Have a Coke and a smile: New Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai is on cutting edge of arena design


Thanks to the wonders of 3D imaging, virtual reality and other tech tools being applied to design and construction, new, sometimes unheard of before concepts for structures are being imagined and built. “Concept designs” are hot.

Populous recently finished a concept design in the Middle East: the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai. Working with AEG Ogden, the world’s largest entertainment group which also is the operator of the aformentioned London and Las Vegas venues, Populous helped create the concept design for the facility. It is being touted as the Middle East’s premier entertainment venue in Dubai.

The facility is expected to burnish Dubai’s position as a popular destination for tourism and business.

The arena has a capacity of 17,000 and is climate-controlled throughout the building. It is being called the only venue of its kind between Istanbul and Singapore that can host events throughout the year, even in the very hot Middle East summer months.

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Operated by AEG Ogden and owned by Meraas, the Coca-Cola Arena will host international touring artists, comics, family entertainment, sports events, gala dinners, exhibitions and conferences. Located in City Walk, one of Dubai’s city neighborhoods, the arena is near other entertainment venues, restaurants, and shops.

At night, the venue’s look will change somewhat. The Coca-Cola Arena will become a sort of beacon in the evening, as an LED strip light setup that covers the building’s façade turns on, brightening the cityscape with changing colors.

“With Coca-Cola Arena, Meraas has shown great vision in building a new home for live entertainment in the heart of Dubai, further enhancing the Emirates’ potential as a major destination for some of the world’s most prestigious events,” said Guy Ngata, AEG Ogden’s CEO of Coca-Cola Arena. “AEG Ogden is very proud and excited to be operating the venue which has seen the very best people in the world across many sectors come together to create what is undoubtedly a fantastic arena and fitting for the city which the venue calls home.”

Other features of the building include a rolling modular stage, a retractable seating system, and automated drapes. The features allow the building to be transformed from a small-scale-venue event to a large event, and vice versa.

With more than 35 food and drink outlets and 42 corporate suites, the arena caters to all types of fans and event-goers. The facility also is accessible, having 28 wheelchair spaces and companion seats.

“Populous opened its first Middle East office in Dubai last year, enabling us to be closer to our clients, consultants and contractors in the region,” said Shireen Hamdan, Senior Principal at Populous. “Now we are extremely proud to see our commitment to bringing our global expertise in designing entertainment venues to the region realized with the completion of this landmark arena. Under the expert stewardship of Meraas and AEG Ogden, Coca-Cola Arena will establish Dubai as a new stop on the global touring circuit for the world’s best acts in music and entertainment.”