Embracing Life and Light: the new GREY office in Dubai

Nadim Khoury, chief executive of Grey MENA, depicts the new work environment recently set at Grey office in Dubai.

The centrepiece of Grey’s new office in Concord Tower is a café. Not words I ever thought I’d utter, but I’m glad I have been given the opportunity to do so. Because work is no longer about traditional desks and offices. It’s about communal space and an air of relaxed creativity.

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Gone are the days of walls and doors. Gone too are any airs and graces. In is a sense of togetherness and collaboration. It’s a livelier, more vibrant and productive environment as a result. One that reflects our open culture.

Our vision for the office was simple. Each area was to have its own story, while the overall design was to be guided by two things – life & light. It’s a vision that has been beautifully brought to life by Dress The Space and the company’s founder and interior architect Reem Moussalli.

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There’s exposed brickwork, concrete-looking tiles and natural wood finishes, all of which keep the space alive, while the outdoors has been brought indoors through a unifying design aesthetic. Even the conference room has been turned into a private space that feels like an indoor garden, with faux grass and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Then there’s Café Faro – the office centrepiece and a casual area for socialising and working. Named after two ex-colleagues (Fadi and Rohit), it takes pride of place in one large, sweeping corner of the office, with stunning views of Media City and the Arabian Gulf. It’s an area that includes a sofa and bean bags, a Playstation zone, a bright red fridge and the ever-present smell of hot espresso. There’s also a wonderful wall graphic designed by a team member depicting lamps from around the world. It’s the kind of personal touch that helps complete the office design.

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In fact, the overall idea was not to create one spot for people to work from, but to have an office that was comfortable for an employee to work from anywhere. As such, there are seating areas scattered throughout the office, away from the regular desk space and the formality of labour.

You can feel the energy and sense of purpose as soon as you enter. There are live feeds and trending hashtags displayed on large screens in reception, while music plays in the background. Our awards are also showcased along a strip of the reception’s righthand wall. It’s all far removed from anything I’ve ever known before.

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The decision to move to Concord Tower had been an easy one. It was already home to hug digital, meaning our proximity to the newest member of the Grey family would enable easier and smoother collaboration. Making the move happen quickly enough to start the year on a new page, however, was a challenge. It took 10 weeks to finalise the office (what must be a record), and during the final phases of the design our own creative team got involved, adding that magical Grey touch. We have, after all, been famously effective since 1917.

There’s a discernible sense that Grey now has unstoppable momentum. Momentum that has been gathering pace for the last 12 months since we became part of the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. The new office is simply a manifestation of this momentum and the beginning of a transformation. Not to mention our determination and commitment to create great work. Because when walls are torn down and desks begin to face one another, magic happens. Magic that we intend to keep on tap.

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