Angela Schaschen,organiser,Domotex Middle East, talks about this year’s colour trends and eco-friendly flooring

UAE: ‘In 2005, having researched the market, I felt there was a big gap when it came to a dedicated show for the flooring industry, where professionals from the wider Middle East and beyond could come together, hence the launch of Domotex Middle East in 2006.

Previously, buyers would use local and family networks to buy floor coverings, but the market developed to a point where people wanted to compare prices, quality and designs and to find out more about new developments.

The show offers guidance and inspiration to buyers on which colours, patterns, designs and materials will become the next big trend. Over the last few years, I have noted a growing awareness in the region of the environmental impact of the materials used for floor coverings; from the energy it takes to make a product, to the benefits green products can provide, to biodegradability when disposing of the materials.

Cork and bamboo has become an increasingly popular eco option. Cork is a renewable resource made by stripping the bark from cork oak trees and as a flooring product it is resilient, noise reducing and is naturally fire and mould resistant. Bamboo flooring is hardwearing and easy to maintain and since it re-grows at such a rapid pace, it is often considered one of the most sustainable flooring options.

Even carpets are now being made from recycled materials. This year’s Platinum Sponsor, Al Abdullatif from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, produces green residential carpets made from 50% recycled plastic drinking bottles. The plastic is recycled and transformed into fibre that is then used in manufacturing the carpets.

This product has the exact same look and feel as a carpet made from entirely new materials – the colours, smoothness of the carpet and designs are just the same. Using recycled plastic helps to decrease Al Abdullatif’s carbon footprint and makes use of some of the hundreds of plastic bottles which are thrown away every day.

I have also noticed a shift in the colour palette available for floor coverings. Historically, there was a focus on natural shades, hues of beige, greys and neutrals, and while these classic colours remain a staple there is a trend now towards bright and bold colours, particularly primary colours.

The UAE is incredibly diverse in its flooring needs with requirements ranging from practical, low cost and simple designs to high-end luxury products that might be used in palaces, hotels and leisure projects. The Middle East market is very open and curious when it comes to new innovations and designs.

The construction industry is due to deliver projects worth US$500 billion by 2015, providing a huge opportunity for the floor covering sector. The feedback I get every year from exhibitors is that they appreciate the quality of visitors at the show.

Unlike general construction tradeshows, where people look for a wide range of products, Domotex is a forum for exhibitors and buyers in the carpet and flooring trade. At last year’s show, 81% of visitors confirmed they had a buying agenda. Coupled with the great quality of exhibitors, this is what brings people back year after year.’

The sixth edition of Domotex Middle East is held from September 12-14 at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

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