Work meets play in Abu Dhabi offices catering for both adults and children

Interior design and architecture studio Roar brings a fun functionality to the Abu Dhabi offices of UAE’s The Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood

Colourful Abu Dhabi offices designed by Roar
(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

A successful work/life balance may still be a dream for most, but interior design and architecture studio Roar is hoping to make it a reality with its latest project at the Abu Dhabi offices of the UAE’s The Supreme Council for Motherhood & Childhood (SCMC).

The vast space, over three levels, puts the needs of both adults and children at the centre of a design ethos that considers the space from a practical perspective. ‘We wanted the design narrative to subtly allude to different cultural elements from the region while drawing attention to the SCMC’s core mission: to foster innovation and creativity in the fields of motherhood and childhood,’ says founder and creative director of Roar, Pallavi Dean.

Pink textured chair in colourful workspace in Abu Dhabi offices designed by Roar

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

It is a vision embodied in a welcoming design that situates a children’s nursery and gym on the same floor as the reception area and exhibition space. On the first floor, there are meeting rooms, a library and a large events space, while the second floor encompasses senior management offices and the boardroom.

Traditional Emirati design codes – reflected in the outdoor-courtyard feel of the reception area and in the focus on craftsmanship in the nursery – are given a contemporary slant with details to encourage both work and play; there’s a Lego wall and a climbing wall in the nursery and tranquil hues throughout. They make a functional foil for the classic decorative elements, such as the handmade sadu – a fabric of woven palm leaves – that decorates parts of the ceiling.

climbing wall in children's nursery area

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

‘When designing a space, we always have the users front of mind,’ Dean adds. ‘Here, the interiors remind the decision-makers how their work impacts little people. This was done by infusing a playful energy across the three floors of the building, with each level offering a unique experience. A number of patterns and morphologies have been used throughout to create distinct pockets of functionality and pivotal moments within the space. The outcome is a colourful office space for education professionals to do their job – from deep, solo work to collaboration – but with a dynamic vibe.’

circular seating area with balloon dog in middle of office

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

Children's tables and chairs

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

cots in children's nursery

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)

pink chair in workspace with playful mirrors on the wall

(Image credit: Chris Goldstraw)


Hannah Silver joined Wallpaper* in 2019 to work on watches and jewellery. Now, as well as her role as watches and jewellery editor, she writes widely across all areas including on art, architecture, fashion and design. As well as offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, Hannah is interested in the quirks of what makes for a digital success story.

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