Perkins+Will and Adidas collaborate to produce a new HQ for sportswear brand in Dubai Design District.
Adidas, the renowned sportswear brand, has recently relocated its regional headquarters from Deira to the new Dubai Design District (d3) offices, which has been designed in collaboration with Perkins+Will Dubai office.
For a brand with such a strong and widely recognised corporate identity, creating a community that embodied Adidas’s values while adhering to the design requirements laid down by d3 was a challenge.
From the outset, this was a project managed by, not only Adidas Dubai and Perkins+Will, but Adidas Corporate, JLL and Chapman BDSP, too.
“Every successful sports team needs a winning coach,” says Debbie Mendonca of Adidas Emerging Markets, “and Perkins+Will was ours when it came to designing our new location. No other brand has a more distinguished history and stronger connection with sport than Adidas. It’s our mission to be the best sports brand in the world and everything we do must be rooted in sport. Perkins+Will understood this perfectly, and the design concept for our new regional headquarters is a stunning reflection of where we are as a company that breaks records, sets trends and makes history.”
The design team, led by Laila Al-Yousuf, senior project designer at Perkins+Will Dubai office, set out to create a space that would help Adidas staff “perform better, play better and feel better”.
“The new offices and showroom space needed to represent the office of the future,” says Al-Yousuf, “designed to enhance productivity, improve communication, focus on health and wellbeing of staff, while anticipating future staffing requirements in the time leading up to 2020.
“As one of the world’s leading, highest profile companies, Adidas’s new Dubai headquarters needed to embody ambition, performance, innovation, technology, sustainability and collaboration. It needed to be a community, not just an office.”
Adidas is an important part of the sporting community in the UAE, involved in events such as the Colour Run, Redfest and the Dubai Marathon. The brand believes that sports should transcend language, nationality and race and that sport has the power to change lives. This needed to be translated into the design, too.
“It was this that provided the inspiration for the building of Adi-Town,” adds Al-Yousuf. “It’s a community-based concept for a design interior that was built around the needs of its citizens. We needed to design a space that was so much more than just an office. Starting in the gym first thing in the morning, Adi-citizens have the latest equipment on hand to ensure their health is their first priority. Fitness is a continuous theme through the office, with a running track used for wayfinding, hanging training ropes used as screens and balance balls in each of the phone booths.”
Ensuring staff diets remain healthy, the cafeteria offers subsidised healthy food options that rotate each day and give staff a place to come together and work or meet in an environment away from their desk. It also provides the company with a large space in which to host events.
Meeting rooms with integrated video conferencing technology enable staff to seamlessly connect with other Adidas personnel worldwide. Touchdown areas adjacent to refresh points encourage staff to come together and also provide healthy options for food throughout the day.
“Working with one of the world’s most recognisable brands gave us endless opportunities for creativity,” says Al-Yousuf. “An urban concept with sustainable choices to fall within LEED Silver guidelines, materials were upcycled and reused. The Hip Hop corner, for instance, inspired by the Originals brand theme within Adidas’s line of headphones, means that Adi-citizens can work away while listening to music. The backdrop is a graffiti wall with lyrics from the Run DMC song, My Adidas.
“Forms across the office, whether they’re in the café’s booth seating, or meeting room TV niches, took inspiration from Yohji Yamamoto’s line of shoes and provide discreet elements to reference the brand. Colour choices were bright and playful, just as vivid as the brand, while the three floors each represent a time in Adidas’s history – from the café space inspired by Adi Dassler’s [the founder of the German sportswear company] grassroots start, to the other floors showcasing the highlights throughout the 80s and up until present day,” says Al-Yousuf.
The client required integration of the very recognisable Adidas brand into the corporate office environment, while also celebrating this location as the Middle East hub. The design team sourced materials that represent Adidas’s culture and Perkins+Will’s designers worked closely with the company’s internal marketing group to develop concepts that strengthened both the Adidas and Dubai brands in public and private spaces.
“These new offices make it easy for everyone who spends time in them to remain active and, crucially, enjoy a fun working environment. Thanks to Perkins+Will’s thorough approach and its intimate working knowledge of our brand and all it stands for, these offices set entirely new standards in the industry,” adds Mendonca.
The winning project was described as a ‘fun and spirited environment’ and was praised by the judging panel for its interesting use of colour and texture. The judges also found inspirational the way fitness was incorporated as a theme and appreciated the overall human-centric approach to design.