In some ways, space has become a luxury for those looking to rent or own an apartment in the Middle East’s biggest cities, and Dubai is no exception to this growing trend. While some developers opt to cut corners – and thus, costs – to meet end-user requirements, others are looking for ways to offer residents a less cramped living option with manageable premiums.

UAE-based property developer, Gulf General Investment Company (GGICO), belongs to the latter group, and is currently focussing on constructing spacious residential units featuring built-in appliances and amenities. For instance, GGICO’s Topaz Residences Towers, a project comprising high-rise residential buildings, features ‘smart furniture’ to allow for increased storage and improved utilisation of space within its apartments.

The Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) project spans a total built-up area of 64,839m2, and comprises 448 units within three buildings. One of the towers that is currently under construction as part of the project is Topaz Residence 2.

The project was launched in 2015, and has an anticipated completion date of September 2018. Apartments start from $193,000 (AED708,695) with monthly instalments starting from $475 (AED1,750) per month. Buyers have the option to pay 40% of the unit price during construction, and the remaining 60% over a three-year post-payment plan, in addition to a 1% booking fee.

Topaz Residence 2, a G+8+R building, includes 200 residential one-bedroom apartments, and up to 10% of the development is dedicated to landscaping. Commenting on its construction progress, Bshir Osman, head of engineering at GGICO, says the project is the company’s second in the Topaz series, which is likely to be expanded in the future.

“Unit sizes in Topaz Residence 2 range from 93m2 to 111m2, and they are very spacious flats,” Osman tells Construction Week. “A single bedroom in one of our homes is equal to two bedrooms, when compared to market standards.”

He adds: “The project is now more than 55% complete. We have commenced finishing works, and we are on track to meet our deadline.”

Spearheaded by contractor Reem Capital Contracting and designed by Incorporated Consultants (CONIN), GGICO’s development aims to attract small families or couples, and sole investors. In addition to single-bedroom homes with large balconies, the project features facilities such as swimming pools and health clubs.

“We have high demand for one-bedroom [units], which is why most of our projects in DSO are of that size,” Osman explains. “We have a lot of couples and small families in Dubai, so the demand for these units is high.

“[To meet this demand], some investors would cut the [unnecessary] areas, so that they can pay less to develop one-bedroom units, and use their saved finances to build more. However, if you go to end-users, they prefer to live in spacious units, and we are targeting that segment.”

According to Osman, the use of ‘smart furniture’ – furnishings that offer more than their traditional analogue function – is one of the most distinguishing features of the Topaz apartment units. With the exception of kitchen appliances, Topaz apartment units are unfurnished; however, a built-in, fold-away dining table and bed, which are stored within the living room’s entertainment centre,  are available. The apartments also offer a fully retractable partition to allow the separation of the kitchen and dining area from the living room.

“To better utilise this space, we have introduced smart furniture, which allows us to transform the living and dining room into a second bedroom,” Osman explains. “We can close it at night and use the partition to add another level of privacy in order to create the sense of a [separate] room.”