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The new Plaza premium Lounge at Dubai International Airport is top class in design, comfort, and dining


February 2020

Wind down before the take-off

MAKING AN ENTRANCE! Unique entrances for unique buildings Bauporte doors provide the entrances to some of the worlds most iconic buildings and now we have brought our experience and expertise to the Middle East. With the completion the prestigious entrances for the Dubai Real Estate Company, an upgrade for the entrances of the Opus by Zaha Hadid and the start of the exciting Action Impact auditorium works in Abu Dhabi, our customized doors solutions have found their way to some of the regions’ most iconic buildings. We have been designing and manufacturing customised door solutions for more than 100 years and our experience and passion for quality will ensure that you can create that exceptional entrance that your building deserves. Visit bauporte.com and get inspired!

Bauporte Gulf Building Materials Trading L.L.C. Rep. office: Level 41, Emirates Towers, Sheik Zayed Road, PO Box 31303, European Business Centre, Dubai Investment Park First, Office BC-38, 598-633, Dubai, UAE Tel: + 971 43132 793, sales@bauporte.com

Contents F e brua ry 2020


20 IN THIS ISSUE‌ 24 Cover Story

All about the new Premium Plaza Lounge at Dubai International Airport









Ahid Shaikh from Bianca & Bianco, talks about affordable luxury

Dimitri Papakonstantinou from ASI, talks about Expo 2020 and other exciting projects in the pipeline

Effective classroom designs for the wellness of students

Design tour of The Saudi Ambassador residence located in Warsaw, Poland

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Contents F e brua ry 2020



Editor’s Note

12 Newsmakers 54 Supplier Focus

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58 Events 60 Pick of the Month



Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre Al Ain, Abu Dhabi

Sintoho, Four Seasons Hotel Al Mirqab, Kuwait

No. 57 Boutique CafĂŠ Al Bateen Harbour, Abu Dhabi

Since 1998, Havelock One Interiors has established itself as a leading turnkey fit-out service provider in the Middle East. We specialise in interior contracting and manufacturing of bespoke joinery, metal works and shop-fittings. Being driven by the aspiration to deliver exceptional work through the power of thoughtful precision, Havelock One supports its demanding clients with high-end services and products for hospitality, F&B, retail, commercial, government, entertainment and selected residential projects.


Havelock One. Consider it done.

Give good hygiene a hand The fastest most energy efficient HEPA-filtered hand dryer1

User friendly Tested to withstand real washroom scenarios, the durable design uses ‘time of flight’ sensors that accurately detect hands in 0.25 seconds to activate air and reduce waiting time. It is also our quietest Airblade to date.2

HEPA filter Fleece-lined glass fiber HEPA filter captures 99.95% of particles,6 including bacteria and viruses, from the washroom air.

10 second dry time7 Ergonomic drying angle and Curved Blade™ design follow the curves of your hands to remove water quickly, for fast, comfortable hand drying. 1

Dry time and energy consumption calculated for Max mode. Dry time was determined using Dyson test method 769 based on NSF P335 to a measurement of 0.1g residual moisture.


Average loudness (measured in sones) compared to Dyson Airblade™ hand dryers.


Compared with other Dyson airblade models.


Measured in Eco mode.


Average electricity price US$ 0.1/kWh for the US market, as of May 2019. For calculations visit www.dyson.ae/calcs.


HEPA filter tested to EN1822-5, by an independent testing laboratory, under prescribed test conditions.


Dry time determined for Max mode using Dyson test method 769 based on NSF P335 to a measurement of 0.1g residual moisture.

Sustainable design Straight line configuration allows for simpler air flow paths, meaning less energy consumption3. And efficient aerodynamics means the Dyson digital motor draws up to 87% less energy 4 than a warm air hand dryer. Lowering costs to just $19/ year to run in Eco mode.5

Dyson digital motor V4 Using digital pulse technology, the Dyson digital motor V4 spins up to 75,000 times a minute in Max mode.

Find out more 04 350 7877 dysonprofessionalmea@dyson.com www.Dyson.ae

CEO Wissam Younane wissam@bncpublishing.net Director Rabih Najm rabih@bncpublishing.net Group publishing director Joaquim D’Costa jo@bncpublishing.net +971 50 440 2706

Business development director Rabih Naderi rabih.naderi@bncpublishing.net +966 50 328 9818

Editor Roma Arora roma@ bncpublishing.net

Art director Aaron Sutton

Welcome According to a recent report, in 2020, the UAE is expected to lead in the share of interiors and fit-out spend in the GCC region, at 42% of the total. The stats also states that the overall GCC interior contracting and fit-out spend across all sectors is expected to increase from $8,975mn in 2019 to $10,160mn (9%) in 2020. This is very good news for the region and hopefully, we would get to see some more masterpieces of design and architecture in recent times. In our January 2020, edition, on the cover, we have fabulous Premium Plaza Lounge project at the Dubai Airport. We spoke to the designer Kinney Chan and Mei Mei Song from Plaza Premium group about the design highlights, global theme, and how sustainability and technology play a huge role in the success of the project. In our features segment, we spoke to leading design experts on the importance of classroom designs for the wellness of students and teachers. Also, we have covered a very impressive—The Saudi Ambassador residence located in Warsaw, Poland by designer Sonia Ashoor. There are other exciting interviews, Op-Ed pieces, suppliers profiles, and much more!

Roma Arora


Marketing Executive Aaron Joshua aj@bncpublishing.net

This month, I want those cushy pillows from a lovely decor store— Bokja Design in Lebanon!

Digital Media Producer Ahmad Khader ahmad@bncpublishing.net

SUBSCRIBE subscriptions@bncpublishing.net 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 504402706 All rights reserved © 2019. 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.

FOLLOW US ON www.design-middleeast.com /designmideast /designmiddleeast /designmiddleeast @designmiddleeast

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February 2020


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2XL Furniture & Home Décor opens showroom in Al Ain Mall

Ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new 2XL showroom at Al Ain Mall

After the success of its first showroom in Al Ain, 2XL Furniture & Home Décor has announced the opening of a second showroom in the city at Al Ain Mall. It also marks 2XL’s 10th store opening in the UAE, a major milestone for the luxe brand. Inaugurating the state-of-theart showroom, Suood Al Sadi, general manager of 2XL Furniture & Home Décor, said: “We are very excited to begin 2020, with an exceptional addition to our portfolio in a prime location. Al Ain

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Mall is home to world-renowned brands and top entertainment facilities and is, therefore, a strategic choice for us to increase brand visibility and serve our high-end customers closer to their residences. We look forward to welcoming both existing and new design-minded homeowners to this fabulous new facility.” Spread over a floor area of 23,181sqft at the premier shopping centre and leisure destination in Al Ain, the stunning 2XL showroom

is inspired by Mashrabiya design that is complemented by rich velvet painting and a golden bronze colour cladding. Completing the look of the store is the glamorous appearance of the front façade along with spectacular window displays. Commenting on the showroom’s concept, Amit Yadav, head of marketing, 2XL Furniture & Home Décor, said: “It is more than just a showroom. Our displays are defined around lifestyle concepts. The creative layouts demonstrate

how different styles and elements can be juxtaposed to reimagine and enhance refined interiors. Above all, it has been conceptualised to offer our sophisticated shoppers an incredible experience that is all about celebrating design in every sense of the term.” With a decade-long success story, Al Ain Mall attracts a large number of visitors a year, half of which are UAE nationals – the largest customer base for 2XL Furniture & Home Décor.



Cundall is set to achieve net zero certification by mid-2020 The year 2020, will be a defining year for the world’s built environment, marking the dawn of a decade of action in which the industry will be transformed by the UN’s 2030 agenda for sustainable development. Multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, has named 2020 the ‘Year of Net Zero’, announcing its commitment to achieving net zero carbon throughout its own business operations, incorporating the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into every element and leading the way for others to do the same. Richard Stratton, managing director and Partner MENA, commented: “Sustainability permeates through every aspect of Cundall, achieving net zero is a huge part of that, and with COP26 in Glasgow later this year, we are committed to not only achieving net zero carbon throughout our own offices globally, but to sharing our learnings and leading the conversation around net zero carbon projects that started in 2019, and will likely only become more vociferous as COP26 draws closer.” Stratton further added: “When we launched our latest Sustainability Roadmap in late 2018, we were under no illusions that achieving our ambitious net zero goals would not be straight forward. Net zero is a complex issue that needs the type of technical solution that we, as engineers, are best-placed to provide, and it is through the process of continuously learning from our project experience, developing our approach and adjusting our methods that we can succeed.” Cundall has also announced

Cundall is undertaking an ambitious approach to drive the net zero carbon agenda across the UAE and beyond

its resolution to collaborate with industry bodies to revolutionise the built environment’s approach to net zero. Cundall will work alongside the Ministry of Infrastructure Development (MOID), Emirates Green Building Council (EGBC), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), the UK Green Building Council, the Greater London Authority (GLA), and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry and define targets for achieving net zero carbon in both new and existing buildings. Hala Yousef, head of sustainability MENA at Cundall, said: “The region’s leadership is showing the industry the roadmap that we all must follow

in the next 10 years through the UAE’s Green Agenda 2015-2030 and National Climate Change Plan of the UAE 2017-2050, with no space given to climate change sceptics. It’s incredible to see the progress being made across all the Emirates and the on-going work the industry is committing to.” “Ultimately, achieving net zero is an engineering problem that needs a technical solution, and we are dedicated to helping the industry achieve it.” Cundall Australia has led the charge to net zero, achieving certification in late 2019, and setting the bar for Cundall’s other offices around the globe to follow suit by June this year. Once this is achieved, the practice will continue along the path to being 115 per cent carbon positive by 2025.

Cundall is currently working with the GLA to launch new standards for whole life carbon for all referable schemes by early February, simultaneously setting out a proposed roadmap and targets for all developments in the next decade. The next step will be to set intensive targets for whole life and embodied carbon and mandate compulsory reporting for all building projects. At the same time, the practice is also collaborating with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the London Energy Transformation Initiative (LETI) to help unify the industry on setting operational energy intensity targets for all building types. Once agreed the aim will be to get these included in legislation for both new and existing buildings so that we can meet our net zero carbon targets.

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Formed by 25 interconnecting open-plan rooms, the diversity of the retail environment is designed to inspire curiosity and invite the customer to explore, discover, and shop

KARE opens its first standalone store in the UAE

KARE showroom at Dubai Festival Plaza

Harrods London unveils its new home department designed by Virgile + Partners Harrods London unveils its new interiors department. For the first time, all home and furniture rooms are on one floor, with a focus on interior design and bespoke personalisation – creating a wonderland for design lovers. The transformation has created dedicated rooms for, luxury linens and beds, kitchen and household and luxury accessories, modern and contemporary furniture, and sees the launch of Harrods’ new interior design studio. A new elegant room housing a collection of luxury home fragrance brands will be a new attraction within the new third floor, to be followed by an art gallery, a number of luxury classic furniture rooms and a new Lighting department. Designed by Virgile + Partners, the new home department has been conceived and planned to create a more residential feel, enabling customers to imagine the products within their own home environment. Departments and circulation flow have been realigned to guide the customer on a logical journey throughout the floor, while lighting has been used astutely to aid customers selecting fabrics and finishes. Space encourages customers to move from room

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to room, offering everything from exquisite bedding and textiles through to an elegant and rather luxurious kitchen and household offer. Marble framing, decorative wall panels, and soft lighting give consistency to the rooms portals, emphasising the transition points through to the adjacent rooms and punctuating the walkways. The open-plan Harrods' interior design space is a flexible area that supports discovery and inspiration and its central studio allows clients to engage with the experts in comfortable, creative surroundings. Carlos Virgile, Director of Virgile + Partners, said: “Our goal was to deliver a creative and stylish stage that provides a true sense of pleasure and responds to Harrods’ customer needs, when selecting furnishings and accessorising their living environment, bringing the offer to life. From contemporary to classic styles, we aimed to contain a great variety of stories and offers within the many interlinked rooms, injecting a clear and elegant residential feel that communicates the spirit and diversity of the individual brands, within a coherent Harrods design approach.”

Known for its bold and vibrant pieces, KARE, the home of quirky furniture has launched its first independent store at Dubai Festival Plaza, UAE. This new store displays striking new design products featuring light elegance in combination with out-of-theordinary decorative elements. The 5,188sqft store located next to IKEA is accessible from 10am until 10pm on weekdays and until midnight on weekends. Filled with eccentric pieces, the new space introduces a new and appealing dimension for furniture lovers. KARE puts the fun into furnishing. Whether you are going for modernistic, country chic, or traditional designs, KARE will have something to suit your style. The store features accessories and way-out eye-catchers. Speaking on the growth of the brand, the general manager, Adrian Shaw believes that the new store will offer customers a full KARE experience. “It is a delight for us at KARE to see the way the brand has grown over time. From a shopin-shop business to e-commerce and now as a standalone store, there is definitely no limits for us as a brand. Beyond boredom and always full of inspiration is the defining element of every KARE store. We are excited to launch unique interior design ideas in an infinite variety of styles at Festival Plaza,” says Shaw.



Herman Miller launches new Lino Chair in the Middle East Lino Chair been made to the highest quality standards and rigorously engineered, tooled, and tested

Herman Miller has launched their latest work chair, Lino, in the Middle East, UK and Europe, following its successful introduction in the United States in 2018. Charged with designing high-performance work chairs at exceptional value, awardwinning designers Hecht and Colin found inspiration in constraint. Thanks to their design prowess and Herman Miller’s ergonomic expertise – including their patented PostureFit technology – Lino brings scientifically-backed comfort and a wide range of aesthetic options to your workplace or home. Comfort is Key Leaning on more than 50 years of Herman Miller’s industry-leading research and design, Lino holds the same DNA as the rest of Herman Miller’s performance work chairs, offering each person balance movement and dynamic fit. Total Spinal Support Lino’s contoured seat works together with its high-performance breathable suspension thanks to a composite of different thread tensions. Adjustable back support

is also available for added comfort in the sacral and lumbar regions. The Choice is Yours Customise your Lino Chair by choosing between a Black or Mineral frame, six different suspension colours and a large variety of upholstery options. For the base, choose a colour that matches the frame or, for a sleeker look, turns to polished aluminium. Stacy Stewart, MEA regional director at Herman Miller, said: “By pairing Hecht and Colin’s design expertise with Herman Miller's undoubtedly high standard of comfort we are proud to launch the creation of Lino Office Chair with a focus on connecting value, design dexterity and ergonomic expertise to bring you high-performance work chairs.” Lino marries Hecht and Colin’s design expertise to the comfort you’d expect from a Herman Miller task chair. That attention to detail is also apparent in the chair’s minimal environmental impact – it is up to 97% recyclable and is comprised of approximately 26 per cent recycled materials. Lino is backed by Herman Miller’s 12-year, 3-shift warranty.

Emaar Hospitality Group officially launches its 8th Address Hotel Emaar Hospitality Group recently celebrated the official opening of its latest project, Address Sky View, in Downtown Dubai. Held at the hotel’s much-anticipated rooftop restaurant, Ce La Vi, Emaar’s chairman, Mohamed Alabbar, and Emaar Hospitality Address Sky View is made up of two towers connected Group’s Chief by a floating sky bridge Operating Officer, Chris Newman attended the ceremony and spoke to the company’s past accomplishments and future endeavours. The Address Sky View opening showcased its importance with the appearance of Alabbar inaugurating the hotel. The Chairman of Emaar celebrated the four openings across Emaar Hospitality Group in 2019 [VIDA Emirates Hills; June 2019, VIDA Creek Harbour; September 2019, Address Fountain Views; October 2019, and Address Sky View; December 2019] before eluding to the vision for the group in the coming years touching on the new strategic positioning within the hospitality industry; as a hospitality provider, international expansion into Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and further into Egypt, becoming asset-light and finally the exciting news of their first beach resort openings. The much-anticipated announcement of upcoming projects that will expand the Emaar Hospitality Group’s portfolio was also shared. Openings to expect in 2020 include; the exciting new Address Beach Resorts in Dubai’s Jumeirah Beach, Fujairah, Bahrain and Egypt, Palace Beach Resorts in Sharjah and Fujairah and a VIDA Beach Resort in Umm Al Quwain. “The opening of Address Sky View marks our 19th hotel in the UAE and is testament to our undoubted commitment to continuously placing Dubai in the frontline of innovative and luxurious destinations for visitors from around the world. Emaar Hospitality Group’s new strategy will only help evolve and introduce the brand to a global audience in other territories” commented Mohamed Alabbar. The hotel boasts 169 rooms and 551 apartments and a 70m long infinity pool. Complete with a range of culinary concepts and eateries, as well as a spa and fitness centres, guests can enjoy the minimalistic yet refined interiors of the hotel.

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ISG to refurbish Capital Club Dubai

Charcoal Garden by 4SPACE is inspired by the industrial modern approach

The overhaul will leave the club feeling just like new with the refurbishment of its highend restaurants, luxurious accommodation, barbershop, and state-of-the-art gym

Bricks were used on some parts of the wall along with a mural that was hand-painted using a charcoal medium

Capital Club Dubai located in Dubai’s International Financial District, has unveiled extensive refurbishment and transformational plans that will mark the start of a new era for the club. For the first time in the club’s history, there will be a dedicated Gate Village podium level entry, connecting directly to The 3rd Floor Sports Bar and Club, which serves up a great combination of food and beverage choices, hosts stellar live entertainment lineups, and airs all major sporting fixtures throughout the year. Ian Palmer, general manager of The Capital Club commented: “After many successful years, it is time for us to inject new money and new management into the Club and reinvent ourselves. We are

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very excited for what the new year will bring to our existing members and also new members.” He added: "The club’s refurbishment is going to give Dubai’s influential business leaders an unrivalled space to do business, network, entertain and develop the ideas of tomorrow – thus showcasing what a living, thriving Club looks like. We can’t wait to introduce the Members Club of tomorrow in 2020, and look forward to growing our network in the region and globally.” Working with interior Claire McDonnell of ISG, the club’s most loved existing facilities such as the fourth-floor restaurant, the members’ bar, and the surrounding lounges and terraces will also be refurbished to look like brand new with immediate effect.

Charcoal Garden is an exciting new restaurant concept at Shatha Tower by 4SPACE. The main inspiration comes from the name itself – charcoal and garden. The client wanted to incorporate charcoal and green leafy foods on their menu while having an ambience of a garden setting. Their food direction mainly focussed on using charcoal in different ways (grilling meats and introducing activated charcoal ingredient on a bread bun or any deserts like ice cream cone… etc.) An industrial modern approach for both gastronomic and designing space with a twist of green living. The look and feel that is very cosy and environment-friendly. The mood of the restaurant is close to nature and so the materials used were reclaimed woods and aged tables to promote sustainability. The ceiling has a rustic mesh that symbolises grilling in a more contemporary and sophisticated way. To showcase the vertical garden, vines were added on the featured walls and columns that serve as a beautiful backdrop for neon signages and Instagrammable moments. 4SPACE wanted to promote a biophilic design and green architecture – reconnecting to the natural resources for a conducive environment. For the custom-made lights, a handcrafted look of a coconut shell was designed to give a full statement for an aesthetic appeal that will certainly blend to the overall space. Burnt and reclaimed woods are used on the host counter to create texture and visual interest. It’s giving a new purpose to something old and dilapidated. The tables are rustic metal for a more industrial touch.



LWK + Partners continued engagement across MENA - touch down Egypt Egypt is experiencing year-onyear GDP growth across the real estate and development sector

Kerem Cengiz

Over the past 12 months, LWK + PARTNERS MENA Studio has been engaged on a number of strategic initiatives which have and continue to positively impact on the macro-economic development of this significant Regional player, contributing a positive impact upon the Egyptian economy boost in 2019. Egypt is open to embracing international experience that is adding value through innovation and thought. “We are privileged to have been commissioned by one

of the regions Blue Chip developers on several significant initiatives during our first year of establishment, these include an Integrated Community for the City of Cairo and speak of the value that the practice brings though our commitment to ‘practical’ innovation and thought leadership around creating places that engage all the key drives for socio-economic success,” said Kerem Cengiz, managing director – MENA. As a flourishing and active economy, Egypt continues to grow

in tourism, retail, and, broadly across the associated construction sectors, all of which are core assets classes of LWK + PARTNERS design and delivery expertise. LWK + PARTNERS believe that as any growing economy moving into 2020, Egypt will continue to see positive sectoral reforms to the macroe-conomic environment, which will trigger significant improvements to social conditions. In July 2019, the ‘Central Agency for Public Mobilisation & Statistics’ estimated 32.5% of Egyptians lives below the poverty line.

Looking to the future, LWK + PARTNERS are committed to working with key stakeholders, both governmental and private sector, to support initiatives that positively address these imbalances. “LWKP seeks to contribute its global experience and innovative thought leadership to create solutions that help bolster socio-economic growth of the broader community as we have in Hong Kong, China and Asia for the past three decades,” added Cengiz.

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Designing for the little ones Alara Kocibey, Tuvana Buyukcinar, and Emine Kutuk, founders of 3MOMS, tell us about this unique design company catering to children and newborns

(Left to right): Alara Kocibey, Tuvana Buyukcinar, and Emine Kutuk

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Tell us something about the brand? 3MOMS is a one-of-a-kind global luxury interior design company focussed on creating imaginative rooms for children and newborns. We founded this company because we faced difficulty doing our own kids’ rooms. We all contribute in our special ways like Alara Kocibey and Tuvana Buyukcinar are the designers behind the unique rooms and furniture, while Emine Kutuk’s expertise in execution, makes her the backbone of the operation, ensuring the company provides a high standard of service for its clients. Together we three moms work in harmony, enabling our clients’ dreams to come true through our designs and products. One can visit our website or one of our showrooms either in Istanbul or Dubai.

What are some key factors to consider when designing/ decorating a child’s room? 3MOMS works with many experts, including child psychologists, to develop designs

that hold valuable meaning and encourage learning. And when it comes to bespoke, commissioned room designs, 3MOMS always considers a child’s character and personality, as well as the family’s circumstances, before creating a space. During the colour selection, for example – the team makes sure they incorporate all the information about how certain shades may affect the child’s development.

Do you find it difficult to keep the children rooms in the same style as the “adults” ones? Every child is unique and has its own style. 3MOMS’ job is to capture that style and fulfil their dreams when it comes to decorating their personal space. The brand always tries to accommodate the mother’s needs too, such as storage, study or play area – as well as making sure the design fits in with the general home environment. Once all information is received the design process takes place.

What are some current trends? Animals and nature are a popular trend and they teach kids to show care and love for living creatures and the environment around them – and of course, these animals then become their best friends. The brand’s spectacular window display at Bloomingdale’s, Dubai Mall this January showcased other key trends, including a ‘Wonder Wall’ – this can be anything: a map of the world, drawings of animals – the wall is only limited by the corners of a child’s imagination.

Can you tell us something about your clients? 3MOMS generally has two types of clients: those who know exactly what they want and those who just give a couple of pointers and let the designers take the lead. 3MOMS has served many royals around the world, politicians, and renowned businesspeople. The company has two lines of operations: the retail segment where clients can find a variety of uniquely-designed furniture and accessories; and the custom-made turnkey projects where the design team have completed more than 700 rooms for their clients around the world– each one of them bespoke rooms and play areas.

What are the must-have pieces from your latest collection that you highly endorse and why? The unicorn toddler bed is a favourite piece in our latest collection for girls. This is a bed big enough for a mother and daughter to sleep in together. It’s a unicorn-themed dreamy bed, which creates the 3D effect of looking outside to a magical view from your bedroom window. The pastel colours used to soften the design and the bed’s specifications enable usage up to 12-years-old. For boys, the city view bed will surely be a bestseller of the 2020 collection. The theme of this bed is an amazing city views with the sports car every boy dreams of.

Where do you see 3MOMS in five years here?

Animal and adventure theme for kid's room

The brand has already completed many projects around the world. It currently has showrooms in Istanbul and Dubai but is planning to expand this to London and Los Angeles. The brand’s latest expansion will be through its website which will start e-commerce in March 2020, the most magical accessories will be available to clients all around the world.

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Access and affordability Ahid Shaikh, co-founder and CEO of Bianca & Bianco, talks about the importance of affordable luxury in bath and kitchen spaces

Brand's key product lines in porcelain slabs and tiling, sanitary-ware and, cutting-edge kitchen solutions include Italian and Spanish brands

Our living spaces, their ambience, and the aesthetic they convey are the canvas for all our experiences and memories. They are a constant in our lives that goes far beyond the utilitarian purpose served by four walls and a roof. Whether it is your favourite café or what you like best about your own home, chances are that it’s the little details that catch your eye and set the mood. Specifics like the location and layout of a property, the natural light it draws in, the height of its ceilings and the ‘look’ it conveys, and all have a profound impact on our experience of it. When it comes to making a statement,

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bathrooms and kitchens often influence the character of a home even more than living spaces and bedrooms – which tend to be comparatively blank slates that are defined by their furnishings. Research shows that potential homebuyers tend to be strongly swayed in their purchase decision, by the bathrooms and kitchen spaces in a property. Again, the idea is to introduce something luxurious and affordable at the same time. It’s amazing to see that we have now access to such brands in the region and consumers have more options than before to choose from. As a global metropolis that is staking a claim for

its unique self-expression, Dubai is increasingly confident about the stylistic preferences that define it. A thriving economy and a generally optimistic character are driving the growth of the affordable luxury segment in the city’s rapidly expanding middle class. What is further reinforcing this aspiration driven segment is the growing trend of refurbishment and renovation. Giving their property a makeover is emerging as a popular strategy among homebuyers, who prefer creative upgrades that reflect their personal aesthetics. With many of the established communities in the city now a decade or more



Ahid Shaikh

old, their owners are also looking to incorporate a more contemporary look – whether for their own satisfaction or to add to the value of a property they intend to put on the market. Innovative new products, such as large slab tiles that combine striking, inviting and chic looks with highly resilient performance and affordable prices, are being used to transform spaces, whether as an alluring floor or an eye-catching feature wall. Real estate is often the single largest purchase we make. A home is a long-term commitment but this doesn’t mean that you have to lock yourself into a look and a style that has fallen out of favour.

When it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, the plumbing and accessories involved often necessitate regular upgrades and repairs anyway. However, astute homeowners realise that thinking beyond this basic level of intervention is the key to a far more magical and exhilarating world of designer upgrades. The right countertop, the perfect combination of slab tiles and contemporary accessories, attention to detail and an eye for elegance can infuse a previously drab space with dramatic new flair and elegance. What’s more, such a transformation no longer needs to break the

bank. From minimalist modern chic to classic opulence and all variations in between, creating designer bathrooms and kitchens that combine luxury, functionality and a tastefully bold statement is the easiest way to add value to your property. A new generation of homeowners is taking the same approach to the refurbishment of their bathrooms and kitchens as updating their wardrobes. With the arrival of affordable luxury options in bath and kitchen collections, the ability to keep up with the times and renovate these spaces has never been easier or more accessible.

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Cover Story

Dining area at the lounge

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Cover Story

Perfecting the lounge experience Kinney Chan, owner of Kinney Chan and Associates and Mei Mei Song, brand director, Plaza Premium Group, talk about the new Plaza Premium Lounge at Dubai International Airport By Roma Arora Kinney Chan shares his wonderful design insights and how this muchanticipated lounge came live Spanning 1,260sqm, Plaza Premium Lounge Dubai opened recently last month and is located on Level 4, Concourse A in Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport. It looks every bit posh and luxurious with all the comfort a traveller can ask for! Designer Kinney Chan has worked his magic on this project and it was very important for him and his team to understand the brand and the needs of customers from different cultures, and then to use design as a means to connect with travellers, create a sense of place, and add a seamlessness to the travel experience. Chan explains: “First we look at the brand’s DNA – ranging from facilities to interiors to the art selected – to achieve a sense of environment and a signature ambience. At the same time, all the spaces are different so we look

at a sense of the destination and location to make it unique for guests to know where they are. We need to understand the different culture to let our customers enjoy the experience of staying in the lounge.” An airport is a place where every customer has different wants and needs. So, studying customer needs is very important. “They are all different, some are just transiting or in a rush, and some may be staying at the airport for a number of hours. Some are for business and some are for fun and combining all these, we strike a right balance for specific locations. Next is to look at the space and understand the flow of the passengers. There is no single formula and everything is an important factor to consider in the design process,” says Chan. Chan has used soothing and earthy tones throughout the lounge. He comments: “A

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Cover Story

combination of earthy colours and wood is used to create relaxing ambience as part of Plaza Premium Lounge’s signature experience. An airport lounge is a space where hundreds of passengers passing through every day and durability are part of the practical consideration, thus we also need to look at the materials for the tailor-made furniture. “ For Chan, every design should be appealing and must offer comfort in the best way possible. He further adds: “Our focus is to create an oasis in a busy airport, space where guests can feel relaxed and comfortable. It’s not about creating a resort feel but a place people can be calm and relaxed before they travel. And let them start their journey earlier for the vacation or release their pressure before the working trip.” The lounge offers comfortable seating and a delectable array of Arabic, Asian, and international cuisines. The lounge is also equipped with free Wi-Fi, dedicated smoking rooms, shower rooms with quality amenities and four private family suites. The family suites come with butler service and can accommodate a maximum of six guests (adults and children inclusive)—ideal for families and business travellers who prefer their own space and privacy. Chan tells: “Dubai is a city with ocean and desert and that became our concept to illustrate ocean and sand movement in the wind with AeroBar’s feature walls, around corners and the Dubai skyline painting at the reception. The lounge is situated on the upper level and we made it resembling a balcony sweeping with natural lights from the airport’s high ceilings for guests to unwind while appreciating the apron views and watching the movement of travellers on the walkways underneath.” There’s also have a specially designed kids’ play area with sustainable wooden toys for the little travellers. Every project comes with its own set of challenges and for Chan creating different zonesinside the lounge was clearly one. Chan shares: “Because zoning is a key attribute as Plaza Premium Lounge’s signature DNA, we always have to work with the shape and orientation of the space – how big is it and where it is located to make sensible planning. This is considered a sizeable lounge with 1,260sqm in space so I say we are glad to create another unique Plaza Premium Lounge to the brand’s Middle East portfolio.”

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Kinney Chan

Chan is impressed with Dubai’s booming design industry and the kind of projects coming up. “Dubai is an international city and there are a lot of projects happening in the last decade.

All the world-class architects and designers involved in the development of the city. We are very lucky to be one of the creators in the area,” signs off Chan.


Cover Story

AeroBar at the Premium Plaza Lounge, Dubai

Mei Mei Song shares her views on the ‘glocal’ theme of the new Premium Plaza Lounge in Dubai, sustainability, and technology There are some significant changes in the way airports look and how customers use it. Airports were previously utilitarian affairs, designed to move people as efficiently as possible. However, airport authorities are increasingly turning to design to make that movement as comfortable and enjoyable for travellers as possible. For the brand, Plaza Premium Group, they are following the theme of glocal across all the lounges, which is the essence of their success. Mei Mei elaborates: “Each Plaza Premium Lounge venue across the globe is different as a “glocal”the theme is a very important approach we take to building our lounges – delivering global brand consistencies while embracing the local culture. A part of the fun in product development

Mei Mei Song

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Relaxation zone for the travellers

Family suite

Kid's area with sustainable furniture

is creating a customer experience for travellers coming through a specific airport. In this airport, we retain popular zones such as the signature honeycomb workstations, live cooking station, and the social spot AeroBar. However, we localise it to include local and regional cuisines, and when we build the bar, we also explore local spirits and trends, to ensure we give it a point of difference.” The lounge comes with 'first-class cabin seats' feature, it provides privacy within the lounge where guests can sit inside and have a private moment during their visit. Also, the visitors will see subtle different design features throughout designed to give 'a sense of place' incorporating local elements. The reception backdrop captures the Dubai skyline while AeroBar’s feature walls is

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inspired by the movement of sands in the wind. The whole environment of the lounge is created with soothing lighting, a combination of earthy colour tone, and a 24-hour music track that reflects the mood of day and night. Sustainability is at the core for the brand and part of their business strategies. Mei Mei discusses: “We have started by installing water taps in our lounges to encourage travellers filling their own water bottles. We design locally where possible, using local materials to give a sense of place but also to decrease our carbon footprint. We’re also committed to sourcing ingredients locally where possible, it is also a way to support the local community. The children’s playroom is filled with wooden toys, it’s a sustainable material

and much more of an environmentally friendly option than plastic toys —they are also biodegradable and can be recycled.” Mei Mei and her team is constantly exploring new services and facilities. With the number of family travel and the size of families in the Emirates, they have introduced a playroom in the lounge and made sure it is not your average playroom, as the lounge has introduced STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics)based toys and worked with brand Masterkidz to fit-out with sustainable toys. “This is a part of our family-friendly programme that features services and facilities, to build airport moments with the family with us.” Mei Mei says. Technology definitely enhances efficiency


Cover Story

when it comes to process. The brand is currently launching their reward programme Smart Traveller with a MobileApp and the goal is to streamline the process for the guests to enjoy the facilities around the world while being rewarded. “The key to constant improvement is listening and technology helps us listen in more ways than one. Making operations more efficient is key, we’re all timestarved these days. In Hong Kong, we piloted a QR code system for in-lounge guests to order dishes from our made-to-order menu,” tells Mei Mei. She further stresses that while planning and executing this project, they also considered the expectations and desires of millennials. Mei Mei emphasises: “ I think another key point is how this new generation enjoys the lounge, we find in our

Dubai lounge which boasts one of the best apron views, not only are the guests enjoying the view but so are their phones. Young families like to 'document' their kid’s lives with images and videos, in our playroom we created a colourful wall with features like palm trees, camels, and local signature architecture. And even the food, presentation is key; a lot of time the camera eats first.” So what defines a good lounge? Mei Mei answers with a smile: “When your guests remember their visit with you and recommend it to their friend, you know you have a good lounge. Our job is to reduce stress in the airport, and with a lounge, we make sure through services, food & beverage, facilities and ambience, we deliver just that. We must ensure our space is versatile to suit

the different needs of travellers – be it business, leisure or family travellers, we design according to who our guests are and map out their journey, regardless of which hat they are wearing. The devil is in the details. t’s also telling when guests look forward to your signature dish and make time for their lounge visit.” Mei Mei shares brand’s exciting plans in 2020. "Following Dubai lounge, we just had two lounges open at Hong Kong International Airport and each location is themed differently. Next, we will see Plaza Premium Lounge launching in Sydney and our first-ever lounge in USA opening at DFW Airport in addition to two “mega” lounges opening in Jakarta, Indonesia and Toronto in Canada, and more,” signs off Mei Mei.

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Leading with vision Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director at Al Shafar Interiors, talks about Expo 2020, current projects, and plans for the future

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is knowledge, extensive experience, and strong business acumen are incomparable. He has a vision on creating cultures that are flexible and innovative and helps in building a great team than just merely making the strategies. Meet Dimitri Papakonstantinou, managing director at Al Shafar Interiors (ASI) who is all this and much more. Papakonstantinou emphasises: “My focus had always been on building a culture and it is fundamental for building a good team. I firmly believe in the expression by legendary management consultant and writer Peter Drucker, ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’. Clearly, you cannot underestimate the power of culture.” Papakonstantinou started his career journey with Murray & Roberts Construction in South Africa in 2000. Four years later, he was promoted in his role and shifted his base to UAE where he was responsible for managing large-scale commissions such as Madinat Jumeirah and Dubai International Airport (Airside projects). In 2008, Papakonstantinou launched Plafond FitOut, he was one of the found members. In 2018, Papakonstantinou joined ASI, a

subsidiary of ASGC Construction, headquartered in the UAE. With just over a year in his new role, Papakonstantinou had a busy 2019, despite the overall market slowdown. He says: “The market overall is going through a slowdown. As a business, we’ve gone through some major transformations and we’re excited about them. Last year, we received a lot of enquiries from different sectors like education, commercial, public, and we successfully completed various hospitality projects.” As Dubai is gearing up for the biggest show in its history—Expo 2020, it’s expected that this mega event will boost the economy with an estimated AED123bn as a result of the investment, tourism, and other revenue streams. Both ASGC and ASI are also doing various pavilions for Expo 2020. Papakonstantinou shares: “Expo 2020, has impacted all the businesses positively especially ours. We have done some amazing works for the Sustainability Pavilion, and then there are other five other pavilions we’re involved in like Ukraine, Australian,

and Azerbaijan. We have made separate departments to just focus on Expo 2020 projects for the next eight-nine months.” There is so much buzz around Expo 2020 but what happens once the greatest show gets over? Papakonstantinou has his concerns: “It can be difficult to gauge the effect of such an event after it’s over. However, case studies have shown, that there are tangible benefits for our industry that come out of organising such an event. Beyond Expo 2020 I am aware of the slowdown that might occur in the market. I am also feeling positive about the good and decent amount of work that is there with the right clients. We just have to work a little bit harder getting that work in.” Papakonstantinou is from the modern school of thought and highly value the role of technology in business operations. He explains: “Our focus is on technology, fortunately, we have a company in our group called Analytica which has been assisting us with innovative systems and software. From monitoring systems, creating a dashboard, and

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LEADING ALL THE WAY: Dimitri Papakonstantinou

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how we collate information and so on to our production facility. We are currently setting up a pilot programme with Analytica on barcoding and digitising our production process which will help us in assisting where we are in the production phase of every item, how are we using our manpower based on the utilisation of the materials. As a group ASGC invests heavily in technology, from Drone technology to VR— this is how people can differentiate one company from others and this gives us a competitive edge. “ For Papakonstantinou, innovation means success, it’s a solution to current and future business problems. Papakonstantinou has plans and goals and he is already working towards them to streamline the processes in the best possible manner. He says: “I want to digitise our manufacturing system. Like, when an item leaves the factory door. I keep comparing it to an IKEA product. When it gets to the site the project manager has everything he needs to assemble. We are trying to compact the process as much as possible because traditionally the door and doorframe hinges would leave in a separate delivery or the hardware would go in a separately. Now everything is streamlined. We are streamlining the process of a product getting manufactured and then reaching the site and eventually assembling. Personally, I believe in off-site manufacturing and it can be tricky with fit-out specifically where you could do structural construction rather than modular construction, but ultimately it would be the next thing that I would like to do.” Papakonstantinou is very positive about 2020, as he is working on some of the biggest projects. He reveals: “The year 2020, seems promising as we are doing some interesting project with Emaar. Right now, we are working on the fit-out of Address Creek Harbour project, and an H2B Hotel at Dubai Trade Centre, which should be finished by mid-2020, two Aloft Hotels with ASGC, and I am looking forward to other projects like Marsa Al Arab Hotel. Goals are important for any business as they give a structured framework and this is what Papakonstantinou is focussing on. Regional



expansion is also on his mind. He describes: “As we look into 2020, I reminded the team about what we achieved over the last 12 months which has been transformative. Our objective or strategy is clear in terms of which clients we want to work with whether they are main contractors of developers. We want to place ourselves as one of the top three fit-out contractors in the region. The next part of our strategy is to look towards regional expansion with many countries in this region, such as KSA being the obvious example. ASGC has been in Egypt and been working there for the past 10 years and there are projects in Europe that we are looking at with main contractors.�

Australia Pavillion at Dubai Expo 2020

Azerbaijan Pavillion at Dubai Expo 2020

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Designing for student wellness

Experts are focussing on designs and architecture in an endeavour to promote student’s mental health and well-being By Roma Arora Over the course of the years, academic experts have observed a strong relationship between student wellness and positive academic performance. The fact of the matter is, while it is true that a person’s well-being is largely influenced by their environment, the opposite is equally true. Educational institutes such as universities, schools, and kindergartens are often misinterpreted as office buildings for the “little ones” with the focus on spatial efficiency; a notion that unfortunately does not give consideration to the many facets of learning and teaching. A good learning environment needs more than a battery of classrooms and a corridor inbetween. We believe that an improvement of educational design – which is the base for the student’s well-being - is merely achieved by simply decorating spaces, but by a more holistic approach to incorporate the many aspects of a healthy learning environment. For students, this means that the educational facility they attend, and more specifically the classrooms where they spend the majority of their days, are both impactful on and impacted by

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their behaviours and well-being. The relationship is truly one of back and forth; when students feel comfortable in their environments, it reflects positively on their academic records and performances as well as the way they maintain and relate with their immediate environment, including their classrooms and peers.

The making of an effective modern classroom When it comes to designing for educational facilities, there are many factors to consider. Altug Ajun, executive director at ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers, says: “Aside from traditional architectural constrictions, the students’ physical, mental, and social health play the biggest roles. Small Learning Community (SLC), a school organizational model that subdivides large school populations into smaller, autonomous groups of students and teachers, is already showing a surge in popularity as it encourages a more direct approach and gives students closer attention. To complement this model, design experts are



ISC School in Umm Al Quwain by ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers

School of Creative Science by ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers

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looking at elements that give students more freedom and stimulation in the way they relate to their environments, such as air quality, natural lighting, noise levels and physical activity.” This means factoring in components such as interactive staircases, walkways and jungle gyms to encourage physical activity, flexible furniture and classroom layouts to maximize health, quiet indoor and outdoor areas to allow students to wind down and relax between classes, colour schemes and tones to inspire mental stimulation, collaborative learning spaces to encourage connectivity and positive social behaviour, and technology and innovation integration to support the learning needs and expectations of modern pupils. Daniel Schulze-Wethmar, Architecture Division Manager - Senior Architect at Hoehler + alSalmy, tells: “The effectiveness in this context is not just measured by how smartly and effectively space can be used, but by how effectively the environment supports the learning experience. Although the tendency in the Middle East is to keep the sunlight outside for obvious reasons, we believe that both the natural daylight and its views to the outside play an important role in the design of an “effective classroom”. Artificial lighting cannot usually be avoided, but should only play a supporting role. Acoustic considerations, materials and finishes selections should make sure that the environment is not just physically healthy, but also psychologically. Let the mind breath.” Pallavi Dean, founder and creative director at Roar has done various design education projects. She shares: “For years we’ve had a hunch that good design was good for students: now, finally, we have hard evidence. For example, a recent study from the US showed a 16% boost in academic progress in schools with strong design. For us as designers, that’s a powerful weapon when we’re talking with teachers and school owners about design. Whereas before they could brush off our comments as ‘design for design’s sake’, now they have to listen because we’re armed with academic evidence.”

The challenging part! “Identity is the biggest factor in making a classroom or school standout and has a significant impact on not just design aspects

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German University of Technology in Oman by Hoehler + alSalmy

but practicality and functionality as a whole. The Finland Oman School, for example, a simple slide was added beside the stairs, which was able to meet the three factors in creating a fun but practical solution to the school’s identity,” says Schulze-Wethmar. Much like any evolving design practice, however, classroom and educational design

remain a learning curve that faces multiple challenges. Ajun describes: “Broad strokes and general practices have already emerged, including spacious classroom layouts, bright colours, and the integration of natural lighting, which continue to prove successful on the mental and physical stimulation and well-being of students. However, particularities continue to arise.



Finland Oman School by Hoehler + alSalmy

Altug Ajun, ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers

Students with special needs, for instance, are sometimes overlooked within the design process. However, as educational facilities grow more inclusive and diverse in their curricula, as should their design. Other problems have also been encountered, such as the need to motivate students to opt for physical routes when an alternative is presented, or the need to find a

right balance when designing more relaxed spaces, to keep students from overindulging and misusing these areas.�

Project references For SVENM has education is a specialised area of the architecture and design sector we have been operating for over a decade. In 2018,

Sven Muller, SVENM

SVENM won the national competition to redesign Al Ghurair University and the project had its own challenges and complexities. Sven Muller, founder and managing partner at SVENM, says: “The context of educational environments well being is predominantly discussed as aiding productivity and positively impacting health.ULLER.

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Ora, Nursery of the Future by Roar

Sheraa by Roar

Daniel Schulze-Wethmar, Hoehler + alSalmy

Since Al Ghurair University was built around 20 years ago, a lot has changed in this sector of design. Our main task was to take the university into the 21st century—to adapt to a new way of learning, and bring that into its architecture. We wanted to establish dynamic interventions like – amphitheatre, stairs, library lite, reading lounge, and spaces of opportunity, courtyards, and dining experience. Key elements that aid the effective design of spaces for learning are maximum daylight, flexible workspace, and natural materials.” Schools and universities are meant to be locations, which shape knowledge, meaning in their design you want to push boundaries and invent. “We always begin projects reflecting on progress in the sector. Outstanding recent work on classrooms and educational sites include Santa Maria High School by Appleton & Domingos Arquitectos, Elite English Training School by B.L.U.E. Architects, and Vienna West High School by SHIBUKAWA EDER Architects + F+P Architekten,” adds Muller. For Dean from Roar what works for kindergarten is very different from a graduate maker space. But there are some broad principles. The US study mentioned earlier found

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seven elements: Light, Temperature, Air Quality, Ownership, Flexibility, Complexity, and Colour. She is a great believer in biophilia as well– recreating the natural, outdoor environment indoors. “For Nursey of the Future project in Dubai, the design team took the latest research in early years education on how the physical and digital worlds are combining. We also took onboard new research that says for very young children, they should not be overloaded with colour. So the base colour is white – the student’s paintings and toys provide the pops of colours. However, for Sheraa – the entrepreneurship centres at the American University of Sharjah and University of Sharjah – we went for a much more funky, upbeat, co-working type of vibe,” explains Dean. For Hoehler + alSalmy , they have designed several universities and schools in the region,

from the award-winning Buraimi University, to the recently completed Finland Oman School,– the social and communal spaces have always played a fundamental role in their designs. “These are the areas where the learning environment comes to live, where the mere learn-teaching cycle can evolve into an academic and self-enrichening platform. One of our most iconic internationally recognised projects is the main building of the German University of Technology in Oman (Gutech), where it evolves around a stunning shaded courtyard, used for both academic and social events allowing the much-needed interaction between teachers and students,” tells SchulzeWethmar. UAE-based facilities such as Dubai’s International School of Creative Science and ISC School in UAQ have already prioritised



Library at Al Ghurair University by SVENM

Pallavi Dean, Roar

Lounge at Al Ghurair University

proper design to improve student well-being and maximise productivity and stimulation within their campuses. Other facilities, such as Sharjah’s Al Durrah International School, which we are currently overseeing, are revamping and expanding their school campuses to incorporate more active design and positive educational environments. These projects are by ATI Consultants, Architects & Engineers. The sector is expected to see even more changes and improvements. “Classroom layouts, for instance, are expected to continue to evolve and accommodate further innovation to maximise student well-being on different levels. On the other hand, technology is also set to play a bigger role within the design and use of educational facilities, as more and more institutions are turning to Active-Learning Classrooms (ACLs) that make use of innovation such as virtual and augmented reality to interact with students. The road is long, and as the world evolves and grow, we continue to edge ever-closer to designing the “perfect” learning environment. And as long as we continue to privilege our students’ well-being and focus on their needs and health, the future looks quite promising,” signs off Ajun.

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When architecture reflects culture Design tour of The Saudi Ambassador residence located in Warsaw, Poland by interior designer Sonia Ashoor She is supremely talented and creative! With her roots spanning the Islamic world, from a paternal Hajj pilgrim ancestor from Samarkand to an Ottoman grandmother and a Persian mother, Sonia Ashoor grew up in a world of diverse cultures, family tales, treasured objects, legends, and art. She is a celebrated interior designer and a cultural ambassador for Saudi Arabia, has created a series of stunning embassies and royal residences all over the world. Ashoor is the founder and principal of Sonia Ashoor Cultural Design (SACD). She is one of the speakers at IFI Congress Dubai in collaboration with APID running from February 26-28, 2020 at Park Hyatt, Deira in Dubai. Her commissions whether for a UNESCO project, a ministry, or a home, all reveal her innate love of beauty and reflect the radiance of Islamic art and design. Here’s a wonderful project by Ashoor—The Saudi Ambassador residence located in Warsaw, Poland is part of a dual complex consisting of Embassy and Residence. The total property spans over 3,000sqm, and both buildings connect through an internal courtyard on the

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ground floor and from the Ambassadors office to the residence on the second floor. The Residence consists of four floors to include a spa on the basement level complete with Olympic size pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, showers and locker rooms. The ground floor consists of three living rooms of which one has an Eastern ambience a powder room, kitchenette and a formal dining room. The first floor consists of a family room, dining, kitchen, study room, and three en-suite children bedrooms. The second floor consists of three children en-suite bedrooms and the Master suite. In World War II, Warsaw saw 100% destruction and a metropolis of 1mn was diminished to 20,000 people. With wars end, Warsaw set a course for reconstructing its city-making ‘culture’ part of its top five priorities. This included new roads, schools, the public library, the Opera House and the National Museum. This was achieved in a ten-year plan which gained them a UNESCO achievement award. Warsaw, rebuilt itself to the style of the 16th century in memory of its Golden age, when Chopin could be heard in the streets of Warsaw.



The Saudi Ambassador residence , Poland

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The embassy and residence, have taken on the role of art and cultural ambassadors with private tours of their premises to the interested public

Sonia Ashoor

Taking on board this cultural direction, the designers matched it in designing in the style of museum interiors, reviving the 16th century of Islamic art and architecture. Sonia Ashoor and her design team were inspired by the Iznik tiles of the Ottoman Empire and the beautiful manuscripts of the Safavid Dynasty. They dissected colours, patterns, and glazes of these tiles to create artistic lacquer art panels throughout the residence. The manuscripts inspired space planning, creating a story of meandering spaces with a feel of overlap, transparency, and calculated views Special skills and artisans were used to complete this project, graphic designer, Ruba Mukahal, was responsible for all the stone and lacquer art panels, the contractor, Warbud is a specialised contractor in sovereign and cultural projects, which includes the Warsaw Science Museum. His expertise made this project a true success and Metamar, stone artisans, who were responsible for all the beautiful stone carved panels.

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Special skills and artisans were used to complete this project



The interiors are built on a very strong storyline addressing the cultural interest of both Poland in art and Saudi Arabia’s interest in promoting Islamic art and identity

Completing the museum feel carefully selected artefacts are displayed on stands and glass cases marrying the old with the new creating spaces that tell stories celebrating the 16th century of Islamic Art

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Luxury at its best C Central Resort The Palm offers beachfront living with striking views

The pool at C Central Resort The Palm

Five-star hotel C Central Resort The Palm marks the beginning of 2020, with a milestone event its grand opening in Dubai. A 203-key luxury beachfront hotel with magnificent views of the Arabian Gulf, C Central Resort The Palm is strategically located in Dubai’s iconic man-made island, home to some of Dubai's top luxury resorts – the Palm Jumeirah. One of the world’s most daring developments, the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai is a haven for adventure seekers, honeymooners, and family vacationers. "We are pleased to launch C Central Resort The Palm, a rare gem that sparkles in the sea, where guests can truly experience the privacy and beach-front living, unwind and enjoy

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spectacular views of the ocean," says Abdulla Al Abdulla, Chief Operating Officer of Central Hotels. "The epitome of luxury beachfront living, imagine waking up to soft lapping waves of the sea, early morning strolls with sand on your toes and an endless vista of the ocean as far as your eyes can see. This is what we want our guests to feel, a place by the sea they can call home, where they can just be themselves, one with nature, then come back recharged and refreshed.” “Our top clients are travellers and tourists from the CIS market, as well as guests from GCC & Middle East, Southeast Asia, far East Asia, Europe, and Latin America," adds Basel Eshak Butrs, General Manager of C Central Resort The Palm.

Each room is equipped with floor to ceiling glass with balconies that enable you to look out over a sweeping ocean view of the Gulf and the exciting Dubai skyline. An inspiring display of sea, sky, and light. Featuring 192 spacious and well-equipped rooms, 11 stunning suites, four distinctly themed F&B outlets, a world-class spa & wellness centre, and a state-of-the-art gym, C Central Resort The Palm exemplifies a grand canvas of contemporary sophistication and luxurious tranquillity. Both leisure and business travellers are in for something new and exciting. Within close proximity to prominent business districts, top attractions and the airports, the new hotel is the



Views from the bathroom

perfect address for modern travellers. Gourmet dining, fresh seafood, and locally sourced ingredients are at the core of the dining options such as at Waves restaurant, an all-day dining concept that lets you feast on the choicest cuisine. Coffee and tea lovers can have their heart’s content at Barista’s Corner. C Grill Restaurant and Bar, a modern steakhouse excites your palate with perfect succulent steaks accompanied by fine beverages. Mojito Pool Bar at the beachside is where guests can chill, relax and watch the sunset while sipping on enticing beverages. Guests can also choose to have their food delivered straight to their rooms with discreet in-room dining or surprise your partner with a candlelit romantic dinner.

A suite at C Central Resort The Palm

To complete the luxury experience, you can unwind at the Away Wellness Centre, try the Signature 4 Hands spa treatment where you can lose yourself in bliss. Stay fit & strong with the

fully-equipped gym where you can exercise in peace facing the ocean. Get your pulse racing, with speedboat rides, cruising around the Palm Jumeirah and pausing for an Insta-worthy shot.

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Sustainability first and foremost Andrew Whalley, chairman/partner at Grimshaw Architects, talks about the Sustainability Pavilion at Expo 2020, and initiatives used to minimise energy and water consumption Tell us more about the Terra— The Sustainability Pavilion in terms of concept and design highlights? When we were approached by Expo 2020, we immediately understood the challenges that we would face designing a truly net-zero building in such challenging climates. We saw an opportunity to not only achieve a net-zero building for Expo 2020, but also to create a shining example of intelligent strategies and possibilities for sustainable living for generations to come. Such a bold mission required resolute architectural choices. We drew on the region’s rich bio-diversity and the striking ways in which nature has adapted to harsh climates – such as the large canopy, inspired by the ghaf tree, that shades the building and draws in natural breezes. Much of the occupied spaces are below the ground, protected by the landscape above. The pavilion is surrounded by Energy Trees that offer shade to the landscape gardens. Like sunflowers, each Energy Tree tracks the path of the sun to generate as much power as possible. In the landscape, plants have been sourced from the region, to demonstrate that a lush and beautiful landscape can be created with minimum irrigation and new crops that can contribute to the future food security of the region.

What can the visitors expect and experience from this? Utilising awe-inspiring architecture, meaningful and impactful exhibitions, and a strong message of opportunity and possibility, we sought to create a holistic experience that is both exhilarating and informative. We feel with confidence that the building will deliver

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Sustainability Pavilion for Expo 2020

an innovative and exciting message of hope about the natural world when we greet our first visitors.

What are the sustainable elements/ initiatives used for this project? Every aspect of the Sustainability Pavilion has been designed considering methods to minimise energy and water use and to highlight the connections between energy, water and food. This is reflected in the exposed infrastructure of the building, informing visitors of the integrated systems, which enable the pavilion to meet the aspirational net-zero water and energy goals. Drawing inspiration from complex natural

processes such as photosynthesis, the dynamic form of the pavilion is in service to its function, capturing energy from sunlight and freshwater from humid air. The pavilion will achieve netzero water using water-reduction strategies, water recycling and alternative water sources, such as atmospheric water harvesting through the unique dew-harvesting Water Tree.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge when it comes to designing for environmental sustainability? There is always something more that can be done for sustainability, whether that’s utilising



Andrew Whalley

a new process or material or even a new way of thinking. The nature of construction schedules and project timelines means that at some point we have to put our pencils down, knowing that next week there might be another technology or idea that would be a great leap forward for our design. It can be difficult to accept that we can’t always include everything.

How do you see the UAE as a huge supporter of sustainability? We have been fortunate to work with such a generous and ambitious client as Expo 2020. They have fully supported us throughout this journey, showing to the world that the UAE is

paving the way for ingenious strategies and cutting-edge technologies for harnessing the earth’s fragile resources at this critical moment in history.

and ingenious ideas that we’ll need to solve many of the world’s problems we all share.

Are you optimistic about the power of architects to shape sustainable cities?

More than 80% of the permanent construction for Expo 2020, will be retained for legacy development in Dubai, including the Sustainability Pavilion, which will live on as a Children and Science Centre to help support education and understanding of sustainable living strategies for years after Expo 2020, comes to an end. The pavilion is designed to perpetuate beyond the life of Expo 2020 is, in and of itself, a sustainable strategy.

The United Nations has delivered increasingly dire warnings about our fragile planet. For architects, a performative design approach that searches for optimised building solutions is the critical and only way forward, and this must be our ‘moonshot’ moment. It’s only by being creative that we will come up with imaginative

What happens to the pavilion after Expo 2020?

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Décor review

Warm and inviting

Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah is a perfect place to stay, socialise, and dine By Roma Arora It’s elegance personified; the new Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah is a great place to spend time with family, friends, and for business travels. Centrally located, both the hotel and apartments are super stylish combined with practical amenities such as free Wi-Fi and free breakfast, all contributing to an uncomplicated stay. As you enter this the property, the spacious and beautifully decorated lobby will grab your attention, also the lovely boutique shops for its guests to shop on the go. The design of the lobby will define the guest’s first impression of the hotel and will influence the overall experience. With an overall light colour theme, space is decked up with amazing artwork that adorns the walls. It is also one way of connecting with guests because having a unique and intriguing local art with a story adds to a memorable guest experience in the hotel. The lobby has been built around the concept of an evening lounge experience to encourage more socialising and collaboration. The rooms are very spacious and every bit sophisticated and classy. Large glass windows bring natural light in every room. From soft furnishings to the overall décor of the room, things are kept functional and beautiful. What was amazing as well were the super big bathrooms and that is a bonus for any traveller. In the room, distinct zones for sleep, work and relaxation have been established to offer our guests a greater sense of control, connection and customization throughout their stay. Designs also go beyond what guests see, and this

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hotel has taken into consideration all the human senses to offer them an immersive experience. In the room, distinct zones for sleep, work, and relaxation have been established to offer our guests a greater sense of control, connection and customisation throughout their stay. This clearly got all my votes! The pool of the hotel is lovely and gets an abundance of sun and guests can unwind themselves in utmost peace and calm. Near the pool area, you would find a hi-tech and fully equipped gym to sweat it out. The meeting rooms are spacious and perfect for your next social gathering and formal events. One of the selling points for customers when looking for a hotel is how they feel about its interior design. If guests are comfortable with the overall design of the hotel, there is a huge likelihood that they will book a room. It’s not just the service that is crucial, but also the environment and atmosphere created with the help of the design of the spaces. When designing the dining outlets, the hotel’s focus was to offer a global diner, inspired by the world, the food made locally. This means taking culinary inspirations from across the globe and cultural expressions from the neighbourhood to deliver flavourful and delectable cuisine in a casual, simple, and elegant environment. The dining outlets at Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah namely Focus, Wox, and The Market offer true global dining for everyday life at competitive prices. I can vouch for this, sumptuous food without burning hole in your pocket.


Décor review

Lobby of the hotel

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DĂŠcor review

Suite with the view

What further impressed me were the sustainability initiatives taken by the hotel. Sustainability is a big subject and it has been taken into consideration while designing the entire hotel as part of our Hyatt approach in design for sustainability. The city’s local cultural elements are infused to make this location-relevant and this can be seen in the art pieces in the rooms, the lobby, and the meeting spaces. Hyatt Hotels Corporation has launched a series of initiatives to reduce waste at Hyatt hotels globally, including introducing large-format bathroom amenities and reducing single-use water bottles by June 2021. Like, transitioning to large-format bathroom amenities to replace traditional small bottles of shower gel, shampoo,

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conditioner, and lotion to reduce disposables and select environmentally preferable options whenever possible. Another interesting initiative taken by the hotel is increasing the number of water stations in key public spaces at hotels for guests who wish to refill reusable water bottles. Other recent global initiatives have included removing plastic straws and drink picks and making alternative options available only by request at Hyatt hotels, and increasing the use of compostable, recyclable or recycled content packaging for to-go food containers. The staff at the hotel is worth all the mention and applause. It just makes your day when a smiling face greets you. Not to forget that the new generation of travellers tends to spend on experiences rather than on things, so they would

prefer to visit museums, theme parks, cultural places and engage in adventurous activities. They also search for value-for-money accommodations that will offer a comfortable stay after an exhilarating day. And that’s what exactly Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah offers. The demand for serviced apartments will continue to rise as we get closer to Expo 2020. The anticipated influx of business travellers, relocating families, and leisure visitors to the UAE before, during and post-Expo will present healthy growth for the sector. Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah also has 84 fully-furnished residences which is a great option for newcomers to get settled in Dubai. Everyone wants a piece of luxury, comfort, and amazing dining experience on their trip, Hyatt Place Dubai/Jumeirah is all this and much more!


Décor review

Breakfast buffet at Focus

Wox Restaurant

Bathroom in hotel suite

Pool area

Facade of the hotel

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Supplier focus

Fabulous furnishings The leading brands on latest trends of soft furnishings in the region

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Supplier focus

ZARA HOME About the brand Zara Home is the home furnishing brand of the Inditex Group. Always at the forefront of fashion, Zara Home is recognised for the quality of its products. These two characteristics have been key factors in the expansion of Zara Home since it launched in 2003. Currently, Zara Home operates in 4 continents, 71 markets and over 590 stores. Soft furnishings Its collections take inspiration from the latest trends in home furnishings and include bed, table and bathroom linens; small and medium furniture; tableware; cutlery and glassware; and other home stylings. Trends Designed to make its customers feel like home, The new flagship store at Dubai Mall show different spaces that are open

for exploration: the living room, dining room, kitchen, bedrooms for adults and children, bathroom and a special corner for the home fragrances collection. Visitors can take a stroll through the store and discover the different rooms, prints, designs and materials of the Zara Home collection. Latest launches Zara Home has created an exclusive collection for the new The Dubai Mall store. This capsule collection will include bed and bath linens and some home accessories as slippers. Every product on the highest quality and smart and bright design, in white and silver. This limited edition will be presented on special packaging and will be sold exclusively at The Dubai Mall store. Contact details Zara Home, The Dubai Mall

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Supplier focus

SEDAR GLOBAL About the brand Breathing life into interiors for over 125 years. Sedar Global is one of the world’s leading companies in manufacture, design and installation of window and wall furnishings and has over 23 showrooms across the MENA region alone. Importing raw materials from the finest factories in the world and working with internationally renowned brands including; Antarctica, The Versace Home Collection, Armani/ Casa, Marco Polo, Somfy, Fujikawa, and Swarovski amongst others. Soft furnishings Sedar offer curtains, wallpaper, awnings, blinds, folding doors, curtain accessories as well as cushions and smart home solutions. Each of these items provides a unique purpose within the home, fusing between aesthetics and convenience. Curtains and blinds are not only essential for privacy but the key to designing and directing the light within a space, almost framing the room. The wallpapers provide

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a statement alternative to paint and immediately transform a space. Trends For 2020, wallpaper is having a comeback and consumers are being more adventurous with patterns and textures such as botanicals across wallpapers and velvet for cushions to create a real personal interior. After partnering with Somfy, the leaders in automated solutions for soft furnishings, Sedar has ensured that they’re delivering products that provide the latest technologies for ultimate practicability and design finish in the home. Latest launches Most recently for 2020, the brand has launched its e-commerce platform and will be building on this across the year with some new additions to their collaborative brands to announce across coming months. Contact details www.sedarglobal.com


Supplier focus

CRATE & BARREL POTTERY BARN About the brand Pottery Barn is a multi-channel retailer with a vibrant e-commerce site, inspiring catalogues, and brick-and-mortar stores all over the world. Launched in 1949, in Chelsea, New York, where we got into the homewares business by selling slightly imperfect pottery, and tabletop closeouts. Soft furnishings The brand designs and crafts decor in a range of aesthetics and sizes, allowing our customers to create a home that's unique to their space and lifestyle, and make the most of special occasions and life every day. Trends Popular this season are spring pillows, spring beds, all-white beds, and elegant tabletops. Latest launches The Spring 2020 collection is versatile. Contact details www.potterybarn.ae

aBOUT THE BRAND Crate & Barrel is an industry-leading home furnishings. The brand offers high-quality products, exclusive designs, and timeless style. Soft furnishings The brand offers a vast variety of contemporary and modern furniture, houseware, and décor. In any interior space, soft furnishings help to create an ambience of utmost comfort and luxury. The correct mixture of items can help to elevate the sophistication of a room, even if it has been styled on a strict budget. Soft furnishings also invite dwellers to the lounge for hours on end in private comfort or enjoy a relaxing gathering with friends in a welcoming space. The brand views such products as an essential finishing touch regardless of a room’s character. Trends Among their top picks for a soft furnishing is the Cavett Wood Frame Loveseat, which is built in a walnut wood frame with the seating upholstered in a warm, textural weave. Meanwhile, the Eclipse Sleeper Daybed, which transitions between day and night through a disguised trundle mattress, is perfect for impromptu sleepovers or weekend guests. Latest launches For UAE’s current cool weather, Crate & Barrel’s latest launches include the Outdoors collection. It features an array of furniture perfect for creating the ideal atmosphere as buyers enjoy an afternoon barbeque, an evening of stargazing, or simply relaxing in the breeze. The brand has also recently launched Crate and Kids, a furniture and accessory collection dedicated to helping our customers shape spaces for the little ones. The collection is aimed at encouraging a child’s unique personality by creating customised bedrooms and playrooms, while simultaneously optimising space through intelligent, modern design. Contact details www.crateandbarrel.me

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The Month Ahead

Trade fair dates for your diary…

EVENT IN FOCUS IFI CONGRESS & GA 26-28 February 26-28, 2020 Dubai, UAE

As the biannual gathering of IFI members and international Interior Architecture/Design community, the IFI CONGRESS & General Assembly (GA) is a significant program in the industry calendar. The 29th IFI CONGRESS – DESIGN 2050 – Technology. Design. Education. – is organised in collaboration with the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID) at Park Hyatt, Deira. is anticipated that over 300 international delegates from 65 countries, will travel to Dubai to network and listen to the prestigious line up of speakers at this dynamic design gathering, to share their ideas and visions for the future interior design.

Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2020 February 4–8, 2020 Stockholm, Sweden

This annual furniture and lighting exhibition is the largest in Scandinavia, showcasing over 700 exhibitors including brands from Sweden and beyond. Taking place during Stockholm Design Week, the fair celebrates its 70th anniversary this year. It once again features the Greenhouse section, which showcases the work of upcoming designers. This year's Guest of Honour is Indian-British design duo Doshi Levien, who will present an exhibition revealing their creative process in the fair's entrance hall.

Design Indaba

February 26–28, 2020 Cape Town, South Africa Design Indaba has seen over 600 illustrious speakers take to the stage to deliver soul-stirring and mindawakening talks earning the acclaim as the best conference in the world whilst also actively pursuing change and action - seeding over 200 impact-driven projects into the public square. Design Indaba 2020 will be a 3 day multi-sensory, thoughtprovoking and expansive experience that includes a series of captivating talks by day and festival by night, featuring live music, theatre, exhibitions, and masterclasses.

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Modernism Week February 13-23, 2020 Palm Springs, USA

The mission of Modernism Week is to celebrate and foster the appreciation of midcentury architecture and design, as well as contemporary thinking in these fields, by encouraging education, preservation and sustainable modern living as represented in the greater Palm Springs area. Modernism Week’s signature February event is an annual celebration of midcentury modern design, architecture, art, fashion, and culture. This event features more than 350 events including the Modernism show & sale, signature home tours, films, lectures, premier double Decker Architectural Bus Tours, nightly parties and live music, walking and bike tours, tours of Sunnylands, fashion, classic cars, modern garden tours, a vintage travel trailer exhibition, and more.


Basin: IpalyssÂŽ vessel Fitting: Connect Air vessel mixer

Pick of the month

Pillow Talk From commentary on the dire state of the environment to celebrating freedom of expression, Bokja leaves nothing unsaid. The studio’s new pillow collection, “Solastalgia,” captures our yearning to exist in harmony with nature, making its first international debut at Maison et Objet just last month. Handcrafted in Lebanon by skilled craftsmen and women, the brand uses artisanal embroidery to stitch together poetic narratives across a variety of surfaces and objects that range from furniture to home goods. Threads overlap, build and fray to create innovative, textured surfaces- a new direction for embroidery in today’s digital world. Each pillow arrives with a small, embroidered ‘hangtext’ sharing their story. Availability: Bokja Design Mukhallassiya Str. Bldg. 332, Unit A Saifi Village, Beirut, Lebanon Tel: +961 (1) 975 576 Price: $180-$450

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Your window to expand.

Introducing Business POS for cashless payments with better transaction rates. du.ae/business-pos



Profile for Design Middle East

Design Middle East February 2020  


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