Posted inInterviewDesign & Architecture

Flydubai soars into the future with a cutting-edge new headquarters

Inside flydubai’s unconventional HQ, where functionality, aesthetics, and sustainability come together to create a futuristic office space


flydubai, the innovative and vibrant airline, elevated its operations with the unveiling of its expansive 8,3612.7 m2 headquarters in Dubai earlier this year. This architectural marvel, a testament to flydubai’s ethos of agility and innovation, was brought to life through a partnership with Dewan Architects + Engineers.

Designed to encapsulate the essence of the flydubai brand, the headquarters is more than a workspace; it’s a hub designed to nurture creativity, collaboration, and well-being among employees. Strategically located between Dubai International (DXB) and Dubai World Central (DWC) airports, the headquarters exemplifies the airline’s commitment to efficiency and convenience. Drawing inspiration from historical architectural concepts, the design integrates urban and architectural scales, creating an environment that fosters community and connection.

CW Property Middle East speaks to Dewan Architects + Engineers to learn more about the journey of creating this futuristic workspace, exploring its innovative design, sustainability features, and impact on employee well-being and productivity.

Could you elaborate on the evolution of the headquarters’ design concept from its initial inception to the final architectural narrative?

As a standard procedure, the initial phase of concept design begins with data collection. For this project, we had to create a detailed document due to the complexity of the design components (simulation rooms, data centres, training halls, etc.). We began with a pre-concept, and the client appreciated the design. However, due to cost limitations, we had to simplify the details of the façade.

It’s essential to note that the design wasn’t just about aesthetics; it also achieved a balance of various performance criteria using a mix of raw materials with refined details and a touch of greenery. Vibrant colours were added to bring energy to the workspace. This approach to the design met flydubai’s requirements for a workspace that fosters creativity, collaboration, and well-being.

The fully functional workspace includes an open office layout combined with elements from the landscape, creating a cohesive design language. The absence of traditional borders encourages easy collaboration among employees. Writable surfaces are prevalent in the office, facilitating impromptu meetings and brainstorming sessions without compromising privacy.

The design also accounted for multi-purpose ‘quiet’ spaces for private meetings and phone calls. Additionally, the goal was to provide employees with complete flexibility in their workspace, allowing them to work in a place that suits their needs. This approach challenges the perception of a typical office, creating a more personalised workspace that stimulates creativity, reflecting the airline’s agility and commitment to innovation while embodying its forward-thinking vision.

How does the design of flydubai’s headquarters respond to and integrate with Dubai’s urban fabric and cultural context?

The project is situated in a relatively remote and sparsely developed area, with minimal interactions with Dubai’s urban areas. However, the location proves ideal due to its proximity to both Dubai International Airport and DWC. This underscores the airline’s unwavering commitment to convenience and efficiency.

What were the most significant technical innovations implemented in this project, and how did you overcome the major engineering and architectural challenges encountered during its development?

The building features unique and unusual spaces that are uncommon in traditional office buildings, such as flight simulation units, emergency drills and training halls, and flydubai’s primary data centre. The seamless integration of these spaces within the architectural envelope required a high level of coordination across multiple disciplines.

What are some unique sustainable practices used in the project?

During the design phase, we considered a multiple courtyard system, strategically placing the tallest building block to cast the tallest shadow over the courtyard. This measure aimed to mitigate heat impact on the internal environment of the building. Additionally, we incorporated energy-efficient materials and glass in the external envelopes of the building.

How is the headquarters designed to adapt to future technological advancements and changes in workplace dynamics?

An open-plan and modular space planning system was employed to facilitate the interchangeability of various functions within the building’s envelope. This design allows for the easy relocation of departments and the introduction of new departments and functions with minimal impact on the building’s overall operation.

What was the timeframe from the project’s inception to completion, and how did this schedule compare to initial projections?

The design and design development process took approximately eight months, experiencing minor delays due to program changes and value engineering considerations. These delays also impacted the construction phase to a certain extent, leading to some alterations to the original design during construction due to further amendments to the initial design program.

What key lessons from flydubai’s headquarters could impact future regional projects in sustainability, innovation, and workplace design?

Aside from the aesthetic qualities of the building, several aspects position this project at the forefront of office design in the region:

  • A flexible and interchangeable yet efficient floor plan capable of accommodating future demands and developments in office building requirements.
  • An excellent working atmosphere featuring multiple breakouts and shared areas, as well as an internal garden and courtyard.
  • Environmentally responsible architecture.
  • Cost efficiency.