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MIDDLE EAST
36
DESIGNWEEK
30 November 2008
MY SPACE
Out with the old
AGA ADK’s regional director,
Danny Oneissi, shows us around
his agency’s “operation room”
A
os BERNARD TEST
Phot
AT 32, Danny Oneissi is pretty young to be the building was old and we were sitting the Red Bull account at Saatchi. When I left my friends are here. I don’t have that feeling
the regional director of an internationally af- on each others’ laps by the time we left. We they were very disappointed and they gave in Lebanon.”
filiated agency. Dubai-based AGA teamed needed a bigger space. And we needed a me this as a token of appreciation. I really Still, the stone is, he says, his favourite of-
up with Japan’s ADK in 2006, and Oneissi new work environment. People were fed up. feel proud. So many people have asked me fice nick-nack.
returned from a two-year spell at Saatchi & You come to the same crappy office every- if they can have it, but… no. I can’t put a “Oh. Along with Taz,” he adds quickly,
Saatchi to the agency where he began his day, it’s not good.” price on this.” picking up a cup with the Warner Bros. car-
career in 1997. toon Tasmanian Devil on it. “He’s been with
Looking round his office at the bare walls me 11 years. Since the first day I joined AGA.
and plush sofa, though, it’s clear that Oneis- We actually thanked them when they said they Taz was ‘in’ at that time. I took him with me
si—young as he may be—is a serious busi-
nessman. “I have a lot of meetings,” he says.
were knocking the old Garhoud office down.
to Saatchi and then back here. I could never
give him away.”
“Client meetings, media meetings, internal
People were fed up. It was a big problem.
There’s a bit of the kid in Oneissi yet.
meetings. This is the operations room of the
agency. All the decisions are discussed here.”
It’s something of a relief for Oneissi to
have an impressive environment in which ‘Crappy’ certainly doesn’t apply to the Pride of place, though, goes to a stone
to meet his clients. AGA ADK moved to its new place. “I like the expression you see on tile, on which is engraved a map of
Dubai Media City headquarters at the Ar- people’s faces when we tell them where the Lebanon. “A friend gave it to me as a
jaan Complex in January. Before that, it was office is,” says Oneissi. “It is an impressive gift. It’s just a reminder of home,” he
in Garhoud—something of a step down. building. And it’s impressive inside as well. explains, before rethinking the ‘home’
“We actually thanked them when they We spent a lot on our décor and stuff.” bit. Oneissi was raised in Dubai and
said they were knocking [the old office] Not that it’s all business in Oneissi’s of- has lived here all his life. “It’s a strange
down,” he says. “It was a big problem. Most fice, though. He has found time to add a feeling when I go to Lebanon. Once
of our clients are around Jebel Ali and the few personal touches. Like the Red Bull I’ve been there for five or 10 days, I
Media City area and they just couldn’t fridge. “Very exclusive. There are only 1,000 have to come back. I feel that this is my
come over; parking was hell—a disaster; of them in the world,” he says. “I worked on home. It’s natural, I grew up here. All
RELAX: AGA ADK’s slightly off-kilter lounge area TROPHY CABINET: The agency’s sleek reception area
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