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Sweet design: ALEC Fitout’s interiors for Boutique Le Chocolat, Dubai

ALEC FITOUT provides a look at the development of the high-end interior fit-out of Boutique Le Chocolat in Citywalk, Dubai

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Boutique Le Chocolat celebrates chocolate in all its glory, offering a truly unique retail platform for over 60 award-winning chocolatiers and chocolate brands from across the globe. Located in the heart of Citywalk in Dubai, the store opened its doors in September 2016. Store design was inspired by the chocolate factories and the grand chocolate stores of the early 19th century, giving the customer the same experience of entering an haute couture atelier where you can expect to receive a custom-made artisanal product.

In pictures: ALEC Fitout’s interiors for Boutique Le Chocolat, Dubai

Every aspect of the interior design was customised by the Meraas in-house design team. ALEC FITOUT was the specialist fit-out contractor appointed to deliver this project. The brief required ALEC FITOUT to develop, detail and coordinate the approved concept design and deliver, from shell and core, a complete fit-out solution. The scope of works included structural, specialist facade (design/build), MEP, kitchen equipment, FF&E and fit-out of all finishes.

The work

The project included innovation and execution of specialist design features, in particular the specialist façade and the electrified track shelving system. The specialist façade, a first for the region and only the second time achieved globally, features 112 bespoke metal fins, 13m high and 6mm thick, bent into three dimensions.

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ALEC FITOUT was responsible for reference image and schematic drawings, and translated this into a working concept incorporating structural calculations, material selection, specification and design aesthetics, in conjunction with the Meraas design department.

In pictures: ALEC Fitout’s interiors for Boutique Le Chocolat, Dubai

The main challenges were the selection of fin thickness and subsequently the manufacturer’s ability to bend and twist them into a three-dimensional shape. Through optimising the structural support design, ALEC FITOUT was able to select thinner fins, which resulted in the following benefits:

1. Quicker manufacturing process due to reduced thickness and faster bending/twisting process.
2. Weight reduction of 25% for the full structure, resulting in reduced cost of raw materials.
3. Faster installation process and reduced load to the main building structure.

In another first for the region, ALEC FITOUT used electrified tracks to create a modular shelving system. The tracks are electrified and seamlessly integrated into the wall panels and the shelves use an integrated LED light, which lights up as the shelves are placed into the tracks regardless of the location, giving the end user the ability to change shelf locations for different design and display requirements.

The challenge

The major challenge for any fit-out project is to realise the concept design and deliver a high-quality solution matching design intent. Using a combination of in-house resources with preferred local and international partners, the ALEC FITOUT team successfully delivered in a timely manner and exceeded client expectations in terms of quality.

The contract required flexibility from ALEC FITOUT in terms of providing design build for certain disciplines while also working with the interior design created by the in-house Meraas team. Design for all disciplines was managed by the ALEC FITOUT team, ensuring coordination between all trades and interfaces.

The delivery

The ALEC FITOUT team worked closely with the in-house Meraas design team and project stakeholders. This collaborative approach to problem-solving and project delivery saw client and contractor work effectively and ensured all issues were dealt with in a timely manner. Open and honest communication resolved issues to the satisfaction of all project stakeholders.

In pictures: ALEC Fitout’s interiors for Boutique Le Chocolat, Dubai

The UAE’s retail sector is expected to reach Dh200 billion by 2017, growing by 5% on average each year, according to recent analysis by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Outlet growth is driven by a mix of expansion of existing chains and new brands and concepts entering the UAE market.

Boutique le Chocolat has positioned itself at the premium end of the market, providing a unique and personalised experience to each guest. In doing so, we believe, it differentiates itself as the best chocolate shop in the region!

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