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Archi student wins re-design competition by Dusit Thani Dubai and Canadian University Dubai
July 2016

Architecture student Faisal U-k bagged the top prize in the recently concluded Employee Cafeteria Re-Design Competition sponsored by Dusit Thani Dubai in partnership with Canadian University Dubai held on the 27th June.  

Bested 14 other interior design and architecture students who have accepted the challenge to redesign the hotel’s employee cafeteria otherwise known as “Lumpini”, U-k’s concept was direct and elaborately presented which allowed the judges to fully grasp his concept.

Inspired by Dusit Thani Dubai’s origin, the walls are to be transformed akin to Thailand’s famous scenic spots and beaches. It’s like you are transported to Phuket for lunch.

But more than aesthetics, underlying concepts of sustainability and biophilia was kept in mind by the 23-year-old Nigerian national.

Biophilia is a scientific term described as the connection of human to nature. It has been confirmed by researches to improve the psychological and physiological well-being of a person.

In creating a biophilic environment, U-k proposes improvement in set-up, air quality and light quality.
The picturesque views of Thailand are one way to improve the biophilic environment.

The use of justicia hereto carpa, a type of plant from Zimbabwe, is known to improve the air quality of the space.

The air quality can also be improved by using a chimney hood that can clean air while cooking. A better lighting will be obtained with the use of LED lighting and mineral fiber ceiling which as a great light reflector.  

My aim is to create an atmosphere that would simulate an experience of natural ventilation, lighting and vegetation – hence the plants, the kitchen hood, the light fixtures, and the wallpaper”, shared U-k.

Another noticeable change to the layout is the arrangement of chairs and tables. In the original set-up, most of the chairs are facing the wall, limiting staff interaction. U-k created a layout wherein the chairs and tables are in groups for staff to comfortably mingle with each other.

I placed myself on the staff’s shoes, who accesses the cafeteria regularly; I imagined what I want to improve to make the place conducive every lunch break”, U-k added.


The tables and chairs are to be reupholstered using hardy organic hemp, a recycled and biodegradable material produced by green manufacturing processes but without the harmful chemicals as by-products.

For sustainability, I made sure that instead of buying brand new pieces of furniture, the chairs and tables are to be re-painted with eco paint, and reupholstered with organic hemp”, said U-k.

A systematic sequencing of the place was also proposed to make sure that every part of the cafeteria is used and maximized. Compared to the previous layout, U-k reorganized the layout in a way that the staff shall have an organized route, from the entrance, to the buffet area, to the seating arrangement, to segregating their trash before leaving the place.

I noticed that the area is quite congested in some parts hence I proposed having two doors, one for the entrance and one for the exit. The trash bins are placed near the exit so they will not forget to segregate before they leave.”

The esteemed panel of judges comprised of Dusit Thani Dubai’s Executive Chef Antonello Manca, F&B Manager Subarna Thapa, HR Director Vagelyn Federico alongside Canadian University Dubai’s Chair of Architecture Steve Denyer and Associate Professor Dr. Hamoud Dekkiche.

This design competition, a true testament to Dusit Thani Dubai’s vision to provide a unique journey in every experience, is a creative collaboration between Dusit Thani Dubai and Canadian University Dubai.

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