After delivering successful concepts for the Virgin Megastore brand in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Schwitzke & Partner’s team designed a workplace for Virgin Mobile, a recently launched brand in the UAE. The 1,150 m2 office is located in Dubai Design District and uses a variety of colours and materials to reflect the brand’s character. 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 wanted an open-plan office where staff can work, collaborate and have fun together – a place where they can be “super casual”, almost like a student hang-out. At the same time, it should also showcase Virgin Mobile as a digital company. 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. 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. The meeting rooms, public spaces, printing stations, lounges and alternative work spaces have been placed strategically, allowing relaxed intercommunication between the team members and their clients. The CEO’s office and a meeting room for the board members stand out from this casual look, using more refined and finished materials.
Two of the meeting rooms are placed in a reused shipping container, painted in dark blue. One of the meeting rooms in an open-plan area features floor-to-ceiling wooden panels, which also act as blinds for extra privacy. Throughout the space, the materials and colours are a blend of industrial and rough materials – like raw wood, untouched concrete columns, and raw steel – and pops of bright colours like yellow, dark blue, and Virgin Mobile red. Greenery also adds vibrancy to the office. The industrial kitchen combines white cabinets with a solid oak counter and white metro tiles. Open shelves and bistro tables with benches add to the casual atmosphere, alongside high tables and chairs that are set against the windows.