You touch me everyday, but you never quite see me. Without me, there is no inside or outside. I am the only way in [for civilized society any way]. You never think of me actively, but without me, modern architecture would be impossible.
When someone leaves me ajar, you finally notice me.
Seemingly simple contraptions we are all familiar with, doors. Yet, we know so little about them. For architects and designers, they make an essential part of the buildings they create – sleek glass doors with invisible levers for contemporary designs, large mahogany doors for extravagant interiors, light wooden doors for casual, organic spaces. There’s one for every design.
DORMA, the German access solutions provider, in the UAE has designed doors for your favorite places over the last few decades – The Armani Hotel, Dubai Mall, Address Downtown – while some designs have been for the indispensable – The Dubai Terminal 3 and all the current metro stations.
To bolster the exchange among the design community in the region, they’ve gone beyond their primary activities and designed their ‘showroom’ as a warm and inviting Design Centre.
What Is the Design Centre?
The DORMA Design Centre acts as a free-to-use space for members of the design community in the UAE to reflect, innovate and collaborate in. Situated on Sheikh Zayed Road South, this contemporary lounge-like area embodies freedom and facilitates unguarded conversations with peers [Don’t we all need a space like that?].
With a complimentary coffee machine, chocolates, a magic DORMA wall [more on that later] and a friendly member of staff always present for guidance, it creates an ideal work environment if you want to get away from the library and grab a fancy bite on SZR after work.
On the left side sit two private leather sofas, fit for four, for small group discussions. Behind that, a small glass table seating area fit for 6, stands seamlessly in a glass compartment. The piece de la resistance, however, is the open and comfortable conference table nestled in the center of this open space – dark and digitized with stools for 10-12 members.
Especially interesting to design students in the UAE, the centre offers opportunities to explore DORMA’s history and products.
The magic DORMA wall is the back wall of the Design Centre, operable with remote controls, where concealed in compartments you’ll find DORMA’s American German and Australian products on display.
Since we say people make a place, it’s almost crucial to mention our interaction with Ahmed Sameer, the Manager of the Design Centre, present on site whenever you make a booking. Patient with a wealth of knowledge, he’ll be happy to show you around and fill you in on the student workshops frequently conducted at the center.
Mr. C. George Philip, DORMA’s Marketing Director for MMA, is another individual you can catch hold of [if you’re lucky] to borrow from his experience.
He talks about architecture [and doors] with an infectious passion.
“You need to find a balance between functionality and safety,”
he said in an animated anecdote.
We never pay much attention to exit doors, unless one stops working. Imagine there’s a fire on a floor with 6 rooms, a capacity of 10 people in each room – built with a narrow corridor.
You can’t take the elevator, so you turn to the emergency exit stairs, but wait – You get to the automatic door and it doesn’t open. In a matter of seconds, there are 59 other people rushing towards that same door.
Result? You’re trampled in a stampede in a building on fire [Gives you a whole new appreciation for doors, doesn’t it?]. Maybe your keen eyes drawn to line sand curves will observe doors a bit more carefully now.
If we’ve tickled your curiosity enough to see the mechanisms behind DORMA’s doors or you simply want an open space to create with collaborators, you know where to go.