The Great Outdoors


The drive to take the indoors out is prevelant amongst designers who want to tap into the 2012 commercial market

Interior design is moving outdoors, with equal care being given to the look of the exterior of both residential and commercial properties. The importance of this section of commercial design is seen in the creation of the ‘Outdoor Living’ segment at the INDEX exhibition in Dubai.

Events are no longer found only inside ballrooms and banquet halls — with good weather in the UAE for half the year, it’s all too common to find people outdoors.


This means specified furniture and accessories need to be weatherproof, long-lasting and, at the same time, stylish. Some trends for this year include ottomans and modular pieces, thick weaves, usage of stone and marble, and green design, with rattan making a return to the scene.

With 15,505 new hotel rooms commissioned for 2012 in the UAE, the need for outdoor furniture and design is on the rise. For example, Hilton Worldwide plans to expand its presence in the Middle East by nearly 80% over the next three to four years.

UAE’s capital is not far behind — Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Authority said it expects to receive 2.7 million visitors by 2012, with Abu Dhabi Corniche, Emirates Heritage Village, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Marina Circuit featuring as key attractions.

Contracts are being awarded for outdoor design in the region. Gulf Landscape and Irrigation Systems LLC (GLIS), owned by Al Khayyat Investments, was awarded a Dhs33m contract to landscape Precinct 5 of the Mina Al Arab waterfront project in Ras Al Khaimah.

It will be responsible for the development of detailed designs, construction, completion, maintenance of roads and landscape works, including roadworks, street lights, hard and soft landscape, irrigation systems, landscape lights, street furniture, water features, swimming pools and play area equipment.

“We are proud to be chosen by RAK Properties to provide landscaping services to Mina Al Arab, a prestigious leisure and holiday beach resort.

“Such a project needs landscaping services of the highest standards and we are confident of meeting the requirements. We do believe that quality is driving this industry, in addition to cost effective pricing,” said Walid Al Wahsh, general manager, GLIS.

In a recent survey of outdoor living trends by the American Society of Landscape Architects, fireplaces/fire pits, dining areas, gas grills, and installed seating ranked high in popularity with professional landscape architects. Decorative water elements, such as ornamental pools and fountains, as well as outdoor recreation amenities, including pools and spas were also preferred.

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