Fit-Out Suppliers You Should Know

Fit-Out Suppliers You Should Know

AIC Design, Al Tayer Stocks, AMBB Interiors, Barr+Wray, Depa, GEMACO, Highgate Interiors, ISG, KPS, Summertown Interiors, The Interiors Group

The recession hit the Dubai interiors industry quite badly, but a thriving sector of refurbishment and fit-out companies has emerged from the ashes. The cost of interiors accounts for up to 30% for GCC projects, and with the UAE remaining the largest market in the sector, Dubai is set to grow in the next year.

A report by Ventures Middle East reveals UAE’s increase in spending compliments the expected total interior design and fit-out spending of USD $8.6 billion for the GCC, reflecting a 69% increase from 2010’s recorded spending. The UAE leads GCC countries with a market share of 54% and is followed by Saudi Arabia with 28%.

The increased spending demonstrates the growing demand for interior design products and services across major infrastructure and construction projects in the region. The increase in spending will include key products like walling, doors, cladding, canopy and skylights, signage, lighting and furniture across major projects underway or already in completion stages in the UAE. Aside from the surge in spending, the region will see an increase in interior design services, with over USD $14.6 billion in new contracts.

In addition, between 2010 and 2012, 19 million m2 of office space will have become available for interiors and fit-outs in the UAE, according to figures by Ventures Middle East.

Worldwide, the retail industry is emerging from a difficult time, according to Amyas Wade, associate director, Kinnersley Kent Design. Wade, who runs the firm’s Dubai studio, said it has witnessed an increase in refurbishments whilst new commissions are decreasing.

“As a result, developers, mall owners and retailers are increasingly looking to refurbish and revamp their existing sites or parts thereof, instead of investing in new constructions.”

A positive sign can be seen with Depa interior contracting announcing its trading results for the third quarter, which ended September 30, 2011.Mohannad Sweid, CEO, said Depa has seen a significant pick-up in business with projects which had been delayed, especially in the MENA region, now being signed into a backlog.

The company signed AED 1.6 billion of new contracts boosting its backlog by 70% to a record high of AED 3.9 billion from AED 2.3 billion, as of June 30, 2011.

Whilst this stream of business vindicates Depa’s diversification strategy in recent years, it will take time to flow through to revenue and profits. This means that its 2011 financials will remain close to forecast, which was revised at the half year stage, with increased income coming through in 2012’s numbers.

The AED 929 million contract – Depa’s largest contract ever signed – is for the complete fit-out of 27 lounges at Doha’s new international airport.

Lindner Depa, the company’s joint-venture, which specialises in infrastructure projects, will undertake the one year contract with immediate effect.

“We are encouraged by the amount and diversity of new business signed during the quarter, a direct reward for pursuing our core strategy of diversification combined with more stringent project selection,” said Sweid.

“Despite European economic concerns and political uncertainty across many Arab countries, government spending, especially in the Gulf, continues to drive our backlog to its highest level ever and favourably positions the company for the coming months giving us strong visibility on future revenue.”

The company has also entered into the Qatar hospitality market through a major contract for both the interior fit-out and supply of furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) of all 324 guest rooms and public areas of the Ramada Plaza, in Doha.

The contract is worth AED 52 million and is set to be completed by October 2012. With the fit-out market playing such an important part in the region and emerging as a thriving sector of the industry, Commercial Interior Design Middle East speaks to the fit-out companies you should know.

Highgate Interiors
By Shahin Nassiri – CEO

Tell us about your company?
Highgate Interiors offers a turnkey interiors service for end users.

We always aim to work closely with consultant ID designers and client side project managers. With permanent offices in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, we specialise in office fitouts, hospitality and retail projects. Highgate Interiors has created a market niche in refurbishment projects that are rich in complex bespoke design elements.

In 2011, Highgate Interiors has increased its turnover by 30% and has recruited a third more staff across the board in order to continue to provide high quality services to its many clients

What projects have you worked on?
Having successfully delivered 1st and 2nd phases of DCCI, we are now completing 3rd phase of Dubai Chamber refurbishment. A 93,000 sqft space, this is the first ever retrofit LEED certified building in the Middle East. This prestigious project received ‘Retrofit Project of the Year’ award at The Big Project and BGreen Awards 2011.

We are working on the Etisalat group chairman’s new offices in Dubai. Highgate is also fitting out AGTHIA Group HQ in Reem Island, Abu Dhabi. We are on our third turnkey leasing offices for wasl.

Other projects include: a luxury office and a private majlis for the Ruler’s Office in Sharjah; JP Morgan offices in DIFC; ASAS Capital in DIFC; luxury penthouses in Palm Jumeirah; a high end gym facility in DIFC; Draeger new offices in DHCC; Leo Pharma new HQ in SZR; two luxury villa refurbishments in Jumeirah and Palm Jumeirah. A new CBI bank branch in Abu Dhabi; and two Al Hilal bank projects in Dubai and Sharjah.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
Due to a recent recruitment drive, we have reorganised our structure and employed external consultants to assist us with environmental, health and safety systems. Special focus has been given to business development/coaching and financial guidance procedures.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
The training and development of our enhanced pool of staff and tradesmen who are in tune with our demand for high performance, has been given greater emphasis in 2011 and into the next year.

Our other goal is to improve the standards and accuracy of information throughout the supply chain starting with the client through to the smallest of suppliers. We believe that information flow improvements will assist specialist companies working within the interiors industry in delivering a better product.

How do we contact you?
Highgate Interiors
+971 4 326 1114/+971 2 650 0467

The Interiors Group
By Jonathan Milner, managing director

Tell us about your company?
As specialists in office refurbishments and fit outs we have a very simple philosophy which is to exceed our customers’ expectations every time. In fact we care about everything that we do – if it matters to you, it matters to us. Our global business has been established for over 20 years.

During that time, our turnover has grown to in excess of AED 220m per annum. This has been achieved through listening to our clients, partnering with the best, and working as a team with a shared vision: to deliver an innovative quality product on time and within budget.

We take great pride in how our business has developed. We have offices in London, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman, strong independent finances, an excellent A1 credit rating and a regular repeat client base. With our uncompromising attention to detail and obsession with getting it right, we have successfully delivered projects ranging from AED 300,000 to AED 50m.

What projects have you worked on?
We have recently delivered four projects in Sowwah Square in Abu Dhabi and about to start another four.

These clients include top 10 financial and legal institutions. We have also delivered Aldar’s Trust Towers show suite, where the client came direct to us after having been let down by other contractors on other projects.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
Our growth has been exceptional and we have some excellent clients and projects both completed and in the pipeline. It is a wonderful achievement to have clients wanting to negotiate directly with us and clients introducing us to others.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
For us it is getting quality people. It is very difficult to find people who have the same ethos as TIG and understand the levels we require in quality, integrity and work ethics. We would rather say no to a project than not be able to resource it correctly.

How do we contact you?
Level 7, Abu Dhabi University Tower,
Al Muroor Road, Abu Dhabi, UAE
T: +9712 417 2300/F: +9712 650 6856

By Chris Watson, managing director

Tell us about your company?
KPS is a leading interior solution provider, established in 1992 with a turnover today of over $125 million USD across the GCC. Our continued success is based on our ability to clearly understand and define our customers’ business needs and to work together to deliver quality solutions that exceed their expectations.

What projects have you worked on?
To date, we have completed over 3,000 projects throughout the region, and recently completed projects include prestigious organisations such as; General Electric, Shell, Total, Pfizer, Yahoo, ABB, Wilhelmsen, Royal Bank of Scotland, Dubai Airports, Rolls Royce, Vodafone, Boeing and a number of high profile law firms, 94% of which are repeat KPS clients.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
Our turnover has increased by over 30% in 2011 compared to the previous year, highlighting our continued growth in an increasingly challenging and competitive market.

As such, we are pleased to announce that we are relocating our UAE head office to Business Bay in February 2012, to a space double the size of our current location in Bur Dubai. Additionally, due to continued demand and growth, we increased the size of our FF&E showrooms across the region in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
The key challenge facing our industry is to maintain steady growth and profitability throughout these uncertain and challenging economic times.

How do we contact you?
Dubai: +9714 359 5501 |
Abu Dhabi: 800 KPS |
Qatar: +974 499 0222 |
Riyadh: +966 1464 0949 |
Jeddah: +966 2650 0905 |
Al Khobar: +966 3896 8796 |
Australia: +612 9954 6300 |

By Alan McCready,MD Middle East, ISG

Tell us about your company?
ISG is an award-winning international provider of interior fit out and refurbishment services.
ISG Middle East is the regional company of ISG PLC the award winning $US 2 billion business based in London since 1989. The business has grown through extending the services we offer, the sectors we trade in and the geographical territories we operate in. ISG employs 2,500 professional staff globally across nine different time zones.

Our processes are developed to consistently deliver design, costing and programme requirements, driving efficiencies and improving industry standards. Using proven systems of supply chain management, we respond quickly and intuitively to new opportunities.

Our emphasis on local team building ensures that our capability has evolved to suit the needs of local customers, responding to changes in brief while maintaining best value, minimum risk and time certainty. We excel in taking early ownership of each project, specialising in turnkey solutions and innovative management contracting.

Within the Middle East market ISG does not offer a design service in-house, however we are involved with successful design and build projects collaborating closely with the best design firms. Testimony to ISG client commitment is that 70% of our activity is repeat business.

What projects have you worked on?
In the UAE we have worked on projects such as the Sheikh Zayed Stadium for Mubadala, which was finished within an extremely short construction period for the opening FIFA Club Championships.

Following this project we secured a number of prestigious corporate office fit outs for clients such as: Yahsat, Pfizer, Siemens, Philips, Exxon, Bristol Myers Squibb, RBS, Latham & Watkins and this remains our core business in the Middle East.

Currently, in the new financial district on Sowwah Island, Abu Dhabi we are working on six commercial office projects. We are also actively working directly for the developer on Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi.

In Qatar, we are working on two projects with existing ISG clients. ISG capability in the region has extended to hospitality, retail, high end residential and leisure.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
In October, ISG won the Commercial Interior Design Award 2011 – Middle East Interior Contractor of the year voted for by our peers. This coveted award has been something which demonstrates our progress within the market and is something which we are extremely proud to have achieved.

We facilitated in November the ISG Student Challenge at the Index Exhibition which has been an event ISG has sponsored and participated in for the past four years. This has gone from strength to strength and features 15 of the region’s leading universities.

It has become a main attraction for the Index Exhibition and enables ISG to give something back to the community. ISO 9001 Certification has been granted again this year, which is an integral part of our processes and is a key factor in our success within the region. We also opened a Qatar office in November 2011.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
Meeting multinational client expectations to consistently deliver space to their global standards, on time and within tight budgets.

How do we contact you?
Alan McCready, Managing Director
Roger Clement, business development manager
Tel: +971 4 350 6900

By Nadim Akhrass, CEO Dubai

Tell us about your company?
We are a global leading provider of interior contracting services. We operate principally in the luxury fit-out sector with a focus on the hospitality, commercial and residential property developments as well as airport, metro stations, health care, retail, yacht, theming and specialist fit-out. In addition, we are a provider of manufactured products and procurement services with focus on customised furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E), from our in-house operations as well as provide to third parties.

What projects have you worked on?
We have successfully executed large and complex projects in over 20 countries including the Burj al Arab Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Dubai; Emirates Palace and Marina Hotel, Yas Island, Abu Dhabi and the Museum of Islamic Art, Doha.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
We are always looking to move the company forward and 2011 was no exception. We pursued our core strategy of diversification combined with more stringent project selection and have been rewarded with our biggest ever contract – worth AED 929 million for the complete fit-out of 27 lounges at Doha’s international airport. Other contracts include: King Abdullah Petroleum & Research Centre (Riyadh), Baku Flame Tower (Azerbaijian) and Mumbai International Airport (India).

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
2011 has been an exceptional year of challenges. We have had European economic concerns and political uncertainty across many Arab countries as well as project delays and seasonality of construction activities.

However, we have used these to our advantage. Our contract wins have been in line with our strategy of increasing the proportion of revenue from major government-funded infrastructure projects. These projects continue to drive our backlog to its highest ever and favourably position the Company for the coming months giving us strong visibility on future revenue.

How do we contact you?
Depa Dubai
Tel: +971 4 228 5850

AIC Design
By Francesco Aveta, managing director

Tell us about your company?
Founded in 2007, AIC Gruppo is a fully fledged interior design company capable of serving all of its clients discerning needs, by providing an unparalleled service to corporates, hotels, retail and developers. Our services are built around three core principles: integrity, workmanship and excellence.

It is led by a multi-disciplined team comprising of strategic interior experts, creative and innovative Italian craftsmen. We plan, design, build and create with superior quality to the highest standards of manufacturing technology, simply what we call “The AIC Standard”.

It has two parts – Design & Build and Manufacturing Interiors. Within the Design & Build section, AIC has a branding division that also deals with brand identity of its clients. The firm has its base in Dubai, with projects in KSA, Bahrain, Kurdistan (part of Iraq) and Italy.

AIC Design is trying to position itself in the market as being able to provide work of the highest quality.

What projects have you worked on?
Some projects include: Neo`s Bar at Address Hotel, Downtown Dubai; Four Point by Sheraton, Sheikh Zayed Road; Sanctuary SPA at Pullman Hotel, Mall of Emirates; Dubai Banking Group at DIFC; Papparoti, Dubai Mall; Parfums de Marly & Creed, Paris Gallery, Dubai Mall; Symphony in Fashion Avenue, Dubai Mall; Cristal Hotel, Abu Dhabi; several projects for EMAAR.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
One important development in the company was the creation of our branding division because it allowed the firm to give a full, all-round service to commercial clients. It’s important to create a concept that takes into consideration the brand of the client, which we can now provide.

We ensure the branding team gives the right information to the designer and vice versa that leads to the best possible result for the client. We are also moving into the exhibition stand design market, since last year, although this is not our main focus.

AIC only works on stands where the design is important; we do not work on modular exhibition stands.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
A challenge for firms is to maintain a high level of standard, which is hard in current market conditions.
Prices have to be competitive, yet firms cannot spoil the name of the company by compromising on quality. Firms need to find a balance between the cost and the margin needed to sell the services and products.

How do we contact you?
AIC Design
Dubai Investment Park, PO Box 75545,
Dubai, UAE
T: +971 4 885 6892
F: +971 4 885 6891

AMBB Interiors
By Peter Bruce, Managing Partner

Tell us about your company?
AMBB Interiors is part of the AMBB Group of companies founded in 1992 and was initially set up over a decade ago. Since then the division has flourished and is responsible for many iconic projects in the region. We are considered as a market leader and currently operate in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.

We specialise in all types of interior fit-out including: hotels, restaurants, corporate offices, banks, retail outlets and selected residential projects. Since inception we have focused our efforts on delivering the highest level of service and quality workmanship through our team of dedicated project managers and site operatives. We aim to maintain a manageable level of projects, the focus being on quality rather than quantity.

We are in the enviable position of having our own Joinery, Marble & Stone, Gypsum, Electro-Mechanical, Glass & Metalworks, Painting and Upholstery divisions, all underpinned by our ability to produce our own drawings through our AutoCAD department. This enables us to maintain complete control over programme execution and quality standards alike.

In addition, our operations are overseen and audited to the highest standards of health and safety which is evident at all our sites. Our success is due to the people we employ who are passionate about implementing our projects within the programme and with an uncompromising attitude towards quality.

Our work has been endorsed by the industry, having been awarded the ‘Interior Contractor of the Year 2009 and 2010 Award’ at the Commercial Interior Design Awards as well as certification of LEED Platinum on certain projects. Our work is further endorsed by the repeat business we continuously receive.

What projects have you worked on?
Zuma, DIFC; La Petite Maison, DIFC; Barclays Wealth, DIFC; Seafood Market, Terminal 3 Dubai Airport; Halliburton, Emirates Towers; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Abu Dhabi; Harvard Medical School, Dubai Healthcare City; Credit Suisse, DIFC; Grand Hyatt, Oud Metha; Gaucho, DIFC; Margaux, Souk Al Bahar; Spice Island, Renaissance Hotel; Dubai Duty Free, Terminal 1, Dubai Airport; Salam Stores, Wafi Mall; Mahiki, Jumeirah Beach Hotel to name a few.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
We have opened an upholstery division, upgraded our marble & stone facilities and are looking to expand our joinery operation. In addition, we have set up our new offices in Doha and are in the process of setting up a joinery operation there as well. We have subscribed to Environmental Health Programmes and set up recycling contracts.

We are currently implementing NEBOSH accredited H+E programmes throughout all divisions.

How do we contact you?
T: +971 4 339 2911/F: +971 4 339 2916

By Mithun Nambiar, head of strategy planning & business development

Tell us about your company?
Launched in 1959 as a distributor of pump and filter products, Barr + Wray has since established itself as one of the world’s leading suppliers of spas, pools and water treatment services and works with some of the major names in the global hotel sector. Barr + Wray has designed and installed spas in more than 25 countries worldwide.

What projects have you worked on?
B+W provides spas for the Jumeirah Group, Shangri-La, Mandarin Oriental, Eastern Mangroves, Rocco Forte, Park Hyatt, Hyatt Capital Gate, The Leela hotels in India, The Claridges New Delhi, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Sheraton, the Fairmont, the MGM hotel, as well as for private villas and palaces.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
Since launching our first overseas office in Dubai four years ago, B+W has steadily increased its presence within the Middle East and Asia and has been appointed to provide a range of services at the Burj Khalifa, Capital Gate and the Burj Al Arab. Barr + Wray is continuing to strengthen its presence overseas with the expansion of the company’s operations in the Far East by establishing a permanent base in Hong Kong.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
The greatest challenge in the spa industry is often communication between the operators, consultants and the clients. Interior spa designers require further discipline and assistance in creating a functional spa facility by specialist engineering consultants and the client needs to feel comfortable with the business plan and ROI to make the spa a success.

How do we contact you?
Barr + Wray FZE
T: +971 4 320 6440
PO Box 341246, Dubai Silicon Oasis
Le Solarium Building, Offices 401-403

Al Tayer Stocks
By Jorge Areosa, GM, Al Tayer Stocks.

Tell us about your company?
Al Tayer Stocks is a building and interior fit-out company that has successfully operated in the Middle East since 1998. We have established a reputation with the various clients we have had the opportunity to work with in the region, to be a reliable and solution driven partner who can deliver on time to a high standard of quality, regardless of the challenges of the project undertaken. We partner with a select group of subcontractors, with whom we have a successful relationship.

What projects have you worked on?
We have worked for a diverse selection of prestigious clients and successfully delivered on various fit-out projects including G+1 building and structural categories. Recent projects include: 77 cinema halls across the UAE and children’s entertainment venues including Magic Planet outlets in UAE & Bahrain.

Commercial office fit-outs for AAA grade tenants in UAE, various F&B outlets, full fitout to hypermarket stores, Bloomingdales department and Home Store and Gary Player Golf Academy, Abu Dhabi.

Recent news?
We have had a recent change of leadership and management in the business. We are very proud of our extensive track record in the UAE and look forward to a similar and continued success in Qatar, having recently opened an office in Doha. Our HQ is in Dubai with regional offices in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

Key challenges in the industry?
The ongoing exposure to the global recession and the impact thereof on the payment cycle in our industry is a challenge and maintaining growth in a market where so many new international companies have entered the ME market. However, we believe our solution driven value system creates a different and appreciated experience for clients.

How do we contact you?
Jorge Areosa, General Manager
Tel: +971 4 282 5855/F: +971 4 826 594

By Chris Gilbert, Managing Director

Tell us about your company?
Gemaco is a family owned and run business with a long history in the UAE. Opening our first office in Abu Dhabi in 1984, the business grew and was quickly followed by a second showroom in Dubai. Gemaco was one of the first companies in the UAE to offer turnkey project services and continues to provide quality interior fit-out services in the commercial, retail and leisure sectors.

What projects have you worked on?
In Abu Dhabi the prestigious offices of Abu Dhabi Government Services were particularly important to us.

The client understood the importance of using quality product and innovative design to achieve a fantastic outcome. The new offices for Tecom, in Studio City Dubai, is the largest project in the history of Gemaco and one of which we are particularly proud as the focus on a sustainable outcome was paramount to us and the client.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
The family business continues into the next generation with the appointment of Nadia Dolmark, daughter of the founder, as the vice chairperson of Gemaco.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
Our commitment to sustainable project outcomes is as challenging as meeting deadlines and working within a climate of budget restrictions however it is no less important to us. Meeting environmental compliance is a dominant and driving factor in our projects.

How do we contact you?
We have two showrooms; our Dubai showroom is located on Sheikh Zayed Road next to the Oasis Centre,
Tel: +971 4 339 7613
And the other office is in Abu Dhabi in Airport Road,
Tel: +971 2 633 9100
email: or

By Marcos Bish, MD, Summertown

Tell us about your company?
Summertown offers superior quality interior solutions as a fit out contractor, or on a complete turnkey basis, and as the first fit out contractor in the UAE to occupy LEED Gold certified interiors, has first hand experience at executing green projects that deliver environmental
benefits and operational cost savings.

What projects have you worked on?
LEED Silver certified Customer Training Centre for 3M, retail fit out project for Dilmah’s boutique ‘T Series’ tea shop and FrieslandCampina.

Have there been any recent developments at your company?
Summertown has continued over recent months to run its ‘Green in Action’ workshops, which have proven to be very successful for all parties involved, spearheading insightful discussions for the A&D Community, project managers and for our clients who want to learn more about going green.

Our green committee ‘Eco Leaders 2020’ has been very active in driving our goals and objectives to become carbon neutral by 2020. For example, we now have in place a full ‘green’ waste management plan which we implement across as many sites as possible, making sure we reuse or recycle as much as possible during projects.

What are the key challenges facing your industry?
Government legislation is changing all the time in construction which in turn impacts the interiors sector. There are now two fully fledged green certification programmes covering interiors for the region – LEED and Breeam Gulf. We feel it is only a matter of time before green interiors becomes mandatory for new buildings, and retrofitting will be seriously considered especially for global clients with strong CSR values. We are in a position to face such changes whereas many organisations are not up to speed.

How do we contact you?
Tel: +971 4 805 3300

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