Head count

Head count

Index, INDEX 2011

We ask five industry professionals what they hope to see at this year’s exhibition

Index 2010 saw a return to quality and a diversity that seemed to have abandoned this fair in previous years. Out were the cheap Chinese products and in came items of a much higher standard.

As with everything, this return to quality did not happen by itself; dmg :: events saw the need to improve the fair and set up an Index steering committee. A series of designers from Dubai’s design community, (including me), were invited to brainstorm at a series of events. We discussed what needed to happen to bring this exhibition to the level of other international fairs.

It included what local designers needed to see, what lectures or personalities we would benefit from and what events would be most popular.

Many of the ideas and concepts were not implemented last year, as time was against us, although, I am sure this year’s show and the ones to come will bring unexpected surprises.

As a designer based in Dubai I find Index incredibly useful. We all lead such hectic lives with deadlines that become shorter and shorter that we rarely get a chance to meet other designers or suppliers unless it is project specific.

Having the chance to spend a day studying what our suppliers have launched and discover new ones makes us overall more competent. Chatting with colleagues, finding out how their projects are fairing and helping each other gives you a sense of community.

I personally feel part of our job is to keep abreast through local and international publications as well as visiting fairs. This knowledge allows us to inform our clients of the best possible options. Many of my client’s keep me on my toes and they are incredibly up-to-date with the latest trends. I look forward to Index and seeing quirky designs from the region.

Isabel Pintado, associate partner, Godwin Austen Johnson.

Booming, yesterday? Failing, today? Hectic, tomorrow? Dead, again?

Over the past decade any person working in Dubai witnessed the use of these words plentiful times, to describe the dramatic fluctuation of the market – specifically when talking about construction/design.

In the fancy old days, we, architects and designers; were always in the middle of the scene: overworking every single day, to create fantastic buildings, exciting spaces and exteriors and interiors with the wow factor.

In those days, Index was an event I looked forward to and waited for. It was a real hub for interior design, housing not just diverse exhibitors from across the globe, but attracting a diverse international audience, with different professions, experiences, and needs.

Everyone benefited from the show and some of us spent three days slowly going through each bit of it, to learn about the latest market trends, products and technology.

This is why we attended and will still attend: to try and find all these aspects we were used to, with the same intensity, lively atmosphere, and the passion of everyone attending.

Unfortunately, last year’s event withheld the main players in the market, very few exhibitors brought in something new, not many stood out, and only a few tried to grasp visitors’ attention.

I was not very disappointed seeing as I have attended the tradeshow the year before and thought there was definitely an improvement, but neither was I impressed with the overall outcome.

However, I look forward to Index 2011 as I hope to see an improvement, not just with the number of halls the exhibition is occupying, but with the quality of the show and what it offers to an aspiring market striving for character, originality and quality.

Rama Turkmani Mouton, interior designer, Design Worldwide Partnership.

As a supporter of independent designers and artisans I hope to meet young emerging designers from the Gulf region and the Middle East at Index. The industry is thirsty for a new Middle Eastern urban approach.

With all the exposure we receive when touring a city like Dubai, young upcoming talents should be our focal point in addition to world known brands and designers. Mentoring sessions and discussing creative start-ups are very much needed. Plenty of graduates with a design degree tend to approach a business idea with the lack of confidence and expertise. A small push is welcome in my opinion.

Design Talks was my favourite last year; I enjoyed Victoria Redshaw’s presentation of design trends and Alison Laws’ case study of setting up a retail outlet. I hope to see more of that, if not workshops and design boot-camps.

The section of fresh graduates was certainly interesting last year. I am hoping to see a more proactive approach like offering these young designers a retail space for Pop-Up stores; this will help them to think like professionals and motivate them to start their own business.

Design bloggers and small sized e-retailers is a modern addition to the industry. Highlighting important new fields of our daily life is welcomed as it will bring a modern twist to this year’s exhibition; it’s the right time to develop the classic concept of an exhibition and surprise the visitors with such new additions.

Makers and handmade furniture designers, compared with sweat shop furniture, are absent. Valuable crafts and those talents creating them are vanishing from the busy city. Contemporary embroidered pillows, hand knitted ottomans with quirky colours would be a great addition to this year’s exhibition.

Sarah Saleh, managing director, Boxed.

This year UBIFRANCE, the French agency for international business development, will be promoting French products and French expertise and looks forward to identifying possible international partners in the region.

The domestic market is full of opportunities; A diverse population, high purchasing power, modern infrastructure, active business tourism and a powerful trade hub, Index is the right platform for all of these.

With interior projects worth US$ 722 million representing a 49% share being completed in the first five months of 2011, UAE was the largest market in design projects followed by Saudi Arabia with 31%.

With this in mind, the Middle East is one of the most important markets in the world for companies involved in the interiors sector. Index has a prominent role as a tradeshow in the field of architecture and design. Exhibitors can benefit from an excellent opportunity to gather in Dubai to reflect on the past and more draw plans for the future.

The French exhibitors organise professional design-oriented programmes during the show, allowing participants not only to refresh their information about the market but to meet VIP key buyers as well as the Design Talks Seminars featuring the most influential and distinguished industry people who speak in seminar sessions and panel discussions to give the show’s visitor audience an insight into current hot topics of the industry.

Some of the French products on offer have received the EPV label, a recognition mark awarded by the Ministry of the Economy to distinguish French firms with excellent hand crafted and industrial expertise.

The Index French Pavilion features 26 companies in Hall 3.

François Sporrer, French trade commissionner and director, UBIFRANCE UAE.

As a designer, it is always fascinating to gain exposure into the thought processes of other designers. Creative brains feed on imaginative thinking and reinterpret this into their own work. For instance, you can see the influences of fashion and interiors continually overlap and reshape each other. In our field, it is not just encouraged but essential to understand this and the inspirations of other designers.

On our radar this year is seeing the work of young designers, particularly in areas such as Scandinavia, Japan, North American and Lebanon. Young designers are always full of energy and enthusiasm. They are never afraid to break boundaries and they have the courage to express their individual and forward-thinking approaches.

People coming from different countries share with us the colours, shapes and design language that define their particular region. It is the combination of these elements that become inspirational for designers on both sides. Furthermore, Dubai is the ultimate expression of the union of contemporary and Islamic design. A workshop exploring how these designers view Dubai and their expression of this mix would be interesting.

As a contrast to young designers, it would be great to see renowned designers such as Richard Neutra, Daniel Libeskind, and Lebbeus Woods who influenced the industry.

Retrospective seminars that honour the works of brilliant masterminds in architecture and interior design such as Mies van der Rohe, Adolf Loos and Craig Ellwood would also be an exceptional feature of future Index events.

Current stars such as Philippe Starck and Fabio Novembre would also highlight and attract regional designers to attend the event. Designers are always hungry for innovation and forward-thinking.

Julijana Mitic, project leader, Pringle Brandon.

Most Popular