Schwitzke & Partners’ Virgin Mobile office design in Dubai has a ‘creative vibe’

The Virgin Mobile Office in Dubai Design District, designed by Schwitzke & Partner, captures the creative vibe of the brand.

After delivering successful concepts for the Virgin Megastore brand in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Schwitzke & Partner’s team was challenged again – this time to design a workplace for Virgin Mobile, a recently launched brand in Dubai. The 1,150m2 office is located in Dubai Design District and uses a variety of colours and materials to reflect the brand’s character.

The casual design  reflects the brand.

The casual design reflects the brand.

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Marcus Kaess, art director at Schwitzke & Partner’s Dubai office, says the aim was to capture the casual and creative vibe of the Virgin Mobile brand and give it a trendy and young look, while not affecting the functionality of the space for its 80-plus staff.

“Virgin Mobile is an entirely different company, but they liked our previous retail designs and that we understand Virgin as a brand,” says Kaess. “They wanted to an open-plan office where staff can work, collaborate, and have fun together. They wanted a place where they can be ‘super casual’, almost like a student hang-out.”

Meeting rooms feature more refined and finished materials.

Meeting rooms feature more refined and finished materials.

Commenting the brief, Rob Beswick, vice president of brand, Virgin Mobile Middle East and Africa, says: “Our vision was to create a space that reflects the brand and is fun and accommodating for our digital natives. Open and engaging spaces, places to think and reflect, and the use of natural and beautiful materials, were key. We briefed the designers to create a space where people would feel at home and comfortable, and a place that would inspire creative innovation.”

The casual design  reflects the brand.

The casual design reflects the brand.

As Kaess explains, the whole space carries the idea of a group of creatives sitting together to work on one common idea, like roommates at university.

Lounge chairs with a modern design, decorative lights, wooden benches in the canteen, and a kitchen improvised out of metal tubes, all carry this story, and fit well within the creative hub of d3.

Signage creates a strong visual impact.

Signage creates a strong visual impact.

“The causal-industrial concept has been around for quite some time, but we feel it is absolutely the right one for the Virgin brand. It fits the story behind the brand, of being an open, no-barriers, and customer-friendly company with a casual and personal feel to it,” he says.

High stools and industrial pendant lights add to the casual look of the reception area.

High stools and industrial pendant lights add to the casual look of the reception area.

The casual welcome begins in the entrance area, where a lighting installation spelling out “Hello” greets visitors. A reception desk is set against the white brick wall, and is a common feature of Virgin Mobile stores.

With an open-plan office, the design team created smaller, more intimate functional zones.

With an open-plan office, the design team created smaller, more intimate functional zones.

“We didn’t want to have a traditional reception desk. We thought it should look more like a food and beverage space. We added industrial pendant lights and bar stools to get away from the typical feeling of the reception. The ‘Hello’ looks like an old sign where the glass is broken, and the wall behind it is clad with different construction woods,” says Kaess.

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