Interiors Awards 2011: Healthcare winner

Imagine you are in one of the world’s most prestigious retail locations where you are surrounded by top brands like Christian Dior, Armani, Tom Ford, among others. What would you expect a clinic amidst this setting to be like? To many’s surprise, gleam and glamour were not the choice of NBBJ. On the contrary, the firm endeavored to create a simple and elegant space where the five senses of its discerning clientele are attentively considered.

Located at Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world (and formerly known as the Burj Dubai), The Dubai Mall Medical Centre (TDMMC) is the flagship project of Emaar Healthcare Group and the largest outpatient facility in the region. “The Dubai Mall Medical Centre embodies the vision of Emaar Healthcare Group to serve as a true vehicle of change by redefining healthcare delivery in the region,” remarks Omar Al Shunnar, the group’s chief executive officer. “Every aspect of the medical center has been carefully planned to ensure that patients have a comforting experience.”

The 60,000-sq.-ft., premium, multi-specialty medical center offers a complete range of medical specialties and healthcare services, such as cardiology, orthopaedics, general surgery, and advanced services in diagnostic imaging. Apart from a fully equipped clinical laboratory, it also encompasses an on-site pharmacy, 50 private consulting suites, and a dedicated wellness center. Providing such world-class healthcare that can accommodate a flow of up to 90 patients per hour and operating 10 hours a day requires a highly efficient facility design, and Emaar relied on the expertise of NBBJ to maximize space efficiency and craft an elegant, timeless design commensurate with its brand.

The design of TDMMC is a complete sensorial experience that appeals to patients’ five senses. The interior is highlighted by an ethereal field of ceiling-to-floor draperies, which provide a certain degree of privacy to the individual waiting areas. These draperies also act as display screens, capturing a dynamic yet subtle portrait of guests and staff and illuminate as monumental light fixtures. The palette of finish materials, with textural scale variations employed throughout the waiting areas and clinical spaces, is predominantly composed of a limited range of neutral colors, derived from an abstract process of pixilation applied to photos of Dubai and local indigenous landscapes, bringing vitality and a sense of serenity to the environment.

According to Karen Miller Eskandari, interior designer at NBBJ, the connection to TDMMC’s design concept was water: “Water was our foundation of luxury. Water possesses a quality of universal timelessness. It transcends cultural and geographic boundaries and enhances the human experience.” Indeed most of the materials in this medical facility either have an abstracted or literal relationship to water. To further appease guests’ senses, an ambient sound system is installed to provide light music throughout the main waiting areas, and a custom scent is infused through the air distribution system to enhance the unique ambience.


Project: The Dubai Mall Medical Centre. Client: Emaar Healthcare Group LLC. Architect/interior designer: NBBJ; Jorge Nieves-Rodriguez, AIA, NCARB, Karsten Bastien, RA, Karen S. Miller Eskandari, NCIDQ, senior associates; Dennis Brandon, CHC, AICP, Lisa Baker, ASID, IIDA, Bruce Faris, AIA, Mark Perry, AIA, principals; Mark E. Cross, AIA senior associate/architect; Stacie Schlabach Gilliland, associate/designer; Chiharu Sato, designer; Earl Lee, associate/environmental graphic design; Tim Brewster Jones, AIA, senior associate/medical planner; Tom Fox, associate AIA, senior associate/healthcare planner; Mary Butenschon, associate, healthcare technology planner; Tim Lai, AIA, LEED AP, designer; Stephanie Patton, associate/media relations specialist; Michael Denison, associate/designer; Ali Uzun, senior associate/architect. Contractor: DEPA Dubai. Lighting: Quentin Thomas Associates Inc. Engineering: Zener Steward Electromechanical (Dubai). Graphics: NBBJ. Photographer: Tim Griffith.


Carpet/carpet tile: Constantine Commercial. Architectural woodworking, signage: Depa Dubai. HVAC scent infusing system: ScentAir.  


Location: The Dubai Mall; Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Total floor area: 61,500 sq. ft. No. of floors: 1.   

on February 15, 2011