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interiors A N D A R C H I T E C T U R E f ro m the G ul f , L evant and be y ond

Back to the future The transformation of how, and where, we work

MAGNUM OPUS A preview of a new Dubai project by Zaha Hadid



AAU Anastas The Bethlehem-based studio’s contemporary design ethos w w w.d e s i g n - m i d d l e e a s t.c o m











CREATING ADAPTABLE WORKSPACES OFIS is an interior design and furnishing practice specialising in modular furniture and flooring solutions for corporate, educational, healthcare and hospitality sectors. Along with renowned brands such as Steelcase & Interface, we design environments that foster wellbeing, greater productivity and active engagement. If you’re an interior designer, small business or a large corporation, OFIS offers aesthetic design solutions that translate to highly functional spaces and the services of a dedicated Fit Out division.

Vist us: Zabeel Hall 3, Stand ZZ301


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Back to the future

Wellbeing-focused, digital natives are transforming the future of how, and where, we work


AAU Anastas


Carpet queen


Magnum opus

The Bethlehem-based architect studio on contemporary design in Palestine

Swedish painter and designer Cecilia Setterdahl is redefining traditional carpet making

A sneak peek at a new Dubai project designed by the late Iraqi-born British architect, Zaha Hadid May 2017








Hawa’s year of change


Welcoming vibes


Inspiring spaces


Brand evolution

Swiss company Hawa looks ahead at upcoming year of mergers, product launches and expanding its presence

A look at a few of the region’s choice suppliers in the doors and windows segment of the design industry

Harrods Interiors to make its presence felt at INDEX 2017 in Dubai

Design Middle East learns how ODG aims to build “inspired designs that work”


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Editor’s note Briefing

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Wish list



CARPETS CC BY CECILIA SETTERDAHL Aiming to do things differently by taking art from where you’d expect to see it to somewhere you wouldn’t think to look. Cecilia Setterdahl’s geometric designs can now adorn your floors as well as your walls. From wall to floor, Cecilia meticulously matches the highest quality New Zealand wool for each design before being hand-knotted into limited edition carpets. Cecilia displays her art and carpets in the Carpets CC showroom located in Dubai Design District - d3. Drop in and visit us, alternatively email or call, to discuss how you can enjoy your very own Cecilia Setterdahl art piece. At the end of the day, life’s too short to live in a dull home, so get into shapes and bold colours! t: +971 4 552 0308 e: w: s: @carpetscc Cecilia Setterdahl FZ LLC Building 6, Entrance A, Suite 106 Dubai Design District (d3), PO Box 333257, Dubai, UAE

Photos by Denise Landerberg

CEO Wissam Younane Managing director Walid Zok Director Rabih Najm Group publishing director Diarmuid O’Malley Group sales director Joaquim D’Costa +971 50 440 2706

Business development director Rabih Naderi +966 50 328 9818

Art director Ifteqar Ahmed Syed Sales manager Michelle Rebelo Marketing executive Mark Anthony Monzon Contributors Aby Sam Thomas Jason O’ Connell Rima Alsammarae Melanie Mingas

Welcome “Beautiful spaces are only worth investing in if they are also productive.” That’s a note made by John Small, Steelcase’s director of industrial design for EMEA at Steelcase, as he discussed the evolution of workplace design in the region and beyond in this month’s issue of Design Middle East, and one can safely say that this sentiment should stay on top of mind as organisations (and designers) today go about developing or modernizing their workplaces. Following fads or trends that don’t translate well for the people who actually work in the space can easily result in a productivity nosedive- the design ethos for workplaces has be focused on the holistic wellbeing of the workers in it. As Small put it: “Work used to be driven by efficiency. The process was intentionally linear and divided into parts in which people could specialise. The problems we face today are so much more complex. They require creative thinking and a very different work process in which people and ideas diverge, converge and iterate. Therefore it becomes all the more imperative to create a diverse ecosystem.”






Cover image: Vartan Kelechian’s The Black Tulip

SUBSCRIBE PO Box 502511 Dubai, United Arab Emirates T +971 4 420 0506 | F +971 4 420 0196 For all commercial enquiries related to Design Middle East contact T +971 50 504 0182 All rights reserved © 2017. Opinions expressed are solely those of the contributors. Design Middle East and all subsidiary publications in the MENA region are officially licensed exclusively to BNC Publishing in the MENA region by Design Middle East. No part of this magazine may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission of the publisher. Images used in Design Middle East are credited when necessary. Attributed use of copyrighted images with permission. Prices are quoted in US dollars. Printed by International Printing Press

May 2017



Walid El Hindi, CEO, IMKAN, HH Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Vice Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, Jassim Al Seddiqi, Board Member, IMKAN

Work on Abu Dhabi’s Makers District Begins “IMKAN is setting out to create a dynamic, integrated and engaging community that captures the collaborative spirit of the maker movement,” says Walid El Hindi, CEO. “This journey begins with The-Artery, which will be a regional creative powerhouse in the heart of Abu Dhabi.” An 18-hectare masterplan development on Abu Dhabi’s popular Reem Island, Makers District will be a new waterfront community designed specifically to cultivate creativity. The project will consist of residential complexes that consist of more than 4,000 homes, hospitality outlets and commercial and retail spaces. It will also house an art hotel and a small marina. In guaranteeing the artistic environment of the upcoming district, Abu Dhabi-based developers IMKAN have made sure to partner with some of the world’s leading architecture and design firms, and recently unveiled the first building of the development, The-Artery. To sit in the centre of Makers District, TheArtery will offer creatives a place to work and showcase their projects. Spanning 26,000 square metres, the multi-use building will be designed by international architecture firm BIG, while MVRDV and 10 Design begin work on other aspects of phase


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one. A seven-storey, domed structure, The-Artery will have a central atrium that also functions as a performance space. “IMKAN is committed to creative soulful places that enrich people’s lives both in the UAE and overseas,” says El Hindi, in reference to the company’s strong research base that focuses on

identifying trends and creative solutions. “As we make progress with the Makers District Aby Dhabi, our intention is to roll out the concept in Egypt, Brazil, Morocco, the UK and Montenegro.” Construction on The-Artery is slated for late 2017, while the Makers District is scheduled to be operational by 2020.

Dubai’s Design Industry Launches New Support System

Launched by the Dubai Design & Fashion Council, the DDFC Membership has been announced as a platform that connects the local creative community and supports UAE-based designers with development programmes and business support initiatives. Encouraging designers to participate in local and international events and awards ceremonies, the membership system will further strengthen the UAE’s design industry by creating a more accessible network. “We’re launching the DDFC Membership to drive the creation of a leading pool of talent that will become the next generation of global designers and lead to the growth of Dubai’s design industry,” says Amina Al Rustamani, DDFC’s chairperson. “This vision to develop the industry is aligned with the Dubai Plan 2021.” Established under a mandate

from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai Design & Fashion Council looks to nurture a sustainable design industry in Dubai, while recognising designers based in other emirates as well as the greater Middle East. Those eligible to become members should work in one of the five key segments, including architecture, fashion, graphic design, interior design and product design. And while its main features place a strong focus on talent development, the membership will offer professional experience to designers via access to business opportunities. The programme is open to designers at any stage in their career, from students to established professionals. “The MENA Design Outlook study revealed

Dr. Amina AlRustamani - Chairperson of DDFC

that the design sector is still a predominantly import-oriented industry,” adds Al Rustamani, “where locally produced design goods and services account for approximately 35 percent of the total market size… This further reinforces the value that the DDFC Membership will bring to the region’s creative community, paving the way in making Dubai the emerging design capital of the world.”

Interstuhl launches VintageIs5 product line Interstuhl, a German office-seating manufacturer, has just launched its new VintageIs5 product line to the GCC market. Featuring an integrated design concept from designer Volker Eysing, the new range merges modern aesthetics with technical innovations and includes seating intended for office, management and conference rooms. “The region’s businesses are incredibly receptive when it comes to embracing new technology which increases performance, wellbeing and efficiency in the workplace,” says Oliver Nathmann, Interstuhl’s GCC sales manager. “Our latest innovations will support these homegrown companies with outstanding seating solutions that

improve the comfort and productivity levels of their staff.” The chairs’ features and high quality production allows the VintageIs5 to address modern workplace problems, including sitting positions, which relieves stress and tension caused by long periods stationed at a desk. Adjustable, too, the chair can comfortably accommodate different weights and sizes, and uses kinematic processes to support ergonomic body posture. Its ‘bionic effect’ latex print in mesh offers extra support, while the new ‘auto flow armrests’ readjust to users’ positions to ensure they stay active. The range includes varying back heights as well as color compositions, from light grey and pearl blue to black and steel grey. Oliver Nathmann & Volker Eysing

May 2017



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Zaha Hadid Architects Reveal First Residential Building Two show apartments have just opened inside Zaha Hadid Architect’s new residential building in New York City’s bustling art district Chelsea. Developed by Related Companies, the 11-storey condo building, known as 520 West 28th, is nearly complete and offers a buyers a contemporary luxury design. “Decades ago, I used to visit the galleries in the area and consider how to build along the route. It’s very exciting to be building there now,” said Zaha Hadid two years ago at the official launch of the building’s sales. “The design engages with the city while concepts of fluid spatial flow create a dynamic new living environment.” The design, which takes a sculptural approach instead of New York’s common rectangular residential landscape, is marked by Hadid’s familiar architectural sensibility. With 21 interlaced floors, featuring 39 distinctive residences of up to 6,391 square feet, each of the 39 condominiums bear

their own number to reflect their part in a limited edition creation. And the apartments come at no small price – they start at US$4.9 million and go up to US$50 million. The building’s organic curves and chevron patterns are reflected in the residential interiors through the rounded forms of the spaces, as well as in smaller details like the staircases and furnishing. Each apartment also features a Zaha Hadid sculptural element that creates dramatic feature walls and integrated closets with concealed-hinge doors. “520 West 28th will make a profound statement on New York City’s visual landscape with its compelling design and prominent location on the High Line,” says Greg Gushee, executive vice president of Related Companies, “while at the same time offering residents an exclusive opportunity to live within a work of art designed by one of the world’s most celebrated architects.”

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Vartan Kelechian

Embodying birth Vartan Kelechian’s series of photographs entitled The Black Tulip documents the captivating formation of life and ideas by exploring bodily shapes, which are elegantly and symbolically disguised from the naked eye. Every image in the ten-piece series, featuring ten different models, chronicles a stage of body formation, and with it, tells the story of the blossoming “tulip” that is gradually disclosed as the frames progress. “The most beautiful things are hidden from the eyes of the world,” Kelechian says. “Through this series of photographs, I’ve captured the mystery and the elusive miracle of life taking shape – it’s a thrilling journey across something rare, striking and eternally fascinating.”

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Vartan Kelechian’s The Black Tulip

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Back to the future

There is no single facet of modern life unchanged by the coming of age of the millennial generation. Now these wellbeing-focused, digital natives are transforming the future of how, and where, we work. Melanie Mingas writes

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he average person will spend one third of their entire life at work, which means that over a 46 year career we are each likely to spend 92,000 hours in the office. Only recently has the design and layout of workspaces gained recognition for its impact on how productive and successful employees are over this time. From the fabric clad cubicles of the 1990s to the tentative exploration of personalised space in the early 2000s, today’s themes are all about wellness, creativity and collaboration – inspired, as most things are these days, by the entry of millennials into the workforce. Taking a cue from such famous workspaces as those inhabited by Google, Lego and Facebook, companies are now using their workspace design to attract young talent by projecting a company image and brand identity that draws on similar uses of colour, layout and shared spaces. One cannot help but think that in copy/pasting the workspace design principles of successful companies, these firms hope they too will become magnets for creative talent and a hotbed for productivity. However, while the inclusion of games consoles and beanbags in the staff room looks great on the company brochure, in itself these elements do not generate and sustain a successful company culture.

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Ben Woods, general manager, OFIS, says: “These environments are designed with the workforce in mind and the proven correlation between productivity, efficiency and overall wellbeing is immense. “However taking selective inspiration from the Google look is a common misconception and issues arise when the company culture isn’t aligned with that of the inspiring space. This means there is a high chance the playful furniture, game rooms and complete open plan layouts will backfire and be seen not as a creative innovator, but as sabotaging daily tasks.” Advising businesses to first determine their own organisational culture before copy pasting the visual manifestation of other company cultures, Woods continues: “Businesses should first determine who they are and then brief designers to create workspaces that support and encourage that.” Referencing the Steelcase HQ in Grand Rapids Michigan, John Small, director of industrial design, EMEA at Steelcase adds: “At Steelcase, we understand that there is a global cultural movement

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redefining the corporate workplace—from a singular focus on efficiency, towards a pluralistic approach that enriches the emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing of people.” Referencing the firm’s WorkCafé concept, which combines a cafeteria and a variety of work areas, he continues: “Our headquarters is recognising this movement and integrating elements in the workspace which help create a more human-centred experience that enriches the emotional, cognitive and physical wellbeing of people. We call this the office renaissance – creating meaningful places for people to work - places that feel good, but also perform, by harnessing new embedded technologies that help people navigate the complexity of work.”

Changing times So how should the future workplace look? According to the experts, the answer is not to draw inspiration from the companies that define the millennial generation, but to find the intersection at which group millennial and individual company cultures meet.

Ben Woods

In short, this means, creating purpose, supporting goals and providing environments with mental and physical wellbeing at their heart. Translating this into intelligent and functional design is only one of the challenges. While the previous generation was concerned about indoor air quality and headache inducing strip lighting, millennials

take the trend a step further by upgrading the desk plant to a green wall, and the coffee machine to sponsorship of a cocoa farm in South America. Bernard Mouawad, managing director of Haworth Middle East and Africa, notes three priorities defining client requirements currently: organic spaces, culture, and wellbeing. Haworth MEA has initiated the WELL Building Standard to measure its success in implementing built-environment features, policies, and programmes that encourage wellbeing.

We call this the office renaissance – creating meaningful places for people to work—places that feel good, but also perform, by harnessing new embedded technologies that help people navigate the complexity of work. This long-term global research programme makes the necessary connections between workspace design and wellbeing, performance, and engagement. Mouawad observes: “The concept of wellbeing, goes beyond physical wellness to incorporate both the physical and psychological health of employees. The importance of embracing wellness has become the most important consideration for many businesses in the region, which understand that healthy people can be more productive and engaged.” Engagement is vital. According to one European study, engaged employees can boost a company’s bottom line by up to 20%, however they are often outnumbered by as many as two to one, adding to turnover and undermining company goals and achievements. The role design can play in fostering the collaborative working practices that generate engagement is often underestimated, as too is the importance of spaces that promote flexibility. Mouawad continues: “Organic spaces are designed to embrace change, and can help businesses to align their workspaces with their strategy, offering greater product and workstyle flexibility. As a company’s strategy evolves to meet changing market dynamics, its space can also evolve, reducing the cost of realigning the workforce and the space to support changing business needs.” According to research conducted by

INTERFACE, office spaces incorporating natural elements and biophilic design were found to increase workers’ wellbeing by 15%, productivity by 6% and creativity by a further 15%. The ability to move is also vital, with Woods advising organisations to consider the holistic health of their people and the impact of movement on this. He says: “That is physical, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. All these are linked and improving these aspects will lead to a better workday and better performance.” Mouawad adds: “The individual collection of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviours that are distinct to a particular organisation’s culture allow it to add value and evoke the strong emotions that motivate employees to perform well. Architecture, interior design, and furnishings can all provide a tangible way to support – or prompt –change within the culture of an organisation, fostering deep employee engagement and attracting top talent.”

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Trends defining workplace design Ben Woods, OFIS “We are seeing a growing trend in which ancillary spaces are becoming the heart of the office. New tasks require fresh modes of working. Today, work happens more quickly and in more places as developing technologies offer variety and mobility to a growing community of creative and knowledge workers.” John Small, Steelcase “Modern workplaces are becoming more human-centered, in that they are crafted to mentally excite and engage, physically comfort and emotionally support busy workers - beautiful spaces are only worth investing in if they are also productive. How people feel in a space emotionally is considered as important as an employee’s physical health and ability to focus and solve problems.” Bernard Mouawad, Haworth “There are three key office-design themes emerging as priorities for its customers: organic spaces, culture, and wellbeing. The importance of embracing wellness has become the most important consideration for many businesses in the region, which understand that healthy people can be more productive and engaged.”

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Opening up Previously, the baby boomers’ desire for private and quiet workspaces saw the workplace divided into the cubicles and closed offices that became staples of the office look – the oppressive nature of these spaces was poignantly captured during Neo’s office gauntlet run in the first Matrix film. Baby boomers regarded the “corner office” as a status symbol and a reward for their hard work. However, modern organisations have now adopted open office layouts that create an engaging environment for employees. Yet as dated as these concepts seem now, they did serve a purpose at the time. Woods explains: “Open-office plans are great for facilitating collaboration and transparency, but these setups also make privacy and focus a real challenge. The need for privacy at work as well as in public is as basic to human nature as the need to be with others. The harder people work collaboratively, the more important it is to have time alone, free from distractions; a chance to apply expertise and develop an individual point of view about the challenges at hand. “The way forward, is not to stop collaborating

face-to-face, but to refine the way we do it. There is no single type of optimal work setting – it is all about balance. Instead of providing only open-plan work settings, we urge organisations to create settings in which people are free to circulate in a shifting kaleidoscope of interactions and then be able to disappear into private spaces when they want to focus or simply be alone.” In the US, it is estimated that as many as 70% of all workplaces have open office floor plans, with the

reports by The New York Times confirming employees in such environments suffer increased stress from lack of privacy and disrupted concentration. Small echoes: “For most workers, privacy needs ebb and flow throughout the day as they toggle between collaboration and tasks that require shallow individual focus, such as routine emailing, and those that require deep individual focus, such as analysing data or creating something new. “It’s important that workplaces can offer workers transitional spaces to meet these needs – a mix of open plan and compartmentalised spaces,” he continues.

Tackling the challenges With such a long and complex collection of goals to action, design experts focus on bespoke solutions rather than a one-size-fits-all approach to tackling the challenges posed by the millennial generation. Small observes: “Where and how work happens has changed. Rapid advances in technology allow people to work anywhere, anytime and offices need to respond with smart and connected workspaces. Add to this the shift to creative work and you see new pressures for businesses to compete and grow with a shifted organisational emphasis toward work that requires creativity and new innovation processes. This calls for breakout areas for group work and discussion, as well as private areas for moments for privacy and solitude” For Woods, the key is integration: taking the changing demands of the physical workspace and combining the effects with the implementation of technology for maximum results. He says: “Today, organisations tend to invest in technology and space as separate entities rather than approaching them holistically, resulting in creative interpretations that are less than ideal. Most employees are still working with outdated technology and in places that are rooted in the past, which makes it difficult for them to work in new, creative ways. To maximise creative thinking, designers must tailor the workplace to accommodate working in solitude, pairs, and larger groups, which requires inspiring, high-tech spaces designed with the worker in mind.” Advising on the creation of interrelated places and devices to support the different stages and activities of creative work, he continues: “Work used to be driven by efficiency. The process was intentionally linear and divided into parts in which people could specialise. The problems we face today are so much more complex. They require creative thinking and a very different work process in which people and ideas diverge, converge and iterate.

This is changing the office landscape and creating more exciting places to work. Furthermore, a workplace that shifts from a management-driven culture to one that is more human-centric and supports the cre¬ation of new ideas will maintain its relevance and differentiation. Therefore it becomes all the more imperative to create a diverse ecosystem.” For Mouawad, what differentiates the best employers is their ability to drive overall happiness and, as a result, increase employee productivity. As has always been the case – people still drive the

success of a company and today, that is driving momentum to design from the inside out. He shares: “This is changing the office landscape and creating more exciting places to work. Furthermore, a workplace that shifts from a management-driven culture to one that is more human-centric and supports the creation of new ideas will maintain its relevance and differentiation.” Clearly, not everything about how the Baby Boomers and Gen X designed their workspaces was wrong – after all the compartmentalised working and visual hierarchy of segregated working spaces endured for multiple decades. The trend could also tail round again in future. Yet with steep changes in how the world functions, a revolution in how it works was always on the horizon and with employee engagement and retention now directly linked to the visual identity and functionality of a workspace, design is more important than ever before.

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AAU Anastas The Bethlehem-based architect studio on contemporary design in Palestine By Rima Alsammarae

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Palestine, but Local Industries, its industrial design production arm, and Scales, the researchdriven unit, allow the team to not only nourish various interests, but also provide complete design plans. The studio also participates in international competitions, which are done through its Paris branch, where its consultants are based and its engineering office is located. At the moment, AAU Anastas has delivered a wide range of projects including the Toulkarem Courthouse, Daar Jericho and the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music in Bethlehem. It has also experimented with design installations, like the BIC Structure (which was exhibited at an architectural symposium in Amsterdam) and the Palestine pavilion at this year’s Dubai Design Week. Its ongoing exploration of stone for architectural application, too, will form the foundation of multiple upcoming projects, such as the El Atlal Residency and an extension of a Jerusalem-based shop. Although the studio’s projects span multiple disciplines and require various creative processes,



t’s a family-run business,” says Yousef Anastas, one of two brothers currently running the Bethlehem and Paris-based architecture and design studio AAU Anastas. “Our parents, who are both architects, started it back in 1979, but gradually, in the past 10 years, we’ve been taking over.” While the founders George and Pauline are still involved in the studio, along with an uncle Jalal who, aside from being an architect, manages the construction operations, Yousef and his brother Elias have been steadily growing AAU Anastas. In the past 10 years, they’ve expanded the firm with two more divisions and opened a branch in Paris. “The whole family works under the same structure,” says Elias. “But Yousef and I push the research and some of the architectural projects, like the upcoming Hebron Courthouse. Essentially, AAU Anastas’ two entities – Local Industries and Scales – are my and Yousef’s own projects.” Comprising three departments, AAU Anastas mainly serves architectural solutions throughout

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The idea wasn’t specifically the pen, but using an object in a way that wasn’t intended. a unifying link is the team’s support of local communities – old and new. Every project is coated in AAU Anastas’ support of Palestine, from using regionally sourced materials to collaborating with local artisans that apply generations-old knowhow. Contemporary yet rooted in heritage, the team’s projects are often about creating an optimistic presence that works within existing urban fabric, from Jericho to Bethlehem. “Today, there’s a whole debate about sustainability and the certificates you get for having a passable energy efficient building, but we think

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that the sustainability of a project starts with the process of design, and there are many ways of making a project sustainable other than having triple glazing or a super-performing conditioning system,” says Elias. “The bottom-up process that we use is where the understanding of the fabrication and construction capacities are taken into account in the process of design, creating an object that is coherent with the means available. It’s a hyper-local approach to responding to more global problems.” One example of AAU Anastas’ approach is Scales’ two-year long research endeavour into the

use of stone. According to Elias, Palestine’s stone industry is world classified, but the expertise that was prevalent at the start of the last century has slowly diminished over time. “It’s a local issue,” he says. “And the global issue is that stone construction in the world has, I think, very few or no regulations. If you want to build a stone structure anywhere, you won’t have a clear regulation for dimensioning the elements. It’s just not a material that’s integrated in the process of construction.” Working in collaboration with El Atlal, a Jericho-based artist residency initiative, AAU Anastas will soon deliver

an institution that furthers dialogue among artists in the city. The building, of course, will be made of natural stone. Not all projects by AAU Anastas are closely linked to Palestinian culture. The BIC Structure, made in 2015, was a research project inspired by the commonly used pen and presented it as a symbol of engineering in the 1950s. Consisting of 10,000 BIC pens, the structure measured at nearly four metres in height. “The idea wasn’t specifically the pen, but using an object in a way that wasn’t intended,” says Elias.

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More often than not though, AAU Anastas uses its creative output as a platform to support Palestinian culture and heritage, which can lead to working with olive tree wood or restoring old ruins. The studio’s creative decisions seem, more or less, intentional and strategic – except for the launch of Local Industries, which was an opportunity spurred out of necessity. “We started it about five years ago,” says Yousef. “And, at that moment, we were designing a music conservatory in Bethlehem. Sometime toward the end of the project, the client had a financial crisis and lacked funds for the specified furnishing. So the challenge was to work with local artisans that participated in the construction of the building to generate a whole collection of furniture to accommodate the different spaces, all while staying within the available budget.” Allowing the architects to dip their tows in industrial design production, the conservatory “generated a new way of thinking”. Inspired by the creative satisfaction, Yousef and Elias set up Local Industries under AAU Anastas, and continue to pursue furniture creation in collaboration with their network of artisans. Today, two chairs – the ‘Mike’ and ‘Jameel’ – are exhibited in Vitra Museum’s permanent exhibition. At the moment, the studio has a full plate. Local Industries will be exhibiting five pieces at the Khalil Sakakini Cultural Center in Ramallah, AAU Anastas has a shop-extension to complete in Jerusalem and construction on the courthouse in Hebron begins in two-months time. What’s of utmost importance, though? “We have a few meetings with craftsmen that we’ll be getting to, and with the stone quarries,” says Elias, before Yousef chimes in, “and with stonecutters.”

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CONNECT AIR When lightness designs space

Connect Air is designed by award winner designer Robin Levien to be stylish and efficient at the same time. Its thin rims and curved lines create a light and airy environment. The revolutionary Aquabladeâ„¢ flushing technology and the plethora of ceramic, furniture and bathtub solutions provide an innovative, relaxing and enjoyable space. Its wide selection of combinations and sizes give you the possibility to be modern and express yourself. Connect your desires, lighten up your home! QATAR: MOHAMMED YOUSUF KAFOOD & SONS Doha +974 4 463 7777 IRAQ: AL TAIBOON GROUP Baghdad +964 7 901 364026

KUWAIT: ALSHAYA TRADING Co. W.L.L. Kuwait +965 2 266 0900 LEBANON: ETS. ABDULRAHIM DIAB S.A.L. Beirut-Unesco +961 0 186 8146/7 Beirut-Jdeideh +961 0 125 4294/5/6 SALAMEH CERAMICA Beirut +961 1 852 285 / +961 1 851 385

SAUDI ARABIA: AL-GHAMDI CO. FOR SANITARY WARES Riyadh +966 11 4646279 Jeddah +966 12 6696263 Dammam +966 13 8340248 BAHRAIN: MARMARA TRADING Co. Bahrain +973 1773 7735

IDEAL STANDARD GULF FZCO Jebel Ali, Dubai, P.O. Box 261559, United Arab Emirates, Tel. +971 4 804 2400, IDEAL STANDARD DESIGN BATHROOM CENTRE Jabal Ali Bldg., Al Quoz 3, Sheikh Zayed Rd., Dubai, P.O. Box 38430, United Arab Emirates, Tel. +971 4 309 6000


Join us:

UAE: SULTACO Dubai +971 4 338 5929 Abu Dhabi +971 2 633 4425 Al Ain +971 3 763 1609 Sharjah +971 6 575 9878 JORDAN: AL MUNA Co. Amman +962 6 554 8851


Cecilia Setterdahl

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Carpet queen From her showroom studio in Dubai’s d3, Swedish painter and designer Cecilia Setterdahl is redefining traditional carpet making. Melanie Mingas writes


rom antique to heirloom, oriental to handwoven – no two rugs are created equal. But today, more rugs than ever are created from a desire to place audacious design at the heart of large spaces. Graduating from statement walls to statement carpets over recent years, the modern home (workspace, restaurant, hotel) today uses style as a focal point, pushing the boundaries of why, how and where accent is used to bring meaning to a room; a zest-hued alcove, a mirrored fireplace, a unique rug. The trend is far from new although it has evolved rapidly over the last decade, thanks in part to the contributions of Vivienne Westwood, Calvin Klein and Ted Baker who, through somewhat experimental collections of statement carpets and rugs, brought new life to perhaps one of the most versatile furnishings in a room. Their respective visual identities, infused with the vintage stoicism of traditional rug design, introduced a much-needed wave of modernity to the art. At Dubai’s d3, Swedish painter/designer and Dubai resident, Cecilia Setterdahl is on a mission to bring another dimension to the statement rug trend by creating pieces based on her bespoke, custom and one-off canvas paintings composed of geometric shapes, coloured in striking hues. Since 2013, Setterdahl has combined her own paintings with texture and interior trends to create a series of unique (and near-unique) rugs. Following a property purchase in Dubai in 2010, she re-located her business to the GCC in 2015,

and opened a prime location at d3 in January 2016. “I have been a painter since my teenage years and my style developed over the years into graphic and bold colours,” Setterdahl says. “Much of my design thinking is how to contrast different colours and find the right balance. I have always worked with geometric lines; however, with each passing year, my colours have become bolder.” Refracted through the tastes and inspirations of the client (and sometimes the client’s client) each work is adapted from canvas to the woven textures seen across her arresting portfolio of work, over a period of up to three months. On a standard run, 10 of each design will be hand-knotted in India for sale to clients around the world. For bespoke work, custom creations are strictly limited edition. For public spaces and hospitality clients, carpets are hand-tufted in order to replicate the same handknotted effect but with a quicker turnaround. “The visual effect from a painting is different than from a carpet and designing in this way is not without its challenges,” she explains. “Paint colours have infinite variations, but colours for wool do not.” The first step is to create the full size templates, which act as the design instructions. Following this, the wool is dyed and the loom prepared. A carpet measuring 4sqm takes around two months to handknot, if working to 100 knots per square inch. Once the knotting is complete the carpet needs to be washed, cut and trimmed, with each thread cut back to a uniformed height, before the drying process begins under the hot Indian sun.

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The creative process The interior design community of the UAE – who commission Setterdahl to bring personalised touches to their client work – the painter, designer and artist is now at the helm of one of the region’s most exciting, and adaptable, interior trends. She says: “We operate from Dubai and we are targeting interior designers and interior architects in the UAE as one market, one that we can personally visit. Sometimes our customers call us and urgently need a design to match a client’s project. This is exciting as it usually results in one meeting to understand and then I make some designs on paper and one is chosen from the ideas I submit. “Once the client has chosen the design, I then work to make it more complete, get the go ahead and then we arrange the carpet to be made from that design. Usually it is time pressed and that means follow up work.” For each design, Setterdahl sketches anywhere between five and 10 ideas, varying the colour combinations to explore all possibilities. From the client’s shortlist, Setterdahl develops their chosen sketches, eventually using the paper drawing to brief

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My style as an artist has developed a lot over my career. In the beginning I included natural elements along with geometric forms and later on my interest for geometric forms took over and gradually overpowered the other influences the carpet maker. The entire process is undertaken by hand, without any assistance from CAD software or image manipulation programmes. Working predominantly with New Zealand wool, Setterdahl sketches according to the colours and shapes that inspire her, rather than allowing the limitations of loom technology to define her style or creative process. Her studio is part carpet showroom, part gallery and currently home over 30 original rug designs.

The canvas is brought to life in India, where the majority of rugs for Carpets CC are hand-knotted. Diagonal designs – in addition to the infinite possibilities of colour and circular patterns – are the most challenging elements, and dependent upon the skill of the person at the loom. From the heavy use of colour and circles in the work on display at her d3 studio, it’s easy to see Setterdahl is a women who enjoys a challenge. “My paintings are our base and will always be an integral part of the entire concept. Sometimes I find that a design needs to stay very unique and then I make only one carpet and sign these with a CS on the front.” She continues: “Replicating the same colours I use in the original paintings is very difficult. The wool is dyed in batches and the colour has to be very even. If the shade changes ever so slightly it shows up as an unintended ‘line’ in a large colour fields. But we push the boundaries! Certain diagonals and round circles are difficult, but I believe my designs are very suitable for carpets!” Setterdahl’s first carpet was a truly international affair, if one that came about by chance. While

attending a wedding in Mumbai in 2012, the bride’s family, who happened to be in the carpet business, invited their artistic guest to see her paintings transformed. Selecting two works from her home in Sweden, Setterdahl commissioned the design and embarked on a creative experiment that would evolve from an idea to an artistic business. “The first two carpets turned out great and I learned a lot,” she recalls. “The first carpet is based on a painting called Meeting and is still one of my favourites! It is orange, pink and black with a translucent white stripe across the width and is in our home. “When you first try something that is new, you are naïve so you do not expect problems and we did not anticipate any,” she continues. Today, Setterdahl’s suppliers are selected personally for the quality and detail of their work. In addition to her partners in India, she has also worked with Nepalese manufacturers using Tibetan wool and through her association with the Fatima Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI), developed a range of carpets hand-knotted in Afghanistan, where carpet weaving is mostly done by women. FBMI was established to bring economic opportunity to Afghanistan’s large population of widows, who are the sole breadwinners for their families, and has so far employed 3,000 Afghan artisans since its inception – 70% of whom are women and 35% of which are widows. Carpets are made from indigenous Afghan wool purchased from nomads that is then hand spun, with the dyes being vegetables based. The initiative also supports local Afghan farmers, who help source the highest-quality wool, and the export of the finished carpets generates income for the country. “We are proud to be associated with FBMI. When we heard the story we decided to design three trial carpets for them right away. Supporting women in Kabul and their children, while doing our normal business, is great. Afghan wool is different from our main product – New Zealand wool – and we have worked to adapt my designs that works with Afghan wool and carpet tradition. We have just received one trial where the sides of the carpets are 1cm thick and in the middle is a purple Mohawk swath of Afghan wool, measuring 5 – 7cm high.”

On trend While current trends remain firmly fixed on classic, vintage and floral inspiration, Setterdahl flies in the face of the washed out pastels that are prevalent in both interior trends and fashion, through pallets with unapologetic presence. Allowing her artistic expression to lead the

way – rather than having the present flooring and interior trends dictating her style – the resulting pieces are not for the faint hearted and while Carpets CC specialises in exactly what one would expect, Setterdahl doesn’t describe herself as a carpet designer. She says: “I chose from my paintings what would look good as a ‘carpet’. Flooring trends, well I hope that I am ahead of what is on the floors today. Carpets today are mostly quite generic. I would describe the style as funky elegant, statement pieces. I would love if everyone started with a carpet and then created the rest of the room from there. “My style as an artist has developed a lot over my career. In the beginning I included natural elements along with geometric forms and later on my interest for geometric forms took over and gradually overpowered the other influences.” Citing “everyday experiences” as her inspirations, Setterdahl sees geometric inspiration in everything: “a fold in a curtain, the angle of a roof, an interesting colour found in a dress.” While on the way to build a brand name in the GCC, Setterdahl is also looking to increase her footprint of international clients, visiting London earlier in the year to meet with British outlets. An agreement has been reached with HIRUGS, U.K. for a line of geometrical and colourful flat weave from India. “That market is very competitive and it means that we have to be very unique, which we believe we are after doing all our research, running all

over London looking into shops. With manufacture in India and designing here in Dubai we feel we can reach any client worldwide who is thinking funky elegant.” For Setterdahl, who operates in a cavern of the industry that appears to escape the same prescription of trends seen in fashion or furniture design, business is building quickly. Leveraging the networking opportunities afforded by d3, Carpets CC is taking full advantage of being in the right place at the right time, and footfall to her hybrid creative space is building every month She concludes: “I started painting before most of the people at d3 were born! It is inspirational to say the least for us to be based here and we chose d3 as it has to be the easiest way to meet people who want to try something new and we expect that aspect to grow with more people and companies coming here.”

Cecilia Setterdahl Cecilia Setterdahl studied at the Luleå University of Technology, Sweden, and various Art Schools in Sweden and Switzerland, before emigrating to Neuchatel, Switzerland 1988, where she lived for 28 years. She worked from the painting studio BV 5 with three other women from 1999 until her move to Dubai in 2015.

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MAGNUM Opus A sneak peek at a new Dubai project designed by the late Iraqi-born British architect, Zaha Hadid.

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ubai developer Omniyat Properties is preparing to unveil one of the final masterpieces designed by the Iraqiborn architect, Dame Zaha Hadid, a little over a year since her death in March 2016. Located in Business Bay, the aptly named ‘The Opus’ is in the final throws of construction and is set to open this summer. All evidence points to the building becoming an instant icon when it does. The venue will be home to the region’s first ME by Meliá hotel, luxury residences, commercial office space, a number of food and beveredge outlets and a nightclub. Media and VIP guests were given a sneak peek of the venue on a hard had tour last month. The tour party experienced a showroom floor layout including renderings of how the finished venues and amenities will look. Mahdi Amjad, Executive Chairman and CEO at Omniyat, said: “Our special guests have been given an exclusive preview of how this incredible project is progressing and provided with an insight into what the finished masterpiece will look like. The Opus, scheduled for completion this summer, will be the next iconic building in Dubai’s cityscape, instantly recognisable for the organic void at its heart, and we have the late Dame Zaha Hadid to thank for its truly unique design.”

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The Opus wil be aligned with Omniyat’s vision of treating each project as if it were a unique work of art, showcasing once more that we are the pioneers of producing inimitable luxury lifestyle experiences “The Opus will be aligned with Omniyat’s vision of treating each project as if it were a unique work of art, showcasing once more that we are the pioneers of producing inimitable luxury lifestyle experiences. Seeing the work today gives me confidence that the finished project will meet all the highest expectations of our partners, our residential and commercial tenants and our future hotel guests.” The Opus is Omniyat’s second flagship unveil of 2017, following on from the luxury residences One Palm. Since its launch in 2005, the developer has amassed a portfolio worth over $6.2bn, largely focused around Dubai’s Business Bay and Downtown communities. Omniyat has ambitious plans for the next five years with an impressive portfolio of residential and hospitality developments in the pipeline, including The Opus, The Pad, ANWA, Langham Place and The Sterling.

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Adeeb Ghazal, Regional Sales Director, Hawa Sliding Solutions AG


nown worldwide for its sliding door solutions, Hawa Sliding Hardware Systems has worked tirelessly to pioneer its niche business in the fit-out industry across Europe, North America and the Middle East. Established in 1965 by Karl and Otto Haab in Mettmenstetten, Switzerland, the company, which manufactures high-quality solutions for sliding and folding doors, has managed to not only become the face of such mechanisms, but to also remain true to its principles of quality production. “All our products are designed and manufactured in Switzerland,” says Adeeb Ghazal, Hawa’s Middle East sales director. “It gives us a kind of leverage and advantage, since most Swiss products are well know for their high quality.” In the 52 years since founding Hawa, the Haab family – now headed by Gregor and Heinz – has bought EKU (another sliding solutions entity), opened a Middle East branch for Hawa in Dubai’s Jebel Ali district, and continued to evolve and expand its sliding solutions. And though Hawa’s history is marked with countless milestones that celebrate its many contributions to the advancement of the fit-out industry, 2017 looks to be a year of even greater momentum. “The big news right now is that we’re introducing a merger between the two companies – Hawa and EKU,” says Ghazal. “Though we’ve always operated

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Hawa’s Year of Change Swiss company Hawa looks ahead at upcoming year of mergers, product launches and expanding its presence

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completely independently of each other, we’ve now become one.” While Hawa produces large-scale sliding solutions, EKU is better know for its furniture sliding systems, like cabinetry in office spaces. “Let me put it this way,” adds Ghazal, “EKU is similar but different to Hawa – there’s overlapping, sure, but EKU provides more lightweight solutions while Hawa is into bigger, heavier doors.” The merger sees the two companies brought together under the name of Hawa Sliding Solutions, which will be in effect by the end of 2018. Under joint management and with newly generated synergy effects, the company aims to achieve more for the benefit of end-users by offering the world’s biggest range of sliding solutions for commercial projects, private residences, corporate offices and home offices. “The two companies no longer exist as separate entities, but within the merger we’ll have Hawa

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“The big news right now is that we’re introducing a merger between the two companies – Hawa and EKU.” products and EKU products,” Ghazal says. “Any merger will mainly have benefits. For example, this helps us reduce costs, increase turnover and make a better impression on the end-users because now we can sell double the products when speaking to customers. The only thing that won’t be easy is bringing the two factory units together. Right now, they’re located about an hour and half away from each other by car in Switzerland.” The new parent company, Hawa Sliding Solutions communicates this new restructuring via its new logo, which is an apparent allusion to Hawa

and EKU’s familiar branding. Using the same red and blue coloring, it emphasises Hawa and EKU’s claim to market and technology leadership for sliding solutions, and stands for its relationship with its customers and trading partners. While the brands are releasing new products frequently, like the EKU-Frontline 20 and Hawa-Folding Concepts, one of Hawa’s latest products, the Hawa-Junior 80 B Pocket, is of great significance, as it opts to make life a little bit easier for fit-out contractors. A new sliding door fitting with minimal installation height, it eliminates the typical challenges of sliding door construction. According to Ghazal, contractors can now install and remove the fitting at any time of the build phase via rattle-proof bayonet locks, thanks to a pre-mounted retainer profile. The Junior 80 B Pocket’s components remain freely accessible and can be easily replaced or extended,

and sliding the door into the pocket is especially easy, as the suspension unit on the pocket side is located directly on the edge of the door. The Junior 80 B Pocket’s other advantages include its aesthetic appeal and its convenient adjustment. Its clip-on facia enables the concealed attachment of the lintel panelling up to a material thickness of 40 millimetres, while the end position can be adjusted via the suspension in the pocket when the door is open. “Now, even if the whole pocket is built, you can still insert the solution. It gives contractors an advantage of flexibility – they can finish their own work and complete the solution when they have the materials rather than wait. To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the market like this,” says Ghazal. “It’s a unique solution that we’ve just introduced.” And while there seems to be a lot on Hawa’s plate, its regional team is also looking forward to this year’s edition of INDEX, one of Dubai’s leading design trade fairs. Held from May 22 to May 25, the four-day long exhibition will host a number of events including its architecture and design award ceremony, which looks to celebrate creativity and innovation in design across various categories like retail, corporate and residential. Hawa, which will be sponsoring the awards’ hospitality category, is sure to have its presence felt throughout the event. With fit-out solutions in the emirate’s most extravagant hospitality hotspots like the Burj Khalifa, Armani Hotel, Address Hotel Dubai Mall and the Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Hawa’s specialists have worked on a number of iconic projects across the UAE and hopes to use this opportunity to socialise with the community. “We were at INDEX last year and thought it was a great event and gave us some good exposure. And now, with our new logo, the big players who are important to us will learn about our latest developments – either by attending INDEX, participating, or even just opening up their email newsletters,” says Ghazal. “This year, it will be one of my colleagues and myself. Last year was quite successful, as we met a few people that we wanted to see. It was an opportunity and a great platform. We’re not expecting to close deals there, but it’s a different environment than the sales meetings – it can provide better chemistry to meet people. Our community is very important to us, because the cooperation with our trade partners is always something we like to focus on and improve.”

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welcoming vibes Design Middle East takes a look at a few of the region’s choice suppliers in the doors and windows segment of the design industry.

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ASSA ABLOY In conversation with Nassim Abu Yousef, CEO – Middle East, ASSA ABLOY Can you give us a brief overview about your company? ASSA ABLOY is the global leader in door opening solutions, dedicated to satisfying end-user needs for security, safety and convenience. The Group has 47,000 employees and annual sales of USD 8.3 billion. We have a Dubai based door manufacturing unit located in Jebel Ali Industrial Zone, with a factory building area of 15,000 square meters and more than 300 dedicated employees. We provide solutions for acoustic, security, specialty doors, cleanroom doors, glazed screen doors, detention doors, lead lined doors and windows. ASSA ABLOY Door Solutions Prometal steel doors and Lockwood timber doors are widely used in commercial, educational, residential, retail, sports, theme parks, oil & gas industries and healthcare sectors covering all the markets.

What are the latest products that your company is offering? ASSA ABLOY handles everything that makes up a complete door opening solution: anything connected or attached to the door, as well as all the elements surrounding it. Our latest offering includes wireless access control, architectural hardware, glass hardware, steel and timber doors. Recently we have received certification for steel doors fire-rated up to 180 minutes. As part of our strategy to be leaders in the wooden door industry we have introduced our innovative POLO DOOR collection of residential doors. In this collection we offer the widest range of door designs available in the market in combination with several natural veneers and finishes. Recently, we have completed prestigious projects like Sheikh Al Jaber Cultural Center in Kuwait, Jeddah Airport in Saudi Arabia, in UAE we have installed acoustic doors in Dubai Opera, fire and safety doors in Jewel of the Creek and Al Habtoor City, detention doors in Dubai Prisons. In Oman we are about to complete Sandan Industrial City. At present we are executing total door opening solutions including door and architectural hardware in New Doha Port, Doha Metro and 39 schools in Doha.

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What are the latest trends that you have observed in this space? Interior designers and architects are focusing on green building projects, which need the doors to be able to be more inclusive in the design with minimum carbon footprint. ASSA ABLOY already has more than 250 EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) across its product range. ASSA ABLOY has been producing an annual sustainability report based on GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) guidelines since 2005. We are expecting to receive our first EPD for Prometal and Lockwood doors this year, which will empower architects in the region to achieve their green building objectives. Also there are

changes in fire regulations by local civil defence authorities, which has created a demand for higher fire-ratings for doors.

What kind of growth have you seen in the demand for your products? We have seen a stable growth over the years for our ‘Made in UAE’ steel and timber doors. Moreover, we are the only company in the industry who can offer ‘total door opening solutions’ including doors, architectural hardware, access control, etc. We have a qualified team, which can support any project right from the design stage, execution of the job and service.

GEZE In conversation with Charles Constantin, Managing Director, GEZE Can you give us a brief overview about your company?

What are the latest products that your company is offering?

GEZE is one of the world’s leading developers and manufacturers of construction systems for door, window and safety technology. GEZE offers a comprehensive range of products including automatic door systems and door technology, glass systems, smoke and heat extraction systems, safety technology as well as window and ventilation technology. As one of the market’s innovation and design leaders, GEZE has decisively influenced facility engineering and building technology with pioneering developments. These developments are constantly being driven onwards in the company’s technology center in Germany at the headquarters in Leonberg City near Stuttgart. The highest of quality standards means that GEZE products contribute towards some of the most innovative building concepts in the world and ensure convenience and security in building technology. GEZE door closers are some of the best known in the world. Product solutions from GEZE can be found in renowned buildings across the entire world.

The most successful product has been the GEZE Powerturn Swing Door Solution and the GEZE Swing Doors family. Some of our projects include Dubai Opera House, Qatar National Library, Bollywood Park Project – Dubai, Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi, AESSB - Administration, Educational and Students Services Buildings – Kuwait, Cultural Center – Shaab – Kuwait, Mall of Qatar – Qatar, Oman Convention Center – Oman.

What are the latest trends that you have observed in this space?

system solution for facades in January this year during the BAU Fair 2017 in the city of Munich in Germany.

What kind of growth have you seen in the demand for your products? The demand for window and door systems in the region in 2016 was stable, despite softer economic conditions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which had an adversary impact on the ambitious growth that all industry players would have wished to witness.

The biggest opportunities for doors and windows suppliers in the region today are to possess the ability to offer an automatic door and window systems that are connected through the building management system. Such a capability goes with the higher connectivity mega trend within the smart solution orientation that we are witnessing today the world over in almost every industry in the industrial engineering space. In this respect, we in GEZE have launched our smart engineering

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Hawa Sliding Solutions AG In conversation with Adeeb Ghazal, Regional Sales Director, Hawa Sliding Solutions AG Can you give us a brief overview about your company? Hawa Sliding Solutions AG, head quartered in Switzerland, one of the leading Swiss market leaders in manufacturing High-quality Sliding Hardware since 1965. As a global technology and market leader, we discover new applications for sliding every day and make it easier to use. Our product range includes solutions for Glass, Wood and Furniture products for all types of projects, on buildings, in buildings and on fully-opening furniture.

What are the latest products that your company is offering? Our latest products include HAWA-Junior

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80/B-Pocket, HAWA-Folding Concepta 25 and HAWA-Purolino-PLUS 80. As for projects, we have recently achieved one of the best hospitality landmarks, which include Viceroy Palm Jumeirah Dubai, Bluewaters Island in Dubai, W Hotel at Palm Jumeirah and Saadiyat Rotana Resort, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

What are the latest trends that you have observed in this space? We have noticed an increasing interest and demand from the interior designers for a combination of three features when it’s related to sliding doors, wood or glass: the sliding hardware should be concealed,

the sliding hardware is freely accessible, and the quality is recognized by an international third party test certificate. All of the above are covered by Hawa Sliding Solutions products.

What kind of growth have you seen in the demand for your products? The demand for high quality and innovative sliding hardware is increasing year on year, we have supplied hardware for almost 40000 openings since we started in 2005, and with are expecting this growth to continue by acquiring more market share and covering more construction sectors.

that are available in 60, 90 and 120 minute ratings. With Green Building Ratings and Safety being paramount, we are seeing a rise in FSC Certified and Fire Rated Doors.

What are the latest trends that you have observed in this space?

Intermetal In conversation with Cathy Di Savino, Marketing Manager, Intermetal Can you give us a brief overview about your company? We manufacture a large selection of interior doors that are available in a wide range of styles, colors and finishes. Our factory is equipped with the latest technology, allowing us to produce consistent interior doors that are specified due to their performance and durability.

What are the latest products that your company is offering? We offer Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certified Doors that are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly and doors that can assist our clients in achieving credits towards their Green Building Rating Systems as well as Fire-Rated Doors

There is an increase in demand for contemporary door designs manufactured in synthetic and real wood veneers and doors with mouldings. The sliding door is sparking a lot of interest in the market as it is offering more usable space to developers.

What kind of growth have you seen in the demand for your products? The UAE market looks “upbeat� as mega projects are on the rise and with EXPO 2020 expecting to attract more than 20 million visitors, we are witnessing an increased demand for our doors.

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Origin Middle East & Africa In conversation with Guy Dawson, Managing Director, Origin Middle East & Africa Can you give us a brief overview about your company? Origin Middle East & Africa specialises in folding sliding doors, or bi-folding doors, and has a complete range of windows to complement them. Our folding sliding doors create space and transform the living environment, in both homes and restaurants, and are particularly effective when space is at a premium.

What are the latest products that your company is offering? A big development for us recently is the demand from restaurants and hotels, where our doors create more space for ‘Al fresco’ dining, or opening up the restaurant to attract the passers-by who are looking to dine. We have also launched the Origin Residential Front Door. Manufactured in high-grade aluminium, it’s available in a vast range of striking panels, enabling customers to create a bespoke door to suit their own needs and taste in design, and is maintenance free.

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Our biggest single project has been Jumeirah Open Beach, where we have installed more than 70 sets of doors for Meraas and Al Futtaim Carillion. We regularly fit doors and windows at Al Barari, Emirates Hills, The Palm and Arabian Ranches.

What are the latest trends that you have observed in this space? In Dubai, and the UAE, the demand for doors and windows continues to grow with the economy. There is a continuous villa development programme here that drives demand for the regular, economical aluminium door and window systems. However, alongside this there is an ever-growing desire for more sophisticated systems that offer ‘greener credentials’ in terms of thermal and weather performance, whilst also offering durability and/or more flexibility on opening, closing and space creation. So, the door and window replacement sector is where we have seen a lot of growth. It is quite common for buyers of new villas

to replace all doors and windows as soon as they take ownership. The benefits are immediate in terms of cost savings on ACs and the creation of open spaces to the gardens and swimming pool, and to know that the villa is well secured by a robust long lasting system that also looks good.

What kind of growth have you seen in the demand for your products? Dubai leads the way in the refurbishment market, with Abu Dhabi not far behind. We have had continuous growth since we arrived in 2011, and have extended our showroom last year, with further extensions planned for later this year. We have also seen interest and orders from Kuwait, Saudi, Oman and Jordan, but they are several years behind Dubai and Europe in terms of replacement doors and windows, and especially the more sophisticated systems. (We’ve just opened an agency in Kuwait, by the way.)


Inspiring spaces Harrods Interiors to make its presence felt at INDEX 2017

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arrods Interiors is a premium-quality bespoke service, which helps clients realise their interior dreams, with luxury products sourced from the store as well as through an enviable directory of specialist external suppliers and craftsmen. With a hand-picked team of passionate interior and architectural designers, all housed within a specially commissioned design studio, Harrods Interiors continues to evolve, delivering innovative original interior design. Letitia Taylor, Head of Harrods Interiors, and her team travel the world to discover new trends and source the highest quality fabrics and products to create interiors that not only deliver on function but also inspire the senses. Taylor, having recently taking over at Head of Harrods Interiors, has over more than 15 years’ experience in luxury interiors, having previously been a senior member of the Harrods Home buying team. In that role, Taylor worked closely with Director of Home, Annalise Fard, on the redevelopment of Harrods Home and Furniture departments, helping to shape Harrods Home into the design hub that it is today. Taylor plans to put Harrods Interiors firmly on the interior design map. “Our design team place importance on understanding the feel of a space in order to craft the correct composition of materials, colours, fabrics, accessories and artistic lighting,” Taylor says. “It’s something that Harrods as a business has down to a fine art, and within the design studio, we cultivate and build on that ability to take it to the next level.” Harrods Interiors has a dynamic portfolio of projects under its belt with many upcoming projects at varying stages of completion. These include an exciting collaborative project in The Faqra Club, Beirut, one of the world’s first private ski clubs, an interior concept for premium apartments at the luxury lifestyle resort and super yacht marina, Portonovi, set in the very heart of the Adriatic as well as a boutique hotel in Cyprus due to launch Spring 2018. Other upcoming projects at varying stages of completion include a modern family home in Beijing, a contemporary summer villa in Catalunya, with a design brief to create “a cool, holiday Ibiza vibe,” as well a glamorous estate in Somerset while also expanding its portfolio into the Middle East with the interior design of a private residence in Dubai’s City Walk, a luxury outdoor concept in the heart of Jumeirah. INDEX 2017, the MENA region’s biggest interiors exhibition, will this year see Harrods Interiors cement its footprint into the UAE and focus on showcasing its design expertise by creating a VIP Room at Index, Dubai that is all about speaking to a

We wil be creating a visual spectacle by using the intense colours of lush nature with visual references to the wild “design for the senses.” According to Taylor, guests to the VIP Room will be transported to into the heart of a lush tropical oasis. By using an exciting mix of organic materials, Harrods Interiors will create a sensory feast for our guests with the design

incorporating all of the key interior and design trends. “We will be creating a visual spectacle by using the intense colours of lush nature with visual references to the wild,” says Taylor. At INDEX, Harrods Interiors will be unveiling a selection of its Harrods of London furniture collection at its VIP Suite, making this the first time that these pieces have been viewed outside of London. In addition to this exceptional range of furniture, Harrods Interiors have collaborated with De Gournay, the pre-eminent creators of bespoke, hand-painted wallpaper to create an exclusive range of wallpaper inspired by the renowned interior design of Harrods. Inspired by Harrods’ Art Deco architecture, this collection has been made with new and innovative techniques to be sold exclusively at Harrods, for a limited period. Guests at the Index VIP suite will be the first to view this exciting collaboration.

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Brand evolution Design Middle East learns how ODG aims to build “inspired designs that work”

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ward-winning retail and branding design agencies, Open D Group, Retail Access and Sparkle, have announced their rebrand to ODG to implement a simpler, cleaner, agile and integrated organization to deliver its expertise in intelligence, branding, design, project management and digital solutions. According to ODG founder Laurent Caucé and co-founder Martin Mirmand, the rebrand signals the next step in the evolution of their business, with the commonality of vision and strategy, a highly complementary geographic offering, and a shared focus on the development of digital technologies across our business allowing the company to

capitalize on strong opportunities for future growth. Design Middle East talked to Mirmand to learn about ODG’s design sensibilities, and the road ahead for the company—excerpts from the interview: With respect to your rebrand: why did you think this integration of services was necessary? Have you had any reactions from your current clientele already, and, how do you hope this rebrand will be perceived by potential clients? For the last 15 years, our agency has constantly

evolved offering a broader range of services from merchandizing, category management, branding, store design, digital store experience, brand content, duty free concession design or mall commercial planning. Our approach was to segment these different lines of expertise under three business units; Retail Access, Sparkle and Creative Content. In today’s world, all retail channels are integrated and need a coordinated and consistent approach. A retail concept now requires branding, brand content, digital consultancy, merchandizing expertise, creative interior design all delivered by one team, now ODG.

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This new branding makes our agency brand stronger and more visible since all our actions in Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore are now consolidated under one name. So far, the feedback received from our clients and partners has been extremely positive due to the newfound clarity in our offering as ODG. From a personal perspective, which project from among your current/ previous projects have been especially noteworthy for you? Are there are any particular projects that you are working on that you are especially

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excited about, and if so, please let us know which they are? We are very proud of some of the breakthroughs we have achieved in airports and duty-frees around the world. Our work has encapsulated full duty-free retail master planning and architecture to F&B, always with the shopper experience at the heart of what we do. For certain, Dubai airport is one of our flagship projects that we are proud of. The airport has grown from strength to strength breaking records in passenger’s numbers year on year to now firmly establish itself as one of the world’s most highly regarded airports.

Design speak

Martin Mirmand’s six essential factors for creating winning customer-oriented concepts: 1 Connectivity – both physical and digital 2 Experience and storytelling 3 Assortment and category management 4 Creative and memorable designs that echo brand identity 5 Creating long-lasting, memorable customer journeys

Since 2005 and especially within the last four years, we have delivered fantastic F&B concepts, premium retail experiences and strong brand activation across all terminals within DXB Airport. Feedback from our clients has been that we have been enhancing the travelers experience as each year passes. This consistent growth in such a challenging and unique environment is most definitely a highlight for our agency. We were recently awarded and now responsible for the concept design, design development and project management of the entire duty free within Muscat Airport spanning over 8000 sq. m. Further information on this project will be released to the media very soon. ODG has as its motto “Inspired designs that work.” Can you elaborate on this a little bit, and explain your design ethos based off it? Our designs are based around research, creativity and our 15 years worth of experience in design. We

provide our clients with cutting edge creative design that provides the required performance and outcomes for our clients, as well as ensuring the shopper experience is at the core of each and every design. We also understand our clients’ need for turning around

concepts into implementation as quickly as possible, which is what we pride ourselves on as an agency while always ensuring we deliver on budget too. I think these elements are all captured perfectly in our company motto, “Inspired designs that work.”

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WISH list

contemporary comfort A selection of seating solutions to spruce up your workspace

Andreu World CouvĂŠ chair Specifically designed for maximum comfort, this CouvĂŠ arm chair integrates subtle elements into a distinct piece.

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Herman Miller Keyn Building upon Herman Miller’s depth of knowledge in workplace environments, Keyn provides instant seated comfort through its sculpted one-piece shell design.

Oasis Furniture Lolla Inspired by the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel, Lolla was designed with the unique and wonderful shapes that fit and pop up flexibility in any corner of the workplace.

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Product focus

Haworth Windowseat This lounge chair with a canopy offers visual and acoustical privacy for phone calls or oneon-one interactions in busy environments.

Haworth Harbor Work Lounge Part task seating, part lounge chair, Harbor Work Lounge offers the support people need to be productive, while making a stylish statement wherever work gets done.

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Nava Arte Como The Nava series demonstrates both form and function, making it suited to a wide variety of applications. Offered in white for easy matching, the chairs come in a variety of seat heights.

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Hot ticket

Trade fair dates for your diary…

EVENT IN FOCUS INDEX Design Series 2017 May 22-25, 2017 Dubai, UAE

The MENA region’s biggest interiors exhibition will unite more designers and suppliers than ever before this year with the best attended INDEX Dubai to date and the launch of two exciting new events. Now in its 27th year, the INDEX Design Series is predicted to smash last year’s record visitor and exhibitor numbers, and bring close to 40,000 interior designers, suppliers, architects and project managers to Dubai in May. Responsible for generating more than US$5.5billion of new business in 2016 alone, the show, run by dmg events, is the Middle East and North Africa’s prime interiors trading opportunity. It last year welcomed design experts from 110 countries over its four days, 70% of whom will return this year.

DOMOTEX Turkey 2017

May 22–25, 2017 Gaziantep, Turkey In its fourth year, DOMOTEX Turkey, the country’s leading trade fair for carpets and floor coverings, will once more open its doors in Gaziantep, the center of the Turkish machine-made carpets production. With both international and national exhibitors and visitors along with a larger array of product groups, DOMOTEX Turkey 2017 will provide an outstanding opportunity to reach the relevant markets in Turkey and the Middle East.


14-16 June, 2017 Tokyo, Japan Interior Lifestyle Tokyo is an international trade fair for Tokyo to propose lifestyle concepts in interior design markets from around the world. Interior Lifestyle Tokyo derives from two trade fairs – Ambiente, the largest consumer goods trade fair in the world, and Heimtextil, an international trade fair for household and commercial textiles.


June 24-27, 2017 Frankfurt, Germany Tendence is home to a wide range of products from the home, furnishings and decoration sectors, as well as gifts, jewellery and fashion accessories. The large selection in the mid to upper price segments offers international high-volume buyers and the specialist retail trade an array of new product ideas for autumn, winter and Christmas, plus fresh collections for the following spring and summer seasons.


July 5-8, 2017 London, United Kingdom New Designers is the most important design event in the UK ensuring the lifecycle of the design industry continues and thrives. Entering its 32nd edition, the New Designers exhibition brings together design education, design consumers and the design industry to celebrate and recognise and the next generation of graduate designers. New Designers gives you the unmissable opportunity to buy new products for your store or home, get inspired by fresh ideas and discover new design talent to commission or recruit.

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LOCALS ONLY Iranian born artist Amir H. Fallah’s exhibition titled Locals Only is being showcased at the designer culinary space Molecule at d3 in Dubai, UAE. In association with The Third Line, a local art gallery and Molecule’s premier art collaborator, this aesthetic project aims to unite the dynamic restaurant space with distinctive, contemporary art that has been curated by the former’s expert team. The vibrant presentation brings to life many themes, motifs and symbols of local culture and traditions with the artist himself handpicking locally sourced items from various parts around Dubai, from the bustling souks to the intricate winding alleyways of Old Dubai. Overall, the design aims to inspire creativity, as well as launch an artistic dialogue that supports the works of emerging or existing talents in the region.

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Materials that inspire ideas. Shapes and hues designed to freely express your style. Unique and inspiring products with unlimited choice. RAK Ceramics gives you limitless imagination.

Bathroom suites: resort - Daisy


Design Middle East - May 2017  
Design Middle East - May 2017