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Whether you’re a freelance writer, artist or designer, or you’re heading an innovative new start-up, chances are renting your own office or workshop is out of the question. But that needn’t mean months of toiling at home with only your cat for company, thanks to Dubai’s burgeoning shared workspace market. Here’s our pick of the places that’ll help keep those creative juices flowing…


This stylish, first-of-its-kind centre from the super-sparkly Swarovski team is, astonishingly, free to use for designers and design students. The studio space is packed with a huge array of crystals for users to experiment with, with both equipment and application specialists available to help. There’s also a programme of workshops, masterclasses and design talks, with a strong focus on sustainability and empowering women in the design industry. Don’t miss this month’s innovation forum on November 22 and 23, when a series of talks exploring the future of retail and digital fashion, sustainable design and communications will be on offer.

Mezzanine level, Building 7, Dubai Design District, Dubai, Sun to Thur 10am to 6pm, Fri noon to 5pm. Tel: (04) 8032007. Taxi: D3.


Given its location at AlSerkal Avenue, the hotbed of Dubai’s art scene, our postmodern interpretation of A4’s name is that it represents a blank sheet of paper on which to forge one’s working identity. You certainly don’t need to be arty to appreciate the space, which is totally free of charge to use and has great Wi-Fi, plus a cinema and a mezzanine level with a community library. The café is an absolute winner, too, with delicious organic produce and brews from homegrown favourite Raw Coffee Company. Time to embrace your warehouse chic.

Warehouse 4, AlSerkal Avenue, Dubai, Sat to Thur 10am to 7pm. Tel: (050) 5569797. Taxi: AlSerkal Avenue.


Taking the European hostel vibe and running with it, Impact Hub offers a sofa-bed for those determined to work long into the night. It’s just one quirk of this creative centre, which has a series of cool desk and office spaces. There’s complimentary coffee (a ‘tips’ jar helps keep it that way) and an Xbox complete with FIFA, while members –‘Hubsters’ – get access to Impact’s 86 global branches. If you want us, we’ll be busy setting up our LA outpost…

Impact Hub, 304 B Saaha Offices, Souk Al Bahar, Dubai, Sat to Thur 9am to 6pm. Tel: (04) 3754444. Taxi: Souk Al Bahar car park, Saaha Offices. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.


Directly above Impact Hub, The Bureau has free one-day working passes available for its intimate space, with the cost thereafter from Dhs50 per day and Dhs300 per month. Deliveroo started life in Dubai here, won over by the easy access to the awesome selection of eateries next door in Souk Al Bahar. Trendy touches abound but we particularly enjoyed the little room designated for phone calls, which has a massive red London phone box painted on the door.

The Bureau, 530 B Saaha Offices, Souk Al Bahar, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8.30am to 6pm, Sat 10am to 3pm. Tel: (04) 4272100. Taxi: Souk Al Bahar car park, Saaha Offices. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall.

05 1776 DUBAI

The original 1776 in Washington DC has welcomed many famous visitors and pictures on the wall of the Dubai branch show Barack Obama, Richard Branson and David Cameron embracing the venue’s entrepreneurial spirit. The big draw of 1776 is that as a start-up incubator it has an extensive mentorship network, as well as close proximity (metaphorically and physically – it’s metres away) to the creative tech arm of Dubai Government: The Dubai Future Foundation. Membership starts from $100 per month.

Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel, The Boulevard, Dubai, Mon to Sat 6am to 3am, Sun 6am to midnight. Tel: (04) 4272100. Metro: Emirates Towers.


The first artist-run art factory to hit

Dubai has big ambitions, offering not just

a physical space but access to a community where artists can create, collaborate and market themselves and their work. Artist and founder Tarsila Schubert’s aim is to eliminate the art world’s unnecessary intermediaries, giving users of the space the opportunity to experiment, create and curate their own shows and projects in a way that is entirely new to the region – and having seen what’s come out of the space already, we’re excited by the possibilities.

701, Prime Tower, Business Bay, Dubai, daily 9am to 5pm. Tel: (056) 3407572. Taxi: Prime Tower.


As disappointed as we were to discover that this wasn’t anything to do with the UAE Space Agency’s astronaut recruitment programme, technology is indeed at the heart of the AstroLabs ethos. Located parkside in JLT, the sun streams into the venue and illuminates a huge ‘Make It Happen’ sign on the wall as tech start-ups beaver away at their projects. It’s a real community feel with success stories front and centre – former good cover stars Now Money started life here – and partnerships with IBM and Google For Entrepreneurs represent a major draw, as well as the 20 or so restaurants within a minute’s walk, of course.

AstroLabs, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, Cluster R, Parkside Retail Level, Al Fahidi Street, Bur Dubai, daily 24-hrs. Tel: (04) 4241159. Metro: Damac Properties.


Mixing work and play, The Cribb is located above The Football Center in Al Quoz and offers permanent members discounted five-a-side rates and ping pong table access. The facility is split into two halves, the first of which – The Cantina – is free to the public, offering great coffee and food from suppliers including La Maison and Laqmouche. Permanent and semi-permanent space is also available, with access to meeting rooms and networking events. The Cribb has previously played host to TripAdvisor, so we’re expecting five-star reviews all round.

Al Quoz, Dubai, Sun to Thur 8am to 8pm, Sat 9am to 5pm. Tel: (04) 3197645. Taxi: The Football Center, near Tom & Serg, Al Quoz. the