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Global Forum says accessible design is the key to current Gulf markets

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, November 29 - 2009 @ 15:49

The 24th General Assembly of the International Federation of Interior Designers/Architects (IFI ’09) and the World Interior Design Congress, held in Dubai from the 6th to the 11th of November 2009, was attended by over 600 delegates from 45 countries, including globally acclaimed trend-setters and thought leaders in design and architecture.

Sharing their observations on the future of the interior design industry in the region, speakers at the forum said that the demand for quality homes and utilities remains robust in the MENA region despite the global economic slowdown.

“Activity is resuming in the GCC residential market, with a clear shift from high-end luxury to the broader mass market. Larger markets like Saudi Arabia remain unaffected. Airports and healthcare infrastructure are also expanding, presenting varied opportunities for interior design firms,”

Craig Plumb, Head of Research MENA at the global real estate advisory firm Jones Lang LaSalle told the World Interior Design Congress.

“The demand for housing in Egypt is estimated at 500,000 units a year whereas the current annual supply is 150,000 units,” Nader Lahzi, Managing Director of regional property developer Bonyan for Development and Trade added.

Speakers at the Congress also reminded local design firms of the need to learn from global trends and standards before jumping into the fray to tap the opportunities ahead.

The Congress also echoed the increasing realisation that sustainability should be the guiding principle of development.

“Sustainability is a ‘cradle-to-cradle’ principle. Nothing is destroyed – ‘reduce, optimise and regenerate’ should be the approach,” said Karim Farah, Senior Architect at the design firm Dar Al-Handasah.

“The GCC may have missed out on some good sustainability opportunities amidst the recent construction frenzy but Dubai has led a remarkable green drive,” Farah added.

Future took centre stage on the final day as Israa Mahmoud, winner of the ‘Vision 2030’ design competition held for students as part of the Congress, presented her design vision to the delegates. Ahmed Hamdi Mustafa of the Ajman University of Science and Technology and Nourul Huda Al Hussoni of the American University in Dubai, winners of the aircraft interior design competition, were also honoured at the Congress.

“The IFI General Assembly and the World Interior Design Congress provided us with a fresh view of the targets we will be working towards from now. IFI has also accorded full membership status to the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID) in the UAE and we consider it an endorsement of our organisational capabilities,” said Mrs. Farida Abdulla Kamber Al Awadhi, President-elect of APID.

Mrs. Al Awadhi has also announced the launch of the annual ‘Festival of Interior Design’ which shall take place in the UAE starting 2010.

IFI ’09, which highlighted the theme ‘Celebrate Interior Design’, was supported by the Dubai Business Women Council while United Design International, Al Aqili Furnishings, American Hardwood Export Council, Designopolis, Actiu, Interiors and Crystallized Swarovski Elements were the main sponsors.

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Sunday, November 29- 2009 @ 15:49 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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