designed by ramzi makram-ebeid in 2010

Ramzi is well versed in the top international trends and practices, yet he advocates originality and local identity. Ramzi understood well our brief and came up with great ideas…He was attentive to our budget limit but never compromised on quality. Best of all, he always gave us solid professional advice, something I find quite rare in Egypt.

Khaled Gadallah, Managing partner, Tonic International

Tonic International is an award winning advertising agency based in Dubai. Working with a creative agency is a fun task, as they are always more open to new ideas. For Tonic, my main goal was to maintain the integrity of the building in the space. Built in the 1940’s, the structure and interior are streamline art deco. As was customary at the time in Egypt, the flat had a very closed off floor plan. 

Step 1 was to open up the space and bring the light and beautiful view of the Nile and neighborhood in. By demolishing non-loading barring walls in the main areas and bringing the large balconies in, a loft feel was created. Indirect light fills the office, as do the new massive windows throughout. As the client wanted the project done in phases, the photos you see here are of phase 2 – the next to final phase.

Step 2 was to give the whole space a cohesive and open loft vibe. I love using the same flooring throughout spaces, and though Mosaico is considered a “cheap” flooring here in Egypt, I feel it is beautiful, local, durable and very affordable. The material also gives a very earthy vibe with its use of local stones and pebbles.

Step 3 was to make the flat easily transferable from an office into an art gallery. By creating the grey and white color scheme, art easily stands out in the space and is the perfect backdrop for any work.

The plexi ceiling here is designed to light, modernize the space and display visuals (taking advantage of the back lighting) from tonic’s huge advertising catalog. Upon entering you also see the gorgeous Mosque in front; previously this view was not visible as there was a bathroom there.  By relocating the bathroom, we were able to have a waiting area and a very local view.

The large window for the receptionist makes her very central and visible for everybody coming into the office as well as for all employees.

Unlike the surrounding areas (with the exception of the plexi ceiling), the receptionist room has full blown branding. With a strong orange scheme, the room not only sticks out, but is also central. By creating a large window and designing a high desk, the receptionist meets clients eye to eye, and makes the otherwise small room feel large, especially with the open workspace overlooking the Nile. The “mail box” in the room has a white “in-coming” mail indicator on top, and individual storage below. “Logs” are used between the mailbox and wall to allow for easy access to the window when HVAC servicing is needed, while also providing more storage space for the receptionist. Overhead, further storage is available, and both closed & open storage options are offered. The white piece that covers the window base gives visitors a writing surface and a place to hang any bags or clothes if they so wish. The lighting above the receptionist has extra long cords, allowing the lighting to be easily taken down from ceiling and used anywhere in the space. 

 Tonic is all about collaboration, so these desks have no dividers and are part workstation and part meeting tables. The deco lines of the table reinforce the style of the flat, while also maintaining a minimal background so as not to distract from their work or art. The ubiq electrical system in the middle offers easy electrical sockets (which work with all major international plugs) and network access to all individuals on the table. 

 The space, which used to be closed off with double entry doors, was enlarged thanks to bringing the balconies inside. Overhead, as in all rooms, a false ceiling around the rooms brings indirect lighting to the entire space. The stainless metal lighting pendants hang in the spaces that were previously balconies. The glass sliding doors in the middle were accented with appropriate deco hardware that were purchased from old salvaged doors. 

Designed just like the workstations, the meeting room is designed to house a plasma screen and a wall of tonic’s work. Large frosted glass panels will also be installed for brainstorming.