Dubai's Desperate Housewife

Trials and traumas of a full-time mum in Dubai

What’s a “creative space”?

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I attended the launch of a “creative space” the other evening. A4 Space, to be precise.

If the word “space” confuses you, you’re not alone: the reason I headed into the Bermuda Triangle that is Al Quoz in the dark was honestly not because my creative friend dragged me, nor solely because I like to support creative endeavours in the city, but because I wanted to know what a “creative space” actually was.

I mean – and I say this as one who frequently works sitting in cafés around Dubai – isn’t it just an arty-farty term for a café where you can use your laptop?

A4 Space - a useful blackboard told guests  what the space was for

A4 Space – a useful blackboard told guests what the space was for

So. With Hamdan Al Abri singing, and a lot of people showing off some very creative hair, the launch night was by far the trendiest event I’ve been to in a long time. Now I’m the wrong side of 40, most of the events I go to in this town tend to be in the blue-and-gold carpeted ballrooms of five-star hotels and involve speeches, smart frocks, a blow-dry and lots of champagne.

But not this. Obv. A4 Space launched with sandwiches, juices, coffee, books and an awful lot of people rocking that “I just woke up looking this achingly trendy” look.

I was, as they say, a fish out of water (note to self: mess up hair before next going to a creative space. And wear flat shoes).

But what did I learn about the space? Well, it’s not only a “creative” space but a “connective” space. It’s a place where Dubai’s arty types – writers, artists, researchers and so on – can go to think, relax, meet each other, brainstorm or simply work in peace.

In essence, it’s a triple-storey industrially decorated room lined with bookshelves (yes, I donated a book) with a food counter at the back. It has different sections where you can eat, chill, plug in a laptop, work, loll about out on a bean bag or curl up with a book on a sofa. There are inspirational quotes on the wall. It even has what looked like the world’s most comfy cinema.

And, as I sat on the sofa in the corner of the top floor and watched all the arty types compare their Converse sneakers and ironic t-shirts, I think I got the essence of how it differs from somewhere like, say, mOre Café: in a “creative space”, you can pull “I’ve-got-writers’-block” faces at fellow writers rather than at unsympathetic waiters; you can probably turn up in your pyjamas with bed hair; and, best of all, you’ll never again have to listen to someone else’s children having a food fight while you write your opening line.

Creative types can find A4 Space on Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz.

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Written by mrsdubai

April 23, 2014 at 9:22 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Interesting! I had a potential job coordinating a project in Moscow and they wanted “creative space” to meet in. I’m on the — right? — side of 40 and I’m still scratching my head on what exactly a creative space constitutes.

    pollyheath

    April 25, 2014 at 1:50 am

    • I hope my blog helped!! I think essential elements include power sockets for laptops, comfy chairs for working, relaxed seating for ‘thinking’, a tables for meetings and some sort of food /coffee area. Good luck!

      mrsdubai

      April 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm


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