how to boost office morale. One of their most exciting findings included emptying offices completely, and then introducing plants. “When plants were brought into the offices –employee performance on memory retention and other basic tests improved substantially.” FITNESS We are all aware of how important physical fitness is for our overall health and happiness, but the nature of the… Continue reading WELL interior design standards in Dubai and Abu Dhabi: Shifting Office Fundamentals in 2017

How much does interior design cost in Dubai?

When planning out any interior design project, one of the first questions asked is: How much is this going to cost? Chances are, if you pair your project with the right company, it could be less than you think. Many factors can go into the budget plan of an interior design project. When working on interior design in the workplace for example all of these will have an impact on our project’s final cost. – Area/Size of Project – Construction – Furniture – Custom made joinery – Aesthetic design – Timeline It’s important to maintain open and honest communication with your interior design company from day one. Although you may have a project budget before speaking with your designer, the project’s eventual success is dependent on a realistic budget. To create a realistic budget you will need to calculate two factors: A square meter price and the required square meters. A good base rate is around AED 1,500 per square meter. This price will normally include partitions, ceiling, flooring, MEP (mechanical, electrical and plumbing) and furniture. Once you understand the cost of the basics it’ll be much easier to plan your entire project. These basics will serve as the building blocks to determine how much your dream design will actually cost. Obtaining quotes from multiple interior design companies can provide you with a more detailed range in budget. However, those companies quoting the lowest project budget may not actually end up with the lowest cost. Some interior design companies may offer up a lower quote to start in order to win the contract. Once the project is underway price inflations and variations to the original plan can add up to a completely different final cost. If you understand the factors detailed above you can work alongside your interior design team to prevent this from occurring. Consider instead the interior design company that has taken into account the possible variations and inflations of your project. Paying close attention to the construction timeline and materials cost. Companies with the most industry experience will create the most accurate budget. Choosing the right company with the most accurate budget could make all the difference to your interior design project’s overall feasibility. Take time to consider the impact you hope your project will have on your company’s long-term goals. Research your design team, look into the amount of experience they have designing projects in your area. Have a clear goal in place that includes the impact you hope your interior design project will have. Lastly, take the time to enquire privately for a detailed quote. No two interior design projects are the same. Don’t shy away from detailed questions regarding project size, construction, furniture, custom joinery, aesthetic design and timeline.

Approvals Required for Office Moves in Dubai

It’s a very dynamic time for the professional workplace in Dubai. Millennial’s now dominate the work stratosphere in the world’s professional capitals. Nowhere is this more evident than in Dubai, where 80% of the professional population is made up of people under 45 years of age. These changes are inspiring business growth and many companies are moving offices as a result. Understanding the approvals required for office moves in Dubai is perhaps the most essential part of the process. There are required approvals that must be met before any company can move offices. These approvals vary depending on where your current office is located. For example: Dubai Media City, the DIFC and JLT region within DMCC all have varying requirements for initial approval and final inspection. Here is a complete list of the approvals required to move offices in Dubai Media City, The DIFC and JLT region of the DMCC. In Dubai Media City to gain initial approval step one is submitting proposed drawings to the current landlord before he can release a No Objection Certificate or “NOC”. The next step is to submit for Dubai Civil Defense initial approval which usually takes 2 to 3 working days to process. After that all these documents are submitted with Dubai Civil Aviation Authority. For Final Approval all projects within Dubai Media City will have to submit the Dubai Civil Defense Completion Certificate along with final drawing and an Inspection Request Letter. Buildings under DIFC approvals require a No Objection Certificate to the tower developer rather than the landlord. Companies must also obtain Dubai Creative Clusters Authority permit to work for initial approval. For final project inspection Dubai Civil Defense Inspection must be requested, submitted and approved which normally takes about 3 to 4 working days. When moving to the DMCC zone specifically within JLT all drawing proposals must be submitted to the tower developer to obtain a no objection certificate. Once received companies must submit for approval directly with the DMCC and Concordia. This will provide Concordia the means to complete the Certificate of Conformity inspection. For final inspection Concordia must be allowed to complete inspection prior to the ceiling being closed. After construction is completed companies may submit their projects for Dubai Civil Defense inspection. These approvals are the basic requirements needed for moving offices within Dubai Media City, DIFC and the JLT region of DMCC. Depending on the unique complexity of each project more approvals and inspections may be required. However, when planning your next office move within Dubai it is important to understand the intricacies required.