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COMMERCIALInterior design

Interiordesign

The essential guide for Middle East interior design professionals

What not to miss at this year’s Index exhibition

PATRICIA URQUIOLA An exclusive interview with one of the biggest names in design

The essential guide for Middle East interior design professionals

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An ITP Business Publication

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An updated retail concept signals new direction for Ajmal Perfumes

Nov Vol.5 Issue 11

September 2009 Vol.5 Issue 9

November 2009 Vol.5 Issue 11

BEST OF INDEX

An ITP Business Publication


CONTENTS

November 2009 07

INDEX FOCUS A look at some of the key people, exhibitors and events at Index this year.

19

DESIGN UPDATE Loft Living • Design-driven hospitality • Showtime •

28

SHOW PREVIEW The Big Five show director, Paula Al Chami, highlights the exhibition’s relevance to the interior design community.

30

07 07

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41

DESIGN FORENSICS Justin Penketh takes a closer look at the BurJuman Centre, in a section that celebrates good design.

33

WHITEPAPER Exclusive extracts from Kenneth Laidler’s paper on the continual assessment of interior designers.

35

INDUSTRY SPEAK In turbulent times, interior design companies must learn how to protect themselves.

38

PROFILE This month, the spotlight is on the Home Design showroom at the Mall of the Emirates.

41

DESIGNER Q&A CID caught up with Spanish architect and product designer Patricia Urquiola at the recent Middle East launch of one of her latest creations, the Axor Urquiola collection.

46

REGIONAL CASE STUDY

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46

Ajmal Perfumes has launched a new retail concept to better reflect its progressive business model. CID takes a closer look inside the recently-launched flagship store at the BurJuman Centre.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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CONTENTS

November 2009 54 INTERNATIONAL CASE STUDY CID explores how a 400-year old mansion that was once the summer palace of the maharaja of Cochin became an exclusive homestay resort for India’s most discerning travellers.

61 THE MODERN OFFICE 54

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74

The workplace environment is evolving rapidly to keep up with changing work practices. Mobility and collaboration are the key drivers of change, and interior designers have to make sure that the spaces they design are able to effectively facilitate these completely new ways of working.

68 WALLCOVERINGS Walls are often the first thing people notice about an interior design scheme, and with today’s design trends dictating a preference for bold statements in terms of coverings and artwork – now is no time to be a wallflower.

74 HEADING OUT CID’s monthly section on the outdoor design industry.

77 PRODUCTS A selection of new products, including Spoon, Spider and Il falso Kandinsky.

85 CLASSIFIEDS CID’s own directory of suppliers and manufacturers.

86 CONTRACTS Your monthly guide to contract tenders in the region, provided by Ventures Middle East, in conjunction with CID.

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

88 OPINION Geoff van Wijk presents the case for hospitality procurement.

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* images for illustration purposes only


COMMENT

Registered at Dubai Media City PO Box 500024, Dubai, UAE Tel: 00 971 4 210 8000 Fax: 00 971 4 210 8080 Web: www.itp.com Offices in Dubai & London ITP Business Publishing CEO Walid Akawi Managing Director Neil Davies Deputy Managing Director Matthew Southwell Editorial Director David Ingham VP Sales Wayne Lowery Publishing Director Jason Bowman EDITORIAL

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DUBAI DESIGN-FEST

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ovember is shaping up to be quite the design fest. A bonafide design extravaganza of a month will kick off on November 6, with the six-day IFI General Assembly and Design Congress. Taking place at the Grand Hyatt Dubai, the bi-annual event is a massive coup for Dubai and its relatively young Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID). It is promising to be an interesting blend of workshops, masterclasses and design competitions, run alongside an exhibition and the IFI’s General Assembly. Despite working to the very tightest of deadlines, APID has managed to get some big names onboard: Nadja Swarovski, Ross Lovegrove, Piero Lissoni and Sebastian Conran are some of the industry stalwarts heading up what looks like a diverse and informative speaker programme. This is just the kind of event that Dubai’s design industry needs in order to hurtle itself onto the global consciousness. It is an invaluable opportunity for the industry to rally round and prove its credentials, and I genuinely hope that it will not be squandered. Next on the agenda is Index, which is taking place from November 14 to 17. Moving on from last year’s event, which was plagued by unfortunate timing and bad weather, this year’s edition of Index promises to be far more structured, business-friendly and design-orientated. A new team is signalling a new, more focused direction for the show and I’m looking forward to seeing the results. Read more about what to expect in our Index Focus, starting on page 7. Last but not least, the third annual CID Awards take place on November 15 at the Park Hyatt Dubai. The response this year has been phenomenal, with projects entered from a record number of design firms from all over the region. There have been whisperings in the past that the awards weren’t fully representative of the region’s design industry as a whole – this year’s entries will quash any such suggestions. Book your seats now by contacting Annie Chinoy at annie.chinoy@itp.com. Here’s to an exciting, exhausting, design-filled month. I look forward to seeing you out and about!

Printed by Emirates Printing Press L.L.C. Dubai Subscribe online at www.itp.com/subscriptions

Selina Denman, Editor

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The publishers regret that they cannot accept liability for error or omissions contained in this publication, however caused. The opinions and views contained in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers. Readers are advised to seek specialist advice before acting on information contained in this publication which is provided for general use and may not be appropriate for the reader’s particular circumstances. The ownership of trademarks is acknowledged. No part of this publication or any part of the contents thereof may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form without the permission of the publishers in writing. An exemption is hereby granted for extracts used for the purpose of fair review.

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URQUIOLA PATRICIAinterview with one An exclusive in design of the biggest names

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Cover image: Ajmal Perfumes, BurJuman Centre

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concept signals An updated retail Ajmal Perfumes new direction for

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Index Focus Contents 08

RECOMMENDED ROUTE In support of dmg media’s efforts to make Index more accessible this year, CID has created a ‘recommended route’, a list of exhibitors worth visiting and information on where to find them.

11

HIGHLIGHTS A run down of must-see features at Index 2009.

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THE BEST OF INDEX A look at some of the key exhibitors participating at Index this year. CID provides a handful of companies with the opportunity to introduce themselves and highlight what they will be promoting at this year’s show.

www.constructionweekonline.com

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Index: Recommended Route Entrance Jewellery 4 Architecture

1

Capdec Stand number: Hall 2, F71

VIP Lounge Sales Office Contemporary Majilis Design Talks INDEX Exhibition InRetail Exhibition

Nordic Homeworx Stand number: Hall 2, A80

3

Sanipex Group Stand number: Hall 3, A101

Pavilion

2

4

1 Rua Furniture Stand number: Hall 3, B110 Hall 4 Hall 2

Hall 1

5 8

Hall 3

6

3 4 Muraspec Stand number: Hall 3, A130

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Convention Tower

Novotel Hotel

6

2XL Stand number: Hall 4, A171

Hall 8 Sheikh Maktoum Hall

Hall 7

Sheik Rashid Hall

Multi-storey car park

10

7

BAB Arabia Stand number: Hall 4, A202

8

Andreu World Stand number: Hall 5, B223

9

Stylewood Stand number: Hall 6, E240

Hall 6

9 Hall 5

8 Ibis Hotel

7

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10

Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery Stand number: Hall 7, E301 to E311

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

INDEX 2009 HIGHLIGHTS EXHIBITOR NEWS Where: Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, UAE When: November 14 to 17 2009 Opening times: Saturday November 14: 11.00am to 7.00pm Sunday November 15: 11.00am to 7.00pm Monday November 16: 11.00am to 9.00pm Tuesday November 17: 11.00am to 6.00pm

THE VIP BUSINESS MATCH-MAKING PROGRAMME: This new programme will match top interior designers, specifiers and buyers with relevant exhibitors. VIPs will receive a number of benefits, including fast-track entry, access to a VIP lounge and a pre-planned tour of the exhibitors they have been matched with.

Index 2009 will provide a platform for companies from across the globe to showcase their services and products. Some of the companies to have confirmed their attendance are Alpha Crystal Lighting, Villeroy & Boch, Longhi, Rexite, Porada, Andreu World and Colleccion Alexandra. A highlight of this year’s show is a collaboration of some of the most prestigious international design brands under the banner Disegno. Disegno was formed by a joint venture between three Dubai-based companies, RS Arabia, Duram and Kart Furniture, with the aim of showcasing a number of top-end interior design companies. These include Paola Lenti, Flou, Kartell, Serralunga, Zanotta, Bernini and Haute Material. In addition, Createlab, a specialist in the research, development and design of decorative water-based paints and finishes for walls and glass surfaces, will be hosting a live art show on the Disegno stand. “We are showcasing the best of the best to our visitors and Disegno offers a taste of some of the top international design brands, brought together in what will be a unique and visually-stunning stand. It is yet another reason why anyone involved in the interiors industry cannot afford to miss Index this year,” Lu Buchanan, exhibition director, Index, said.

DESIGN TALKS MAJILIS COMPETITION Four leading interior design companies have been selected to design and build their version of the contemporary majilis, using products only available at the show. All four designs will be built and showcased at Index, with the best being selected and awarded by a panel of industry leaders. The four participating companies are Etcetera Living, Zain Mustafa, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) and KEO International.

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A key aspect of Index’s new direction is the provision of more content for visitors. But instead of a traditional, paid-for, formal conference programme, Index will host more informal, seminar-style, practical events. “There are going to be lots of interesting, interactive things going on. “Visitors are going to see innovation; they are going to see variation. It’s going to be buzzing, and a fantastic networking event,” Buchanan commented.

High-profile speakers include Victoria Redshaw of Scarlet Opus, who will be speaking about trend forecasting. Claude Barube, head of interior design at the Directorate of Public Works in Sharjah, will focus on nanotechnology, and Chuck Wood, managing director of the Rockwell Group Middle East, will be sharing his extensive experience of working on high-profile projects in the region. Marcus Fairs, the journalist behind design website Dezeen, will talk about the hottest trends emerging from avant-garde designers this year, and Tomita Kazuhiko, a key designer for Moroso, will discuss his experiences, design from his perspective, and the importance of keeping traditional materials and design techniques alive. Fred Berns, one of the only sales and marketing speakers to train design professionals worldwide on how to substantially increase sales and profits, will present seven simple strategies to help interior designers substantially increase their sales in the current economy, earn the income that they deserve and secure bigger projects from better clients. Brendon O’Shea of Ventures ME will be presenting the results of an extensive market research report commissioned by dmg world media, while Johannes C.F. Holtzhauzen, CEO Waitrose MENA, and Michael Kent, founding partner of Kinnersley Kent Design, will host a seminar on Adapting a quintessentially English brand to flourish in the Middle Eastern market – a Waitrose case study, from design to completion. Meanwhile, Daniel Holguin, a former architect with The Rockwell Group, and his partner Victoria Simes, of Multiplicities, will run a live design competition on the Index show floor. Working with local universities, Holguin and Simes will encourage students to create a range of design objects out of unusual materials.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Nordic Homeworx Stand number: Hall 2, A80. Contact: Pauline Madani. Tel: +971 (0)50 855 3114 or email: pauline@nordichomeworx.com. News: Visit our stand to meet our new sales director, Elin Kilicarslan (elin@nordichomeworx.com). What we’re promoting: Nordic Homeworx will be presenting three new collections: Harmony, Heritage and Spirit. The Heritage Collection conjures up thoughts of tradition, age-old craftsmanship and the feeling of being surrounded by nature. The icon of all wood floors is the oak plank, with its abundant scent and swirling grain that can be traced with the fingertips. Harmony offers the comfort of home, with its warm, nurturing atmosphere. The subtle, rich tones of the Kährs Harmony Collection are designed to

complement all interior styles and to create a sense of wellbeing. Meanwhile, the Kährs Spirit Collection presents 25 beautiful, one-strip designs in a variety of colours and wood species, all with a finish that keeps its brilliance, beauty and durability for many years. The range has been developed with the environment in mind, using the latest technology. Kährs has also added a new white floor, Nouveau Snow, to its exclusive Classic Nouveau Collection. The one-strip wood floor, the lightest Kährs has produced so far, has a brushed, white-pigmented finish. Oak Nouveau Snow was launched in Sweden in May and has finally reached the UAE. We will also be happy to discuss the environmental programme that Kährs is committed to, with regards to ISO 14000, FSC Certification, EMAS etc.

Muraspec Profile: Muraspec is the leading designer and supplier of commercial wallcoverings in Europe and the Middle East, with over 30 years of experience in providing wallcoverings to professionals in the interiors industry. Stand number: Hall 3, A130. Contact: Jonathan Kidd, sales manager, UAE. Tel: +971 (0)50 644 8525 or email: jkidd@muraspec.com. News: At Index 2009, Muraspec will be showcasing four brand new wall-

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

coverings: a metallic damask called Bellini, a soft textile-feel vinyl called Pasaya, and two vinyl wallcoverings called Tattoo and Sri Lanka, both taking their influences from ancient ethnic design. We will also be launching Ideapaint for the first time in the Middle East. Ideapaint is an exciting new product that can be painted on to many surfaces, creating a hard wearing, high performance, wipeable writing surface.

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INDEX FOCUS

Stylewood Profile: Stylewood works exclusively with ‘noble’ materials such as wood, glass or lacquer, which are then adorned with digital print. The company’s designs are intended for luxury hotels and residences, as well as upscale shopping venues. It also produces creations for private customers who are in the same quality bracket. In addition, Stylewood has just developed a range of stylish, customisable furniture. Stand number: Hall 6, E240. Contact: Design House Dubai. Tel: +971 (0)56 101 67 47 or email: hvds@stylewood.fr. News: Stylewood and its partner have been established in the Middle East for several years, and have laid out the senior management offices of several international banks in Dubai, Oman and Qatar. What we’re promoting: Stylewood is showcasing its expertise with all kinds of glass – acid frosted, tempered, lacquered etc. In keeping with its PEFC certification (international sustainable forest management standard), Stylewood does not utilise species of trees that are threatened with extinction.

Andreu World Profile: Andreu World is a manufacturer of designer seats and tables for contract and residential use. Stand number: Hall 5, B223. Contact: Roberto García, sales area manager. Tel: +34 636 96 43 84 or r.garcia@andreuworld.com. News: Andreu World Outdoor has been created out of a concern for sustainability and eco-friendliness. It proposes a synthesis between indoor and outdoor life for absolute comfort. What we’re promoting: Part of our stand at Index 2009 will be used to display part of the new outdoor collection. Exhibited, among others, at the Milan Furniture Fair in April, Maison & Object in Paris and Ideas & Pasion in Valencia in September, where a large number of our clients, along with architects, designers and professionals, visited us and gave

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us their impressions, this will be a very good occasion to present the collection to our clients and friends in the GCC. We also have a few samples of the new Sit collection of seats, a family with a big range of options, suitable for any contemporary installation. Lightness, suppleness, synthesis, essence and comfort – these are some of the features that are combined in the multi-faceted Sit seating programme, capable of providing convincing answers in any contemporary installation. The total functionality of this model is reinforced by its variety of options: row and numbering systems, stacking and transport cart and writing arm. Lastly, some of our bestsellers, which are present in the best hotels around the world and in the Middle East, will also be exhibited on our stand during Index.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Ru’a Furniture Profile: Ru’a has been perpetuating the art of furniture making since 2000. Refined design, the crafting of fine woods and materials, and the use of cuttingedge technologies are all expressions of our know-how. Our philosophy is based on four fundamental values: Tradition – the Ru’a furniture range reflects unique Indonesian craftsmanship. Our craftsmen are extremely resourceful and are constantly striving to discover new and exciting ways to work with their natural resources; Excellence – Ru’a uses its own wood, created from logs dried in specially imported ovens, to ensure consistency and quality. The quality control at each step of the manufacturing process is our strength, and

guarantees an impeccable, timeless piece of furniture; Vision – Ru’a is the Arabic word for vision, the keyword we use to drive the artistic design of our furniture; Value – our products are designed to fit seamlessly into the environment, in order to help protect our planet. “To exceed customer expectations is our priority,” commented Suzanne Haines, lead interior designer. Stand number: Hall 3, B110. Contact: Suzanne Haines. Tel: +971 (0)50 4360819 and email: suzanne@ mystaygroup.com. News: We are launching a new concept in furniture: homepack.ae, furniture packs delivered in 24 hours. What we’re promoting: 30% off all complete furniture packages.

BAB Arabia Profile: Manufacturers of finished leathers for upholstery, automotive, goods and shoes. BAB Arabia also has a furniture-making unit catering to hotels and villas. Stand number: Hall 4, A202. Contact: B.Suresh or VZ Johnson. Tel: +971 (0)50 808 9685 or email: babarabia@gmail.com. News: We have planned to penetrate the Gulf market extensively to cater to the needs of the Arabian world. What we’re promoting: Basically, we are promoting finished leathers for the upholstery market, sofas and accessories. We would like to present ourselves as one of the main suppliers of quality finished leather in the Gulf market, as we understand there is a lot of potential and scope for development.

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Sanipex Group Profile: Sanipex Group, a supplier of luxury bathroom fittings, sanitaryware, accessories, tiles and plumbing solutions, has achieved substantial recognition as a ‘one-stop shop’ for interior designers, architects and individual clients in the Middle East, south Asia and Africa. Promoting leading worldwide manufacturers such as GSI, Fantini, Zucchetti, Bossini, Mosaico+, PEX, Vado and Sanit, the company is rapidly expanding across the region. Sanipex has opened an 8,300m² warehouse in Jebel Ali, which will ensure stock availability and will have the capacity to supply on-time deliveries to major projects throughout the Middle East. Four divisions operate under the Sanipex Group: Bagno Design, Aquazone, Sanipex Trade and Sanipex Projects. Stand number: Hall 3, A101 Contact: Ben Bryden. Tel: +971 (0)50 657 8119 or e-mail: ben@ sanipexdubai.com News: Bagno Design, the retail division of Sanipex Group, held the official launch of its exquisite new flagship 13,000ft² showroom on October 7. The new showroom has many additional features, such as a meeting room for designers and architects, with all the products at their fingertips and access to up-to-date catalogues, as well as Bagno Design sales consultants to assist with any queries that may arise. What we’re promoting: Bagno Design will promote its own exclusive line of Bagno Design sanitaryware, bathroom accessories, mixers and tiles. It will also promote the latest products from manufacturers such as Electric Mirror, GSI, Vado, Bongio, Bertocci, Galassia, Reginox, Fantini, Zucchetti and Mosaico+.

CAPDEC Profile: CAPDEC provides premium grade decorative finishes and coatings for exterior and interior surfaces. It is a professionally managed company catering only to the very discerning. The application teams’ expertise lies in providing quality decorative and acoustic solutions for diverse projects, such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, office interiors, commercial buildings and private villas. The company’s exceptional project management skills, along with creative design ability and excellent craftsmanship, have been key factors in its association with some very prestigious

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developments in the Middle East and North Africa. Stand number: Hall 2, F71. Contact: Manpreet S Kalsey, who is the general manager - sales and marketing. Tel: +971 (0)4 339 0887 or email: manpreet@capdec.ae. News: The CAPDEC Paints factory has been installed and will go into full production by November 15 2009 to manufacture an entire range of decorative coatings for external and internal applications. What we’re promoting: We are offering special finishes and will be launching a range of real gold and silver finishes.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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INDEX FOCUS

Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery Profile: Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery is a leading supplier of fine art, picture frames, furniture, lighting and accessories to the hospitality industry. Founded in 1970, the Gallery is situated in a 15,000ft² showroom in Dubai. The Gallery operates the largest picture framing factory in the Gulf and handles projects all over the Gulf, Africa and Eastern Europe. Over the years, the Gallery has furnished some of the most prestigious developments in the region. Stand number: Hall 7, E301 to E311. Contact: Neel Shukla. Tel: +971 (0)50 625 0386 or neel@fourseasonsgallery.ae News: Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery has furnished some of the most prominent hotels in the region, such as The Address, Grosvenor House, InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City and Kempinski Mall of the Emirates. In addition to artworks, Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery also carries a wide range of furniture, accessories and decorative lighting suitable for all settings. We operate two showrooms in Dubai, one at Mall of the Emirates and the other on Zabeel Road. What we’re promoting: This year, we are promoting handicraft furniture, decorative furniture and 3D Artwork.

2XL Furniture & Home Décor Profile: A world where elegant design combines effortlessly with comfort and support to provide a home furniture concept that is attractive, inspirational and practical. At 2XL, we understand that our customer requires furniture that not only fits the physical dimensions of the room, but a complete furniture solution that conveys a message about their lifestyle. We offer variety and style, comfort and convenience, and inspiration and value that sets new standards in home furniture. Our range is stylish, versatile and affordable. Stand number: Hall 4, A171. Contact: Samir Chammas, operations manager. Tel: +971 (0)6 572 2888 or email: samir@2xlme.com. News: A 5,000m² 2XL flagship store is due to open in Sharjah, behind Sharjah Mega Mall. We will also be opening a number of new showrooms in Dubai and Abu Dhabi over the next year.

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What we’re promoting: In addition to furnishings and home décor, we will be promoting our turnkey projects division, which is bringing a range of high quality, innovative designs to this rapidly expanding market sector. From the concept through construction to completion, 2XL Furniture can assist by providing the interior that suits your image and your budget. We offer design services and have a Projects Department that employs fully qualified interior architects and CAD operators. 2XL can offer experienced consulting in spaceplanning and can develop solutions to meet individual facility management requirements. We also offer installation services. Our full-time experienced installation team is able to build from working drawings and prepare delivery and installation programmes. We also offer computer-aided design and computer-aided planning services.

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DESIGN UPDATE

Shahriar Khodjasteh and Chris Barnes

Loft living Neocasa unveils The Loft, a collaboration of contemporary design UAE: Neocasa, a platform created by Al Aqili Furnishings to showcase real, live examples of effective design, has unveiled its debut project, The Loft. A collaboration between various industry stakeholders, The Loft is located in Murjan Towers, Jumeirah Beach Residences (JBR), Dubai. “We were sitting at the CID Awards two years ago and I was watching all of these different design firms going up to receive their awards, and I decided that I wanted to provide a platform where these designers could work their magic’,” explained Shahriar Khodjasteh, group marketing director of Al Aqili Furnishings. “It’s all about the elevation and exposure of the artist,” he added. The idea was to provide a blank canvas where locally-established interior designers could showcase

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their skills. For The Loft, Neocasa teamed up with Broadway Interiors. Loft living is a particular passion for Chris Barnes, managing director of Broadway Interiors, he admitted. “This is something that we feel very strongly about; it is something that we feel has great potential in Dubai over the coming years. Loft living in many parts of the world comes from a remodelled environment – a warehouse or a refunctioned building. “Obviously, in Dubai most things are very new. As such, the loft living concept is something that needs to be modified to reflect the life of Dubai,” he said. “One of the things with loft living is that you try to embrace the fabric and the structure of the space that you are provided with. You have to try and showcase what is already there. You try not to

conceal but, rather, to embellish,” Barnes highlighted. Where possible, Barnes called upon Al Aqili’s extensive portfolio of products to fit out The Loft. The majority of contemporary furnishings were supplied by i4Mariani and signal the debut of the brand’s residential line in the region. In areas where Al Aqili does not operate, it partnered with leaders in the field: the gymnasium is home to Technogym’s Kinesis, and the kitchen is fitted with a Porsche Design Kitchen by Poggenpohl and a Sub-Zero built-in refrigerator. Audio-visual technology and home automation was provided by Dubai Audio Centre and includes luxury Loewe televisions. Mirror televisions in the bathrooms came from Ad Notam and paintings were created by Hengameh Mahvi. “We tried to create a very neutral space,

which is uplifted, with sensitivity, with a little bit of red. Red isn’t the easiest colour to work with, its got to be just right to work, but I think we have achieved that here, supported by some lovely artwork,” Barnes commented. “I’m a very visual person and I think some of that is reflected in what you see in The Loft. I’m also very sensitive to the fact that we are living in the Middle East and am very appreciative of the opportunities that has given me. So, while we wanted to create a modern and contemporary interior, I also wanted to reflect where we live,” Barnes continued. The Loft will be open for visitors, by appointment only, for at least six months. There are also plans to roll out similar projects across the region, focusing on a range of different interior environments.

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DESIGN UPDATE

Aloft has made its Abu Dhabi debut

Design-driven hospitality Starwood’s Aloft brand targets ‘design-conscious’ travellers UAE: Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is celebrating the Middle East debut of its Aloft brand, following the opening of The Aloft Abu Dhabi on October 27. The new lifestyle brand was designed to appeal to ‘forwardthinking, savvy, design-conscious’ travellers. It is a reinterpretation of conventional hotel design that reassesses what travellers actually want and need. “Aloft is the world’s fastest growing hotel brand. It has reinvented the industry by ignoring certain aspects of hotels that have become clichéd and old fashioned in the minds of our target audience. For example, free wireless internet is very important to our customers, but room service and silver service tea lobbies are

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not,” explained Stephan Vanden Auweele, general manager, The Aloft Hotel. “We provide what our customers want and don’t concern ourselves with things that they don’t; this approach reduces our costs and allows us to provide the customer with a lower price per room.” Having designed the first ever W Hotel for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, as well as W Union Square and a series of other high-profile projects, Rockwell Group was an obvious choice for the design of the new 408-room Aloft property. The property’s design stays true to the heritage of the W brand, offering highly atmospheric public spaces that are meant to draw guests out of their rooms. Guests can relax, work or socialise at the

bar, ‘w xyz’, or enjoy a meal at ‘dine’, the hotel’s main restaurant, which has been designed to convey a retro-modern, American, 1960s-inspired essence. “Aloft’s vibrant and inviting public spaces encourage guests to spend time in the lobby and the bar. The hotel features an open, airy design, great music, the destination w xyz bar with signature cocktails, a pool table, and games throughout,” explained Chuck Wood, managing director, Rockwell Group Middle East. “Aloft is an urban-inspired, high-tech environment with high ceilings and open, multi-functional spaces. The hotel design is open, light and vibrant. “Featuring loft-like guest rooms, a buzzing bar scene in the open

lobby, an urban-inspired graband-go café and industrial design elements throughout, Aloft hotels are a far cry from the conventional cookie-cutter hotel brands that populate the select service space,” he continued. Wood reiterated the need to create a “sassy, savvy, vibrant, urban, loft-inspired” hotel that would cater to a whole new breed of traveller. “Aloft addresses the needs of today’s highly social, self-sufficient traveller, without sacrificing on style or quality. “Aloft hotels are wired for the future language, including highspeed wi-fi throughout, self checkin and room selection and the in-room ‘plug & play’, a one-stop connectivity solution that connects to a 42” plasma screen.”

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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DESIGN UPDATE

Molteni&C Dada

Gemaco Interiors

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

The Total Office

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DESIGN UPDATE

Showtime A series of showroom openings over recent months bodes well for the recovery of the industry. CID looks at some of the key launches UAE: A flurry of activity over the last couple of months signals positive news for the interior design industry. In a show of strength, a number of leading suppliers have launched new showrooms – an investment highlighting their commitment to the market. Officially marking its evolution into two distinct business units, office specialist Gemaco Interiors has unveiled a new, state-of-theart, sustainable showroom. Separate spaces have been allocated for the ‘Interiors’ and ‘Furniture’ arms of the business, to enable the company to better serve its various customers types. “We have been able to separate the two business models under one roof,” said Kaj Helstrand, design manager, Gemaco Interiors. “Architects and designers (A&D) can come into an A&D orientated space, and an end user can come into an end-user space, and they can meet the right people and talk to them in a language they are used to.” The company is also flouting its green credentials with a showroom that was designed with LEED firmly in mind. “I don’t know how many showrooms in town can claim and document that they have been designed with LEED as the main criteria. That’s obviously a great marketing tool but beyond that, it gives you a nice feeling to know that this space consumes less energy,” Helstrand added. The aim was to create a living, working space – rather than a lifeless showroom that provided zero context for the products being displayed. As such, the showroom also doubles up as the Gemaco offices, meaning that products are presented ‘in action’. “The big difference with our previous space was that we had hidden our workstations behind this invisible wall and our actual

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showroom was never really activated. You can put a pencil cup and a couple of pencils on a desk and try and make it look alive – but this new space is truly alive.” This also allows Gemaco Interiors to provide a live demonstration of the various workspace solutions that it can provide to its clients. From hot-desking and open plan spaces to break-out pods and high-end enclosed offices, a whole gamut of solutions are on show. “That’s one of the major things with this concept; we want to invite our clients behind that invisible curtain and say this is what we offer and this is where we can have a dialogue about the challenges you will be facing in your future offices,” Helstrand said. “Exposing those challenges increases our credibility and allows us to gain more trust from our clients.” Reiterating an emerging trend, The Total Office launched a new showroom in Abu Dhabi at the end of October, and also placed sustainability at the top of its agenda. The new facility is also aiming for LEED certification and, on average, will use 40% less energy than a typical showroom of the same size. “Aiming for LEED certification for our showroom shows our commitment to the environment and sustainable consumption,” said Siddharth Peters, managing director, The Total Office. “Designing our showroom and office facilities in such a way that we use less energy than a facility designed without this certification is a win-win situation for us, leading to lower expenses and a positive impact on the environment.” The layout of the showroom was envisioned by Mehdi Moazzen of Point of Design, in conjunction with LEED consultant Samuel Keehn from Energy Management

Services. “Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE are on the fast track to incorporating LEED and other sustainability criteria into projects, but along with this rapid push, some areas and components are not moving at the same pace,” said Keehn. “The existing building’s infrastructure, lack of materials and the documentation necessary even when materials are compliant, along with different understandings of what green is, all led to challenges with this project. “However, the integrated approach, from the client to the contractor, and from concept to commissioning, addressed these issues, creating a project to be proud of,” he continued. The showroom features office furniture solutions from brands such as Kusch & Co, Emmegi and Casamania, along with some of the latest product lines from Teknion. In amongst a wave of other openings, also noteable was the launch of Molteni&C Dada’s first Middle East showroom on October 24. The venue was created in partnership with Dubai-based distributor, Finasi, and features a Molteni&C Dada home collection, including day and night systems, bookcases, upholstered furnishings, beds and wardrobes, tables and accessories. The new 600m² show-space is located on Al Ittihad Road in Deira. “Molteni Group is elated to be entering the UAE. This is a dynamic market that yields great potential for us, particularly in light of the fact that there are a big number of projects both ongoing and complete. In addition to this, we believe that there is an abundance of savvy consumers who recognise the quality and refinement offered by the group’s product range,” commented Carlo Molteni, CEO of the Molteni Group.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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IlBagnoAlessi dOt (sanitary ware, bath tubs, shower cabin, furniture and accessories) is produced and distributed by Laufen Bathrooms under License of Alessi Spa Italy

FORM FOLLOWS FLOW. dOt, design Wiel Arets


Bathroom Culture since 1892

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Bahrain: Al Abbas Gallery +973 17741919 alabbas@batelco.com.bh Iran: Farbar +98 21 88 03 6364 sales@farbar.ir Jordan: Izzat Musa Marji & Sons Co. +962 65 52 02 84 info@marji.jo Kuwait: Arte Casa Trading Co. +965 4848 000 info@artecasa.bz Lebanon: Georges Nassr +961 1 482 462 georgesnasr@zahleh.com Oman: Ahmed Mohsin Trading L.L.C. +968 248 17 019 sware@amtoman.com Qatar: Al Abbas Gallery +974 4675167 alabbas@qatar.net.qa Saudi Arabia: Dar Alfun for Ceramics (Articasa) +96 6 2252 4402 info@articasa.biz Syria: Uni Group +96 31 15 32 67 00 unigroup@net.sy United Arab Emirates: German Home for Kitchen & Bathrooms +971 4 268 9993 info@germanhome.net Yemen: Abu Al-Rejal Trading Corp. +967 1 272 519 sanitary@abualrejal.com


SHOW PREVIEW

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1

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Big business

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CID questions Paula Al Chami, show director of The Big 5, about the exhibition’s relevance to interior designers

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aking place between November 23 and 26, this year’s edition of The Big 5, flagged as the largest gathering of the construction industry in the Middle East, is promising to be 15% bigger than the 2008 show. Over 39,000m² of exhibition space has been secured, with companies from every stratum of the construction industry scheduled to attend. Last year’s show was widely regarded as having bucked global trends by attracting some 58,040 trade visitors in spite of its timing, which coincided with the credit crisis hitting Dubai. Interior designers accounted for 8% of visitors, representing a small but significant proportion of attendees. Commercial Interior Design caught up with show director, Paula Al Chami, to ask why interior designers should make a point of visiting The Big Five this year. 1. Paula Al Chami. 2-5. Past editions of The Big 5.

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How is The Big 5 relevant to the region’s interior design community? The Big 5 brings together a vast range of products and services related to the building and construction industry.

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

Interior design is an important part of the building’s life cycle, particularly in the design and procurement phases. With nearly 3,000 exhibitors participating at the show, arriving from all major exporting nations, the wealth of product on display will certainly keep designers’ creativity flowing. The Facility Construction sector of the show encompasses manufacturers of finishes, including wall finishes, paints, ceilings, flooring etc; Special Construction & Facilities covers kitchens, bathrooms, swimming pools, fountains etc; Openings includes doors and windows, and there is also a dedicated area for marble, stone, ceramics, glass, metals and wood manufacturers. Why can interior designers not afford to miss the show this year? Three thousand exhibitors, 52 countries, 16 halls, one outstanding event! The Big 5 delivers the most comprehensive product offering for the building and construction industry. And The Big 5 2009 is the biggest yet! We’re 15% bigger than ever before, with

43,000m² of exhibition floor space. It’s the place for ‘big business’. With construction projects valued at $3.1 trillion underway in the Gulf, no other show can offer such an enormous range of building and construction related products and services. Meanwhile, The Big 5 Business Conference will bring a realistic perspective to the critical challenges that are indicative of our current times and will focus on Building Future Cities of the Middle East. And finally, The Big 5 Gaia Awards are back by popular demand! Now in its second year, the awards are showcasing the best in green building products and services live at the show. Are there any particular exhibiting companies that interior designers should keep an eye out for? The list is very long, as you can imagine, but to give you a taste, some of the must-see companies are Nathan Allan Glass from Canada, RAR Paints, RAK Ceramics and Porcellan from the UAE, and Miele, Putzmeister and Nolte Kuechen from Germany, to name a few.

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DESIGN FORENSICS

When Interior Design Works: The BurJuman Shopping Centre I grew up in Hong Kong, and when I left in 1997 it wasn’t for fear of the Big Red Reaper, who was apparently stropping his claws just north of Fan Ling Golf Club. The fact was I’d been working there for six years and felt it was time to experiment with pastures new. I felt Hong Kong was small and I wanted to try a city where things were big. A mature city. I heard London calling. Or maybe New York. It was almost secondary where. The main thing was to go to a ‘real’ city. So off I trotted, into one of the most difficult and exhausting periods of my life. I simply couldn’t come to terms with London and, infuriatingly, I couldn’t even understand why. Then, on a miserable February evening in a St. James’ pub, an old Hong Kong chum quietly provided my Eureka moment. “London is just too big,” he said, wearily rubbing his eyes. “I can’t seem to fit it all inside my head. In Hong Kong, I know where everything

Gavin Mackenzie and Justin Penketh are the senior design manager and managing partner of Outcast, a Dubaibased company that boasts over 100 years of collective design experience in Europe, south-east Asia, the US and Caribbean, and the UAE. The company was formed in 2007 to bring a more creative approach to the sector. If you are interested in nominating a space ‘Where Interior Design Works’, or in contributing to this section, please contact Selina Denman at selina.denman@itp.com.

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

is, why it’s there, and how to get to it,” he lamented. “It has all the variety, excitement, history and culture you could want, and it’s all so accessible. In London it’s spread out over 700 square miles of what’s mostly urban sprawl!” Within a month of that conversation I was here in Dubai, happily able to fit my new city ‘inside my head’. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the scale of it and I could feel my way around it. I could get from one side of it to the other in half an hour, and yet it still had that buzz and excitement that I loved about Hong Kong. I liked it. I still do. And I had learned a valuable lesson: that bigger is not necessarily better. So, what’s the point? Well, I think it’s a story that has some resonance in Dubai when it comes to our obsessive proliferation of shopping malls. Let’s start by looking at the latest, the greatest, the granddaddy of them all: the iconic Dubai Mall. In a game of ‘Shopping Mall Top Trumps’ this monster would Ace everything. Usable space? 12 million ft². Highest point? 2,300ft. Retail outlets? 1,200. Special feature? Largest indoor aquarium in the world… and so it goes. It’s incredible and, what’s more, it even looks great. It presides over some genuine competition, too. For your credit card’s big day out, you can mix it up with the giants Ibn Battuta, Deira City Centre, Mall of the Emirates, Marina Walk, Dragon Mart and the Outlet Mall. Or, for a coffee morning and a few specifics, you could visit their cousins, Jumeirah Village, The Dune Centre, Jumeirah Centre, Jumeirah Plaza, Emirates Towers Boulevard, The Oasis Centre, to name but a few. So it is interesting, then, that when we tested my little theory with a straw poll of friends and colleagues, male and female, young(ish) and old(er), most people state unhesitatingly that

when they really need to spend a day shopping, they still prefer to go to the BurJuman Centre. In terms of Top Trumps, the BurJuman Centre is not what you’d want as your last card. In fact, I don’t think it’s in the record books for anything. At a mere 800,000ft², it is dwarfed by Dubai Mall. It is also rather unremarkable as an entertainment destination, boasting no cinemas, ski slopes or bars. Unlike Ibn Battuta (the self-proclaimed ‘largest themed shopping mall in the world’) it is an odd blend of quite incongruous styles. And bearing in mind that in Dubai an ‘era’ is about five years, it can actually claim to have a foot in two distinct time periods. But there is a lot about the BurJuman that simply works. The first, and most obvious, is the human scale of the overall space, and the spaces within it. It is on a manageable scale, so it allows you to have an easy location reference in your mind as you walk around. The old section, which (delightfully) they didn’t make any effort to change when they added the extension a few years ago, has a nostalgic feel. It harks back to a more sensibly-proportioned and more sedate Dubai, before we started suffering from Guinness-itus and believing that if it wasn’t in the record books, it wasn’t worth building. The BurJuman’s layout, however, is conveniently linear, so you always retain a sense of where you are. After all, it is a lot easier to gauge how far you are along something, than where you might be inside it. But what makes it all so user-friendly is the fact that there is, quite literally, a high end and a low end. And this translates geographically to the level of retail outlet. Cartier, Saks, and Shanghai Tang are at one end, and Hallmark and the Watch-House are at the other. How refreshingly simple! And how civilised that the BurJuman offers both.

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DESIGN FORENSICS

To suggest that the BurJuman is in any way unsophisticated would be untrue. You have as broad and as good a choice of outlets as any of the mega-malls, but there’s a logic to it. And the fact is, when your wardrobe needs an overhaul, what you want is choice and convenience in a comfortable environment; you’re probably not that bothered as to whether your shopping experience is ‘themed’. A friend of mine once said that after a day out at Ibn Battuta Mall, he wasn’t surprised they’d named it after a guy who travelled 75,000 miles, over 30 years, through most of the known world and beyond, and that a day spent shopping there had given him some sympathy for him. But there is a lot more to the BurJuman than just an appealing sense of scale. The curved walkways have a nice ‘street’ feel to them, and on all levels you have shops to your left and right, without overlooking a colossal atrium. This eliminates the irritation of seeing the shop you want and yet having to walk 30 yards, across a bridge, and 30 yards back again. From a design point of view, a curved corridor will always create a greater sense of anticipation and drama than a straight walkway, however grand.

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Furthermore, the walkways repeatedly split into two, away from a central feature area, curve back on themselves, and then meet again further up. The focal areas in which they converge are generally populated with either exhibitions and displays, or comfortable and convenient cafés and coffee shops. This creates a sense of both continuity and direction, and also a feeling of your overall shopping experience being broken into bite-sized chunks. There’s

extension. There is much emphasis on creating a softer feel than you would normally expect in a shopping centre, and this comes together with some seriously intricate floor and ceiling details to create a sense of being in a rather large living room. But, perhaps more than any of this, the BurJuman’s contrasting mix of old and new, high and low, attracts a full range of people from all of Dubai’s walks of life. And yet it manages to

There is much emphasis on creating a softer feel than you would normally expect plenty of scope for a disinterested partner to relax at ease while 20 garments are tried and rejected five shops back. The fact that the layout is linear, and the focal areas so recognisably different, interesting and comfortable, thankfully negates the necessity for those terrifying ‘You Are Nowhere’ directory boards you see in the mega-malls. There is also an interesting use of materials and finishes in the BurJuman

do this without ever feeling too busy. Perhaps the fact that it is not designed to overwhelm is the reason for its sustained popularity. After all, for those of us who actually live in Dubai, there is only so much of the biggest, fastest, glitziest, costliest, tallest and shiniest you can stand, before you say ‘for goodness sake, just give me something that works’! By Justin Penketh

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WHITEPAPER

The continual assessment of professional designers Kenneth Laidler, president of APID, has written a paper proposing the continual assessment of professional interior design practioners. practioners Over the next few months, CID will be publishing exclusive extracts Given the various specialisations operating within the interior design profession, it is essential to ensure that operatives know and understand a basic set of criteria relating to their own area of expertise. To this end, an examination should be prepared in order to test and assess the level of knowledge and understanding within each specialisation. These tests are based on the acceptance that there are a series of different roles and functions within the interior design profession. Titles are used as a means of classifying individual design inputs – but first we need to identify a designer’s basic competencies, which can then be translated into job roles. These basic competencies include imaginative and design skills; technical comprehension; visualisation expertise; specification competence; administrational expertise; knowledge of construction practices; client awareness and cultural comprehension. In simple terms, it is important to classify what a professional interior designer needs to know in order to practice the profession. I would list the attributes that an interior designer needs as follows: • An understanding of user psychology; • A clear understanding of the business model they are designing for; • An objective understanding of past, present and future design psychology, including architectural history; • A clear understanding of past, present and future construction practices;

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• Total comprehension of the position of interior design within the global building envelope; • Complete understanding of the role of the many other professionals engaged and involved in the process of creating built environments; • A familiarity with the production of visual information, in order to clearly explain a concept and describe the methods of achieving the finished product; • A thorough knowledge of material specifications, covering suitability, conformity to regulations, durability, structural integrity, economic viability, aesthetic suitability, safety and, not least in today’s climate, sustainability; • A superior technical knowledge of predesigned products, such as furniture, lighting and floor coverings; • A legal and contractual understanding of the designer’s obligations to the client and contractor; • A clear legal and contractual understanding of the contractor’s deliverables to the client; • An ability to carry out clear analytical processes when reviewing the client’s brief, the site budgetary allocations, technical feasibility, co-ordination with associated consultants and contractors, as well as the capability to demonstrate that analysis in some written or graphic form; • An aesthetic appreciation of design issues such as scale, form, texture, colour, proportion, ergonomics, anthropometrics, physical weight and

psychological influences. Whilst it may be argued that aesthetic appreciation is subjective, it is equally contested that good design follows accepted principals relating to this list of design issues. • A clear understanding that interior design is a true profession and requires an integrity of both design input and personal character; that it is a business and therefore must be practiced as such, and not as a hobby or charity; • General knowledge of geography, history, politics, science, physics, cultural awareness, religion, technology, sport, hobbies, music, dance… almost anything that has some relevance to the interior environment. Most of the above are learned through experience and travel but can only be fully used in design if the interior designer has an interested and enquiring mind, and never accepts anything without questioning it. It is with these issues in mind that any test or examination must seek to discover the level of knowledge that has lodged within the brain of an interior designer. This can be measured as a level of attainment – and can be used to not only confirm the classification of the specialist but to grade his level within a specialisation, based also on their age and experience. Next month, Laidler will provide a detailed breakdown of the different skill sets required by concept designers, visualisers and design technicians.

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INDUSTRY SPEAK

Self preservation The current economic climate is forcing interior design firms to become far more business savvy. In the second of a two-part series, Selina Denman sat down with members of the Index Steering Committee to find out more The current economic climate has changed the way most people do business – perhaps forever. This is particularly true in this part of the world which, up until very recently, was one of the last remaining bastions of the relaxed verbal agreement and open, trusting business relationship. Times are changing. This is the age of unanswered phone calls, unsightly squabbling over contractual small print and hard bargaining over payment terms. The glory days of the ‘gentleman’s agreement’ have come to a close. As a result, interior design firms are having to closely scrutinise the way that they relate and interact with both their clients and suppliers. Essentially, they are having to become far more business savvy. Circumstances are dictating that they turn their focus very firmly towards self-protection and self-preservation. Interior design firms across Dubai have spent the year patiently awaiting payment for services already rendered. In many cases, they are waiting for money from clients that are either unwilling or simply unable to pay their debts. “We’re owed a lot of money because we started getting involved with a larger scale of project and a different kind of project – towers, hotels, that kind of thing,” noted Paul Bishop, owner, Bishop Design Associates. “Obviously we have not received due payments because in many cases, the developer has fallen flat on their feet. Sometimes you are calling them up and

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“Obviously there is less trust now, which is valid. Everyone needs to cover themselves and you need to be strong contractually. It’s not a bad thing.” they aren’t even answering the phone. And their accountants are nowhere to be found,” he continued. This is an experience shared by design firms across the UAE. One problem is that design companies have never been particularly adept at protecting themselves – business practices precrisis never really demanded it. “I actually think that the main reason that interior designers are suffering so much now is that we are not corporate enough in our documents. I honestly believe that,” insisted Ellen Bishop, owner, Bishop Design Associates. “We are not corporate enough when it comes to protecting ourselves contractually. I think that’s an important point. Interior designers are not banks; we do not have the necessary processes in place to make sure that we are protecting ourselves like we should.” In practical terms, this means becoming more stringent with things like transmittal sheets. “I think one of the main things is that designers did not use transmittal sheets,” Ellen Bishop suggested. “So, when we were handing over drawings that were sometimes

worth literally half a million dirhams, we just handed them over, with no proof. We have had clients who then came in and said: ‘We never received that. We don’t know what you mean’.” Steven Charlton, business development manager, Hamilton International, is also seeing a shift in the way clients and design firms interact. “I think things were more off-the-cuff before. It was less contractual. I think now you have to be very contractual. You have to be very clear and everything has to be documented so that things can’t come back on you,” he maintained. For smaller, locally-grown firms, this represents an about-turn in the way business has always been done. In this part of the world, success has always hinged on the willingness of designers to build strong, solid relationships with their clients – and go well beyond the call of duty when required. After all, in a market that is relatively small, repeat business has been key in keeping young, emerging design firms afloat. “Because we are a boutique practice, we have always been very flexible with our clients,” added Paul Bishop. “If we

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INDUSTRY SPEAK

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1. Paul Bishop. 2. Ellen Bishop. 2. Steven Charlton. 3. Fernando Arteaga.

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hadn’t been flexible, we wouldn’t have the relationships that we have with them. And we wouldn’t be doing the work that we do,” he pointed out. “For example, a lot of the time, they ask for phase four work in phase two because the construction programme is different to the design phase programme. And we do that. We like to have that relationship. But the flipside of that is it doesn’t protect you.” In response, Bishop Design Associates is reassessing its business processes. “We’ve gone really corporate. We didn’t want to but I’ve been sitting down with lawyers and redoing all of our contracts,” Ellen Bishop explained. At the same time, companies have to tread carefully – this is not a market where anyone can afford to burn bridges, and few companies have the appetite for lengthy, costly court cases. In many instances, design firms are having to make difficult judgement calls, juggling long-term business interests with short-term economic demands. “When the market picks up again, we want to be able to say that we’ve sat by, we’ve been patient and we haven’t pushed for anything. But, at the end of the day, that money would have been your operational costs for the year,” Paul Bishop maintained. When it comes to contractual disputes, there are countless areas of contention. Scope of work, budgetary transgressions and unforeseen delays are obvious problem areas. “You have

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to be clear about what your scope of work is,” Fernando Arteaga, director of business development, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA), recommended. “Otherwise, the client will make changes for no reason and then maintain that is was part of your job to make those changes. And you have to try and explain that these have become added services because you are redesigning the project,” Arteaga continued. “They’ll have you doing absolutely everything unless you say I didn’t agree to this,” Steven Charlton of Hamilton International agreed. The issue of value engineering is another hotbed of misunderstanding. Clients are pushing for budgets to be slashed but are also very quick to complain when the end product is not exactly as they had imagined. “They say: ‘Well you were supposed to give me a five-star product and this isn’t one’. So they don’t want to pay you because of that,” said Arteaga. The answer, ultimately, is to look for partners that share your business ethic, Arteaga suggested. “It’s very complicated right now,” he said. “For us, it’s just a matter of being clearer, better educated and trying to work with more professional firms. We look for good interior contractors and project managers. “That way we protect ourselves and every time we see something that’s going to be an issue we just raise the flag early and say: ‘Be aware that if you make that change it is going to result in

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a budget increase, or a delay in the timing. Are you ready to make that decision right now? Yes or no?’” For Charlton, an obvious repercussion of the current economic climate is that a lot more leg work goes into the job, before it really even gets started. “There’s a lot of work to do before you get on site, which wasn’t the case in the past. It used to be a lot quicker.” For example, financing projects has become much more of a struggle. “You have to rely on credit lines to fund jobs. Big jobs take a lot of money and you have to have that backing in place. “Clients used to give big chunks of money upfront – 30% or 40 % in advance payments. Now you’d be lucky to find anyone willing to give you anything close to that,” Charlton continued. “So you are reliant on your own money. You are reliant on achieving good terms with your suppliers; you are reliant on banking credit and how much credit you want to take. We are even getting to a situation where all tenders now are tender bonds, which wasn’t the case. Everything has APGs (Advance Payment Guarantees). “There was more trust and, obviously, there is less trust now, which is valid. Everyone needs to cover themselves and you need to be very strong contractually. It’s not a bad thing. “This is still a developing market and it’s just a case of educating your clients on what you will do for them and what you won’t do,” he concluded.

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Performance and elegance Entrance

Awning

Counter

Corridor

The KNX standard forms the basis for a bus system which fully meets these requirements. The configuration methods in connection with different communication media ensure that KNX is the first choice for all applications in home and building system technology. The Facility Pilot is operated via the colour 15" touch screen monitor of the KNX Flat Panel PC. It is an interactive software program which is used to extensively visualise and control the KNX building system technology and consists of individual modules such as an EIB editor, process model, visualisation editor as well as comprehensive system control. The access to the Facility Pilot also functions without any problems via the Internet using any browser with graphic capability. Dubai – UAE · P.O. Box: 77391, Dubai, U.A.E · Tel: +971- 4 282 6070 · Fax: +971- 4 286 5626 Email: icasdxb@mazrouicas.ae Abu Dhabi – UAE · P.O. Box: 36223, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. · Tel. + 971- 2 448 1846 · Fax: + 971- 2 448 1845 E-mail: icasauh@mazrouicas.ae Doha – Qatar · P.O. Box: 22652, Doha · Tel: +974 441 9459/437 6784 · Fax: +974 442 9659 E-mail: mazroueicas@qatar.net.qa

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PROFILE

Home Design WHO Home Design is the new furniture retail concept created by the Sultan Group Investments LLC Retail Division. This unique, locally-created concept store brings together many different brands from around the world, showcasing their best and latest product ranges under one roof, presenting an upmarket, exclusive furniture collection for all lifestyles.

THE FACE The man behind the scenes, Nawaf Qassim Sultan, started the retail division of Sultan Group Investments LLC and has since been working on developing unique retail concepts that will be introduced to various markets in the near future. “Innovation is what guides our vision; we strive to create new concepts rather than replicating existing products, brands or retail models in the market,� he said.

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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PROFILE

WHERE The first showroom is located on the first floor of the Mall of the Emirates in Dubai and is open Sunday to Wednesday, 10am to 10pm, and Thursday to Saturday, 10am to 12pm. “We are planning to introduce our second and third Home Design showrooms in the very near future to enter the Abu Dhabi and Saudi markets,” Nawaf Qassim Sultan said.

WHAT “The concept is built on foundations that will allow it to grow firmly and quickly. It is currently operating as a department store showcasing over 13 different brands with some newlyfeatured, exclusive products available to the market. The concept will continuously evolve by adding new brands and products into the current showroom, as well as having new brands becoming part of the concept in every new showroom we open,” he added.

WHY “As a group, we recognise the importance of being in the market at the right time and place. Although many may think that today is not the right time, we feel that the timing is perfect to set up and trade in this market. In fact, there couldn’t have been a better opportunity and we have great confidence in our concept,” he concluded.

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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DESIGNER Q&A

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Hurricane dame In Beirut to celebrate the Middle East launch of one of her latest creations, Patricia Urquiola spoke to Selina Denman about practical products – and why having a design style is just plain ‘stupid’

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he Italians have fondly nicknamed her ‘the hurricane’ because of the force with which she careered onto the design scene, and when she talks – forcefully, fervently, swerving from topic to topic, barely stopping for breath as she flits from Spanish to English to French and back again – the moniker seems fitting. Patricia Urquiola is one of the few women to have made a name for themselves in the male-dominated world of product design. Born in Oviedo in Spain,

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Urquiola attended Madrid Polytechnic’s faculty of architecture, graduating in 1989 after completing a thesis with Achille Castiglioni. But in built-up city like Milan, there was far more scope for designing products than buildings, and Urquiola went on to work with leading companies such as Alessi, B&B Italia, Flos, Kartell, Molteni&C, Moroso, Paola Lenti, Rosenthal, Kettal and Foscarini. One of her more recent collaborations was with Axor, the high-end ‘designer’

arm of German sanitaryware company, Hansgrohe. The fruit of this partnership is the Axor Urquiola collection, which includes bath mixers, wash basins, a bath tub, accessories and a partition. The new bathroom is infused with intimacy and human intuition, a selfproclaimed “space for normal life”. Boundaries between the bedroom and bathroom have been completely broken down and the space is divided by a single, multi-functional partition that can act as a divider, heater and mirror.

1. Patricia Urquiola.

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DESIGNER Q&A

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2. Boundaries between the bathroom and bedroom

Taps are asymmetrical, sensual and sleek. Two sinks are set on opposite sides of the room – because who wants to watch their partner brushing their teeth? Sinks are reminiscent of a bucket, to encourage people to think about how much water they are using; two baths are set side by side, each designed for one person – after all, why waste the water if you normally bathe alone? Perhaps unusually for a designer producing at the top end of the scale, Urquiola has created a collection of products that can be slotted into any environment. “The things you put in your house will live with other layers. There will always be other layers that existed before,” she commented. In Beirut to celebrate the official Middle East launch of the Axor Urquiola collection, Patricia Urquiola spoke exclusively to CID about the meaning of luxury, and her lack of goals.

have been broken down. 3. Taps are sleek and sensual.

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What are the defining characteristics of the new Axor Urquiola bathroom? I think the collection is quite unisex – I don’t think it looks particularly feminine. When I was speaking with Philippe

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

Grohe of Axor, the first thing we thought about was intimacy. This is the place where you take care of yourself and you take care of your relationship with someone else. This is not just a space where you wash or use the shower. It was important to insert my pieces into some kind of context. So we decided to create a scenario of a possible couple and see what would happen. Everything came from that. In our scenario, there were no boundaries between the bathroom and the bedroom. There was just the paravant. That was the only divider, so when you are in the bedroom you do not see everything but you can see certain things, if you want. The bathroom is a place where you reflect. This is a time when you are naked and you are not naked often, so there is that personal intimacy too. You seem to have quite an interesting perception of what luxury is? A client might say: “I want a double wash basin and a very big bathtub”. I say that the bathtub doesn’t really need to fit more than one person. I do not think that is the way for us to grow as

individuals. There is no need to have swimming pools in our bathrooms. The whole big bath tub filled with bubbles is a little bit ‘Pretty Woman’ anyway; it’s a little old-fashioned for me. I always think about how people live and experience things. And then I play with that. For me, one bath tub is enough for one person. If needs be, you can have two separate bath tubs, which is quite playful, but the point is that when there is only one person having a bath, you only need to use enough water for one. If you are using water in the Axor Urquiola wash basin, the fact that it is modelled on a bucket will always make you think about the quantity of water you are using. The typology reminds you. There are subliminal messages. What is the future of bathroom design? I think if you travel east from Europe and arrive in the Middle East and Turkey and so on, the relationship with water is not the same. It is not about ‘the fountain’, so to speak. It is more about the vapour – the mood of the hamam, for example. I would like to explore new

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DESIGNER Q&A

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ways of incorporating that relationship with vapour into normal life, in an easy and inexpensive way. But you need the technology to make that happen and we haven’t got the technology yet. We have to use vapour better. We have a global problem when it comes to water but perhaps we don’t have to lose out on comfort. I don’t want us in the future saying: ‘Do you remember when we used to have long showers and we can’t anymore’. I’d rather we were saying: ‘Do you remember how silly we were having those long showers, wasting so many litres, and now we have this technology that allows us to have four minutes of real shower, followed by a vapour experience that uses less water but still allows us to be comfortable and de-stress’. Is sustainability an important consideration for you? Yes. Sustainability is a very serious argument. For me, it is a work in progress. I feel quite stupid when it comes to this issue – not only in my work but in my life. I am still trying to understand what I should and shouldn’t be doing.

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There has to be a process of re-education because my education was just the contrary of this. I am re-educating myself, and I am trying to re-educate my family to be more aware. And, obviously, it impacts my work too. Now, companies of any kind – lighting, furniture etc – are beginning to listen to you. I remember a few years ago when you very timidly tried to bring up the subject, companies weren’t interested. You would feel very silly for even asking about sustainability. Now, nally, we can speak about it and companies are concerned about it. It is no longer a taboo or something that you have to ght for. Finally, they want it. We are just beginning to become concerned about this. It’s a very good thing and I hope I’m going to grow a lot with this in my personal work. I feel like I’ve done nothing yet. You are quite adamant about not having a ‘design style’. Why? ‘Style’ is a stupid concept when it comes to design. You can isolate a few projects from a certain period in my work or someone else’s and you can understand

that they were all driven by the same obsessions or the same concepts, that they are part of your personality. But if you take my work over the last ten years, you will nd many different ways of working. You evolve, obviously. A creative person must always evolve. For me, having one style is contrary to being creative. It shows insecurity in some ways. There are elements that are part of you and that come through in your work, but that is different from having a style. Is there a type of product that you haven’t designed yet but would like to? Obviously – but I don’t work with goals. I think perhaps, in this way, I am very feminine. An important characteristic of women is exibility, the ability to move from one thing to the next. Working without goals is very feminine. If you want to dance with someone, you are better off standing as far away from them as possible and then, if they ask you, that is the best dance. But once I get into a relationship with anything, I am extremely passionate. I am very much a creative like that.

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4. Urquiola has designed a collection that is practical and accessible.

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DESIGNER Q&A

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5. Urquiola designed Glove for Molteni. 6. She also worked with Kettal to create the Kettal Maia collection.

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The Axor Urquiola collection is very accessible. Is this is a common feature in your work? Designers have to be concerned about how people use things. When you create a tool you have to understand what it will be used for. If you don’t know how the product will be used, even if it is very nice, you are creating art, not design. My idea of luxury is that you can buy a bag that is very well done, a Ferragamo for example, but you can match it with any old jeans. You can have furniture from Ikea and then have an incredible, expensive painting on the wall. This melting point is important. People can’t always have everything of the highest quality. It really depends what you are interested in. You might prefer to have that quality in the glasses that you use and are not bothered about what shoes you are wearing. You might be more concerned with seating than lighting. It is all about being yourself in this very

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

complicated world. Try to have your own style. I don’t like it when they use the word to define design, but style is important when it comes to personality, your aura, how you live and work. Do you think modern designers have lost sight of the fact that design needs to be practical? I think design is a discipline that is growing very quickly. Design is heavily linked to society because you are creating tools for living. You must be practical. After all, you are creating things that need to be used. But the comfort that you give through a new tool is not only through the ergonomic relationship; it is through the eye, the mental comfort, the emotional response. It’s the link that you create. That’s where the comfort comes from. What’s your favourite interior space? Your home, perhaps? No, not my home. I’m in a period of my

life where I am working a lot, I’m busy looking after my daughters, and the dog might be peeing on the carpet. My home is comfortable, but nothing more than that. For me, the best scenario is when I arrive in a new city or a new place. The first time you are in a new place you become like a child, and you are far more sensitive to your surroundings. You are feeling new things and smelling new things, and that appeals to the emotional side of your personality.

MY INSPIRATION “I am open to everything. Society inspires me. All the different facets of society – the crude and the problematic and the complex – it’s all really important. I am very interested in contemporary art because I think these are the people that influence society. Everything inspires me. You must be curious and open to the fact that your point of view can always be changed.”

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LIGHTING

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RIYADH Tahlia Street Olaya P.O. Box 17420 Riyadh 11484 Saudi Arabia Tel. +966 1 462 1150 Fax +966 1 465 5406 www.technolight-ksa.com

Technolight was established in 1980. Over 30 years, Technolight has become one of Saudi Arabia’s leading suppliers of lighting fixtures, lighting control systems, wiring devices, contract furniture and security systems with branches in Jeddah, Riyadh and Khobar. We take pride in being the first lighting company to enter the Saudi market and to offer a professional lighting concept solution, marking a landmark in the right direction. Not only did we introduce some of the most prestigious lighting brands and lighting solutions to the Saudi market, but we have also set a professional lighting standard in the Saudi Market.

Our outstanding performance could not have been realized without the family team of Technolight. In fact, our family consists of 57 highly trained sales engineers and installation staff. In addition, we have two showrooms in Jeddah and one in Riyadh all of which are superbly located right in the heart of the city.

Technolight is run by a management team. The managing director and five managers representing different administrative areas of expertise who convene periodically. They run analysis with never-ending improvement cycle. Technolight has several departments. There are lighting design dept, sales dept, marketing dept, financial dept. pricing dept, and other various activities. Technolight sales stock policy is to keep running items always in stock. We have about $4 million in stock which gets updated on regular basis.

Some companies we represent exclusively in KSA are as follows: ERCO (Interior & Exterior Lighting) • WE-EF (Exterior Lighting) • BTICINO (Wiring Devices) VITRA (Office & Home Furniture) • CLIPSAL ( Diming Systems) • COOPER CONTROLS (Diming Systems)


CASE STUDY AJMAL PERFUMES

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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CASE STUDY AJMAL PERFUMES

Heaven scent Ajmal Perfumes’ new retail concept was designed to broaden the company’s appeal, says Selina Denman

Heritage is a double-edged sword,” suggested Abdulla Ajmal, deputy general manager of Ajmal Perfumes. “On the one hand you have the trust and the grounding and the foundations, but on the other hand, you are old, especially in this part of the world, where novelty is so important.” The multi-million-dollar, family-owned business is one of the region’s leading

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manufacturers and retailers of perfumes and beauty products. But, after nearly 60 years in existence, it was time to closely examine the brand, explained Ajmal, the third generation of the family to be involved in the business. “Over the last few years, we’ve been doing a lot of soul searching; questioning where we stand as a retailer and as a brand,” Ajmal explained.

1. The new concept was piloted at the BurJuman Centre.

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By-products of this soul searching are a refreshed image and a new retail concept, which was recently unveiled at Ajmal’s BurJuman Centre store. Once it has been fine-tuned, the new concept will be rolled out across some 200 stores around the world. “It’s an AED50 million project over the next three to five years,” Ajmal revealed. The company, an established local player, also has global aspirations, which further accentuated the need for a revamp. Essentially, Ajmal required a retail concept that would be accessible to a global audience but not so far removed from its roots to estrange its predominantly local customer base. “When we say we want to be a global player, we truly want to be a global player. That means, wherever we are, local clientele should feel comfortable and should want to pick up our products. We needed a concept that wouldn’t be too alien or intimidating, because the Arabic perfumery tends to be very different and quite alien, if you like.”

ETHNIC CHIC In terms of brand positioning, the company has adopted the mantle of ‘ethnic

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chic’, with a brand promise that centres on innovation, creativity, quality and value. “Our industry is such that you’ve always had the large players who have invested heavily in brand equity and marketing, and they’ve lost sight of the fact that what consumers are really paying for is that liquid in that bottle. We have never lost sight of that.” For the design of its pilot store at the BurJuman Centre, Ajmal appointed Portland Design, an established British retail specialist that was able to answer Ajmal’s call for a ‘retail concept designer’ rather than just a ‘store designer’, Ajmal was also looking to partner with a company that could bring both

local and international experience to the project. “The first thing we said was, it has to be ‘ethnic chic’ but still very international. If it opened in any part of the world, in any locale, it shouldn’t stand out like sore thumb standing next to its counterparts in that market. “On the other hand, we didn’t want it to be just another Sephora; it had to be different because our business model is different,” Ajmal explained. “Basically, the brief was very very brief. They took the time to understand our operations. They took the time to understand our vision, where we are going, what we want to be in five year’s time. We did not dictate how the store should

AJMAL: THE HISTORY Ajmal means ‘most beautiful’ in Arabic; it is synonymous with captivating perfumes and beauty products, as well as high-quality traditional Arabic fragrance products for the body and home. The company was founded by Ajmal Ali in the early 1950s. Since then, Ajmal Perfumes has grown from a modest trading house into a regional corporate entity. Today, the multi-million dollar family-owned business is steered by the second and third generation Ajmals. In 2004, Ajmal Perfumes set up a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Dubai in order to keep up with the region’s increasing fragrance demands. Strategically located in Dubai’s industrial area and built at a total cost of $10 million, the 150,000ft² facility houses manufacturing units, a fully automated packaging division and an extensive Research and Development (R&D) wing, built with an initial capital of $1 million.

2. The new store is divided into three distinct areas.

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CASE STUDY AJMAL PERFUMES

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3. Gold still dominates, but in a very ‘dignified’ way. 4. Ajmal has never lost sight of the fact that customers are paying for ‘that liquid in that bottle’.

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be; all we said was that it needed to offer a different experience and obviously that it couldn’t be ridiculously expensive – which actually it was, eventually, but pilot stores tend to do that!” The Ajmal business model can be divided into three core components – branded perfumes, oils and the traditional Oudh, or resinoid, which is one of the prime elements of oriental perfumery. In the new store, each of these elements is given its own space. “You’ve got the brands on one side, the oils on the other and then you’ve got an inner sanctum for the traditional Oudh. That is the more premium side of things,” Ajmal explained. With the new space, the company also wanted to explore new ways of doing business. “Typically, in this part of the world, everything is counter based. The customer comes to the counter and the sales person shows them something. We wanted to move away from the typical salesman/customer relationship.”

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The store has been divided into two parts. One section is self-service, where customers are able to interact directly with the products. “Of course, a sales person is always there to answer their queries but the customer can feel free to just wander about and try out samples and testers, without feeling any obligation,” Ajmal detailed. In a further attempt to offer the customer greater independence, perfumes have been colour coded. On the counters, fragrances go from light to strong as they move through the store. Customers will find the lighter, more contemporary, more modern fragrances at one end and the stronger, more traditional fragrances on the other. “It is self guided. Nobody needs to follow the customer around. This places a lot of independence and control in the consumer’s hand. They are able to gauge their own tastes. After a couple of samples, they can get their own idea of where they fit,” said Ajmal.

BROADENED APPEAL A lot of these new features also serve to make the store more attractive to an expatriate audience. In the region, the company’s customer base is 70% local and 30% expatriate – a considerable shift from a few years ago when it was 95% local. A move away from window displays is also intended to make the shop more accessible, particularly to expats. “There are no window displays. We wanted to give it a very open feel so that when anyone walks past, it is very inviting. Nobody has done that before in our industry,” said Ajmal. “The other thing is as much as window displays can be a selling tool, given that our brand is trying to attract a lot of expatriates and we are trying to enter new arenas and target segments, it can be a stumbling block. If you’ve got a new product that’s just been launched and it is very Arabic or oriental and you’ve got that displayed in all the windows,

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Design Antonio

Assistant Toan


CASE STUDY AJMAL PERFUMES

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a westerner or expat walking past will think this is not a store for them.”

CRAFTING MEMORIES

5. Effective lighting ensures that focus falls in the right places.

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As part of its new brand personality, Ajmal has also adopted a new motif. The company was keen to incorporate an oriental feel into its overall brand identity, so Portland Design created a striking geometric motif influenced by traditional architecture. “This geometric design has been picked up from Arabic architecture and has been given a floral form. The concept is that it flows and as it gets further and further away, it fades, which represents fragrance and smell. When you’re close to it, you are enveloped in the fragrance and as you move further and further away, it fades away. “We also consciously started thinking about what it is that we actually do. We needed to clearly define that in marketing terms. So we have taken on the tagline ‘crafting memories’. The most intense form of unlocking a memory is fragrance. It’s a fact.”

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

When it comes to crafting memories, a retail experience can play a big role, Ajmal continued. “If you want to craft a good memory, you have to give the consumer a good retail experience, because that’s what they walk away with.” In order to craft the desired experience, the interior uses Erco LED lighting and semi-transparent Corian counters that are gently infused with light. The

kept simple, so there’s nothing gaudy,” Ajmal reiterated. “We are not trying to create the Taj Mahal here. We are not trying to sell the ambiance. The ambience has to aid the sale and make the retail experience comfortable, convenient and functional, which is very important,” Ajmal noted. “It shouldn’t be over the top. We’ve moved away from the typical harsh

We are not trying to create the Taj Mahal here. The ambience has to make the experience comfortable ceiling and floors have been kept simple and focus falls directly on the products. “We are trying to give it the feel of a gallery. Typically, if you walk into any of our competitors’ or any of our older stores, the ceiling would be quite ostentatious, with a lot of design elements. The idea with the new store is that these are functional elements that need to be

lighting and lots of wood and gold. Although our concept is based on gold, it is subdued; it is a lot more dignified, if you like,” he added. “It is a modern interpretation of what one would consider ostentatious or luxurious. At the end of the day, we are in the luxury industry. But we need to create a luxurious feel without being too ‘in your face’.”

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13 – 16. 1. 2010

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CASE STUDY CHITTOOR PALACE

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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CASE STUDY CHITTOOR PALACE

Fit for a king Maria Louis learns how a 400-year-old mansion that once belonged to the Maharaja of Cochin became an exclusive homestay resort

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verlooking the serene backwaters of Chittoorpuzha from where it gets its name, is a 400-year-old semi-colonial structure with a small outhouse. Just 6km away from Ernakulam city, it makes a peaceful retreat from the stress of urban life and has been attracting guests who want to get away from it all. Since it was built as the summer palace of the Maharaja of Cochin, to accommodate His Royal Highness for only short spells of time, the elegant bungalow had just four large rooms flanked by spacious semi-open verandahs. After years of use, and misuse, the palace was slowly surrendering to age – until the charming ‘prince’ Suresh Namboothiri rescued it. His wife Jayasree Varma, who hails from the royal family, inherited it from her mother; and it will eventually become the legacy of their daughter, since theirs is a matrilineal society.

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Sensing the promise of the place, Namboothiri decided to give up his career as a chartered accountant and invest time and money in transforming this royal retreat into a heritage home for guests who could afford the luxury of living like a king. His idea began to take shape when he brought architectural firm, Inspiration, into the picture. “A person with infectious enthusiasm and cheer, Suresh was clear about what he wanted,” commented Latha Raman Jaigopal, co-founder and director – project implementation – of Inspiration. “His dream was to restore the oldworld charm of the palace in order to bring in exclusive guests who could enjoy being the raja, rani, princess or prince, at least for a few days of their holiday,” she continued. The task was not an easy one, as the once rich woodwork had acquired several coats of paint and patchwork

after years of use by different owners. “Though it was still reasonably stable, the structure had several members eaten by termites, the roof tiles were broken and dampness had affected many of the walls,” recalled Latha. “The walls of laterite in mud mortar finished with lime plaster had also been coated with several layers of white cement, lime wash and paint.” Having already completed over 20 renovation and adaptive reuse projects, Inspiration was well equipped with the knowhow and methodology required to tackle the job. The first thing they did was to document the existing structure – a laborious exercise that called for measured drawings of every detail of the building. It also meant a complete photo documentation of the place, with a listing of specifications for each part of the building, its exteriors and interiors. Once this was done, the architects drew the conclusion that their first

1. Athangudi tiles enliven the corridor on the upper level.

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CASE STUDY CHITTOOR PALACE

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priority had to be the roof structure. So, after removing the tiles, they began the repairs of the roof – replacing the broken and termite-eaten members, adding structural members where necessary, providing protective coating for the wood, and so on. After that, they attended to the attic floor and ceilings. “The first floor had an elaborate wooden ceiling. In the verandahs where the ceilings were in a rundown state, the entire ceiling was redone with wooden planks. The doors and windows were intact; however, since they had wooden plank shutters, there was very little light inside the rooms once the windows were closed – so we introduced plain glass selectively for the shutters,” Latha continued. The glass also permits a magnificent view of the backwaters from the top of the house. The upper verandahs had wooden railings and windows, but most were in bad shape, with asbestos panels inserted in several places. These had to be dismantled and replaced with wooden panels. This was a monumental task that was successfully undertaken

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thanks to Inspiration’s team of highlyskilled artisans who were experienced in traditional Kerala architecture. Attention shifted to the walls and interiors after the roof structure was redone. The lime wash and several layers of paint were painstakingly peeled away to expose the original rich lime plaster surface of the walls. The electrical and plumbing works were totally redone and air-conditioners installed, without tampering with the old walls. The flooring was removed, a fresh base of concrete was applied after termite treatment, and over it was laid Athangudi tiles with polished red oxide borders and skirtings. Built-in seating on the ground floor was added. The rooms are furnished with replicas of furniture from the Maharaja’s other palaces – except for a teak bed which His Royal Highness used in Chittoor. Its design has been replicated in all the beds in the palace, so you can even sleep like a king! The toilets are done up with contemporary fittings and finishes, so you have all the modern-day comforts within a traditional ambience.

MATERIALS Roof: Mangalore-patterned tiles over polished, handcrafted hardwood trusswork Flooring: Handcrafted Athangudi tiles in combination with polished red oxide borders and skirting for guest areas; designer concept ceramic tiles for toilets; vitrified tiles for dining and kitchen; Pergo laminated wooden floor in all the suites Walls: Traditional lime plaster retained in original wherever possible, and combined with two coats of emulsion over putty finish Ceiling: Polished crafted wooden ceilings Sanitary fixtures: Jaquar Sanitaryware: Cera Grills: Wooden grills Lighting fixtures: Custom-designed lampshades in antique copper finish with energyefficient CFLs Switches: Crabtree Doors: Custom-designed wooden doors Windows: Custom-designed wooden windows Loose furniture: Partly renovated ancestral furniture from the owner and partly customdesigned wooden furniture Furniture finish: Melamine matt finish Art: Stained glass and paintings

2,3&4. Pictures of the palace in its initial state. 5. The lounge has traditional jhula and colonialstyle furniture.

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6,7&8. The landscaping puts emphasis on local plants and trees.

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The small outhouse, which originally served as a kitchen cum caretaker’s room, was converted into the dining room and kitchen, with a wide verandah all around. Other interesting features are the ‘padippura’ (entrance gatehouse) and the ‘kulam’ (pond) lined with laterite stone with a traditional ‘kulappura’ (sheltered entrance). These were worked out strictly as per Vaastu guidelines and built with laterite stone that has been neatly pointed and finished. An old wooden door leading to the beautiful granite steps was moved here from another royal home. Amidst the confusing myriad choices of architectural and construction technology, one is often left wondering what is genuinely useful, what is possible within spatial and budget constraints, how to integrate them all and yet retain or enhance the aesthetics of an existing building or landscape – especially when it is a traditional building that is being completely overhauled. The restoration of this palace is an attempt to address these issues in a sensitive manner. The

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icing on the cake is that it’s a good economic proposition for the owners too. At dusk, when the setting sun casts a golden glow on the bungalow and its lawn, the verandah overlooking the backwaters is the place to be. The landscaping in the garden is subtle, with an emphasis on local plants, trees and shrubs. A small boat jetty lends access to the palace and permits special guests to arrive in complete privacy.

This jetty is also used to transport martial artists, dancers or singers for private performances in the garden. This small haven of peace and tranquillity makes a statement about recreating the traditional grandeur of the palace, but with all the comforts of a contemporary resort. The target audience is the crème de la crème of discerning travellers, who cherish their solitude while holidaying.

A LEGENDARY BEGINNING

At the time of the arrival of the Portuguese in India, Kerala was under the sovereign rule of four Kingdoms: the Kolattiri, the Zamorin, the Cochin and the Travancore. Before that, however, the original seat of the Government of Cochin royalty was in a place called Perumpadappu – not far from the famous Guruvayoor temple of Kerala, which was under the authority of the Zamorin. In those days, the Zamorin wielded unrivalled power. Legend has it that the Maharaja of Cochin was forced to travel south owing to the invasion of his territories by the Zamorin, and eventually had to move his headquarters to Tripunithura. The pride of the Maharaja of Cochin was greatly hurt, and he vowed to build a temple in his territory, close to Tripunithura, that was equal in status to the Guruvayoor temple. The Maharaja directed Cheranellor Kartha, the chieftain of the island village of Cheranelloor near the town of Cochin, to fulfill his wishes. Thus was born the temple of “Chittoorappan”. Naturally, a rest house had to be built in the vicinity for the use of the Maharaja during his visits to the shrine. Thus, the splendid Chittoor Palace came to be built 50 yards away from the temple. For more information, visit www.chittoorpalace.com.

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FEATURE THE MODERN OFFICE

New work order 1

The cubicle has been banished for good. Modern office design revolves around employees coming together to collaborate in inspirational settings

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ith the onward march of technology, the way we work is constantly evolving – and office design trends are racing to keep up. Old-style space layouts involving large corner offices, heavy, industrial furniture and, dare we even say it, cubicles, are finally taking their leave, and the buzzwords today are collaboration, interaction and communication. “While the principles of business remain the same, strategies and execution have changed dramatically, requiring office interiors, furniture and space plans to adapt accordingly,” Siddharth Peters, managing director, The Total Office,

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noted. “The concept of cubicles has long become a thing of the past, with collaboration and teamwork now dictating a lot of the office ‘lingo’. Psychology plays an important role too. With internal branding on furniture echoing the company vision, paint choices displaying corporate colours and the fit-out embracing CSR values, modern workspaces have more to offer organisations than ever before.”

NO PLACE LIKE WORK… As home lives have become compressed and working lives lengthened, one major design trend is that offices are evolving into cosy imitations of the home, filled

with comfy sofas, ‘break-out’ zones and posh coffee machines, along with other domestic accoutrements. “We see a lot of the materials and applications known from domestic environments being introduced to office furniture,” said Kaj Helstrand, design manager, Gemaco Interiors. “Soft seating is not only for waiting areas and lounges, but used in meeting spaces too.” Another key trend is mobile working. Thanks to wireless technology, laptops and mobile phones, today’s employees are no longer required to be chained to a desk for eight hours a day, meaning that the practice of ‘hot-desking’,

1. The Nokia Siemens Networks office in Dubai has embraced modern working techniques.

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FEATURE THE MODERN OFFICE

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whereby employees share desk space, has become prevalent. “Hot-desk scenarios were introduced based on studies showing that actual desk occupancy was rather low, and that sharing desk space made a lot of sense,” Helstrand explained. “Technology today allows tasks to be carried out away from the office and working from home is part of the global trend.” With actual desk space becoming smaller, modern office layout has much more room for what is termed as the ‘break-out’ area – spaces where employees can meet up to brainstorm, chat, collaborate and generally communicate with each other, in an informal setting. “These areas are characterised by their relaxed atmosphere, encouraging

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the kind of spontaneous and informal communication that takes place at random places of encounter, such as in the cafeteria, at the water dispenser or in the common room,” explained Thomas Bene, board member, Bene. Bene recently teamed up with British design studio, PearsonLloyd, to produce PARCS – a set of unconventional furniture pieces specifically created to fulfil the need for productive communication and informal exchange in the office. The various components can be flexibly combined and configured to create a large variety of working landscapes.

A CHANGE OF MINDSET But despite such advances in office design, there is still some way to go

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before this region fully catches up with global trends. Local office designers comment that in order for office interiors to adopt a more modern style of design, a major change in mindset from some of the region’s top decision makers would first be required. Office spaces based on status and hierarchy, rather than interaction and collaboration, are still common in this part of the world, and the large corner office for the CEO is not an uncommon feature. “My advice for decision makers in the Middle East is that management should consider being part of the team in an open-plan work space,” said Gilbert A. Griño, marketing manager, Bafco. “Space should be managed as an asset, not as a reflection of authority.”

2. Break-out areas are essential. 3,4&5. Modern solutions by Officeland.

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FEATURE THE MODERN OFFICE

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Another barrier to overcome is perceptions of mobile working. “In our opinion too many companies and managers still think that if you are away from your desk, you’re not working,” said Tom Lloyd of PearsonLloyd. “It takes an enlightened attitude, a sense of reality and progressivity to recognise that someone sitting on a sofa can also be creating value for the company”. According to Helstrand, this progressive attitude is still largely lacking in the local market. “Mobile working and hot-desking makes sense in many directions,” he maintained. “One clear advantage is saving on transportation and fuel consumption, and, of course, it is environmentally friendly. However this seems to be a tendency that is lacking in the UAE market.”

THE FUTURE OFFICE? 6. The Ares office from i4Mariani.

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With office design trends changing rapidly as our needs evolve, how do the experts picture the office of the future?

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

A MODERN OFFICE: NOKIA SIEMENS NETWORKS The Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) office in Dubai Internet City is a highly innovative workspace designed to support a new way of working that focuses on networking, mobility and team interaction. The new design came out of an extensive workplace investigation into the work styles of company employees. Employees were classified into three categories, mobile, campus mobile and desk-based, and were allocated space according to function. Cathy Ingram, senior design manager at Bluehaus, was responsible for the project. “Through research, NSN discovered that the emerging way of working is varied and not as rigid as in the past. People are now working when and where needed, performance is measured based on results, mentoring and coaching are encouraged, teams can be virtual and individuals are highly mobile. Previously, space was designed based on hierarchy and status, but in the modern office, space is designed based on functions and tasks.” “NSN discovered that, on average, workstations were occupied 47% of the time, with people spending one third of their day in meetings. In an office designed on hierarchy, 10% of the staff ‘own’ 20% of office space. A CEO, for example, may be given a large office, a PA, private meeting room and lounge. What NSN found was that these people are actually the most ‘mobile’, spending significant time out of the office in meetings or travelling, and therefore floor space is not being used to its capacity,” Ingram explained. “In the changing economic climate, office space is becoming premium. If you can save money by looking at how much space you really need, companies can really make a difference to their bottom line.” In practice this means that desk sharing is implemented and every workstation is cleared at the end of the day so that it can be used by anyone the next day. With desk space reduced to a bare necessity, there is space for hot desks, phone rooms, meetings rooms, informal breakout spaces and lounges where staff are encouraged to meet and work collaboratively.

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FEATURE THE MODERN OFFICE

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7. The Dolmen office from i4Mariani.

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“In 50 years time, the physical office will primarily be used as a collaboration hub,” predicted Griño. “We will not be tied to our desks as, using touch-sensitive and holographic screens projected from wearable computing devices, we will be able to work anywhere. This is mobile working in its true form. I see offices in the future designed like a modern hotel lobby.” Griño also predicts that office spaces will evolve to become far more ‘green’ in the future, providing a healthier environment tailored to suit their inhabitants. “Intelligent offices will become the norm. Offices will be equipped to adjust to personal needs, including temperature, light, air, smell and touch, with a central device managing what is optimal

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

for the health, safety and wellbeing of employees,” he said. Mohammed Abdul Muktadeer, sales manager at Officeland, has a similar vision – that the office of the future will be a place where employee wellbeing is top of the agenda. “The future workplace will be a place to be appreciated. It will be designed in such a way that it is appealing and tempting. After all, a happy employee will always be a productive member of the team, generating more revenue and success for the organisation,” he said. For Gautam Bhatia, senior interior designer at Marlin Furniture, mobile working will be central to the office of the future. “The office of the future will be in our pocket. Ten years into the future we

will all be sending correspondence and progress reports through our mobiles. There will be no need for office space, except in manufacturing industries. If this happens then I will be doing my work either in my car or at home.” Peters from Total Office agrees that technology will drive change. “Technology has been the driving force for change in every workspace. Offices may end up being virtual rooms where business executives holographically log in from their homes or a place of their choice. It may not be physically possible to be everywhere at once, but it will be technologically possible! Offices may end up being virtual spaces in the online community where visual design can be as infinite as the imagination.”

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FEATURE WALLCOVERINGS

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FEATURE WALLCOVERINGS

Wonderwalls Walls are often the first thing people notice about an interior design scheme. And with today’s designs dictating a preference for bold statements in terms of coverings and artwork, it’s no time to be a wallflower

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hile the credit crunch may have led to a certain amount of belt tightening and less exuberance in some areas of life, this trend certainly does not appear to have infiltrated the world of walls. In fact, when it comes to wallcoverings, the general rule seems to be that simplicity and restraint are out, while head-turning designs involving dramatic statement prints, textured finishes, dazzling embellishments and crazy trompe-l’oeil designs are the name of the game. Today’s wallpaper designs are allowing interior designers to really push the envelope out in commercial spaces, explained Poppy Davison from the design team at British wallpaper manufacturer, Cole & Son. “There are no rules or limitations; people are embracing the qualities of wallpaper and are using it creatively, even covering ceilings. “Wallpaper is used to revitalise and shake up the dynamics of a space with minimal expense. Beautiful neutrals, with splashes of rich and exotic colour, are in demand; evocative imagery and trompe-l’oeil are all popular.”

GO FOR GLITTER Adding another dimension to traditional wallcoverings is the trend towards embellishment. Modern wallcoverings have been given a new lease of life with the addition of everything from sequins, buttons, feathers and a host of other glittery paraphernalia. For example, York Contract Wallcoverings has introduced

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a range of wallcoverings featuring glass beading and sand. “We have introduced sand, glass beads and flocking onto Type II vinyl to add a textural dimension to commercial wallcoverings, as well as to demonstrate value, which is essential in this economy,” said LeRue Brown, director of marketing, York Contract Wallcoverings. The glass beads and sand patterns are printed onto commercial vinyl substrates, which make an excellent choice of material for use in high-traffic commercial interiors. “Commercial vinyl is the most durable wallcovering for public spaces. It hides dirt, resists staining, and provides additional protection from excessive wear and abuse,” is Brown’s professional assessment. For additional wallcovering protection, York Contract has developed YorkGuard AM, an anti-microbial coating that protects against mould, mildew, bacteria and odour-causing germs, making it ideal for public spaces. “Our coverings combine the elegant beauty of high-end designs with durability,” said Brown, who highlighted this season’s biggest trends as “metallic finishes that give wallcoverings an ethereal glow; orange, blue and green colourways, woven fabrics and textural details.”

TOUCHY-FEELY Highly tactile, textured coverings are also making an impact on the market. Many cutting-edge-designs are being created with a three-dimensional look.

1. Acanthus by Lori Weitzner.

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FEATURE WALLCOVERINGS

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2. Tattoo by Muraspec. 3&4. Artwork by Michael Banks. 5,6&7. Coverings by Cole & Son.

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BSH Walls & Floors recently introduced its new brand, Prime Walls, which features an irresistibly textured range of designs available in a variety of rich, distinctive colours and metallics. “At BSH Walls & Floors we have created the most ‘touchy-feely’ walls in the world,” declared Sandy Grguric, marketing manager, BSH Walls & Floors. “Textures create sensuality, warmth, and an organic dimension: it is a feeling of pure, primal pleasure. With Prime Walls, we boldly approach interior design with the understanding that touching and feeling are just as essential as seeing.” According to Grguric, these kinds of styles are going down a treat in the hospitality sector. “For the corporate world the trend is still more mainstream; it goes for traditional looks with light, plain colours. But the hotel and hospitality segments tend to select colours and patterns that are textured, with metallics and bold, dramatic patterns proving very popular.” Mark Verrall, managing director at Rubelli Sahco Studio Dubai, which represents brands such as Elitis wallpapers and Lori Weitzner, agreed that textured and 3D effects are very much the trend right now. “Wallpaper is so in,” he said. “People are saying goodbye to paint, especially in commercial projects, and creativity is thriving. Earthy tones are always safe to use, but people are trying to be more daring now. The latest trends at the moment are hints of art-deco,

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with inspiration coming from all over the world, including Asia and Africa. It is not just about covering your wall; it is about dressing it as well.” Elitis wallpapers are famous for bold, 3D effects, while New-York based designer Lori Weitzner has used a marble dust on her latest collection to create a striking textured effect. “Her latest collection is a plastered wallcovering made from marble dust, which allows flexibility if it is to be wrapped around

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of British style, Vivienne Westwood. The eccentric British fashion designer, who was largely responsible for the new wave and modern punk fashion movements of the 1970s, has created the wallpaper prints based on signature designs from her fashion collections. Designs include the iconic ‘Squiggle’ print from the Autumn-Winter 81/82 Pirate collection and the more recent ‘Cut-Out Lace’ from the Spring-Summer 07 ‘I am Expensiv’ collection.

Wallpaper is used to revitalise and shake up the dynamics of a space with minimal expense columns, for example,” explained Verrall. “The good thing about this collection is that it is presented in a plain, neutral colour, and is paintable. So you can obtain the colour you want using a normal paint. Due to the nice 3D texture, you will get a ‘ton sur ton’ effect after painting the wallcovering.”

Westwood said of the wallcoverings: “It is good when my ideas get carried over into other artistic media. This collection is a perfect opportunity to be able to work with a heritage company like Cole & Son, and to see my ideas from fashion translated into the world of interiors and wallpaper.”

FASHION-FORWARD WALLS

SHINE ON

Wallpaper designs are becoming ever more daring and flamboyant. In fact, the world of wallpaper is now taking its inspiration from the world of fashion. The latest collection to be launched by British wallpaper manufacturer Cole & Son is a collaboration with a true icon

Metallics are another major trend in wallpaper design this season, according to Muraspec. “The latest trends are very evident in our Summer 2009 collection. In terms of these latest trends, there are lots of earthy tones combined with metallic and pearlescent highlights,”

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PO Box 34625 • Dubai • Tel: 00971 4 3387399 • Fax: 00971 4 3387401 • Email: customerserviceuae@muraspec.com


FEATURE WALLCOVERINGS

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commented Jonathan Kidd, sales manager, UAE, Muraspec. “The designers took inspiration for this collection from ancient ethnic styles. Sri Lanka and Tattoo are designs from this new collection. As well as launching the new Sri Lanka and Tattoo designs in our Summer 2009 collection, we introduced some great new colours to one of our best designs, called Solaris Flare. The new colours include browns, beiges and pearlescent whites and silvers,” he continued. Muraspec is also gearing up to launch a totally brand-new wall product, called Ideapaint, for the first time in the Middle East, at this year’s Index 2009 show. “Ideapaint is an exciting new product that can be painted on to many surfaces, creating a hard-wearing, high-performance wipeable writing surface,” is Kidd’s enthusiastic explanation.

GETTING ARTY

8. Eclipse by Lori Weitzner.

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Another way to make a bold statement on walls is with a carefully-chosen piece of artwork. British photo-artist Michael Banks, who specialises in providing artwork for hotels, office and restaurant interiors, says selecting the right artwork in a commercial space is crucial. “An interior environment is the sum of

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

many parts – style, lighting, furniture, fabrics, window treatments, accessories – but often the most readily understandable and most visible part of this whole, to the viewing public, is the artwork. So this has to be absolutely right in terms of its colour, size and physical format.” Banks is famous for his highly abstract photo-art. “The art I create is very different and unique, very 21st century, and not what you expect from photography,” Banks explained. “I am trying to push the envelope continually, in the same way as interior designers and architects are advancing.”

As interiors get more cutting-edge, Banks’s latest project is the muchanticipated, funkily-designed Aloft Hotel in Abu Dhabi, for which he supplied over 750 original photo-art works for the guestrooms, suites and corridors. “Contemporary architecture and interior design is itself becoming more abstract and avant-garde, and artwork that is more abstract and forwardlooking, as mine is, fits well with this. I am seeing a big trend in the use of more abstract imagery that can have a more universal appeal, and cross cultural and geographical borders.”

TRENDSPOTTING: TIPS FROM THE EXPERTS 1 . “There are lots of earthy tones, combined with metallic and pearlescent highlights.” Jonathan Kidd, Muraspec. 2 . “There are no rules or limitations; people are embracing the qualities of wallpaper and using it creatively, even covering ceilings. Beautiful neutrals with splashes of rich and exotic colour are in demand; evocative imagery and trompe-l’oeil are all popular.” Poppy Davison, Cole & Son. 3 . “At BSH Walls & Floors we have created the most ‘touchy-feely’ walls in the world. Textures create sensuality, warmth and an organic dimension: it’s a feeling of pure, primal pleasure.” Sandy Grguric, BSH Walls & Floors. 4. “We have introduced sand, glass beads and flocking onto Type II vinyl to add a textural dimension to commercial wallcoverings, as well as to demonstrate value, which in this economy is absolutely essential.” LeRue Brown, York Contract Wallcoverings. 5. “People are saying goodbye to paint, especially in commercial projects. The latest trends at the moment are hints of art-deco, with inspirations coming from all over the world, such as Asia and Africa.” Mark Verrall, Rubelli Sahco Studio Dubai.

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HEADING OUT

HEADING OUT… our monthly look at the outdoor design industry

PUBLIC ART London’s Duggan Morris Architects has won an international contest to design a GBP250,000 ($401,700) canalside pavilion to the north of Liverpool in the UK. The practice created a design that mimics a canoeist’s profile in full motion, with jetties opening out onto the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in South Sefton. The design beat entries from all over Europe – from companies such as London’s NEX Architecture and Edinburgh’s The Antillia Collective, as well as

Bath-based newcomer Studio KAH and Bianchini e Lusiardi Associati. Once built, the project will provide leisure resources for the local community, as well as being a landmark piece of art in the public realm. The competition forms part of Art for Places, a unique scheme aimed at helping communities reshape their neighbourhoods through public art. The programme is a partnership between NewHeartlands, the Liverpool

Biennial and the Arts Council England (North West) along with local authorities and housing associations. It will result in three public art commissions across Liverpool, Sefton and the Wirral. “We are absolutely astonished and delighted to win. We believe our design will complement the regeneration already taking place in the area and will enhance the work already completed,” commented Joe Morris, director, Duggan Morris Architects.

DEDON ADDITIONS Dedon has introduced a series of additions to its existing product lines. The company’s Panama collection has been extended with the launch of two new dining tables, a double beach chair and a baby chair. Designed by Richard Frinier, the overall collection is characterised by a series of contrasts. A linear form is complemented by gently curving lines, while warm tones taken from nature, such as java and bronze, accentuate the clear, minimalist design. Dedon has also extended its Seashell collection to include a stylish bar chair. The chair’s wide backrests can be adjusted to suit individual ergonomic needs. An open mesh weave underlines an impression of lightness, combining practicality with striking shapes. Most elements of the Seashell collection are stackable and suited for large outdoor spaces, such as restaurants, pool areas and terraces.

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The collection, which is designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, is characterised by open, light shapes and breezy outlines that merge seamlessly with comfort, stackability and sturdiness. Also new are Dedon Parasols, which can be used in outdoor lounge and dining areas, on the beach, by the pool, or in the garden. A light and delicate appearance is coupled with quality and functionality. The new parasols are available in either square or hexagonal shapes and are produced in easy-care fabric that is specifically designed for outdoor use and coated to provide UV-protection. It is also dirt, water and dust resistant. The parasols are available in silver or white, while the highly-polished aliminium masts are available in natural wood grain or anodised aluminium finishes. The parasol anchor is made of galvanised flat steel.

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HEADING OUT

URBAN FITTINGS DesignworksUSA, a BMW Group subsidiary, has developed a collection of furniture and accessories for public transport spaces. The company partnered with Landscape Forms, a global manufacturer of site furniture for outdoor spaces, to develop the range. The seven-part series will be sold internationally under the tag “metro40” and incorporates furniture, shelters, lighting and amenities. It was developed over a course of two years to enable city planners and architects to help global urban centres elevate the liveability, quality of experience, design appeal and overall image of their public transit systems. “Bringing great design to public, seemingly-anonymous spaces such as transit shelters promotes a very positive, personal impact on people’s moods and daily quality of life,” commented Verena Kloos, president, DesignworksUSA. “Urban gentrification projects such as the new High Line park in Lower Manhattan or the new Hamburg Harbour City demonstrate the importance and value of making cities more comfortable and aesthetically pleasing for their citizens, and the exploration of this dynamic made the “metro40” project with Landscape Forms particularly compelling for DesignworksUSA,” she continued. The collection was designed to be attractive, high-quality and durable. The aim was to inject a more personal atmosphere into inner city areas, making the everyday use of public transport a more pleasant and relaxing experience. It was necessary to consider cultural differences in useage patterns, different architectural styles and extreme climate conditions, as well as the need for forward-looking design that would support a product lifespan of around 15 years. The collection is made primarily out of aluminium, glass and wood. Connect is a pedestrian-scale transit shelter designed for bus or light rail; Rest is a series of benches available either with or without a back and armrest; Ride is a bike rack; and Collect is a series of waste containers. Hi Glo is a 12ft tall pedestrian light designed for sidewalks and shelter areas, while Lo Glo is a 3ft tall decorative light that can be used along pathways and alleys. The remaining members of the “metro40” family are Show, a display structure, and Stop, bollards designed for traffic control.

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PRODUCTS

New on the market

IN ARTE VALENTINA – IL FALSO KANDINSKY Designed by Giuseppe Canevese, In arte Valentina – Il falso Kandinsky is a celebration of the relationship between art and design. The cabinet features Valentina, a character created by Italian comics artist, Guido Crepas, in 1965. Valentina embodies the spirit of the 60s and the series of books and comic strips became famous for Crepax’s sophisticated drawing and psychadelic, dreamlike storylines. The cabinet is available in a range of drawer, door and glass shelve combinations. Ennezero +390 4345 71482 www.ennezero.it

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PRODUCTS

SIZE O Andy Martin Workshop unveiled Size O, a 21st century homage to Gio Ponti’s Superleggera, at London’s 100% design 09. The piece emerged out of a series of discussions with an Italian furniture manufacturer. Together they looked at creating a chair in a solid ash material, without the use of a bracing. “After many different versions failed when tested, I realised that by shifting the angle in different directions, at the lower half of the leg, one could control the various forces, transferring most of these straight through to the ground and not through the joints,” Andy Martin explained. The company is currently looking at producing the chair in formed aluminium tube with an anodised finish. Andy Martin Workshop +44 207 2292 425 www.andymartinassociates.com

SPIDER Spider is the new furniture line, consisting of a cupboard, a dining table and a coffee table, all made in DuPont Corian, from French furnishings company Roche Bobois. Designed by Daniel Rode, the collection presents minimalist, essential designs in ‘glacier white’. Intersecting, web-like lines are replicated on each and every surface. The tables and their structures, made entirely in DuPont Corian, contain no screws or metallic parts of any kind. The outside of the cupboard doors have been engraved with the same banded pattern, while the interior surface has been hollowed out to allow a soft illumination to filter through. DuPont Corian was selected for its pleasing tactility and silk-like touch, its high resistance and its superior hygienic performance. Roche Bobois +971 (0)4 336 6172 www.rochebobois.com

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PRODUCTS

DOWNUNDER Mobilia Australiana Designs has unveiled its new Downunder range of luxury upholstery, which is crafted from a mixture of natural cattle-hide leathers and leathers produced from Australian ostrich, emu, kangaroo or crocodile hides. The Downunder Range is now available in Mobilia’s Dubai showroom. Mobilia Australiana Designs +971 (0)4 323 6988 www.mobilia.ae

SPOON Designed by Mario Mazzer for Manital, the Spoon handle for doors and windows is, as the name suggests, designed to look like a double overturned spoon. Made from forged brass, it explores different elements, such as the value of fullness and emptiness, and the illusion that light produces when reflected on concave and convex forms. “Despite the complete lack of definite geometric points of reference, its tactile qualities are well received by our mind, which recognises in them the signs of our past,” Mazzer explained. “The handle is reminiscent of the first tools held by man, made from pieces of flint or animal bones. Its mirror-like form also echoes the Chinese yin-yang symbol, an expression of the dual, complementary nature of our universe.” Manital +390 365 3307 www.manital.com

FALCON COAST Falcon Coast bed linen is now available in the UAE. The company, which originates in Australasia, offers luxury bedding, including brands such as Domani and Flaxfield, through its online retail portal, www.falconcoast.com. Falcon Coast offers a wide range of classic bedding, 280 to 400 threadcount sheets, jacquard and yarn-dyed duvets, as well as a selection of cashmere and alpaca throws and quilted cotton comforters. The online catalogue and shopping site offers credit card payment options and promises delivery in Dubai within two to three working days. For customers who aren’t sure about colours from the website, swatches can be mailed on request, or a visit to the showroom in Dubai can be arranged. Falcon Coast is offering complimentary delivery within the UAE for all orders made before December 20. Falcon Coast +971 (0)50 169 8761 www.falconcoast.com

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PRODUCTS

NORA LIGHTING Nora Lighting’s energy-efficient LED recessed down-lights are now available with small apertures and high lumen output to accommodate a wide range of new construction and renovation projects. Featuring Osram 1.2w LEDS, the Nora 14w down-lights provide energy savings of more than 75% when compared with 65w BR30 lamps – without the flicker or delay of compact fluorescents. Appropriate for residential and light commercial sites, the fixtures integrate the warm white colour of incandescent lamps with long-lasting, high-output LED technology. They are rated for 50,000 hours at 70% lumen maintenance. Nora Lighting +1 800 686 6672 www.noralighting.com

KALESINTERFLEX Kalesinterflex is a 100% porcelain ceramic tile offering the standard benefits of aesthetics, easy cleaning, durability, hygiene and fire resistance. But Kalesinterflex also offers a host of additional benefits. Their extraordinary dimensions – 1m x 3m x 3mm thickness – make them the largest glazed or polished-surface tiles in the world, and also the lightest at only 7kg per m². Kalesinterflex, which is the only flexible ceramic tile in the world, also takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. It is produced in light colours that have a SRI (Solar Reflectance Index) higher than 29. An additional advantage of Kalesinterflex is that, if periodically washed, it does not absorb dirt and get darker over time. In addition, it has low volatile organic compound emissions and is made with one quarter of the raw material per m² used for a standard tile. Kaleseramik +90 212 371 5253 www.kalesinterflex.com

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Perfect floors for inside and outside

Supply & Installation of unique LOPARK parquet flooring and any kind of terrace decking

Stone tiles

Wooden decking

Composite wood

Bangirai tiles

Pool decking

ROHMIX International L.L.C., Dubai, U.A.E. P. O. Box 117567, T. +971 - 4 - 347 21 14, F. +971 - 4 - 347 21 18

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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PRODUCTS

DEVERRE ELEMENTS DeVerre Elements, an American manufacturer of 100% recycled glass tiles, has announced the official launch of three collections of hand-crafted artisan glass tiles in stone, wood and brick replicas. Founder Michael Fischer, a master glass designer, spent years perfecting his craft in Italy and returned to the US to launch DeVerre Elements, creating ultra-unique glass surfacing products suitable for commercial or residential, interior or exterior environments. These three collections can be used anywhere that stone, brick or wood can be installed. In addition, DeVerre Elements have rounded edges and are smooth to the touch, making them safe for installation where there is physical contact. DeVerre Elements +1 717 677 4289 www.deverre-elements.com

VA-VA-VOOM The Va-Va-Voom range from Ergo is available exclusively at Ofis and is an ideal solution to workstation needs in contemporary offices. Ergo workstations provide high levels of customisation. A variety of finishes for partition tiles, from fabric to glass and metal to high-quality acoustic tiles, can be selected. Ergo’s furniture line is characterised by versatility in shapes and sizes, with an extensive colour offering in laminate and fabric shades. Companies can choose between readymade vibrant colour schemes or can opt to customise. Fine detailing, such as the embossing of company logos, is also possible. The panels in the Va-Va-Voom line offer a wire management system that conceals the wires from view while keeping them untangled. Ofis +971 (0)4 330 9290 www.ofisdubai.com

NEXT Cosmic has introduced Next, a new range of bathroom accessories designed by Ricard Ferrer. Next builds on the concept of fashion cycles – these free-standing accessories rediscover existing textures and materials, promoting a retro atmosphere inspired by the 1960s. The collection consists of a soap dish, glass, dispenser, toilet brush and waste paper basket, and combines aluminium with plastic to create vibrant colour combinations: black-black, matt silver-black, lilac-white, fuchsia-white and orange-white. Cosmic +349 3865 4277 www.icosmic.com

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CLASSIFIED

WWW.IMM-COLOGNE.COM

Visit us at Index 2009, Hall 2, Stand A80 Date: 14 -17 Nov 2009 Time: 11am - 7 pm

THE INTERNATIONAL FURNISHING SHOW COLOGNE CREATING 19 – 24 SPACES JANUARY 2010 ing day : N ew op en da Tues y, y 2010 Ja 19 nuar ng tim e: ti ar N ew st 10 a. m .

Koelnmesse GmbH Messeplatz 1, 50679 Köln Germany Tel. +49 180 5 91 3131 Fax +49 221 821-99 1180 imm@visitor.koelnmesse.de

To advertise in this section, please contact Michael Stansfield on +971.4435.6359 or michael.stansfield@itp.com

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28.09.09 16:02 Commercial Interior Design November 2009 85


CONTRACTS

PROJECT FOCUS Commercial Interior Design is committed to helping its readers grow their businesses, so we have teamed up with Ventures Middle East to bring you the latest tenders from around the region on a monthly basis.

UAE PROJECTS DATABASE - Building Projects Focus

86

PROJECT TITLE

CLIENT

CONSULTANT

MAIN CONTRACTOR

VALUE / VALUE RANGE (US$. MN)

PROJECT STATUS

TYPE OF PROJECT

City of Lights - C10, C10A and C11

Tamouh Investments

Palm & Turner Architects

China State Construction & Engineering Corporation (CSCEC)

101 - 250

project under construction

Mixed Use

Royal City Seasons Hotel in Abu Dhabi

City Seasons Group

James Cubitt & Partners

Tae Young Contracting

101 - 250

project under construction

Hotel

Ritaj Mixed-Use Complex in DIP

Dubai Investments Real Estate Co.

Al Jabal Consultants

Robust Contracting

155

project under construction

Mixed Use

NCC Harmony Towers at DuBiotech

NCC Urban

Islamic Architects

Al Mubarakia Contracting

408

project under construction

Mixed Use

Al Falah Development in Abu Dhabi - 2000 Villas

ALDAR Properties

Al Torath Engineering Consultants

El Seif Engineering & Contracting Co.

251 - 500

project under construction

Residential Development

Synergy Tower in Shams on Reem Island

Sanaya Investment

Adnan Saffarini

Not Appointed

31 - 100

project under design

Residential Buildings

Union Co-Operative Hypermarket in Al Barsha

Union Co-operative

Archdome Consulting Engineers

Bu Haleeba Contracting

33

project under construction

Shopping Center

Cambridge Business Centre in Dubai Silicon Oasis

Memon Investments

Adnan Saffarini

Cairo Contracting

22

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Arjaan Hotel Apartments in Adnec

Bin Hamoodah Properties

GA Architects & Engineers

Not Appointed

31 - 100

award awaited for the construction contract

Residential Buildings

Iconic Restaurant in Al Raha Beach

ALDAR Properties

KEO International Consultants

Al Ahmadiah Cont./ Global Timber Homes

4

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Frankfurt Sports Tower 1 in DSC

Memon Investments

Al Hatmy Design & Engg. Cons.

Not Appointed

92

award awaited for the construction contract

Residential Buildings

The Villa in Dubailand - Phase 3

Dubai Properties

Shadeed Engineering

Al Shafar General Contracting

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Development

Lilies Tower in Emirates City

R Holdings

Adnan Saffarini

Abou Seif Building Contracting Co

87

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Champions Tower II in Dubai Sports City

Memon Investments

Adnan Saffarini

Al Sarh Contracting

30

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Champions Tower III in Dubai Sports City

Memon Investments

Adnan Saffarini

Al Sarh Contracting

40

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Mixed-Use Development on Marjan Island

Solanki Holdings & Investments

Kassian (Canada)

Not Appointed

2,450

project under design

Mixed Use

Sami Business Tower in Business Bay

ACI Real Estate

Dimensions Engineering Consult.

Saquer Engineering & Contracting Enter.

31 - 100

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Sandoval Townhouses & Residences in Jumeirah Village

Bavaria Gulf

Diar Consult

Al Sayegh Contracting

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Development

Al Gurm Complex in West Abu Dhabi - Banyan Tree Hotel

ALDAR Properties

Dar Al Handasah

Not Appointed

101 - 250

award awaited for the construction contract

Hotel

Valencia Park at the Jumeirah Village

AB Properties (Aspiring Brilliance)

Federal Engineering

Bhatia General Contracting Company

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Buildings

32 Villas in Al Barsha

Mr. Mohammed Al Nasser

City Space Engineering Consult.

Moal Contracting

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Development

Champions Tower IV in Dubai Sports City

Memon Investments

Adnan Saffarini

Al Jassmy Contracting

122

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Altitude Tower in Emirates City

BL Properties

Adnan Saffarini

Mehwal Building Contracting

44

project under construction

Residential Buildings

99 villas in the Flame Tree Ridge at the Jumeirah Golf Estates

Leisurecorp

Mott MacDonald

Al Nekhreh Contracting

101 - 250

project under construction

Residential Development

The Kingdom of Sheba Resort on Jumeirah Palm

International Financial Advisors (IFA), Dubai

Wimberley Allison Tong & Goo

Dubai Contracting Co (DCC)

251 - 500

project under construction

Mixed Use

New Building for Sharjah Municipality

Sharjah Municipality

Art & Design Engineering

Globe Constructors

41

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Medical Complex in Arzanah

Capitala

HDP Overseas

Not Appointed

31 - 100

bidding underway for the main contract

Hospital

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

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CONTRACTS

Garden Heights in Jumeirah Village

Dheeraj & East Coast L.L.C

Arkiteknik International

Not Appointed

82

award awaited for the construction contract

Residential Buildings

City Center in Masdar City

Masdar

Laboratory for Visionary Arch.

Not Appointed

101 - 250

project under design

Mixed Use

Goldcrest Dreams in Ajman

Star Giga Establishment

Adnan Saffarini

Sky Construction

190

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Headquarters in Jumeirah Village

Dheeraj & East Coast L.L.C

Arkiteknik International

Not Appointed

109

project under design

Commercial Buildings

Park Corner Building in Jumeirah Village

Gulf Technical Construction

Adnan Saffarini

Gulf Technical Construction

22

project under construction

Residential Buildings

The Abjar Tower in Jumeirah Village

Khuyool Investments

Maks & Partners

Ali Moosa & Sons Contracting

177

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Emke Group Headquarters

Emke Group/Line Investment

Al Salaam Consulting

Ali & Sons Contracting

31 - 100

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

202 Villas at the Falcon City of Wonders

Salem Al Moosa Group

Arab Experts

Not Appointed

101 - 250

award awaited for the construction contract

Residential Development

Multi Media Towers at the City of Lights - C14

Royal Group

National Engineering Bureau

Not Appointed

101 - 250

project under design

Mixed Use

Metropolis Tower in Business Bay

Deyaar

La Casa Engineers & Architects

Emirates MAN

99

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Centro Rotana Hotel on Airport Road

Al Badie Trading & Investment

LW Design

Polensky and Zoellner

31 - 100

project under construction

Hotel

St. Regis Hotel & Residences on Saadiyat Island

Tourism Development & Investment

Woods Bagot

Al Habtoor Engineering/Murray & Roberts

545

project under construction

Mixed Use

Trafalgar Central in International City

Fakhruddin Properties

Hadi Architectural Engineering

Derby Contracting

20

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Fortune Bay in Business Bay

Fortune Investment Group

Dimensions Engineering

Al Shafar National Contracting Co

16 - 30

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Rosewood Hotel on Sowwah Island

Mubadala Dev.Co/John Buck Int’l

Serex International

Not Appointed

200

bidding underway for the main contract

Hotel

Elettra Residence at the Dubai Sports City

S3L Developments

Adnan Saffarini

Conforce Arabia Contracting LLC

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Buildings

The Taj Grandeur Residences on Palm Jumeirah

ETA Star Properties

Arch Group

Shapoorji Pallonji Middle East/ETA Ascon

93

project under construction

Hotel

The Skyscraper in Business Bay

Al Attar Real Estate

Canadian Consultants

Caterpillar Contracting

101 - 250

project under construction

Residential Buildings

The Fronds in Jumeirah HeightsFronds A

Nakheel Corporation

Arenco

Consolidated Contractors International

300

project under construction

Residential Development

Prodigy in Jumeirah Village

MiNC Property Enterprises

Tijan Engineering

Gannon Dunkerly & Company

2.5 - 15

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Highland Resort

Midmak Properties

W. S. Atkins

National Projects & Construction

31 - 100

project under construction

Residential Development

Tasameem 1 in Business Bay

Tasameem Real Estate

National Engineering Bureau

Construction & Reconstruction Engg. Co

101 - 250

project under construction

Commercial Buildings

Tasameem 2 in Business Bay

Tasameem Real Estate

National Engineering Bureau

Construction & Reconstruction Engg. Co

101 - 250

project under construction

Residential Buildings

Note : The above information is the sole property of Ventures Middle East LLC and cannot be published without the expressed permission of Ventures Middle East LLC, Abu Dhabi, UAE

www com/construction 86 arabianbusiness Commercial Interior Design October 2007

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Commercial Interior November 2007 101 wwwDesign arabianbusiness com/construction

Commercial Interior Design November 2009

87


OPINION

Procure your way to better FF&E and OS&E

By Geoff van Wijk One of the many decisions facing hotel owners and developers is how to get hotel furniture and operating equipment (FF&E and OS&E) ordered and delivered. What comes next is often a realisation of the true scope of that endeavour, and more questions: How? What? Who? Turnkey or procure? In the interests of better quality, I want to make the case for hospitality procurement, and the special role it plays for hotel owners, designers and operators – good procurement companies act in the interests of all three parties in equal measure. It is a precarious balancing act, but when done well will result in durable, quality products. So what are some of the benefits of hospitality FF&E and OS&E procurement? Early involvement = time & cost savings The earlier a procurement agent is involved, the more money they will save you. Our company, FURNISH, advocates the use of our advisory services at the early design stage, to review product specifications with the designers and assist in product sourcing. Establishing early relations and procedures with the project team, reviewing operator requirements and establishing the scope of FF&E and OS&E avoids expensive oversights later in the project. Early dialogue between designers and procurement agents translates directly into time and cost savings, and sets the tone for pragmatic buying practices. Quality By carefully reviewing design specifications, layouts, global sourcing, budget management and project scheduling, we

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Commercial Interior Design November 2009

protect the interests of the project paymaster, as well as operator and designer. The objective of a good procurement agent must be to honour the design integrity of the hotel, source contract-quality goods, honour proprietary products and manage the owner’s budget. Well-managed procedures allow us to spend more time knowing our vendors, sourcing suitable suppliers and negotiating with specified vendors, whilst upholding the brand standards of the hotel. Durable, high-quality FF&E and OS&E results in happy operators and increased productivity. Nowhere does the adage ‘penny-wise, pound-foolish’ ring truer than in the process of furnishing and equipping a hotel. Transparency For owners looking for the most transparent process in which to acquire FF&E and OS&E, the only option is an independent procurement agent working on a service fee. The transparency of the process, when managed up until the handover of a comprehensive asset register, promotes honest buying practices. Cheaper than turnkey Actually, there is no contest here. Contrary to popular belief, procurement is not more expensive than the turnkey approach but is in fact as expensive or inexpensive as you want it to be (within reason). Together with the employer, suitable budgets for FF&E and OS&E are set and the procurement agent will purchase accordingly. The difference is in the cost of the service: procurement service fees are substantially lower than turnkey margins, where proprietary

goods are often reproduced in order to extend those margins. With procurement you’re getting better value for money whilst honouring the design process to the best of the budget’s abilities. What about the OS&E? Operating supplies and equipment for a five-star resort hotel can exceed 7,000 unique line items and cannot be bought turnkey. There is no standard product list or non-variation bill of quantity for OS&E. The sheer quantity of OS&E and the nature of the items dictate a need for flexibility and choice. Each project has unique features, a new pre-opening team, various F&B outlets, and a list of preferred equipment. To uphold the brand standards of a property, the process of purchasing OS&E is crucial to operational success. More than just furniture and equipment Experienced procurement agents will get the best out of your budget, from global sources of specified and contract-quality hospitality suppliers. A hotel without FF&E and OS&E is just an empty building. FF&E and OS&E are the soul and character of a property. It’s the heavenly bed, the sumptuous chandeliers, the exquisite fabrics and the finest furniture. It’s the fine crystal, the silver candelabras and the softest linen. It’s the best night’s sleep, the perfect cocktail and that unforgettable meal. Ultimately, it’s the guests’ very first impression and most indelible memory. Don’t leave it to chance! Geoff van Wijk (geoff@furnish-hospitality. com) is a partner at FURNISH.

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Commercial Interior Design - Nov 2009