June 4

The Mercedes Tower in Dubai: Luxury Living with Ethical Concerns

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Immigrant Voices in Action


  • Luxury Living
  • Iconic Design
  • Smart Features
  • Prestigious Brand


  • Worker Treatment
  • Ethical Concerns
  • High Costs
  • Image Impact

Quick Fact:

The Mercedes Tower in Dubai, expected to cost $1 billion, will stand at 341 meters tall and feature 150 luxury apartments with views of the Burj Khalifa and downtown Dubai.

In the heart of Dubai, a new tower is being built. It will be one of the city’s tallest buildings at 341 meters. The developer, Badi, has teamed up with Mercedes-Benz to create a luxury living space called “Living in Sensual Purity.” This tower, estimated to cost $1 billion, will have a curved top and a back decorated with the Mercedes-Benz star. While the tower promises great luxury, it also raises important questions about how migrant workers are treated in the UAE and what this means for Mercedes-Benz’s image (Constructionreview).

Inside the Mercedes Tower

The Mercedes Tower is the company’s first project in residential properties. It will have 150 luxury apartments over 65 stories. Residents will have views of the Burj Khalifa and downtown Dubai. The design is inspired by Mercedes cars, with solar panels to power electric car charging stations (The Real Deal).

Inside, the tower will have materials like Gaia marble, walnut wood, leather, and black granite. Mercedes’ design features will be seen throughout. The tower will have a concierge service, smart home features, lounges, gyms, restaurants, spas, and pools. Each apartment will have its own deck and pool. Many will have walk-in closets, rooms for domestic workers, and gaming spaces. High-end apartments will have personal gyms, cinemas, and massage rooms. The project is expected to be finished by the end of 2026, with prices starting at $2.3 million and penthouses costing over $20 million (Dezeen).

The Rise of Branded Living

The Mercedes Tower is part of a trend called branded living, which has been around for nearly 100 years but is now becoming more popular. Brands like Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Armani, Missoni, and Diesel offer luxury residences. There are over 700 branded residences around the world, with this number expected to double by 2027.

Branded buildings are very profitable, especially in cities like Dubai. A well-known brand can increase a property’s sales price by 37%. For Mercedes-Benz, entering the luxury real estate market helps reinforce its image of status, quality, and innovation.

Ethical Concerns and Migrant Treatment

Despite the luxury, the construction of such towers in Dubai often involves ethical issues, especially regarding the treatment of migrant workers. In 2021, the UAE tried to present itself as progressive and tolerant, but this is different from the reality many migrants face (The Real Deal).

Migrant workers make up over 80% of the UAE’s population. Many are low-paid laborers tied to their employers through the kafala system. This system prevents them from changing jobs without permission and punishes “absconding” with fines, arrest, and deportation. Migrants, especially domestic workers, face unpaid wages, confinement, overwork, and physical abuse.

The COVID-19 pandemic made these issues worse, with many migrant workers losing their jobs and facing poor conditions. Domestic workers faced stricter lockdowns, increasing their risk of abuse.

Freedom of Expression and Arbitrary Detentions

The UAE does not tolerate criticism, as seen in the imprisonment of activists, academics, and lawyers. Human rights defender Ahmed Mansoor remains in an isolation cell, with reports of severe rights violations. Other activists, like Nasser bin-Ghaith and Mohammed al-Roken, are also in prison for criticizing authorities.

Migrant workers often face arbitrary arrests, detention, and deportation. In 2021, Pakistani Shia residents and hundreds of African migrant workers from Cameroon, Nigeria, and Uganda were detained and deported without due process. State security-related detainees risk torture, prolonged solitary confinement, and denial of legal help.

Implications for Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz’s involvement in the Mercedes Tower project highlights these ethical concerns. Historically, Mercedes has faced scrutiny for using forced labor during World War II and more recently for sourcing parts from regions with alleged forced labor practices. The company claims to monitor human rights issues within its supply chains, but its involvement in large-scale construction in Dubai raises questions about its commitment to ethical practices.


The Mercedes Tower in Dubai promises to be a luxury landmark, but it also highlights significant ethical issues regarding the treatment of migrant workers in the UAE. While the tower will generate substantial profits and enhance Mercedes-Benz’s brand prestige, the real cost includes potential human rights violations and ethical concerns.

As the UAE continues its development projects, the treatment of its migrant workers remains a critical issue needing international attention and action. This raises broader questions about the role of global brands in addressing such issues and how public perceptions may change in light of these ethical challenges.

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