Dubai has come a long way from being home to traditional souq markets – it has undergone a drastic transformation and is now one of the top shopping destinations in the world. With some of the biggest shopping centers and mammoth-sized malls, Dubai provides shoppers with unique opportunities to diversify their taste for retail – from fast fashion stores to luxury brands, the city has it all.


However, one of the ways Dubai has shifted the retail design dynamic is to create bespoke retail spaces that deliver a sensory experience to shoppers.

The development of interactive shopping spaces helps create a unique image of a brand in a consumer’s mind.

Simply placing products on display does little to influence buying behavior or even help in leaving a lasting impression in a customer’s mind.

Nowadays, except for luxury brands that have a signature symbol or aesthetic feature, mid-range retail brands sell similar designs, so the only element that differs is the branding, message, and philosophy.

They need to leverage these elements to set themselves apart from the rest.


Pop-up stores have gained an increasing amount of traction as a way to leverage consumer attention for a seasonal, temporary, or trendy product. From generic kiosks to attractive shops, pop-up stores have evolved considerably. They take advantage of all living things’ most notable characteristic – curiosity.

Shoppers who walk past a previously empty space will feel compelled to discover the store. Not to mention, new types of pop up stores have trendy elements that attract a large number of consumers, even if it’s just to have a look around.

Maska Wraps, one of the Atelier’s pop-up projects, offered refined gift wrapping services. Since the store’s services were based on the art involving the Japanese Furoshiki, a traditional wrapping fabric, the theme had to be similar.

It involved the implementation of a sublime and peaceful Japanese aesthetic, combined with cultural accents that are inherently Middle Eastern. The purpose behind pop-up stores is not only to convert sales but generate traction and awareness.


Originally, concept stores were meant to target a specific demographic. Therefore, they would only sell a limited lineup of products that are carefully crafted to appease the target audience.

Now, when brands talk of opening a concept store, it doesn’t imply that they intend to target a new demographic or release a new line of products. It simply means a new retail concept, a different theme that surrounds the same products in a new location.

One such example in Dubai is White & the Bear, a children’s concept store, creative space, and restaurant combined. The idea behind concept stores is to provide the consumer with a custom space that encourages them to engage with products to gain a memorable experience.

In this case, the neutral color palette, creativity-nurturing ambiance, and child-friendly furniture at White & the Bear all encourage children and their parents to interact with their surroundings. In addition, the array of children’s products and nutritious café menu subtly influence them to make a buying decision.

All in all, concept stores are developing popularity on social media sites like Instagram because of their aesthetic and one-of-a-kind presence. White & the Bear and Maska Wraps are just a few examples of how Dubai’s retail design sphere is shifting its paradigm.

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