Driven by demand [Middle East Interiors]
(Middle East Interiors Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) The buoyant market of Saudi Arabia is expected to provide Decofair participants with ample prospects
More than 150 exhibitors will be participating in Decofair 2013, Saudi Arabia's premium international furniture and interior design show and the longest-established event of its kind in the Kingdom. Running from November 29 to December 2 at the Jeddah Centre for Forums and Events, the show has attracted participation from the leading design companies of the world.
MEI spoke to Naomi Barton, international sales and marketing director, Decofair, to find out about the new features added to the event this year
What distinguishes Decofair to make it a successful event?
Decofair is Saudi Arabia's only premium international furniture and interior design show and the longest-established event of its kind in the Kingdom.
Part of Decofair's success is its unique exhibitor entry standards that ensure only quality products that have been previously vetted by the show team will be exhibited at the event.
The strong track record of the organisers – Reed Sunaidi Exhibitions, a joint venture between the world's largest event company Reed Exhibitions (a co-organiser of global design show Maison et Objet) and Sunaidi Expo, a division of Alfadl Group – is also major factor in its success.
How is the response to the show this year?
The response this year has been excellent, particularly from international exhibitors whose participation has grown sevenfold since last year's event.
Decofair 2013 has confirmed the attendance of more than 110 international interior brands including the world renowned Swiss furniture company Vitra, French designer Kenzo Maison and Danish manufacturer BoConcept.
Decofair: Record visitor numbers
Who are the typical trade visitors who turn up for Decofair?
We expect a record attendance from design industry professionals, architects and designers, hoteliers, project owners and high net-worth individuals who are looking to meet local, regional and international design suppliers, manufactures and service providers. We are anticipating over 15,000 trade professionals and high-level consumers will attend this year's show.
Please tell us about the products to be displayed at the show?
Decofair 2013 has the widest range of premium interior products on display in Saudi Arabia under one roof, showcasing everything from furniture, furnishings, accessories, flooring and lighting, to textiles, outdoor items and design services. It truly is the Kingdom's only premium interior design exhibition in 2013.
What will be the highlight of the event?
What is most exciting about this year's Decofair is the addition of the specialist areas and forums where attendees can discover the latest trends from the international design community.
An inspirational pavilion showcasing design excellence from Asdi Sedia (Italian Chair District) is a prominent feature of the show, and one that is definitely worth visiting. The pavilion will represent a consortium of leading Italian brands including Klass, L'Abbate, Palma, Piaval and Riccardo Rivoli.
We are also very excited by the show's partnership this year with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) who will play a major role in our design forum, Decofair Discussions.
Have you added any new features this year?
This year we have launched two new segments to the show – Decofair Office and Commercial, and Decofair Kitchen and Bathroom. The two new elements will run within the main Decofair exhibition, providing an important sourcing channel for designers, buyers, specifiers, agents and project managers involved in the Kingdom's key projects.
Barton: The event will feature two
We are really pleased by the response we have received to both new segments, with some of the world's top interior brands in hospital, education, office and hospitality services, many of whom are showcasing their products in the region for the first time, confirming their participation, including Vitra, K?nig + Neurath, Casa Milano and Fendi Casa.
Are there any seminars and conferences taking place as part of the event?
Yes in partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), Decofair will hold Decofair Discussions, a series of seminars and master-classes from leading international designers and industry professionals. The forum offers attendees—from industry veterans to first-timers—the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of some of the creative intelligence and business rationale demonstrated by leading international design professionals.
Please give us an overview of the market?
The Saudi real estate market is primarily driven by internal demand, generated by the rapidly growing local population and robust economy. The government continues to invest heavily in a rapid expansion programme, building new health, education and hospitality infrastructure and developing major new economic zones. Upcoming mega-projects such as King Abdullah Economic City, Kingdom City and Jazan Economic City are well underway and are already positively impacting the local interiors market. Currently, Saudi Arabia imports $2.2 billion worth of furniture and this is forecast to grow steadily as more projects near the fit-out stage. With the Saudi government committing $624 billion to construction projects until 2020 as part of its National Investment Programme, the Kingdom's spending on furniture items is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 13.7 per cent over the next five years.
How is the market changing and what are the trends shaping the industry today?
In addition to the mega projects taking place in the hospitality, healthcare and education sectors, the Kingdom is also demonstrating an understanding and appreciation of design through its investment in prestigious architectural projects. Modern iconic skyscrapers designed by the world's leading architectural firms such as Al Faisaliah Centre by UK-based Norman Foster and Scott Berry's Kingdom Centre are regarded as the two of the country's greatest architectural trophies. The momentum for modern, international design is continuing with the commencement of work on the world's tallest building, the one-km-high Kingdom Tower in Jeddah.
Prestigious as these projects may be, Saudi Arabia is also stepping up its commitment to sustainable design. Earlier this year the secretary-general of the Saudi Green Building Forum announced that investments in environmentally-friendly building projects in Saudi Arabia is set is to cross $26billion across 76 projects. Buildings such as the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Thuwal is testament to the country's commitment to following the highest standards in sustainability. As Saudi Arabia's first Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified project and the world's largest Leed Platinum project, the University is a significant milestone in the country's sustainability agenda.
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