Quality-driven interiors will be a determining factor of the success of upcoming high-end real estate projects, according to Downtown Design, the Middle East platform for original design, held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Head of the ‘Higher Advisory Committee’ of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority.
This statement follows a report released this month forecasting the continued growth of the UAE real estate sector with the luxury real estate and hotel projects continuing to make up the bulk of the projects in Dubai as the emirate prepares for Expo2020. The same report estimated the value of construction projects in the UAE to reach $315bn this year.
Downtown Design was launched last year, reflecting the strategic importance the emirate is placing on the design sector and its commitment to supporting such events and initiatives.
“We are seeing the rise of designer hotels, restaurants, residences and offices in the UAE. This reflects the way people live, work and travel today as well as the growing number of design enthusiasts and professionals in the region. It is a trend that is not going away and will shape the evolution of the interiors sector for many decades to come,” said Cristina Romelli Gervasoni, Fair Director of Downtown Design. “The Fair provides a platform for the Middle East to access these global brands in a setting that allows for meaningful exchanges and recognizes Dubai’s growing role as a global design destination.”
Downtown Design takes place in October in Dubai’s flagship development, Emaar’s Downtown Dubai, and will bring together international and regional architects, interior designers, real estate developers, retail buyers, distributors, developers and design.
Trendsetters, as well as the world’s most respected design brands in key categories including furniture, lighting, kitchens, bathrooms, accessories, flooring, carpets and new technologies.
Dubai’s design leaders assembled on Wednesday Aug 27th at a seminar led by Downtown Design, in association with Dubai Design District (d3), which focused on the theme of this year’s Fair, “Original Design”, reflecting the common factor in the sustainable growth of the design sector worldwide.
The seminar is part of a series of discussions that aim to provide a platform where field professionals can meet and share their thoughts with an increasingly broader audience, in line with the Fair’s dedication to creating a culture that fosters originality in design in the Gulf region. It was moderated by Richard Dean, Host of The Business Breakfast Show on Dubai Eye radio station, and was attended by regional industry leaders and officials, including the Consul General of Italy in Dubai, H.E. Giovanni Favilli and representatives from d3.
UAE designer and d3 ambassador Khalid Shafar, believes that bringing “Original Design” to a wide audience in the Middle East will help fuel the growth of the sector here: “It’s important to study the masters to appreciate the true value of original design. Original design to me is when inspiration and craftsmanship meet innovation. Downtown Design is a unique initiative precisely because it focuses on quality and originality and maintains the highest standards in terms of the brands it showcases.”
With the number of hotels expected to double over the next seven years until 2020, and competition mounting, a key value differentiator will be in service quality offered by these establishments. According to the UN World Tourism Organization, key tangible aspects of service quality include the interior design of hotels, which rest on the choice of quality original design-driven pieces.
Several of the brands who cater specifically for high-end residences and hotels and who were panellists in the Downtown Design seminar had this to say, Mouad Benmoussa, Brand Manager for Gaggenau, a Germany-based global brand for home appliances, said: “We are proud to be part of Downtown Design, a great platform which recognizes and celebrates original design, and makes it accessible to Middle Eastern audiences. Gaggenau defines original pieces as being uncompromising, authentic and extraordinary. The 330-year brand is a pioneer of technological advancement and timeless design. One of the key factors for the lasting success comes from a unique collaboration and mutual understanding of designers and engineers.”
Tareq AbuRoza, Managing Director of Sicis ME, the Italian mosaics firm responsible for furnishing many of the areas of luxury hotels and private residences worldwide, said: “Producing the high-quality bespoke interiors of luxury hotels such as Al Burj Al Arab or Emirates Palace requires a unique vision, solid workmanship and strong collaboration between developers, architects, interior designers and global design brands. That to me is also key to producing original design.”
Nader Fleihan, Regional Business Development Manager at Louis Poulsen Lighting, a global Denmark-based supplier of architectural lighting, said: “Downtown Design provides us with a unique platform whereby quality brands become more visible and informative to their audience in the region. Here, the end user is able to learn how and why original pieces are made the way they are.”
Visitors to the Downtown Design Fair will be able to witness first hand an unprecedented collection of original pieces that are characterized by an emphasis on manufacturing craftsmanship, heritage and technology-driven innovations. The Fair will also include an exciting program of talks, workshops and interactive spaces that encourage collaboration between developers, architects and designers and offer design enthusiasts with unique insights to the latest global trends in the world of design. The Fair’s 2014 edition runs from October 28-31 2014 at The Venue, Downtown Dubai.
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