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

HISTORY IN THE MAKING Meraas’ Bluewaters Island set to redefine Dubai skyline

THE BLADE RUNNER iGuzzini unveils its latest addition to the Blade family



SHOW ME THE LIGHT Take a look at the latest lighting products in the region w w w.d e s i g n - m i d d l e e a s t.c o m










Laser Blade XS “The Blade� Made of precision

The Blade is a masterpiece of miniaturization, nano technology capable of transforming a small invisible Led into a powerful and uniform circle of light.


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Setting the benchmark


Making waves


Meraas’ Bluewaters Island will be a new standard for construction projects in Dubai

The Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort makes use of modern elements alongside traditional Islamic traits in its design

The changing façade of interior designing

Kevin McLachlan, Partner at Godwin Austen Johnson, talks about efficient interior designs and Dubai beyond Expo 2020


Combining the classic with the contemporary

Furniture in the modern world has become more versatile, functional and smart April 2017



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The right fit


As thin as the blade


Light it up


Design denizens come together in Dubai

Given the growth of the construction sector in the region, it should come as no surprise that there is a surge in the number of players in the fit-out contracting industry as well

The Blade is an inspiration and a tribute to the art of Lucio Fontana: a thin cut on the ceiling from which a magical light springs out, a light with strong technological contents

Take a look at the latest lighting products in the market from reputed international brands

The 2017 edition of Design Days Dubai welcomed a record number of visitors this year



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Editor’s note Briefing

The last word

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

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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

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

Welcome A study by the Dubai Design Fashion Council and Dubai Design District last year had predicted the total value of the design industry to reach US$55 billion by 2019- however, the report also noted the sector’s need of at least 30,000 graduates in this space to support its growth. For this to happen, it is clear that there needs to be a concerted push towards increasing the general populace’s interest in this industry, and events like the recently concluded 2017 edition of Design Days Dubai are definitely helping realize this objective in the region. This is especially true of Dubai and the UAE- not only is this country’s leadership making significant investments in this space, it is also an encouraging sign for the industry at large to see the likes of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister, and Ruler of Dubai, attend and show their patronage of events like Design Days Dubai. The UAE thus does seem to be taking the right steps forward to realize and achieve the growth forecasted for the design sector- and we at Design Middle East hope to see the region follow suit as well.

Art director Ifteqar Ahmed Syed Sales manager Michelle Rebelo


Marketing executive Mark Anthony Monzon Contributors Aby Sam Thomas Jason O’ Connell Patrick Ryan Paromita Dey Veathika Jain

/Designmideast /designmiddleeast

/designmiddleeast /design middle east

Cover image: A rendering of Meraas’ Bluewaters Island

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

April 2017



LG partners with Tokujin Yoshioka for debut appearance at Milano Design Week 2017

Electronics giant LG is partnering with designer Tokujin Yoshioka to build a large-scale light art installation for its debut appearance at the 2017 Milano Design Week in Italy. The immersive display, which has been titled “S.F_Senses of the Future,” will be hosted at Superstudio Piu, and is being billed as a showcase of the brand’s passion for design and innovation. In a statement, Noh Chang-ho, head of corporate design for LG Electronics, said, “We are very excited for this opportunity to collaborate with Tokujin Yoshioka and to take part in the largest celebration of design in the world. The

marriage between cutting-edge technologies by LG and Tokujin Yoshioka’s design perfectly expresses LG’s human-centered design philosophy and our commitment to delivering our promise of innovation for a better life. We hope that many visitors have the pleasure of experiencing the immersiveness of “S.F_Senses of the Future.” Commenting on the exhibition, Yoshioka said, “When we were children, we freely imagined the future and we sensed our destinies in our dreams, and “S.F_Senses of the Future” is an expression of science fiction, technology, space and life highlighting the state of LG’s technology. The

Tokujin Yoshioka

installation is a poetic phenomenon that can only be described as a tapestry of light – a truly futuristic dimension which confounds and transcends the human senses.”

Sustainability leads UAE architecture trends for 2017 Experts at LEED-certified architecture and engineering consultancy, EMKAAN, have unveiled their forecast for some of the top trends inspiring the direction of design and architecture in 2017. EMKAAN’s predictions of UAE’s biggest trends in architecture include sustainability with designers embracing an increasingly refined taste for minimalism and modern style, but with sustainability being the vanguard of all building endeavours. Smart and energy efficient buildings are becoming more common. Muhammed Obaid, founder and CEO OF


April 2017

EMKAAN, commented: “In the UAE, the prolific use of technology and social media consumption has shortened the gap in adaption of global trends. The country is seeing international styles hitting local markets a lot quicker than in previous years. “As far as architecture, interior design, and lighting trends are concerned, 2016 was an innovative year. In 2017, technology will continue to revolutionise the global architecture industry, however when it comes to practice rather than theory, a return to a more classic authenticity in design and materials is likely to be a distinguishable feature of the year.”

Grayscale Interiors, with a portfolio of practical fit-out experience and applied theoretical knowledge, has helped clients realize the most complex of projects within budgets and expected timelines T +971 4 456 4440 F +971 4 456 4230 Level 17, Suite 08, Al Ameri Tower, Barsha Heights, Dubai, UAE PO Box 74965


Marcos Bish, Oliver Baxter,and Abdoullah Albizreh

The role of office design in fostering workplace happiness highlighted at talk hosted by Summertown Interiors

Microsoft, Steelcase announce technology-enabled creative spaces Steelcase and Microsoft have joined hands to explore the future of work, developing a range of technologyenabled spaces designed to help organisations foster creative thinking and better collaboration. These spaces seamlessly integrate the best of Microsoft Surface devices with Steelcase architecture and furniture. The companies have unveiled five new Creative Spaces showcasing how Steelcase and Microsoft can help organisations unlock creativity for every employee. Additionally, Steelcase and Microsoft announced that Microsoft is expanding its partner network into the world of design by bringing in select Steelcase dealers as authorised Surface Hub resellers. Steelcase and Microsoft are working together to develop technology-enabled workplace solutions built on Microsoft Azure IoT technology. Sara Armbruster, vice president of strategy, research and new business innovation for Steelcase, said: “The problems people face at work today are much more complex than they used to be. They require a new creative way of thinking and a very different work process. We believe that everyone has the capacity for creative thinking, and people are happier doing creative, productive work. Together, Microsoft and Steelcase will help organisations thoughtfully integrate place and technology to encourage creative behaviours at work.”

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Five initial Creative Spaces are on display at the Steelcase WorkLife Center in New York City. Spaces include Focus Studio, where individual creative work requires alone time to focus and get into flow, while also allowing quick shifts to two-person collaboration. Second is Duo Studio where working in pairs is an essential behaviour of creativity. This space enables two people to co-create shoulder-toshoulder, while also supporting individual work with Microsoft Surface Studio. The third one is Ideation Hub, where a high-tech destination that encourages active participation and equal opportunity to contribute as people co-create, refine and share ideas with co-located or distributed teammates on Microsoft Surface Hub. The next one is Maker Commons, where socialising ideas and rapid prototyping are essential parts of creativity. Last but not the least, Respite Room, where creative work requires many brain states, including the need to balance active group work with solitude and individual think time. Armbruster explained: “We are facing a time of unprecedented change at work. Through this partnership, we will bring together space and technology to help workers and organizations solve the workplace challenges they face today and in the future and ultimately perform their best at work.”

The need for fostering happiness and optimism within the corporate world headlined a talk organized by fit-out contractor Summertown Interiors at its Dubai headquarters in March, with the event highlighting how companies that focus on the aforementioned traits can gain a “happiness advantage” in their respective businesses. Led by Herman Miller Insight Manager Oliver Baxter, the talk, titled “The Living Office – The New Landscape of Work,” looked into the role that office design and the concept of diverse work experiences can play in fostering a positive work environment, and thereby fuel performance and achievement within the organization. “In businesses around the world, the workforce is changing,” said Baxter. “The expectations of workers are changing. How work gets done is changing. The tools of work are changing. The work itself is changing. There is a new landscape of work which business leaders must adapt to – our studies show that the physical environment clearly plays an important role in promoting wellbeing at work.” Marcos Bish, Managing Director of Summertown Interiors, added, “At Summertown, we believe that employee wellbeing is a key driver to a successful business model. Investing in the workspace should not be considered an extra cost, but an investment that has a positive impact on employees’ happiness, productivity, and loyalty.”


OFIS. THE BRAND BEHIND THE BEST BRANDS. Whether it’s an office, school or hospital our job is simple, to enhance the environment for all users. We do this by considering all aspects from beautiful functional design to expert fit out. It also helps that we work with the world’s best American and European furniture and flooring brands whose designs are based on in depth human insight. So if you’re an interior designer, a small business or a large corporation, OFIS is the solution.


Bits&Pieces opens at Citywalk Dubai Following its first store in Abu Dhabi, UAE, designer dĂŠcor and homeware store, Bits&Pieces, has now opened in Dubai at Citywalk II. With names like Arthur Court, Razzetti, Vanessa Mitrani and Ravissant on display, the new Bits&Pieces shop boasts of featuring one-of-a-kind pieces that include kitchenware, tabletop accessories, textiles, and more. Customers at this store can also make use of a bespoke, tailor-made service offered by certain designers, which will allow them to commission pieces specific to their demands and expectations.

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Setting the benchmark Jason O’Connell explores how Meraas’ Bluewaters Island will be a new standard for construction projects in Dubai


hen Meraas delivers Bluewaters Island in the first half of next year, it will raise the bar for other developers in Dubai, a city hardly short on big ideas. The man-made island, situated just 500 metres off the coast of Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR) will combine residential, hospitality, retail and entertainment components under the shadow of what is certain to become a world famous landmark. The world’s tallest observation wheel is steadily beginning to take shape while construction continues around it. At 210 metres tall, Ain Dubai (Dubai Eye in Arabic) will dwarf the iconic London Eye (135m) and snatch the world record from the 167m High Roller in Las Vegas by some considerable distance. Bluewaters Island is the logical next step for a developer that thinks differently to others. The projects it has successfully concluded to date -The Beach at JBR, Citywalk, Boxpark, Last Exit and Dubai Parks and Resorts– have each introduced a completely new concept to a city previously better known for shopping malls and skyscrapers. The government-controlled company is quite literally on a mission to change the face of Dubai.

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Take The Beach at JBR for example. Adding a pedestrian retail project in JBR seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom: that people in Dubai prefer to drive their cars to an air-conditioned mall. But the project has proven to be a huge hit with tourists and residents alike, invigorating the area and lifting the value of all property around it. Bluewaters is planned to be an extension of that project while taking it to the next level. “Meraas doesn’t see itself as a traditional developer,” says Michelle Seywood, Vice President of Design at Meraas. “We’re here to deliver a legacy for this city. We’re here to deliver great places and great

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experiences for the people who live in Dubai and the people that visit Dubai. We want people to leave with fantastic memories of what Dubai has to offer.” She adds: “Fundamental to our brand is this active urban life. We want people to participate in our developments. Putting people at the forefront is what sets us apart. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, when we opened Citywalk, gathered all of the other developers to Citywalk to tell them ‘this is the benchmark for Dubai.’” What Meraas developments have in common is that they are destinations, magnets for people that live in the city as well as those that come here to

play. The company says it already attracts over 140 million people per year to its projects. At the heart of the firm’s ethos is a set of standing principles, says Seywood who has worked at Meraas for almost all its nine years of existence. “We are a government developer. We’re not just about building buildings but about creating places and experiences, a community for people to live in and a lasting legacy, a catalyst to change the city and drive transformation in the whole landscape of the city of Dubai.” Sure enough the developments have already begun to affect how others are doing things. The

most obvious impact has been on the areas in the immediate vicinity of its projects. “When we opened Citywalk, all the other developers started following us and knocking out the blank walls of their developments, opening the streets up, and making them active with food and beverage and retail.” Meraas is doing all of this with a view to what Seywood terms “creating addresses”, distinctive neighbourhoods as much as you would find in world class cities such as New York, London or Hong Kong.

Meraas doesn’t see itself as a traditional developer. We’re here to deliver a legacy for this city. Michelle Seywood, Meraas “You go to London and you’ll remember key addresses within that city and that’s what we aim to do in Dubai,” Seywood says. “At Bluewaters, you’ll see architecture that you’ve not seen in Dubai before. Everything is carefully crafted – from the architecture, the urban planning, the mixture of uses and functions and tenants that we have in there – to create a new environment for Dubai.” We paid a visit to Bluewaters Island late last month to get a close up of work in progress. The new bridge, built by Habtoor Leighton Group, had only been in place for around two weeks at the time and you could still see the parallel temporary causeway used daily by thousands of vehicles during the construction process which began in mid-2013. The island is served by its own dedicated link from Sheikh Zayed Road to ease passage in and out of the development. Pedestrians will have their own direct access from The Beach via a bridge that is still under construction. However, visitors will also be able to access the island via a third, innovative mode of transport, which operates on a dedicated track along the middle of the road bridge. Provided by Dutch technology firm 2getthere, the system will feature 25 driverless Group Rapid Transit (GRT) vehicles capable of carrying 24 passengers each, connecting stations on the island with Nakheel Harbour and Tower Metro Station 2.5 km away. Early plans to

build a cable car to take pedestrians to the island from The Beach were scrapped. The pedestrian bridge and GRT will connect with a transport hub at the first building on the island, which is the retail wharf. Taxis and buses will also arrive there. Upon arrival on the island, almost all vehicles will go directly into a tunnel leading to a ‘basement’ area. Vehicles can directly access underground parking for each of the residential, retail or hospitality districts or emerge into open air at the far end of the island next to a conference centre and the hotel area. The tunnel goes under the main boulevard on the island that divides the residential area to the left hand side with the retail and entertainment district on the right. This will leave the boulevard relatively traffic free for residents and visitors to enjoy. “What we’re trying to discourage is a lot of vehicle movements along the top of the boulevard so that people can enjoy that space. We don’t want residents to come out of their apartments and be greeted by cars,” says Brian Schofield, Vice President of Projects at Meraas.

Bluewaters Island: In Numbers 10 residential buildings 698 apartments 17 townhouses 2 luxury hotels 479 hotel keys 200+ retail, dining and entertainment outlets 210 metre tall Ain Dubai 48 capsules on Ain Dubai 1,400 passenger capacity 1 driverless Group Rapid


Transport system beach club

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Main Contractors


Construction of all terminal for Ain Dubai Height of Ain Dubai, the districts is around a and the main plaza, year from being finished which is oriented around set to be the world’s tallest the base of the wheel with with the residences due for observation wheel handover to owners in the streets leading off it. With first quarter of 2018. There around 150 retail and food are around 700 apartments and beverage outlets spread over spread across 10 buildings, all of two floors, this will be the island’s main tourist destination with a similar which will have either views of the sea feel of New York’s Time Square or Clarke Quay in or the retail and entertainment district. Schofield explains that recent heavy rains on Singapore thanks to multiple giant media screens, the island’s unfinished roads made it tricky to drive says Scholfield. Buildings are oriented to create airways for wind so they were rolled and graded on a daily basis to make it safe and to avoid dust spreading across to blow through to produce an open-air environment with enough of a breeze to make it comfortable. Huge the site. After the transport hub, you arrive at the “mushrooms”, which look a bit like giant umbrellas

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Ain Dubai Main Contractor: Hyundai E & C and Starneth Engineering Cost: AED 1bn ($272mn) Hotels Main contractor: Multiplex Cost: AED 1.4bn Retail Main contractor: ALEC Cost: AED 1.2bn Bridges Main Contractor: HLG Cost: AED 475mn Source: MEED

or artificial trees, will provide about 50% shade and a separate canopy has a shading effect as well. Ain Dubai capsules come through the middle of a building at the base of the wheel, where passengers will hop on and off. Each of the wheel’s four stabilising legs is 126 metres long and thick enough to park 15 double decker buses nose to tail inside. The far left leg contains an elevator for maintenance within the structure. However, the temperature inside gets so high that it requires 10 air-conditioning units just to keep temperatures to a manageable 50 degrees Celsius, Schofield says. Innovative new construction materials feature throughout the Bluewaters project. For example, the glass used for Ain Dubai’s passenger pods is similar to that used in fighter planes. The facades of the retail buildings contain as many as 200 different materials. “We’re always exploring new technologies and materials to make it different and vibrant,” Schofield says. But what really stands out from a construction standpoint is the size and scale of the whole

project, not just Ain Dubai, and how complex it must have been to construct every component simultaneously. Each district has a separate contractor and coordinating their efforts was certainly a challenge, Schofield says. “It’s not normal to build everything at once,” he says. “Normally you would start at the furthest end of the island and build your way out. But everything is going on at the same time here because we don’t want people to be living on a building side. “It takes a lot of effort, compromise and teamwork,” he adds. “We have regular weekly meetings. Many dedicated teams. Each main contractor has their own managers because things change depending on the delivery cycle. It’s incredibly complex.” The whole project is building to a conclusion in the first quarter of next year, though it looks as though the wheel will be completed sometime later. When that does finally happen, Dubai will have a new iconic landmark to add to Burj Al Arab and Burj Khalifa.

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Making waves The Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort has very much marketed itself as the luxury alternative to the hyper pace of life in bustling cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Patrick Ryan left the city and made his way to the resort to catch up with general manager Omar Souab at the newly opened resort.

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here’s no question mark over Omar Souab’s hunger for his new role as general manager of the newly opened Fairmont Fujairah Beach Resort. “I knew that the Fairmont Fujairah was about to open and I knew that the vice president was looking for a general manager, so I reached out to him and he sat down with me and asked, ‘Who do you think I should give this role to?’” he says. “I said, ‘Have you thought about me?’ and he said, ‘Why not, maybe you should go and have a look at the hotel.’” That level of hunger and drive is unsurprising given Souab’s track record in the industry since he began his journey in 2004 with Sofitel in his native Morocco. “I always wanted to do an international career so I had the opportunity to come to Dubai as an operations manager of Pullman, which was Sofitel and then we rebranded it to Pullman,” he says. “I stayed there for two and half years and then I had an opportunity to move to luxury and that was my goal.” The Fairmont Dubai was next on his list where he went from director of operations to hotel manager during his tenure there before his life-altering conversation with the Fairmont vice president.

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Grand designs

Souab is proud of the unique design of the hotel which incorporates modern elements alongside traditional Islamic traits. “You have a mix between the orient and north Africa,” he says. “The design is modern Islamic inspired by a bohemian touch. You find that in the rooms as well, the black and white is very present in the hotel. In the rooms, you have that black and white carpet, and when you look at the swimming pool, you have a black and white rug which is a continuation of what you see in the room.” The hotel will soon be complemented by a beach club which is currently under construction. “The beach club will open in May and it is more Mediterranean. If I had to compare it with an existing property, it would be Nikki Beach Club so it would be a bit of the same set-up with a central pool, with the Mediterranean restaurants,” he says. “There will also be a penthouse on top of the restaurant as wel as a tennis court, it will have a children’s pool and an event place where we will be able to organise weddings.”

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“I realised the potential of this place because the design is unique, the location, the marina, you have the mountains in the back, you have the Indian Ocean, so I fell in love with the property,” he says. “I started working between both properties for six months and then I moved here in September and we had three months to open the property and it is great to see it come alive.”

ON TARGET So now that Souab has taken on the role of general manager what are his target for 2017?

He says: “You have to bear in mind that the hotel is not fully finished, so there is still work happening, we are hoping that the beach club will be open by May. “I am really happy that we are over achieving our targets, we have built a very nice reputation and a buzz around the local market. “They feel that the hotel really brings something unique to the region. “The European market is now sending us more rooms so we are over-achieving our target and we are very optimistic to continue on this same trend.”

“I am really happy that we are over achieving our targets, we have built a very nice reputation and a buzz around the local market.�

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“I think diversity is a very important thing and that is what I am trying to build here.”

Retreat from the city

The beach resort is every bit the idyllic retreat from the hustle and bustle of life in Dubai that you would expect it to be, with 180 guest rooms and suites all featuring a stunning view of the ocean. “What I will say about this property is that it is an hour and a half away from Dubai, you can actually come from Dubai to here without a single red light which is very interesting,” he says. “I am discovering new things everyday and the fish is incredible in this region, plus you have the Indian Ocean which people tend to forget. “This property is really unique because you have the hotel, the marina and then the Indian Ocean.” He said the aim is to position the resort as a boutique hotel. “It’s very detail oriented, we have that Yamapool lounge which is more of a shisha area with a local and arabic twist to it,” says Souab. Connecting with the local community is going to be a key issue for Souab. “What we are trying to do is to connect with the local fishermen in order first to help them and in order for us to benefit from fresh fish that is coming straight from the ocean and straight to the plate,” he says.

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While the current economic conditions have led to anything but plain sailing for the hospitality industry, Souab is adamant that his current project will be successful. Souab says: “In Dubai there is still a lot of pressure on the hotels. But Fujairah is a different story. “Right now the occupancy is picking up year on year and the rates are picking up year on year. Our role here is to be pioneers in luxury and lift the destination upwards. “This year, our strategy is not to go for volume but to position our rates properly and to be the rate

leaders.” The key to success, according to Souab, is to have the right team in place. “I have seen from my experience in Dubai that bringing different people from different backgrounds and creating a team is a good thing to do, and that is what I am trying here and really create something unique,” he says. “I think diversity is a very important thing and that is what I am trying to build here. “Each member of our executive team is from a different part of the world so we are trying to have a big diversity within the team to create something different and very unique.

“The most important thing is to be able to listen, to really understand what are the challenges and to actually care about the challenges and to try to do something about them.” The key, he says, is to be transparent. “When something is done well I try to say it and celebrate success, but I also try to point out things that are not working very well and work with the team to make them improve,” says Souab. “In Fairmont we take care of our leaders and they take care of our guests so this is really the philosophy that we have and that we try to put in place every day.”

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THE CHANGING FAÇADE OF INTERIOR DESIGNING Kevin McLachlan, Partner at Godwin Austen Johnson, talks about efficient interior designs and Dubai beyond Expo 2020 By Veathika Jain

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INTERIORS Do you see a lot of design projects centred on Dubai Expo 2020? Everything seems to be geared toward Expo2020 right now but I think this is a mistake. Believe it or not the world will go on beyond 2020 and life will be much the same as it is now. The market is mature enough not to stall once Expo2020 has been and gone and the wise investors are renovating their assets to protect or reinvent them to stay competitive. I think after 2020 architecture will slow down but interior design will not notice too significant a slowdown as we start to see more renovations of existing buildings.


aving worked on the Heathrow Project in London and then the creation of Midland Banks, Kevin McLachlan, Partner at Godwin Austen Johnson, was more interested in being a product designer than an interiors specialist. “I wanted to be product designer specifically a car designer but I think interiors was already to be my destiny. When I was ten, my father secured a holiday job for me, with a designer who I thought designed racing cars in Bangkok to keep me occupied. Unfortunately he only occasionally followed what really was his hobby, whilst his real work lay in designing hotels. So instead of designing cars I spent my time colouring in concept visuals for a five star hotel in Bangkok,” says Kevin. Kevin has been involved in various projects in the hospitality and leisure industry from small scale food and drink outlets to large master-planned mixed-use developments, from Glasgow’s Groucho Club Hotel to Ibiza’s Café Mambo and Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah, to name a few. We asked him about designing in the UAE and more.

We try to design to minimise waste and will look at materials that weigh less to ship so we focus more on coverings rather than solid materials

What are the design principles that you follow in each project? I believe successful interiors should be simple and this is achieved by using a limited palette of materials offset with bold elements. I think one or two good big ideas are enough to achieve this but the real difficulty is holding back. My approach for most of my projects is with a photographer’s eye. I design to an imagined photograph - that is my goal, very much like a film director with a storyboard. I

What are GAJ’s strengths when it comes to interior designing? At the core of what we do is the team, so it is important that our team gels. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures so we are a bit of a collaborative social experiment, but it is one that works. I believe we are known in the market for our creativity, passion, professionalism, organisation and teamwork.

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compose the photograph in my mind or in sketch and then I compose the space. Typically I will walk through a project from the front door to the back in a couple of days in my mind and this will become our goal. Having said that, without the technical knowledge, it will be tougher to convince your clients and colleagues.

How has interior design changed over the years in the UAE? Interior design has changed in a big way over the last eighteen years. Before, designs were very classical and it was originally all about a few individuals, but buildings such as the Emirates Towers coming on to the landscape, really opened up the city and now anything is possible. What we create now is world class and rivals anywhere in the world. Today’s Emirati youth, whether clients or not, are very forward thinking and this open-mindedness has really opened up the market. It is less inhibitive than it once was. Once upon a time people here used to play it very safe but now they are willing to take more risks in terms of design. They understand that they need to be different to sell so there is a lot more respect for design. That is the fantastic thing about the UAE is that it is the youth driving the country and so there are less barriers today. Do you see a lot of efficient green practices in interior designing in the UAE? Efficient design is ingrained into everything we do. Interior design is inherently not environmentally sustainable as most of the products we use in this region are imported. However as a practice our approach is energy efficient and much of what we do is in line with the Emirates Green Building Council’s policies. We try to design to minimise waste and will look at materials that weigh less to ship so we focus more on coverings rather than solid materials. With the decline in the marble industry globally coupled with its environment impact we have found that there have been huge advances in ceramics in recent years. The quality of marble replication in porcelain mega ceramics is astounding. This has a huge environmental impact both in the reduction in weight of shipping environmentally, with cost now at 50% of equivalent marble, they make for a very attractive proposition.

Kevin McLachlan, Partner at Godwin Austen Johnson

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How about efficiency in lighting as that is an integral part of an interiors project? Lighting adds drama and character and it affects our moods. Tunable LED fixtures, which allow us to change the interior atmosphere according to the time of day or creating scenes to improve the look and feel of the work environment, or even to improve the recovery of patients in hospitals, is one of the many improvements we are seeing in the development of lighting products and lighting control systems. Equally, we want to be able to provide the best design and lighting features while maintaining a low carbon footprint, to strive to be as efficient as possible to reduce energy consumption while considering the quality of the lit space and of the light sources used in a project. How does furniture affect interior design? We do require a variety of furniture as we have an assortment of projects from heritage buildings and resorts to high-end hospitality. We source

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furniture from the Far East to Europe that needs to be able to tell a story in its own way. We do get items manufactured locally too, which can surprisingly be of very good quality compared to mass-produced items in other countries. Our general selection of furniture is very contemporary and, and we are very lucky to get introduced to products that have not yet come to the market. The market is very fashion driven with new items coming out every year. Generally it could be two years before we see the product in the market so we do need to think ahead about what the designs should look like, way in advance, so they have built in longevity. What are the projects you are excited to be working on? We have some new hospitality brands that are coming to market within the Jewel of the Creek project, which we have designed, which challenge the norm. In addition we have over 20 new restaurant brands that we have designed which is very exciting and we also

have a new airport hotel brand that we are currently working on which will see 300% occupancy once it is operational. It is an interesting brand and an unusual design challenge for us. What are the future products that will be seen in interiors? I think ceramics is going to continue to gain ground, those that replicate marble and stones are getting better and better so this is a very important market. I do think our love affair with the eclectic and BoHo will not die fast. What we will see or not see is the unseen de-tethering of technology integrated in our interiors.

2017 10–12 OCTOBER









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The right fit


Given the growth of the construction sector in the region, it should come as no surprise that there is a surge in the number of players in the fit-out contracting industry as well. Design Middle East takes a look at three companies operating in this field, and how their offerings stand out in the region

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ISG Middle East

In conversation with Steve Ramsden, Managing Director, ISG Middle East Tell us about your company, and the projects that you have been involved in so far?

ISG is the world’s most dynamic construction services company, delivering robust and future-proofed places that help people and businesses thrive. Our 2,800 worldwide specialists in fit-out, technology, construction and development deliver not just buildings, but also an exceptional delivery dynamic and strong customer relationships built on mutual trust, collaboration, and open communication. We blend our unparalleled track record, sound processes and proven delivery methods with a fast-paced and agile culture, ensuring we deliver thriving places that are as agile and resilient as their occupants. ISG Middle East was established in the UAE in 2009, and currently employs more than 100 people. ISG Middle East has delivered some of the most sophisticated fit out projects in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, in the hospitality and leisure, corporate office fit out, technology and healthcare sectors. ISG is the company behind the Kempinski Mall of the Emirates Hotel refurbishment, the fit out of Mattel Play! Town Dubai and The Roxy cinemas in City Walk, as well as the popular Peruvian-Japanese restaurant, Aji. In the corporate office fit out sector, ISG Middle East delivered 583,000 sq. ft. of highly specified office space within Abu Dhabi Global Market Square since 2011, which makes us the most active construction services company within that master plan. Similarly, in Emaar Business Park, we have delivered 240,000 sq. ft. since 2015, including an entire building for China National Oil Company. Other corporate office fit out projects of note include Ford Middle East and Africa Headquarters.

Given your offering, what are some of the trends you see in the market today? Also, what are the challenges you face in the sector? Environmentally friendly practices and accreditations are generally a growing trend, and one that is here to stay. This is a nation-wide trend that many industries are embracing, and is not just limited to construction. In the corporate office fit out, we are seeing a lot of focus on delivering open and collaborative work spaces, and in hospitality, there is increased activity in the value hotel category, where operators expect superior fit out and finishes at extremely competitive costs. As for challenges, it is hard to generalize, because each project comes with its own set of challenges. In the context of hospitality, it could be a hotel that needs

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complete refurbishment, while being open to the public, and in corporate office, it could be ensuring no business interruption, even as sophisticated IT systems are being moved or upgraded.

Given the crowded nature of the market today, what, according to you, sets ISG Middle East apart from its peers?

As a global business, we are very focused on client relationships; we ensure that every job is done to the required specification, and delivered on time and on budget. Because of our commitment to clients, we get repeat business, from both of our international and local clients, who value not only our ability to deliver, but the innovation and the consistent high-quality we are known for.

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In conversation with Dimitri Papakonstantinou, Managing Director, Plafond Tell us about your company, and the projects that you have been involved in so far? Plafond is a fit out, MEP and FM company operating in the UAE and Qatar and is part of the Emirates Airlines Group of Companies. With a team of over 1500 tradesmen ranging from carpenters and masons to plumbers and electricians as well as 300 staff, we directly deliver many of the trades on a project, which gives us the confidence and assurance of meeting our client’s expectations. Plafond has a wide range of experience across many sectors of the construction industry. In the hospitality industry, we have carried out the fit out of the Palazzo Versace Dubai (rooms and corridors package), The Pad residential (full fit out). In the entertainment sector, we have complete the fit out of the Bollywood section in Dubai Parks, the F&B outlets at IMG Worlds of Adventure, Megaplex Novo Cinema refurbishment and Reel Cinema Marina Mall refurbishment. We also have extensive experience on the F&B sector from casual to fine dining. We have carried out the fit out works for Tom and Serg, Poco Loco, Bahri Bar, Nezzesaussi, Eat Greek and many others.

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Given your offering, what are some of the trends you see in the market today? Also, what are the challenges you face in the sector? Green design and construction has been in the forefront for several years now; however, I believe that there is room for improvement and real implementation of these initiatives. To date, on many projects, these initiatives are only used if the cost impact is not significant, and the long terms benefits are often ignored. Furthermore, the use of technology will become more prominent in the way we build. From BIM to 3D printing, I believe we will soon see significant changes in the industry. Nothing in the construction industry comes easy unfortunately. The main parties, i.e. client, consultant, contractor are often very polarized, which has an adverse effect on the project. There is often mistrust between these three key players, which leads to unnecessary documentation, personnel and time, which offers little value to the end result on the project. It is therefore key for us to have the trust of the client and designer, and demonstrating that we have the success of the project at heart. I believe

that this is rewarded with return business, and traditionally, Plafond’s workload is predominantly with repeat clients. The other obvious challenge, which is currently faced by most in the market, is that of liquidity. This puts the contractors and supply chain under undue pressure unfortunately, as they’re often left to carry the weight of financing the project inadvertently.

Given the crowded nature of the market today, what, according to you, sets Plafond apart from its peers? I believe the edge that we have over many of our competitors is the fact that we self-deliver the fit out and MEP scope of works. This gives us and our clients the comfort of delivery on time and to the quality that we have built Plafond’s reputation on. This reliability leads on to strong relationships with our clients and no one in Plafond is unreachable to speak or deal with them. We have a great team of staff and labour who have been with the company for years, and understand the core values that Plafond has.


In conversation with Tom Gilmartin, Business Development Manager, ALEC FITOUT Tell us about your company, and the projects that you have been involved in so far? ALEC FITOUT is a part of the ALEC Group. We specialise in the fit out and refurbishment of 5 star hotel & resorts, cinemas, commercial offices, retail, cultural and luxury mixed-use developments in the UAE and Qatar. Current and completed ALEC FITOUT hospitality projects are operated by the likes of Jumeirah, One & Only, Sofitel, Park Hyatt, Waldorf Astoria and Ritz Carlton, to name a few. We have extensive airport experience, having completed major fit out projects in Dubai International Airport, Abu Dhabi International Airport and Hamad International Airport in Qatar. We also have a number of large scale fit out projects ongoing in Qatar and UAE across hospitality, metro, residential and leisure sectors. Given your offering, what are some of the trends you see in the market today? Also, what are the challenges you face in the sector? Many projects are being awarded with MEP and fit out under one contract – we have extensive experience delivering MEP, fit out and FF&E all under one contract, and so, we welcome fit out and refurbishment opportunities with such

a scope. Value engineering and the ability to propose alternative solutions to a specified finish that maintains both aesthetic and performance and also matches a client’s budget is another trend influencing the market. The majority of projects awarded recently have included value engineering workshops with client teams, pre- and post-award. Timely access to site and coordination with MEP are two challenges faced regularly on fit out projects. Our experienced operational team manages these challenges through a proactive and collaborative approach.

Given the crowded nature of the market today, what, according to you, sets ALEC FITOUT apart from its peers? ALEC FITOUT consistently delivers high quality fit out solutions for a cost effective budget. We use our in-house network of specialist contractors coupled with our extensive local and international supply chain. We offer a complete interior solution fulfilling the need for project management, engineering, value engineering, design-build, procurement and fit out all under one contract.

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As thin and small as The Blade iGuzzini brings out a new addition to the Laser Blade family By Veathika Jain

iGuzzini HQ in Recanati

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Eurasia Tunnel in Istanbul


e’ve all heard of musicians doing world tours, but here comes a lighting innovation that’s going on an international tour. The lighting pioneers iGuzzini is presenting the world premiere of something that did not exist until now: The Blade. The Blade is an inspiration and a tribute to the art of Lucio Fontana: a thin cut on the ceiling from which a magical light springs out, a light with strong technological contents. Richard Holmes, Regional Director at iGuzzini Middle East, explains, “Our innovations come from our culture, through the exchanges of knowledge with international light and architecture professionals. “The Blade is an inspiration and a tribute to the art of Lucio Fontana (1899-1968). Lucio was a painter, ceramist and an Italian sculptor (born in Argentina), founder of the spatialist movement. His cuts on canvas are exhibited at MoMA, and represent the overcoming of the traditional distinction between painting and sculpture.” The Blade (Laser Blade XS) comes from the Laser Blade family, an industry icon from 2012: the first linear downlight with circular light distribution, which has evolved in a bigger version (L-XL) and now in a miniaturized version. “The singularity of The Blade is made of

precision, because it is an icon of miniaturization, a masterpiece of accuracy that perfectly integrates in architecture as nothing before, disappearing into the ceiling to ensure visual comfort and maximum expression for architecture,” adds Holmes. The Blade tour starts from London as it is home to many of the best architectural firms and lighting design studios in the world. The tour will continue in Berlin, Paris, Lyon, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney, Auckland and New York, with the aim of launching on the major specification centres worldwide.

STAYING AHEAD iGuzzini is well known for its innovation in the lighting industry. “We invest around 6 to 7% of our annual turnover in R&D, and 76% of 2016 revenues derived from new products launched in the last 5 years (in 2015 this figure was 64%), with a LED incidence of 76% (in the next three years, this figure is expected to stabilize). “This clearly shows that the new products are strategic and that the market asks every year new and competitive products. Each year we create around 2500 codes within our 6 core areas of application: retail, culture, infrastructures, working, hospitality & living and urban, with an optimal balance

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In practice, the artificial light interacts dynamically with the natural light variations and regulates itself in temperature and intensity to always ensure the best perception of the works latest of the Laser Blade family, that has become an icon. XS has been called The Blade because it is the smallest downlight in the world. “So, the important thing is not what we expect, as our company has been structured in such a way that the turnover is very well distributed. We don’t have concentration risk in any one market with no single market representing more than 10% of the turnover (except for Italy: 20%), plus we do not have a client who represents more than 5%, so this product

line doesn’t count more than 10% of our turnover. “We think that while many are still copying Laser Blade, we are taking another step forward, as we give the same top performances with a product that is the smallest in the world.”

FINANCIAL FORECAST “We are very satisfied with the company’s figures. The 2016 turnover of EUR 231.5 million has been the best performance in the entire history of iGuzzini,” said Holmes. The company has seen a growth of more than 20% over the last three years, at an average rate of 6% a year considering constant exchange rates. Of the total turnover 59.8% is interior solutions, with the balance 40.2% being outdoor solutions. 76% of 2016 revenue is derived from new products launched in the last five years. In 2015 this figure was 64%. These figures reveal that new products have proven strategic for iGuzzini, and the market asks for new and competitive products every year. For this reason, the Group in the last three years has invested 6% of their annual turnover in research and development.


between these core areas and the market mix, in 8 global geographic areas,” explains Holmes. Holmes added that The Blade has raised the bar of miniaturization, thanks to innovative microoptics, microchips, nanotechnology and microsolutions for heat dissipation. Starting from a minimum size of 28 mm, The Blade is available in a variety of forms (linear and square) and finishes (white, black, gold, dark chrome), which allow the downlights to adapt to multiple application needs in retail, museum, hospitality & living environments, and also to be integrated as a pure design object. The Blade is available with the innovative Tunable White technology, which is able to adjust colour temperature from 2700K to 5700K. This technology is able to improve the psychophysical wellbeing of people, as there’s a possibility of obtaining a dynamic light, very rich from the spectral point of view. When it comes to expectations from The Blade, Holmes insists that it’s not important to talk about numbers. “We need to consider that this product is the

iGuzzini is in no hurry to make acquisitions. Holmes explains, “We have different targets. We’ll do it when we find the right company for us. Having to make an assessment, perhaps something East or West of Europe would be preferable.”

MAJOR PROJECTS iGuzzini has so far been the largest company in infrastructure and promotion of cultural heritage. The lighting pioneers have lit many airports, including Fiumicino and Ciampino in Italy, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong. The Eurasia Tunnel of Istanbul, which is a 14 km futuristic underwater tunnel, has also been illuminated by iGuzzini. In the cultural and museum fields, the Group has worked on masterpieces like The Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, the Beaubourg in Paris, Galleria Borghese. In a few months, the new illumination of the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, as well as the Scuola Grande di San Rocco in Venice with Tintoretto’s paintings will be inaugurated. Two most important American museums, i.e. the LACMA in Los Angeles and the Whitney Museum in New York, were also illuminated by the lighting pioneers. The company is also working on an interesting project that incorporates intelligence of light. “The Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, where we are implementing a new operation of ‘perceptual restoration’ on Giotto’s frescoes with innovative, responsive LED technologies, is an example of this,” explains Holmes. “By providing an intelligent lighting system, capable of adapting the artificial light to natural light, we will bring benefits in terms of visual quality, artwork conservation and environment. “In practice, the artificial light interacts dynamically with the natural light variations and regulates itself in temperature and intensity to always ensure the best perception of the works.”

TARGETING INDUSTRY 4.0 Holmes says that iGuzzini is the only lighting company adopting the World Class Manufacturing programme for the achievement of zero defects, zero breakdowns, zero accidents and zero storage. “Parallely, we are already implementing an application of Industry 4.0, based on the interconnection of digital industrial processes and the analysis of available electronic data, to continuously improve processes. A way that respects and protects the people, increasing efficiency and improving working conditions,” concludes Holmes.

Richard Holmes, Regional Director at iGuzzini Middle East

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COMBINING THE CLASSIC WITH THE CONTEMPORARY Modern world furniture is changing with the times By Veathika Jain

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of their lives where they will purchase furniture, they are leaning towards more modern styles.” Zaffino also feels that any one particular furniture design is hardly used in one room. “I see that most homes and interior decorators splash an accent piece of traditional furniture like a console or

hall table in bold colours in a contemporary setting to break the norm. “The design style is getting blurred now. If the room, café or lobby looks good aesthetically then it really doesn’t matter if the furniture used is all contemporary, traditional or a mix of both.”


urniture in the modern world has become more versatile, functional and smart. Be it through edgy designs, transforming storage, or having outlets for various devices, contemporary furniture is changing with the times. Fashion and furniture industry also go handin-hand when it comes to being contemporary. Furniture trends especially for colours, textures and patterns follow the runways of New York, Milan and Paris. And as these change seasonally, so does the furniture industry. Domenic Zaffino, founder of Mobilia Furniture in Dubai feels that it’s the fabrics, leathers, metals, timbers and accessories used in furniture design that change their colours like a chameleon to set the tone for the trend. “The term contemporary means the present, existing, what is popular or in vogue today. This does not mean that we see drastic changes in shapes and forms in furniture designs. I think, that these days the term contemporary does not have one particular style or look. It is made up of many trends which are contemporary all at the same time and can be amalgamated in the same space,” adds Zaffino. Modern furniture started to make a mainstream appearance in the 1950’s and many say the modernist art movement influenced it. Many classic pieces were designed in the 1920’s and are still in production today. However, Zaffino has definitely seen a shift towards more contemporary furniture in the last decade. “There is still a market for traditional furniture but as the younger generation enter a stage

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Bed in retro light timber

The current trend includes solid timber and timber veneer furniture in lighter species. Marble is making a comeback paired with wood and metal. Smart furniture with charging modules and connectivity is here and growing in popularity and vintage accent pieces are becoming prominent. Zaffino is seeing a shift in the market when it comes to sofas. “I am seeing larger cosy sofa sets in L shape configurations and U shapes to fill the large spaces and create a chill zone.” “If 2017 was a colour it would be green, from light to emerald green, we are seeing accent walls, full sofas in fabric and leather, throw cushions, and floor rugs being dominated by these colours.”

Audio and charging sofa

There are some trends that have stayed like the mid century modern furniture. “Mid century modern furniture has dominated over the past several years and shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to the mid century Scandinavian classics, I see many furniture pieces inspired by these retro designs which are very popular,” adds Zaffino Zaffino sees a lot of spaces in Dubai and the UAE using contemporary furniture. “Dubai is a modern cosmopolitan city with brilliant architecturally designed buildings and therefore the spaces are organically filled with contemporary furniture. “With 200 nationalities in one city, we do see many varied tastes and ideas when it comes to

interiors, but I believe that the foundation of most interiors here is modern contemporary and then accessorized with the individuals or companies’ core ethnicity which has exposed me to some amazing and sometimes intriguing ensembles.” He feels majority of his clients aim for modern interiors using furniture with clean lines, light interiors with splashes of bold colours. “It’s very rare now that clients are looking to live or work in a dark coloured, cluttered and overbearing environment.” Even restaurants and hotels are looking at contemporary furniture to stand out from the crowd. “Like Las Vegas the hotels and restaurants in Dubai

Dubai is a modern cosmopolitan city with brilliant architecturally designed buildings and therefore the spaces are organically filled with contemporary furniture U-shape sofa

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have to offer something different to set themselves apart from each other. I feel that using ‘edgy’ furniture is one way that they can perhaps attract attention and also create a beautiful interior. “While being cutting edge or modern in your furniture selection, the key fundamental is comfort and this should never be compromised to achieve a look. I have seen many stunning interiors but that first impression quickly fades once you sit in an uncomfortable dining chair, sofa or a table where functionality has been overlooked.” While there are no fast moving or must-have contemporary furniture pieces according to Zaffino, he feels it all depends on personal taste, current furniture and the space available. “One can refresh and update the interiors quite easily and economically by changing or adding throw cushions on the sofa, putting in a new floor rug, adding some art, or a little bit of drama with a high hanging floor lamp, or an accent chair like a rotating arm chair or chaise lounge as a statement piece.” Green floor rug

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Light it up

A look at the latest lighting products in the market

NOSTALGIA STUDIO ITALIA DESIGN Nostalgia offers retro shapes that blends modern lines, giving the rooms a chic and trendy atmosphere, perfectly in line with today’s styles. Materials, used in this creation, characterise the influence of the Venetian context in which the company resides; careful and high-quality workmanship of the glass reflects the ancient tradition of glass in the soft and precious lines giving emotional appeal to the lamp. Three sizes and four different colours that give the possibility to create and play with lamps, creating a contact with the same and allowing customisation of the compositions.

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LASER BLADE XS iGUZZINI With a minimal design obtained from the miniaturisation of electronic and optical components, Laser Blade XS “The Blade” is an extremely compact solution, only 28 mm wide. Built to the specific requirements, the product can deliver asymmetric light to illuminate vertical surfaces, or high-contrast light with different beam angles. The solution with a narrower beam angle concentrates the light on horizontal surfaces, such as tables, floors, or tops, acting as accent light to highlight exhibits on dark walls. The wider-angle beam is used for general lighting. All beams guarantee an excellent visual comfort thanks to the rear position of the LEDs. The special configuration of the optical system creates a perfectly homogeneous circular distribution with no multiple shadows.

MOULDS JAN PLECHAC & HENRY WIELGUS Moulds is a collection of suspended lights, showcasing Czech crystal at its most resilient and lively form. The series capture a specific moment when molten glass resists its expected shape and freely escapes from the mould as a random, amorphous bubble. The energising effect of this series arises from the contrast of materials, using the traditional craft techniques of blowing crystal glass into a beech form. The composition of varied overblown shapes creates a particularly striking visual effect. Integrated LED light sources were set directly within the charred form, creating an impression that the heat and energy of the glassmaker’s kiln remained inside, in historic reference to the art of Czech glassmakers.

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NEVERENGING GLORY JAN PLECHAC & HENRY WIELGUS The Neverending Glory collection reflects nostalgic emotions and interprets opulent candle chandeliers in new ways to symbolise the prime moments of appreciation and glory. In individual silhouettes, it is possible to recognise iconic chandeliers from five of the world’s most eminent concert halls and theatres, including La Scala in Milan, Palais Garnier in Paris, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, as well as the Czech Republic’s Estates Theatre in Prague.

CRYSTAL ROCK ARIK LEVY Crystal Rock is created with a perfectly cut, yet roughly sculpted contemporary silex that highlights the interaction between light and darkness, suspended in the air like a frozen shooting star. The world stands still the moment you gaze upon it, its multiple reflections and deflections fascinating during the day and even more dynamic at night.

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A-TUBE STUDIO ITALIA DESIGN The look is more minimal and satisfies an organic and simple design using the efficiency of LED technology. With the new matte black finish, the design is always up to date and perfect, either alone or in small or large compositions in different heights.

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UNIQUE INSTALLATION PRECIOSA The creation of the suspended sculptural lighting feature began with the simple idea of deconstructing Arabic geometries. In the beginning, there was the eight-pointed star, from which the form was extruded, developed, and rotated into intersecting cubes. Afterwards, 3D diamond shapes, which normally surround the Arabic eight pointed star, were developed. The aim was to shift the viewer’s experience between the elements from seeing beyond and through the sculpture and offsetting against areas of reflection in order to multiply elements of the suspension. The use of double-sided mirror finish glass was employed to encase random shapes.

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WHAT’S ON AT THIS YEAR’S EXHIBITION Immerse yourself in invigorating design at the INDEX Design Series, Dubai’s biggest interiors exhibition. Set within a lush forest décor, INDEX 2017 is out to explore the theme of Design for the Senses – shaping an environment that will capture the organic nature of design and celebrate those who continually push the creative cycle on.

THE INDEX ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN AWARDS Now in its fifth year, the INDEX Architecture & Design Awards celebrate exceptional creativity in the GCC’s design industry. Taking place on the 23rd of May at the Cavalli Club in Dubai, the Awards provides an opportunity to recognise and promote the individuals and firms who have delivered outstanding work into the region over the previous year.

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Bethan Gary, Jo Hamilton, Letitia Taylor & Henry Holland

DESIGN TALKS The Design Talks, sponsored by OFIS, is a free-to-attend series of seminar sessions aimed at providing invaluable educational content to the region’s architecture, interior design, retail and hospitality communities.

HARRODS’ VIP OASIS Stylists from the high-end London retailer’s interior design arm Harrods Interiors will be creating an exclusive VIP lounge within the exhibition’s luxury hall.

The 2017 line up of keynote speakers includes London style icon Henry Holland, Welsh award-winning Bethan Gray, Head of Harrods Interiors Letitia Taylor & leading interior designer Jo Hamilton.

Presenting their own furniture range, the Harrods of London collection, this will be the first time pieces from the stunning collection will be displayed outside the British capital – and marks Harrods Interiors’ first design of a public space anywhere in the UAE.


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H.H. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at Nakkash Gallery booth with Najih and Omar Nakkash

Design denizens come together Design Days Dubai 2017

The 2017 edition of the Middle East and South Asia’s only international collectable design fair welcomed a record number of visitors this year


ith more than 11,000 people attending the event, the 2017 edition of Design Days Dubai, held at Dubai Design District (d3) from March 14-17, was deemed its most successful installment yet, with the annual fair this year attracting the largest number of exhibiting design galleries and studios since its establishment in 2012. As the region’s only international collectible design fair, Design Days Dubai 2017 saw 50 exhibitors representing 125 designers from 39 countries around the world showcase more than 400 purchasable works, while also playing host to a range of talks and workshops featuring eminent personalities and experts from the industry. “We are proud that Design Days Dubai 2017 closes as its most successful edition yet,” said

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Rawan Kashkoush, Design Days Dubai’s Head of Programming. “There was buoyant mood throughout the fair, amongst its many visitors and exhibitors, who reported strong sales interest. Dubai has again reinforced its position as the regional centre of design, and we look forward to continuing that fantastic momentum throughout to return in 2018 for our seventh edition.” Visitors to this year’s edition of the event included H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice Chairman of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, alongside many other local and regional dignitaries.

Sonulexica by Apical Reform, at Design Days Dubai 2017

Todd Merrill Antiques at Design Days Dubai 2017

Fabio Novembre speaking at Design Days Dubai 2017

Participants at a workshop at Design Days Dubai 2017

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H.E. Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, visiting Design Days Dubai 2017

MB&F M.A.D. Gallery at Design Days Dubai 2017

Besides being a platform for international designers and galleries, Design Days Dubai 2017 also positioned itself as a launch pad for regional talent, with the event partnering with the likes of Van Cleef & Arpels, Audi, Tashkeel, Dubai Culture, and d3 for a number of different initiatives aimed at developing the local design community. “Collaboration with events such as Design Days is key to our vision of ensuring that d3 continues to

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Marie Munier’s exhibit at Design Days Dubai 2017

evolve into a truly integrated and global creative community, which nurtures and showcases the region’s local talent to an international audience,” said Mohammad Saeed Al Shehhi, Chief Operating Officer, d3. “We are really excited to see the way the region’s design industry is flourishing through platforms like Design Days that supports our vision of nurturing local and regional talent and supporting them to reach their full potential.”

Rawan Kashkoush, Head of Programming, Dubai Design Week

H.H. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum visiting Design Days Dubai 2017

Coalesce’s Jorjuk Structure at Design Days Dubai 2017

Fadi Sarieddine’s Rock n’ Roll Chair at Design Days Dubai 2017

Marie Munier’s Jouzour at Design Days Dubai 2017

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Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan,


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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.

The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia 2017

April 4-6, 2017 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia celebrates its fifth year in 2017, and the event is set to attract new suppliers, thousands of key buyers, and will include many new features attracting hospitality professionals from across the Kingdom. The event offers a unique platform for hoteliers, restaurateurs, interior designers, developers, chefs and architects to source products from over 100 global suppliers.

Stone & Surface Saudi Arabia 2017

April 4-6, 2017 Jeddah, Saudi Arabia Part of the Big 5 portfolio of events, Stone & Surface Saudi Arabia is the only event in the Kingdom dedicated to connecting interior and exterior surface material and machinery suppliers with the decision makers responsible for specifying and procuring them. This year, the event is co-located with The Hotel Show Saudi Arabia.

Salone Internazionale del Mobile 2017

April 4-9, 2017 Milan, Italy Now in its 56th edition, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile will feature 2,000 exhibitors will be showing their wares across a display area exceeding 200,000 sq. m. These impressive figures, along with the thousands of products being unveiled for the first time, confirm the Salone del Mobile’s enormous value as an international showcase for creativity and a forum for industry professionals, with more than 300,000 visitors expected to attend from over 165 different nations.

Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition)

April 6-9, 2017 Hong Kong The ninth edition of HKTDC Hong Kong International Lighting Fair (Spring Edition) is expected to see around 1,300 exhibitors join the fair, offering global buyers a one-stop sourcing platform for all finished products, parts and components.

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Platinum ALLY


Tuesday 25 th April 2017 | THE WESTIN Dubai MINA SEYAHI The Construction Innovation Forum 2017 hosted by Construction Business News Middle East will gather 150 professionals from across the construction sector to debate the big issues affecting the regional industry today. Through a series of thought provoking panel discussions and presentations delegates can gain insight into:

• Alternative finance models: The rise of PPP • EXPO 2020: Fast tracking construction projects • Sustainability in construction • Technology in construction


• Building Fire Safety in the UAE • The impact of VAT on the construction sector Sponsorship enquiries: Joaquim D’Costa Group Sales director Mobile: +971 50 440 2706 Phone: +971 4 4200 506

Speaking enquiries: Vishvanath Shetty Sales Manager Mobile: +971 52 674 5378 Phone: +971 4 4200506

Jason O’Connell Editor Phone: +971 4 4200506



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The last word

Daousser Chennoufi, chairman of Draw Link Group, shares the design factors that play a role in shaping customer behavior at an F&B outlet commonly used in fast food chains. Colour can also impact space perception, with dark shades making a space look smaller, thereby creating a more personal and intimate feel. Crucially, the interiors must complement the dining concept, and this is influenced by market trends. For example, today there is a tendency towards smart luxury and informal dining, and customers therefore prefer modern venues with a casual, social atmosphere, rather than high-end venues. Finally, while interior design is the most important factor for adding value to a customer’s experience, the restaurant’s exterior should not be ignored, since this creates the first and last impression.

on show. Colour must be used carefully as it can stimulate the senses and is psychologically linked to smell and appetite. For example, red and yellow are appetite stimulators, which explains why they are

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Daousser Chennoufi is chairman of Draw Link Group, the umbrella company of Draw Link Interior Link Architecture, Draw Link Project and Draw Link Technical Works. Headquartered in Dubai, the company has offices in Qatar, Tunisia, Belarus and Shanghai. Chennoufi previously founded Trans Dazz Interior Design and Concept Showroom in Dubai, and headed up the design and concept development of HUES Hotels & Resorts.


Today, restaurants aren’t just about food: they must offer a unique dining environment and an enjoyable guest experience. Lighting, music, artwork and the design theme have a direct impact on the mood of a guest, influencing how long they will spend in a restaurant and how much food and beverage they will consume. Appropriate lighting creates the right accents on furniture and objects in a space. Bright lights can shorten the duration of time spent in a restaurant, while dimmed lighting can make the atmosphere more comfortable and relaxed, thereby encouraging guests to stay longer. Furniture is a crucial aspect of interior design, with comfort and functionality of more importance to the customer than visual shape. Our experience shows that the majority of restaurant guests would prefer softer and taller furniture. Additionally, there is a direct link between furniture preferences and the climate. In cooler countries, customers prefer warm upholstery, while in warmer climates, they tend to favour materials such as leather. Another important consideration when it comes to furniture is creating the right spacing between tables: a lack of space can reduce intimacy, while too much space will make guests feel like they are

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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 April 2017  
Design Middle East April 2017