‘Middle East presents its very own set of demands’ says Dimitra Dotsia of regional hotel design

Preciosa's lighting in Raffles Istanbul

Recently, Commercial Interior Design reported that Dubai is currently on the crux of another five year boom, with the construction, design and architecture sectors taking the biggest upswing. As a number of new projects come underway, projects that were once put on hold have also now been given the green light.

Michaela McClelland, business and brand development director at Preciosa, the high-end Bohemian glass and crystal provider, previously explained to CID that “the growth has already started and it is visible with the vast amount of projects being currently launched and developed in concept phase. Overall, we are experiencing a new five-year cycle, which will peak during the Expo 2020. Only time will tell how much the region learned from the previous economic crisis and how much we can improve this time around.”

Christopher Broadbent, senior director, Design Work Portfolio, second McClelland’s comments further noting that many of the new projects are ‘re-starts’, meaning they were previously suspended and have been reactivated. He also noted that while the market in the entire GCC is gradually making a comeback, “the market is certainly picking up specifically here in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”

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The opened gate to projects has left a number of regional designers and suppliers positively overwhelmed with the amount of work to do in the coming years before 2020, so what exactly should be the focus? Our experts say hotel bathrooms and bespoke lighting are on the top of the list.

Jaroslav Bejvl, art director, Preciosa, says: “Hotel bathrooms are gaining an importance, it is a space where luxury is reaching new horizons. Interestingly, it is increasingly becoming more integrated into the bedroom space, which is a visible new direction.

“For example, our latest project in Qatar with Marcel Wanders, the Falcon Towers Hotel, has bathrooms that are designed very much like a living room—where you want to spend your leisure time.”

Bejvl adds that lighting in bathroom design is of optimum importance, noting that a change in the approach to lighting in bathroom spaces is visible. According to Bejvl, “in recent years, chandeliers have prominently entered the world of bathrooms and are becoming very noticeable.”

Dimitra Dotsia, marketing manager for Ideal Standard, a bathroom solutions provider that operates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, expands on Bejvl’s comments noting that bathrooms are no longer driven solely by their function but are now being treated as social spaces that are also ideal for relaxation. Dotsia notes: “Bathrooms are no longer just a functional space for cleansing the body. Nowadays, as life gets more stressful, we’re interested in cleansing the mind as well. Over the past few years, we saw a trend for minimalism in bathroom products but we think that the style statement of the next few years will be towards more organic and natural designs, with smooth contours and tactile, rounded forms.”

According to Dotsia, these changes in bathroom design and the new trends in products for the bathroom are most noticeable in high-end hotels as well as boutique hotels. But she is confident that these trends will ultimately bring their way into the domestic market in the next year.

Dotsia also remarks that the Middle East is a unique market with its own set of challenges. She argues: “The Middle East presents its very own specific set of demands. We are ultra-aware of the water-saving requirements of the region and have done our utmost to design products that not only look beautiful and perform to an extremely high standard, but also help conserve as much water as possible.

“The high-end luxury market here in the Middle East also means that we cannot rest on our laurels when it comes to aesthetics. In both residential and hospitality environments, clients here demand the very best in terms of form and function—that’s why we’re continually developing new designs to meet these extremely high expectations.”

Martin Fryzelka, business developer, Preciosa, confirms Dotsia’s remarks, saying that the hospitality sector in the Middle East maintains very high standards and “constant prospects for development, it gives great opportunities for interesting projects across the region. Luxury segment is dominant and this brings inspiring design concepts, which are starting to visibly shape the look and feel of today’s Middle East.”

Both Ideal Standard and Preciosa are looking forward to 2015, as they both have a number of hotel projects lined up. Huda Lighting, a lighting company founded in Beirut, Lebanon in 2000, also notes the upswing of recent projects taken on by the design team. Huda Lighting’s marketing team has confirmed that with the New Year approaching, it is looking forward to a number of new projects.

Dotsia adds: “The year 2015 is already scheduled to be extremely busy for us. There are already projects in the pipeline for the next year. We’re planning some amazing product launches, which we cannot reveal just yet, naturally. Suffice it to say that you can expect to be very nicely surprised by what we’ll be revealing next year.”

Fryzelka describes similar sentiments noting that the Preciosa team is looking forward to the new challenges heading its way from new projects. Additionally, the company’s headquarters in Czech Republic is expanding its research and development department. According to Fryzelka, the coming year is bearing a number of new opportunities for the Bohemian lighting company.

Dotsia concludes: “The regional growth is also escalating at a good pace, as we have signed up to work with some of the most prestigious projects in the region. We’re expecting to see growth as Middle East continues its confident expansion in preparation for events like Expo 2020.”

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