Duos: Aleksandra Nastic and Mina Ghaffarzadeh on agile working in, out and around the Dubai studio.

Mina walking past reception at the Dubai studio, a space that references the concept of a ‘Majlis’, or Arabic sitting room. In a nod to the Middle Eastern culture, the design incorporates elements of local craftsmanship as it has been made with the same techniques used to make traditional prayer beads.

Aleksandra Nastic and Mina Ghaffarzadeh are both experienced interior designers based in our Dubai studio. Passionate about creating spaces that make people feel comfortable, calm and inspired, their collective experience spans hotels, workplaces, retail, hospitality and more.

In this Duo, Aleksandra and Mina share their day-to-day experience of life working from an office purpose-built for agility, focus and collaboration, shining a light on what features, stories and neighbours make their days working from the office special.

Aleksandra Nastic and Mina Ghaffarzadeh together in the Dubai studio.

The 25hours Hotel One Central lobby, where guests and visitors are greeted by the ‘Fountain of Tales’, a colossal fountain with seating spaces and bookshelves featuring over 5,000 books.

Tell us about where the studio is located, and what the area is like?

Aleksandra: Woods Bagot Dubai Studio is in One Central, located in the heart of Dubai’s central business district. It’s close to the Dubai Museum of Future and 25hours Hotel, which was proudly designed by our studio. Having 25 Hours Dubai as a neighbour means that we’ve been able to make the hotel a place to meet our clients or friends – I call it ‘my second home’.

Mina: One Central is such vibrant district, full of a convenient selection of retail, F&B spaces, event spaces and hotels – Aleksandra’s already mentioned how great it is to showcase our design in person with a short stroll to 25 Hours Hotel!

Can you talk to the design, and the design process, behind the studio?

Mina: We designed our studio environment to align with our global studio’s vision: prioritising connectivity, flexibility, and collaboration. It accommodates various working styles, promoting both teamwork and focus. Inspired by our local surroundings, the vibrant colours and earthy tones pair with ample natural light and greenery to foster a sense of well-being. Overall, the design delivers a dynamic and engaging workplace that’s a pleasure to be in.

Do you have a favourite nook or feature of the studio?

Aleksandra: Our studio environment is created the way that people do not have their own desk but rather have flexibility to choose their spot, encouraging adaptable work style. Our pantry area is always lively and great place to catch up with other creative minds. Usually, people come up with their best ideas over the coffee or a glass of freshly prepared infusion water.

Mina: My favourite spot is the pantry, which serves as the central hub for our office activities. The space seamlessly merges with the reception, enhancing the arrival experience by creating a welcoming atmosphere – you’re likely to catch us having our supplier meetings at the bar table here. The pantry is connected to the main studio space and is designed to facilitate both individual and group work. Many colleagues choose to work here because of its café-like atmosphere, which

Dubai Studio

A space for quieter, solo work that still feels connected to the wider studio.

Dubai Studio

Designers can choose what space suits their work throughout the day at Woods Bagot Dubai.

Talk us through a typical working day?

Mina: We have the flexibility to work in the studio or from home, but in both cases my day starts at 6am with exercise, meditation and planning for the day. On the days that we are working from the studio we book our desks in advance with the project team. The first couple of hours of the day are spent on catching up on the project, internal meetings and setting up the plans and goals for the days to come. I then have few hours of focused working time and further meetings during the afternoon.

Aleksandra: Our studio promotes remote working so my days can be very different. We are lucky that we can work occasionally remotely and switch up our daily routine, both mentally and physically.

Tell us about the rest of the Woods Bagot team and what the energy is like in the office?

Aleksandra: There is great energy in our studio and people are happy to come into our freshly designed space. Personally, I like the fact that we are surrounded with other creative minds from different parts of world. This mix creates a stimulating work environment where everyone has something great to share.

Mina: Our studio buzzes with vibrant energy, as colleagues working on the same project often book adjacent desks there’s a constant flow of collaboration. Teams utilise the multi-function room, collaboration areas, pantry, and material library, where they workshop ideas, have design reviews or prepare materials boards. With a variety of food options in One Central, teams often organise lunch together or gather in the pantry area during lunchtime.

The cafe-like atmosphere in the studio is perfect for focus with a side of ambience.

From organic kitchen chats to solo focus in a few steps.

Meeting rooms are available to workshop ideas.

Where do you look to find new inspiration?

Aleksandra: Experimenting with AI as it is an incredible tool to brainstorm and generate new ideas. Also, travelling is always a way to find one-of-the kind treasure or to get inspired by local architecture, art, food, or crafts.

Mina: I find new inspiration by exploring different forms of creativity and various art mediums, music, painting, films, poetry, etc. drawing ideas from the vast world of artistic expression. And if I feel strongly connected to any creative work I try to imagine, learn or discover the creative and thought process of how the artists moved from the ‘feeling’ or ‘idea’ to the physical manifestation of that idea.