Architecture student Faisal U-k bagged the top prize in the recently concluded employee cafeteria re-design competition sponsored by Dusit Thani Dubai in partnership with Canadian University Dubai.
Beating 14 other interior design and architecture students who accepted the challenge to redesign the hotel’s employee cafeteria otherwise known as Lumpini, U-k’s concept was direct and elaborately presented, which allowed the judges to fully grasp his concept.
Inspired by Dusit Thani Dubai’s origin, the walls are to be transformed to Thailand’s famous scenic spots and beaches. But more than aesthetics, underlying concepts of sustainability and biophilia were kept in mind by the 23-year-old Nigerian national.
In creating a biophilic environment, U-k proposes improvement in set-up, air quality and light quality. The picturesque views of Thailand are one way to improve the biophilic environment. The use of justicia hereto carpa, a type of plant from Zimbabwe, is known to improve the air quality of the space.
Commenting on his winning design concept, U-k said: “My aim is to create an atmosphere that would simulate an experience of natural ventilation, lighting and vegetation – hence the plants, the kitchen hood, the light fixtures, and the wallpaper. I placed myself in the staff’s shoes, who access the cafeteria regularly; I imagined what I would want to improve to make the place conducive every lunch break.”
The tables and chairs are to be reupholstered using hardy organic hemp, a recycled and biodegradable material produced by green manufacturing processes but without the harmful chemicals as by-products.
“For sustainability, I made sure that instead of buying brand new pieces of furniture, the chairs and tables are to be re-painted with eco paint, and reupholstered with organic hemp”, said U-k.
A systematic sequencing of the place was also proposed to make sure that every part of the cafeteria is used and maximised. Compared to the previous layout, U-k reorganized the layout in a way that the staff shall have an organised route, from the entrance, to the buffet area, to the seating arrangement, to segregating their trash before leaving the place. “I noticed that the area is quite congested in some parts hence I proposed having two doors, one for the entrance and one for the exit. The trash bins are placed near the exit so they will not forget to segregate before they leave.”