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Mon 11 Feb 2008 04:00 AM

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Retail recognition

International design awards have been coming Dubai's way and they've been won by the city's increasingly iconic shopping malls.

International design awards have been coming Dubai's way and they've been won by the city's increasingly iconic shopping malls.

The Al Futtaim Group collected the Best Design and Innovation award from the International Council of Shopping Centers for the Mall of the Emirates, after also being named the Best Retail Destination of the Year at the World Retail Awards.

Meanwhile the interior landscaping at Times Square Mall caught the attention of the British Association of Landscape Industries, which gave local interior landscaping company, Planters Horticulture its fifth accolade.

Everyone can see the investment that goes into the retail industry in the region. These awards reflect the level of innovation and creativity that goes into them too, not to mention the attention to detail.

The high standards that retail design has achieved in the past look set to continue. The latest Etisalat store in Dubai Festival City (DFC) is a good case in point. Created by Alfred Johnson's Imagination Design, the high-gloss look of the store demonstrates how a brand can be enhanced by a creative interior, which also manages to work around the technical boundaries of the site itself. The DFC example is the first of several new stores to come over the next few months.

While Etisalat is building its brand through the talents of local designers, the Monarch hotel is helping to redefine local tradition. The interior design by BBGM, part of RMJM's American office, was aimed at creating a 'modern Arabic hotel'.

There are hints of tradition, such as the antique bronze used for back-lit mushrabiya screens, which architect Enzo Messina sees as a contemporary Arab influence. But these hints are also combined with simple, creative and distinctly modern touches.

These projects are just a couple of the constant flow of new works completed by the region's design talent. With luck, they will also be the kind of projects that will continue to attract the attention of international judging committees.

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