What are Croatian designers of creative business spaces doing in the Emirates? - Netokracija CEE

What are Croatian designers of creative business spaces doing in the Emirates?

Croatian consulting company DC&T, specializing in creative, efficient, and humane office space design, is setting out to conquer the world markets. First step: Dubai.

Mid-January, DC&T – a professional consulting company specializing in integrated real estate management solutions, work dynamics, and work environment management, opened a branch office in the United Arab Emirates, in the city of Dubai.

The company has distinguished itself with the humane redesign of business premises in Croatia and decided to test its knowledge and competencies in world markets.

They will carry over their experiences with Croatian tech spaces to the Emirates

Their primary motivation was to find markets that will recognize the quality of their solutions more quickly and easily, comments Timi Kovačević, CEO and founder of DC&T:

The United Arab Emirates has established itself as the first such destination, as an extremely dynamic market, especially in the field of corporate real estate. We realized that we have a service that can further improve the standard of the office spaces there, especially improving the quality of the employee experience.

Another motive was that Dubai is the hub for many tech companies, adds Dubravka Kovačević, director of marketing at DC&T.

Such companies make up most of our clients in Croatia – we have successfully redesigned the business premises of companies such as Oracle, Hewlett-Packard, Amplexor and Span. We will now apply the experience and knowledge gained on these projects to the Emirates.

Design with a focus on employer branding (and social values)

DC&T has already applied for one public tender – to decorate the offices of a new state-owned office building. It is a space of more than 10,000 square meters, a future hub, and a coworking space for local startup companies.

Timi comments that their goal, among other things, is to organize the building by focusing on employer branding through the spaces: “designing them more humanely and cost-effectively than is currently done in the Emirates.”

DC&T is a consulting company specializing in the creative design of office spaces that promote the productivity and well-being of the people working there. (The picture shows an example of the décor of Oracle’s offices) Foto: Toni Lugarov
Dubai is not only a more dynamic but also a culturally different market than Croatia, adds Dubravka:

For example, in the specifications of the space for which we applied for a tender, there are prayer rooms and other separate spaces for men and women. We have never done something like that before, and we are looking forward to that challenge.

“Emiratis can’t stand Jacks-of-all-sorts”

Just the opening of DC&T’s Dubai office – including the first few hires and some investment in marketing – was an investment of slightly more than 200,000 Euros. By the end of this year, the financial goal is to cover at least that cost and progress from project to project, building a network of new partners. It will be interesting to follow the folks at DC&T and see how they do.

Competition in the Emirates is fierce – companies like DC&T: consultancy, design, architecture, and similar studios in Dubai, have their call centers and advertise aggressively. The price range for redesigning an office space ranges from a dumping price of five dollars per square meter to more than 500 dollars. The more expensive ones are doing projects in Dubai about which we see reports on television.

Amplexor wanted to design its new office according to the principles of the workplace design strategy, and DC&T was happy to help them organize the spaces with a focus on the most important activities. Foto: Toni Lugarov
However, Timi says that people from within the profession are mostly not their direct competition, as with most of them, you can find a common goal and achieve a partnership.

The trick is that, in the Emirates, there are many architectural offices, design and consulting companies that specialize in one niche and then share jobs for other niches with other companies that specialize in those niches.

We’ve found that we are very interesting to them – because in Dubai it is extremely important to achieve high quality in what you are branded for. Emiratis can’t stand Jacks-of-all-trades. They consider this a business weakness. Some work on hotels, others work on villas, others on shopping centers, warehouse districts, etc.

We specialize in offices, and that’s all we do.

DC&T already has several partners in Dubai

Following market research, they realized that they come with the knowledge that will be a tremendous competitive advantage there, adds Dubravka:

For example, they don’t have consulting companies like ours. They have interior designers, of course, but they don’t have a consulting firm that specializes in change management, implementation of workplace strategies, and similar competencies which we have in abundance.

DC&T already has several partners in Dubai, mainly in the real estate sector. They connected with a couple of domestic businessmen who have already helped them and will continue to cooperate with them, among which a very successful Australian Croatian woman, one of the leading hotel designers in the Emirates.

Dubravka highlights the technological clients they have worked with in Croatia, like Amplexor, HP, Oracle, and Span.

They helped us a lot in entering the United Arab Emirates market – with contacts, but more with the experience we gained working for them. Now I see that our IT companies are extremely progressive and advanced in many ways compared to the same sector there.

Foto: Toni Lugarov

Experts of various profiles are wanted

DC&T is currently looking for project managers, architects, designers, interior design specialists, and contractors (carpenters, locksmiths, plumbers, etc.) in the Emirates.

Part of the team will be in Zagreb, but an international team is being built, concludes Timi Kovačević.

For example, the manager of our office in Dubai is a girl from Palestine, our digital marketing is managed by a girl from Pakistan, and we’ve found good project managers among Indians.

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