How to use aviation and boat building technology in architecture and interior design

Sponsored: Advanced Fiberglass Industries shares its experience of using aviation and boatbuilding technologies in architecture and interior design.

Composite materials are known in the automotive and aviation sectors for their high strength and low weight, but a number of other industries have started to realise the benefits of this wonder material. And designers are beginning to understand that there are more options in the market rather than the conventional materials such as concrete and steel.

From large domes to carbon fiber sculptures, racing cars to restaurant interiors, Dubai-based Advanced Fiberglass Industries (AFI) is a leader in the use of composites in manufacturing.

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AFI is a company that offers high-quality, “plug and play” solutions, says managing partner Chris Gray, a former boatbuilder with more than 30 years’ experience with custom composites. “The key is that we are a solutions-based supplier, which prides itself on quality and service. We encourage our customers to come and see what it is we are doing,” says Gray. “Personal interaction is very important. We explain to them that we use products which we know will last.

“Lower quality materials can be fine elsewhere, but not in the Middle East with its harsh climate.

“Product knowledge and application is essential, as the use of the wrong material means something will deteriorate over time. So we are able to offer a warranty that we can stand by.”

When it comes to working with architects, the company emphasises a one-to-one approach.

“The beauty of working directly with architects is that we can take their creation and help them advance it with aerospace-style material and construction methods,” adds Gray.

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“For instance composite is lighter than concrete, so therefore composites requires less if any structure. The product can also be built in a factory, trucked and assembled on site rather than working in-situ.

“From a creative point of view you can get more fluidity in shapes and styles when using composites. And finishes can be made to replicate wood, marbles etc.”

Being in business for 20 years and covering the whole Gulf region, AFI is a one-stop shop offering a design studio, clean room, curing oven, CNC milling machine and finishing facilities. AFI is not only able to project manage the largest of assignments, it also has the capability to handle smaller and more diverse jobs involving R&D efficiently and with an economy of scale.

Working with world renowned designer Karim Rashid on two recent prestigious projects, the Evolutes in the Burj Khalifa and Switch Restaurant in the Dubai Mall, the company’s strength is in its uncompromising approach to not only meeting clients’ expectations, but wherever possible, exceeding them. AFI has also been involved in various projects abroad, notably in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, where it manufactured and installed composites domes in various government buildings to replace existing concrete ones.

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Closer to this region, the company has been involved in interior design via manufacture and installations of staircases, atrium counters, along with furniture and lighting features.

It also works closely with major theme parks in the UAE to meet their requirements. The Carbon division in the company caters to the ever growing segment of the market interested in motor parts, bespoke items and carbon fiber furniture.

AFI has also been also working very closely with local companies in various R&D projects for the military needs of the region. AFI believes that the right people, working in high-performance teams, can accomplish virtually anything. And it has proven that to be true – day after day, year after year.

“Backed up by the most advanced technology available, we are always ready to serve,” concludes Gray.

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