The region’s surface market is poised for exponential growth, bearing in mind the numerous construction and refurbishment projects scheduled to come up in the near future, say surface manufacturers.
Dominated by the spending power of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the MENA region’s interior design sector is expected to be worth $8.2bn this year, according to figures in the MENA Design Outlook 2015 report. As a core consumer of stone and covering products, the regional interior design market continues to drive the surface industry.
Apart from the positive figures, surface manufacturers Commercial Interior Design has spoken to are equally confident that the region’s surface market is poised for exponential growth, bearing in mind the numerous construction and refurbishment projects scheduled to come up in the near future.
“A major focus within this sector lies in hospitality projects, fuelled by activities leading up to Expo 2020 in the UAE in addition to several other regional projects,” says Claudio Iurilli, regional marketing director at Jotun Middle East, India and Africa. “The UAE alone is targeting 20 million visitors per year by 2020 and this will clearly have a tremendous positive impact on the business, proportionate with this massive number of visitors.
“The design industry will continue to be one of the largest and most rapidly evolving sectors in the region. Sector demands and consumer demands are increasing by the day and sometimes keeping pace can become a challenge.”
Similarly, Josep Maria Sans Esplugas, founder of Kriska Décor, a Spanish company specialising in producing metallic chain curtains, agrees that, despite the fact that work in this region is very fast-paced, the quality requirements are still high.
“In recent years, the region has experienced a revival in architecture and interior design projects, which for a time had slowed down. And this is particularly detectable in Dubai, which is increasing its position as a tourist destination, so hospitality markets are doing well. Expectations for the future also seem to be positive, especially taking into account the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and also World Expo 2020 in Dubai,” says Esplugas.
Commenting on the growth prospects of the surface market in the region, Ali Maarrawi, general manager at Cosentino Middle East, confirms it is growing “without a pause”.
“Small to mega projects are happening and require innovative and cost-saving solutions, which is a challenge to most manufacturers who don’t want to compromise on quality,” says Maarrawi. “Cosentino production capacity and global demand allow us to be competitive as well as a solution provider, introducing innovative surfaces that go beyond traditional tiles or conventional surfaces.”
Scott Coombes, director and managing partner at consultancy AESG and chair of the Middle East Coverings Designers’ Forum, is confident that the recent Dubai 3D printing strategy will additionally help to promote a number of new designers and suppliers to operate in the region.
He comments: “Dubai’s reputation for opulent and luxurious interiors combined with its strategic geographical location, provides excellent positioning for the manufacturing and export of new and high-quality surface materials.”
Spurring on its efforts to make headway in the Middle Eastern market, LG Hausys participated in the design show INDEX 2016, showcasing its surface and flooring materials.
Addressing some of the major challenges the company faces while working in the region, Myeonggyo Jung, marketing manager, comments: “Based on our experience in the region, one can expect to be faced with some challenges while executing the projects. While corporate governance is dependent on good cash-flow, planning and follow-ups, some projects could not run efficiently and effectively due to insufficient resources. Defining needs and obtaining approval ahead of time helps project managers assign and prioritise resources.”
Materials & colours
Homescape is this year’s trend theme, LG Hausys has announced, and it highlights the concept of the spaces where people leading hectic daily lives can relax.
Jung further explains: “Such spaces are decorated with matt-finished or soft-touch materials in pastel colours that create a comfortable atmosphere. The interior design of commercial buildings, including hospitals, hotels, and offices, also reflects such trends. Brass and related materials were popular last year, but this year, copper and aluminium are in vogue.
“In residential spaces, the most widely used are white-based monochromatic bright colours followed by a wide range of greys, from warm and bright to dark and cool grey shades. In addition, the latest materials, such as metal, stone, and concrete, which have rarely been used before, are gaining currency for premium kitchen decoration.”
Edustep series by LG Hausys is a sheet-type flooring material that has no joins.
Jotun commenced the year announcing the Colour Trends of 2016. Taking on a seasonal approach, it introduced the Spring-Summer collection for the year, a palette full of upbeat and vibrant colours. The Fall-Winter colour palette will soon be unveiled with deeper and richer tones.
“In terms of colours, and in sync with the tone of chic-yet-sharp design, whites and the neutral palette figured loudly throughout the year in the hospitality realm,” says Iurilli, adding that whites, neutrals and nature-inspired shades such as green and washed wood continue to be some of the surest ways to convey style or attitude to designed areas.
When it comes to novelties, Cosentino has just launched the Dekton Xgloss polished finishes with nano-technology.
“Dekton is a cutting edge material, which is A1 fire-rated with an R9 to R11 slip resistance, with no expansion. It can’t be stained since it doesn’t absorb, can’t be scratched, and has superior strength among other features,” says Maarrawi. “The big and thin formats to be used as one tile or a panel to cover surfaces with lesser joints are among the major trends in recent years. The replica of natural marble is still in demand although there is a clear preference for unique finishes like rusty metal and industrial concrete.”
The latest Dekton update also welcomes two new colours, Keon and Keyla, to the Tech and Natural collection respectively.