The refitted office space has a virtual receptionist, writable walls and a cafe with social media feeds for employees to remain connected via smartphones and other devices. Image Credit: Smart Dubai Office

Dubai: A new facelift rolled out at Smart Dubai Office has forged a technologically advanced green setting to help transform the emirate into one of the smartest, happiest cities on earth by 2021.

The newly refitted office space now plays host to an array of hi-tech innovations ranging from a virtual receptionist and digital spaces to writable walls and a cafe with perpetual social media feeds for employees to remain connected via smartphones and devices.

Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr

The retrofit is inspired by nature to reflect a sustainable philosophy, said Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, director-general of the Smart Dubai Office.

“We employed a team of experts from Design Worldwide Partnership (DWP) and Summertown Interiors to ensure our office adheres to international environmental standards. The DWP and Summertown did an outstanding job and built a space that reflects our identity as a progressive smart organisation, as well as our mission to make Dubai the happiest city on the planet — starting with our own offices,” said Bint Butti in a statement.

“Our facilities overwhelmingly rely on organic material, including wood and rope. This reduces our carbon footprint and reflect our core principle of sustainable, environmentally friendly development.”

Marcos Bish

Marcos Bish, managing director, Summertown Interiors, said much thought went into the 1,850-square-metre project to ensure the newly revitalised office space met green building standards for the health of employees and to ensure its energy efficiency.

Bish told Gulf News that the “team was asked to manage the US Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification process for the project. Given the UAE government’s commitment to sustainable urbanisation, Smart Dubai Office’s goal is to reach LEED Gold certification, helping them minimise their environment impacts, and at the same time improve their operational efficiencies to create a workspace that their staff truly appreciate.”

Bish said that in partnership with DWP, “much focus was given to the sustainable and technological elements of the office — a workspace of the future that is efficient, sustainable and healthy, while also providing an environment for a creative, productive and engaged workforce via seamless technological integration. For example, living plants were specifically chosen for their natural air purifier attributes, and meeting room technology installed allows connection of different devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones), for seamless business presentations”.

Technological smart solutions saw the installation, for example, of a virtual receptionist, an autonomous electronic receiving area to greet visitors who are instructed to send an SMS or email to the person they are meeting.

The Smart Dubai Office also now enjoys what are called digital, meeting rooms with writable walls to encourage creativity and productivity within the workplace.

Other elements included a cafe with a live LED feed (eg Twitter), an auditorium with flexible seating and quiet zones to enable activity-based working spaces for Smart Dubai’s employees. With seamless technology available in all areas of this office, it creates a variety of workspaces for people to physically locate themselves.

Bish said that DWP’s vision for the new facelift was inspired by Dubai’s shifting sand dunes and creek to incorporate natural flowing organic forms in the decor.

“The Smart Dubai Office incorporates landscaped gardens, natural materials including wood and cleverly integrated shareable ‘digital spaces’. These elements help to foster collaboration and improve creativity and productivity within the workplace. The LEED initiatives also embedded into the design and fitout help to create an environment that enhances employee well-being and comfort,” Bish told Gulf News.