2019 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryFinancial Products & Services, Commercial Public Services, B2B Products & Services

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

We designed and built EY wavespace™ Centre Dubai, a landmark collaborative and co-creation space, which was opened in November 2018. The wavespace occupies 5,500 square feet in AREA 2071’s state-of-the-art facility in the iconic Emirates Towers. The wavespace is part of a global network of growth and innovation centres being created by the leading global advisory firm in key locations worldwide. Wavespaces are physical, mental and digital places where, together with clients, EY can ask the better questions and explore innovative new ideas and build products and services together.


The UAE Centennial Plan aims to make the UAE the world’s leading nation by 2071. AREA 2071’s Emirates Tower facility is a space designed to connect corporates, governments, startups, investors, youth, and the public in order to co-create the future and create a positive global impact. The facility will play a key role in realizing Dubai’s ‘smart vision’, to diversify and future-proof the economy and to become the smartest city on earth. EY is at the heart of this pioneering initiative – enabling businesses to ask better questions to get better answers and our space facilitates both those points. The new wavespace in Dubai is a powerful environment for EY’s clients — a dynamic, high-tech and flexible experiential space to disrupt usual thinking and empowering clients to solve some of the world’s most complex business challenges.

Describe the creative idea.

Our design starting point was to imagine EY were opening a “flagship store” and envisage what that would look like for consumers. The space also had to be highly versatile, so it was important to create a flexible space – but one that was coherent and could be viewed as one. Another crucial consideration was to focus on making sure the space lived the values of EY, its cerebral insights, global network, and internationally respected expertise and knowledge. As a result, we were very keen to avoid post-modern interpretations, which would create a design of “what yesterday thought tomorrow might look like” or tired perceptions of what a startup might look like, for example, with hipster-style chipboard décor. The resulting design is on-brand, contemporary and sleek, which mirrors the high-level ethos and values of one of the world’s most respected businesses.

Describe the strategy.

Working with EY, we have created a landmark space which is both high performance and high specification. Crucial to the co-creation and collaborative purpose of the space is its usability. It is a highly adaptable and open space with walls within walls where boundaries can literally blur. Discovered through our research, we have used a cutting-edge black laminate material to cover tables, a new generation of surface material design that remains mark-free. Flexibility was very key to the spaces and creating something that worked. In one of the rooms we have a table that can come down from the ceiling on cables. It does have the “wow” factor and is a talking point, but it is not a gimmick – it is about creating more flexible and usable space.

Describe the execution

This fast-moving project took four months to design and build, including building and local authority approvals. Implementation ran smoothly to time. We used a range of specialist suppliers to implement various parts, from audio visual systems to floors, bespoke furniture, and walling systems. Reflecting the space’s purpose, we incorporated technological features, for example, a rear and front projection screen, video conferencing, and a remote and on-site content management system for graphical uploads and video. A smart film is used in the meeting room glass, so that spaces can become private (opaque) or open (clear) at the touch of the screen.

List the results.

The wavespace was launched in November 2018 and has already generated new business for EY and a strong revenue stream through bookings by external stakeholders. The general uptake of the space has been extremely positive and the venue shows continues footfall. It furthermore acts as a driver to transform EY's culture to one of collaboration and active problem solving, providing employees and external teams the right tools for a new creative approach.


Name Company Role
Adam Nash Ochre Creative Director - Experience