Here’s how this all-female collaboration is poised to kickstart the industry and deliver services like design, project management and engineering under one roof.
BY ROMA ARORA
Collaborations create a more competitive and creative world. As people’s skills become more and more specialized, collaboration as a practice is increasing. Collaboration is when a group of people come together and bring their expertise to the achievement of a common goal or mission. One of those collaborations worth mentioning is that of three Dubai-based experts in interior design and architecture, engineering and project management who have launched a new service that offers a one-stop-shop solution to those looking for a professional and customer-centric approach to Design and Build. Meet Architect and Engineer Ankita Rao of Freeline Engineering, Project and Construction Manager Natasha Abbas of North 51 Consulting, and Interior Designer / Interior Designer Nikki Bisiker of Nikki Bisiker Interior Design who bring experience and from diverse cultures to clients who value a range of talent accessible under one roof.
Design Middle East spoke to the three fantastic women who came together with this modern approach to consulting to provide a positive, trustworthy and impartial environment for clients.
PROJECT DIRECTOR, NORD 51 CONSULTING
Natasha Abbas specializes in project and construction management and has 18 years of experience in leading construction, quality control and development of high-end residential, retail and catering projects in the UK. United and United Arab Emirates. MSc in International Construction Management from the University of Leeds, UK, Abbas is also an incorporated member of the Chartered Institute of Builders UK, UAE (CIOB). A leader in client-centric project management and self-proclaimed perfectionist by nature, Abbas has always been multitasking at all levels to achieve successful project results for his clients. She’s excited to bring that and more to this all-female collaboration. Abbas reveals what brought them all together: “Faithful to Plato’s theory of creativity and necessity, loosely translated as“ Necessity is the mother of all invention ”applies to this exciting all-female collaboration. We have already worked together on several projects and as Project Management Lead on Cipriani Dolci I had the opportunity to collaborate with Nikki and Ankita, leveraging our expertise in management, design creativity and engineering. to provide a positive result to the customer. This was the catalyst for this niche collaboration. Abbas’s experience in the industry spans from highway engineering to land reclamation and development, from industry to high-end residential, hotels and hospitality F&B which owns a wide range of seasoned experience which constitutes a niche added value for this unique and exciting collaboration.
Speaking about his role in this collaboration, Abbas comments: “My role in this collaboration involves project management services. We offer cost and sales management, contracts and contract administration as a complementary service to this one-of-a-kind all-female collaboration. Nothing is easy in life. A major challenge in setting up this collaboration was to maintain the individual identities and service offerings of North 51 Consulting, Nikki Bisiker Interior Design and Freeline Engineering Consultants. Abbas said, “This collaboration, while cohesive and niche, is a strategic response to the UAE’s post-pandemic construction and development industry for international and local customers who need a full service for timely project delivery and seamless project journey. Our strengths lie in converting international standards to comply with local mandatory and regulatory design and construction requirements, while taking into account our expert knowledge of the local market and cultural needs. Our collaborative philosophy and ethic benefits international hospitality, restaurant and catering concepts and brand launches in the United Arab Emirates. The fast-paced construction industry requires two-way strategic analytical thinking that is not taught in textbooks but comes with years of experience in people and projects. “Without a doubt, multitasking is something entrepreneurs would agree with all over the world,” says Abbas, because it is the essence of this collaboration. Explaining further how to work between these three different companies, Abbas says: “The collaborative approach between North 51 Consulting, Nikki Bisiker Interior Design and Freeline Engineering Consultants is based on the needs of the project and the opportunities that arise. We are able to provide the best project management, design and engineering services with rigorous risk management and value management to developers, customers and occupants who make travel an adventure. This philosophy and ethics benefits international concepts and brands launched in the United Arab Emirates, given our expertise and local knowledge in construction and development.
OWNER, NIKKI BISIKER INTERIOR DESIGN
With more than 30 years of experience, Nikki Bisiker’s past and present projects are scattered across France, Maldives, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean, Russia, Austria, Africa, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the United Kingdom. Bisiker creates homes that are personal and unique to the owner. Bisiker is a self-taught designer. From the age of 13, she decided to makeover and design her tiny bedroom near Bristol using money left to her by a Jamaican great-uncle. It has become a white and purple design paradise. Her inspiration at this tender age came from both the vibrant colors and patterns of Mary Quant and her own mother’s Jamaican heritage, floral dresses and love for bright colors. It was the right basis for Bisker and the rest is history. She has delivered villas in Emirates Hill, Palm Jumeirah, Jumeirah Golf Estates, Arabian Ranches, as well as restaurants in Dubai. Right now, Bisiker is very excited about this new all-female collaboration.
She says, “As a woman we tend to think multidimensionally at the same time, so x 3 and the collaboration becomes extra powerful. My experience of over 30 years with all types of different hotel, restaurant, residential projects in different countries provides a level of experience that a university education and a few years in the industry simply cannot. to match. Combined with Ankita and Natasha’s multifaceted experience on exclusive projects as well, it is once again a triple strength that we provide and ultimately able to deliver with skill and panache. It’s amazing how these women of different cultures and histories form a rich kaleidoscope of talent, foresight, understanding and a productive and motivated team. Bisiker’s role is crucial and she takes pride in her work. She specifies: “My role revolves around interior architecture and interior design, concept, design development, as well as technical drawings for contractors and submissions to authorities. If the project goes through me and is residential then client liaison, meetings, briefings and communication are the key areas for me Bisiker also believes that the ongoing pandemic has changed people’s mindsets and that ‘they’re investing heavily in their homes now. “Customers are looking to invest more in their home because they see the pleasure of being there and want to see the changes, want to improve their environment and change the environment they have been in,” says Bisiker. Bisiker is a human person and she is a follower of the transformational management style as it increases innovation and creativity. “It is very important to nurture and encourage your team. You have to push your team members to explore avenues and new design formats, this contributes to their skills and makes them a diverse designer. We need to raise the bar so that they can think outside the box and outside their comfort zone. “
DIRECTOR AND ARCHITECT, FREELINE ENGINEERING CONSULTANTS
For more than two decades, Freeline Engineering Consultants has carried out many prestigious projects. Their greatest sales force is their experience in managing a diverse portfolio of end-to-end design projects ranging from luxury villas, schools, residential buildings, commercial facilities, factories, warehouses. and social housing. Anita Rao manages the technical and project management part of the company. She is delighted with this collaboration and knows that the experience of the firm would be very useful to her. Rao says, “As a company we have been in business for 23 years in Dubai alone and have a diverse and enviable portfolio of over 1,000 completed projects of varying scales and sizes. Our vast and diverse experience, individually and jointly, coupled with a complementary skill set would be an invaluable asset to any design and build project. The role of Freeline Engineering Consultants is crucial for this collaboration. “All of our departments are in-house, so it’s a pretty tricky task to manage operations, including coordinating engineers on projects, liaising with government, managing deadlines, liaising with clients and others. formalities for the completion of buildings, ”explains Rao.
Rao is a true entrepreneur and she views “compassion and empathy” as non-negotiable behavioral skills that an entrepreneur should cultivate or possess. “In terms of business skills, I would say effective communication, non-judgmental listening, constructive time management, a penchant for staying out of comfort zones and successful networking are the main skills to have. I would describe our management style as “democratic” with a strong emphasis on the spirit of effective collaboration and the inclusion appreciated by every member of our team. Rao is confident in this new collaboration. When asked if the pandemic has dampened her morale, she replies, “Construction has always been a volatile industry and has seen many ebbs and flows over the past two decades of existence. She further explains how this pandemic has changed the behavior of people towards the residential sector, which has created more opportunities for them. Rao notes, “Specifically with the pandemic, we have seen a huge change in the residential sector. Many of our requests are oriented either towards the design of empty residential plots, or towards the demolition of existing villas and their reconstruction. In terms of industrial developments, we are seeing a huge leap in the food manufacturing sector. Much of our lead generation efforts are currently directed to these two segments. “