By David Ingham 

Fino International is nearing the end of its mammoth 33 month project to fit out the Burj Khalifa’s corporate offices, public lobby and Armani Hotel & Residences.

Fino International's Talal Saeed: the world's highest interior contractor.
Fino International's Talal Saeed: the world's highest interior contractor.

Talal Saeed, the company’s managing partner, describes the AED 400 million contract as the most “enlightening” he has ever worked on.

“The specification in the job is one of the highest I have ever seen and experienced; it was a most enlightening experience due to the fact there are so many consultants supervising and reporting to each other to make sure that everything is coherent and works perfectly together,” said Saeed.

Fino’s work on the project covered three separate areas. The largest was the fitout of the Armani Residences and the Armani Hotel Dubai, which required painstaking attention to detail and close co-ordination with teams from Armani and Emaar Hotels.

The second part of the work was the tower’s public area, which included the main entry lobby, the Armani café, various restaurants, prayer areas, a health club and spa.

The third and “highest” part of the contract was the corporate offices and the private offices of Emaar, on levels 152-154.

During the fitout process, materials such as marble, onyx and gypsum were sourced from all over the world, treated in Italy and shipped to Fino in Dubai for cutting and jetting prior to installation.

A brand new type of paint, developed by Armani with the help of an Italian student living in the UK, had to be used throughout the Armani properties. Four coats of the paint had to be applied, with at least 24 hours of drying required between application of each layer.

Reflecting the level of care that has gone into the building, Saeed said that every single wall in the hotel had to be inspected and approved by SOM, the architect; Turner, the construction project manager; and Armani.

Fino was also the last company to make use of the crane on level 154 of the building, which it employed to help lift large sheets of glass.

Fino International started the job with around 300 people on site, a figure that rose to around 2500 people at peak times. Around 30% of those people were new hires.

Armani Hotel Dubai will open on March 18. Handover of apartments in Armani Residences will begin in February.