Opened in 1981, the Al Ghurair Centre was the first modern shopping mall in the Gulf region, enticing guests to the Deira area of Dubai with its alluring combination of Arabic design and western inspired retail. Long considered the commercial and economic “soul” of the city, Deira had begun to lose some of its luster due to the continued development of Dubai’s coastline stretching towards Abu Dhabi.
To help recapture its former glory, owners Al Ghurair Properties decided to finance a renovation project to modernize and expand the Centre. The expansion was a crucial component of the ongoing effort to revitalize Deira, and a key contribution to the Dubai government’s vision of an updated, robust, old Dubai.
The ambitious expansion nearly doubled Al Ghurair’s retail space to a total of 850,000 sq. ft. by introducing 150 additional stores and restaurants. An office complex and 5-star hotel were also attached to the mall, entrenching its position as a true mixed-use development.
Emulating the revitalization of Deira, the renovation placed an emphasis on creating walkability, connectivity, and natural renewal. It utilized strategically placed open spaces, skylights, and a contemporary fountain to deliver a vibrant shopping experience.
The water feature in particular has rejuvenated the Centre by activating an expansive public space, reinforcing a sense of place, and captivating patrons with sequenced water and light shows. Positioned within a sizable atrium, guests enjoy clean sight lines of its performances from multiple floors, watching with anticipation for the water show to culminate with a triple burst jet rocketing 70 feet (21 meters) high.