Roar has completed its third Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa) space, a vibrant incubator for creativity and innovation, fostering a culture of experimentation and critical thought.
Led by founder and creative director, Pallavi Dean, Roar was commissioned to create a cutting-edge yet meaningful interior that aligns with Sheraa’s mission to nurture the new generation of entrepreneurs. Expanding on the brief, Roar rooted the design in the concept of inclusivity with the view to accommodate the needs and preferences of a range of individuals.
The multi-faceted centre offers an array of work spaces tailored to cater to different personalities, from introverts to extroverts, and everyone in between. It seamlessly combines open-plan zones with enclosed deep-work spaces, lounges with individual work pods, and stand-up desks with conventional workstations. Connectivity and technology lie at the heart of the scheme, modern essentials such as plug-and-play spaces with multiple charging points and flawlessly integrated AV/IT systems with lightning-fast Wi-Fi are abundantly provided.
Understanding that startups come in various sizes and with different requirements, the design incorporates open-plan spaces for independent founders who value collaboration while also including individual closed offices suitable for companies with larger teams. Visual and acoustic privacy is paramount, ensuring a conducive environment for entrepreneurs, even when sharing space with potential competitors.
Roar has also taken into consideration the needs of Sheraa's staff, providing them with a dedicated workspace within the entrepreneurship centre. This separation guarantees optimal functionality for both the staff and the entrepreneurs using the co-working spaces.
The layout includes a series of seminar and training rooms, which, thanks to sliding and folding partitions, can easily transform into a boardroom when needed. This flexibility in room configurations is designed to allow a wide range of events and activities.
By incorporating the work of local artists such as Noor Al Khamiri along with subtle Arabic calligraphy elements, the design embodies the spirit of inspiration that Sheraa imparts to young entrepreneurs.
Pallavi Dean comments: ”Our commitment to local relevance shines through in the design. We have worked with Emirati artists to create bespoke wall and ceiling murals that pay homage to Sheraa’s context. The ceiling features are inspired by the UAE's pearl industry, reflecting the historical significance of pearl-diving in the region.
“We also wanted to celebrate the UAE's cultural heritage by including elements of Al-Sadu, a traditional weaving technique central to the Bedouin way of life. This historic art form now finds its place in contemporary interior design and architecture, further connecting Sheraa to the region's cultural roots.”
The reception area at Sheraa serves as a visual narrative of the UAE's heritage, evoking its origins as a trading city and a hub for pearl diving. The amphitheatre in the reception area – a place for meaningful conversations between the various entrepreneurs in the centre – mirrors the undulating waves of the sea while a metallic spherical structure symbolises the precious pearl. The reception desk itself incorporates leather strips reminiscent of fish scales alongside metal mesh, a nod to the fishing nets used for pearl diving.
The analogy continues in the collaboration hub area, the centrepiece of the design, which is adorned with drop-down metal meshes combined with spherical lights. This space is designed for agile working, offering various seating options that encourage cooperation and innovation.
The selection of furniture, rugs, and materials reflects a thoughtful attention to detail. From bespoke joinery for boardroom tables to metal mesh ceilings, and natural oak wood featured throughout, every element has been carefully chosen to create a harmonious and functional space. The colour palette draws from Sheraa's brand colours, featuring blue tones complemented by their secondary brand colour, orange.