In the UAE interiors market, the forecast for 2011 spending in the commercial buildings sector is said to be $821 million, increasing from $709 million last year, according to the Ventures Middle East report by UBM Built Environment, organisers of Interiors UAE.
This will add to an already busy market, where anywhere from 10-35% of the total fit-out spend can be dedicated to window dressing, according to Veenu Kanwar, design manager, Warps & Wefts.
Kanwar said new innovations have revolutionised furnishings, with manufacturers manipulating fabric structures and surfaces by experimenting with shrinkage, transparency, opacity, light, depth and permanent textures.
“Due to a movement towards sustainable products, the colour palette is inspired by nature. Cool aqua blue, grass green, peacock turquoise, warm sunny yellow, or terracotta reds add to a full spectrum including gold, purple, orange, fuchsia and lime which have evolved as accents to neutral shades,” said Kanwar.
Interior designer Perla Lichi, founder of Perla Lichi Gallery, said matching the fabrics used in a window dressing to the furniture is an important aspect of design.
“Curtains are the dresses of the house and it’s best to keep the shades neutral. If you use too much colour in the window dressing, then it’s difficult to design the rest of the room,” she said.
Yvonne Tobien, sales executive, Luxaflex said colours such as indigo, deep purple and curry yellow, inspired by spices are in vogue, with aubergine purple as a trend colour for 2011.
Gina Vaduva, regional sales and marketing manager, RAME said Middle East trends do not follow international ones.
“Right now, we are seeing linen and neutral colours globally but in the Middle East no-one likes linen, so there is no demand for it,” she said.
Tobien however, disagreed. “I don’t think trends are different, seeing that our window covering products are international, made in Europe and coming to the Middle East.
There seems to be a craving for international and European products in the market. Quality is the main factor and second, innovation, that is, being the first with something new is important.”
Kanwar said the Middle East mixes the traditional culture of the East and the modern technology of the West even when it comes to window dressing.
With a deep rooted sense of cultural pride, most clients have been looking for decorative, ethnic and classical designs while dressing their windows and blending them with modern technology.
However, the industry is seeing a slow but steady shift in interiors with embellishments giving way to sleek and simpler window treatments. In addition to nature inspired design motifs and ethnic patterns, window dressings with the retro geometric patterns can be seen.
The main challenges in the industry are related to costs. According to Kanwar, bringing the price of products down results in the quality or service being compromised. “The Middle East today has become a price conscious market rather than a quality conscious one.”