The international market tends to reward experience and the ability to customize products to perfectly interpret a project. Success comes from merging aesthetics and performance, allowing a company to expand well beyond its home country, often to geographically and culturally distant places. Fantoni recently completed two major Middle Eastern interior contracts at two leading banking headquarters. The Al Baraka Bank complex in Manama, capital of Bahrain, consists of two nine-story buildings, with a bridge over a public square connecting the upper floors. The design by EMGA drew on decorative Islamic patterns to incorporate a skeleton framework with diagonal beams that, visible from the outside, fragments the façades in a composition of dynamic diagonal lines. This motif is picked up in the interior design. For example, the custom-made
cupboards and drawers have the same pattern milled into the MDF fronts. User comfort was essential to the interior design, which Fantoni’s research center was heavily involved in. Transparency, natural light and color are combined, with the careful use of plants, to produce a dynamic, stimulating workplace. The layout is a mixture of open-space areas, with flexible custom-made workstations, and a cubicle system. The 4akustik sound-absorbent panels ensure sound comfort and privacy in these cubicles, the corridors, meeting rooms and multi-functional spaces. Every detail is important, such as the custom-made shelves in the library, multimedia center and training room, or the integration of the corporate colors into the chairs and various sections of the building. Fantoni’s glass partitions provide privacy for the executive spaces, but without forgoing openness and light. The project by D&A Designers Architects for Oman Arab Bank in Muscat has a strikingly contemporary interior in which materials, colors and customization are carefully used to strengthen the corporate identity. The architects, with support from Fantoni, created sound-absorbent solutions to optimize the acoustics in interiors dominated by extensive glazing and then designed contemporary furniture that draws on the 45° angle that has been central to Fantoni’s look since the 1960s. Each floor has a clear identity, but incorporates the company’s colors into the furnishings and walls. The reception, break-out area, meeting rooms and work floors are furnished with full-height storage units, but without completely separating the spaces. Each space was treated with different, customized sound-proof solutions using coordinated finishings. The designs of the furniture surfaces are then picked up by the paneling on the walls and ceilings. In the reception areas, the wall paneling helps define the space, while glazed panels divide it without closing it off, allowing in natural light but also creating privacy. Both projects were a major challenge for Fantoni, but by drawing on its extensive experience in creating office furniture and, through various companies in the group, by being able to produce an integrated project, it succeeded. As it is typical in contract projects, the synergy with the designers was fundamental, proving Fantoni is a competent partner that can bring real shape to their ideas.
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