By Monika Grzesik
One of the most hotly anticipated events in the international design calendar is due to take place next month on our very own doorstep. Held annually at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Index is the largest event of its kind in the region, with an expected visitor turnout of over 30,000. National pavilions spread over 10 exhibition halls will house exhibitors from over 55 countries around the world, displaying products in a range of sectors from lighting, flooring, textiles and furniture.
|~|Index-body-1.gif|~||~|One of the most hotly anticipated events in the international design calendar is due to take place next month on our very own doorstep. Held annually at the Dubai Exhibition Centre, Index is the largest event of its kind in the region, with an expected visitor turnout of over 30,000. National pavilions spread over 10 exhibition halls will house exhibitors from over 55 countries around the world, displaying products in a range of sectors from lighting, flooring, textiles and furniture.
Steven Pratt from Muraspec — the UK’s largest producer of commercial wallcoverings, sums up the importance of Index to the design community: “The UAE has over the last five years become the design centre of the Middle East. We exhibit at Index for two main reasons: it offers us the perfect opportunity to invite our wider Middle Eastern clients to visit us and discuss specific projects; and it is the perfect launch pad for new designs.” The company plans to unveil 11 new designs at Index, including two ranges of soft natural metallics. Also featuring this year, will be new ranges of wallcoverings specific to the growing demand for high-end design in office interiors, following on from the recent trend in London for vertical effects, both in print and texture.
A myriad of new products and designs are set to be unveiled this year. Also showcasing wallcoverings is London interiors house Fromental with its range of hand-embroidered Chinoiseries. The couture collection offers a modern take on 18th century aesthetics. The designs are hand painted on silk prior to being entirely hand embroidered with each bespoke panel requiring over 600 hours of work. The new range of Embroidered Blossoms will be available in linen and organza as well as wallpaper.
On top of the deluge of design launches, visitors can expect some big announcements at the show. Regional furniture producers Al Aqili for example plan to announce its exclusive deal to become regional distributors for US-based Shaw flooring.
Due to make its Middle Eastern debut is a new furnishings range developed by Japanese brand Garde. Garde has taken the values of traditional craftsmanship and combined them with contemporary materials. “The cutting edge design team wanted to create not only a new design, but a whole new lifestyle that will change the way people perceive the world — the results will be shown for the first time in the Middle East at Index this year,” said Silvia Poggi, marketing director.
Exhibitors from the Far East will have a strong presence at this year’s show. 2006 will see the biggest ever Vietnamese representation with at least 14 of Vietnam’s leading furnishing and interiors companies exhibiting including Dang Khoa Marquetry Co which will display a unique range of antique furniture and Central Iron Furnishing Factory who plan to launch a new range of chairs for F&B outlets. Business development manager, Thomas Ng says, “Dubai is the window to all the various countries in the Middle East. It is definitely an important place for exporters like us.”
Other products to be showcased by companies from the Far East include ceramics, pottery, timber and bamboo furniture, handicrafts, and textiles. Singapore-based Kait Lee Industries will also be launching new furniture ranges: “Our company will display a range of children’s furniture and office system furniture. We have been conducting business in the Middle Eastern market for many years. We have not been successful in Dubai and we want to establish better success in this market.”
Italian companies will have a strong showing too, with the largest country pavilion at the show. According to Andrea Turri, general manager, Turri Spa: “Index is the best occasion to meet our customers from the Middle East. Our products are very particular, and the design and the quality match perfectly with the tastes of people from the Middle East.” This year Turri will present the new bedroom concept — its luxury modern products use steel, leather and polyester finishing. “This year will see an increase in the Italian companies participating at Index, and an increase in the quality of the products,” predicts Turri. The strong Italian presence follows on from the influx of high quality Italian designers brands, entering the local market including B&B Italia, Selva and Poltrona Frau.
Belgian furniture company Adonis Paulis also plans to launch a new collection at Index. Creative director, Olja Oreskovic, describes its latest range, ‘Reflections,’ as an “unconventional approach to classic interiors. We received enthusiastic reactions from some of our most valued customers from London and Paris who attended a special ‘preview’ in our showroom in Antwerp and we look forward to meeting the interior design professionals of the Gulf area.”
It is a recurring theme amongst exhibitors that the Gulf market is of utmost importance to their company’s success. Casa Kara specialises in metal crafts including grills, entrance doors, banisters, furniture and lighting — its latest project ‘Memoires’ is at Dubai’s Wafi City. Robert Karaoghlanian, Casa Kara says: “We’re qualified for high standard works, and the Dubai market is one of the best in the GCC to invest in quality works. Our craftsmanship is of a quality usually found in Europe but our products are made in Lebanon.”
Lighting features heavily at Index and visitors can look forward to some cutting-edge designs this year. Caspaiou will showcase the innovative Aqua Creations collection by Ayala Serafaty. Hans Bruinsmsa says: “Caspaiou stands for a special concept of interior and exterior design. Together with our team of renowned designers from the famous Dutch Wolterinck Group we have carefully chosen the work of artisans from around the world.”
Textiles are also a major component of Index with an entire hall dedicated to this product sector. Eastern Silk Industries is one of the top exporters of silk fabrics from India. The company is coming to Dubai to showcase the latest lines and trends. “Dubai is the gateway to the Middle East and European countries. We foresee more interaction with our Middle Eastern customers and more understanding of their tastes and trends,” says JPS Chadda, Eastern Silk.
Organiser, Neil Tyrer says: “A 20% increase in media coverage for this year’s Index means we are expecting an even higher number of visitors than last year. 1,700 exhibitors will be taking part and 57 countries will be involved. Plus we have the honour of being one of the first events to use the new Zabeel Hall, which adds an additional 15,000 sq m of floor space.”
And with CID celebrating our first anniversary at the show — Index 2006 promises to be an event not to be missed. ||**||