Em­brac­ing Life & Light —

ArabAd - - CONTENTS - By Nadim Khoury

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.

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.

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.

"WORK IS NO LONGER ABOUT TRA­DI­TIONAL DESKS AND OF­FICES. IT’S ABOUT COM­MU­NAL SPACE AND AN AIR OF RE­LAXED CRE­ATIV­ITY.”

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.

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.

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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