Gensler’s design for Emaar’s new HQ is built around flexibility and light


Gensler has designed the new office for Emaar in Dubai Hills Estate. The location provides office buildings within an elegant mixed-use development with neighbourhoods set within landscaped parks and gardens, winding walkways, and open areas.

Julijana Mitic, project director at Gensler, led the design and noted: Our brief was to reflect the quality of the Emaar brand and design a journey for staff and clients. We approached the design of Emaar’s new headquarters with a hospitality approach to craft a warm, welcoming environment. When it comes to designing for the hospitality industry, we typically work within the brand guidelines, but also focus on the guest journey and the key experiential touchpoints.”

“We are seeing more businesses adopting a hybrid workplace model with remote working offered as a choice. As a result, this design feels a lot more residential or like that of an elegant destination hotel which creates a space with similar comforts and appropriate professional social interaction. The lines have certainly become blurred between business and lifestyle. Workplaces are more like the hotels we design, and hotels are incorporating places to work,” said Diane Thorsen, design director at Gensler.

The reception space is no longer a traditional desk and waiting area. It takes on a flavour of a concierge type impression that is more boutique rather than corporate and includes a living room residential flavour. More residential-style furniture and fewer commercial finishes were introduced to create a warm and comfortable environment with muted colours and a play on natural textures.

During the work from home experience, coffee shops and hotel social spaces have become more popular as alternative workplaces. This social environment provides connection and a choice of setting with the support of technology. The Rove café at the new Emaar HQ became such a space. Designed to be at the heart of the space, the café sets a welcoming atmosphere and vibrant ambience, reflecting Emaar’s brand and culture. It is both a retreat for individuals and a place to engage with wider groups. This is a place where employees feel part of the group and committed to a larger purpose.

It is designed so that staff can enjoy natural lighting and views of the development in a setting that is relaxed and comfortable. Plants are integral to the park-like concept in this office.

Flexibility and a focus on human-centric design with personalised workspaces and a choice of quiet private zones or informal relaxation areas are key to the work zone. The benefits of a well-designed space create better well-being and productivity for its users.