NDEX and Workspace at INDEX will take place this year from 22-25 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre. Local talent and innovation will be front and centre at the event this year, and close to 40,000 architecture, design, interiors, and retail professionals are expected to attend.
Now in its 27th year, the INDEX Design Series was responsible for generating more than US $5.5bn in new business in 2016, making the show the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s top interiors trading opportunity, according to its organiser, dmg events.
designMENA met with Samantha Kane-Macdonald, event director, to find out what visitors can expect from the upcoming exhibitions.
INDEX Design Series
The 2017 edition of INDEX aims to cement Dubai’s reputation within the international design community as a world-class design hub, according to the event’s director, Samantha Kane-Macdonald of dmg events. A Luxury Hall, featuring a Harrods Interiors’ VIP Lounge, is new for this year and, for the first time the show also features a theme: Design for the Senses.
This theme will be brought to life through interactive features for visitors, Kane-Macdonald explains: “INDEX will be bristling with immersive experiences – [visitors] will be able to see, hear, feel, smell, and even taste [their] way around the show. We are immersing INDEX in a lush, forest-themed environment. We are creating a leafy paradise that will encourage designers to think about new materials and work in different ways.”
As the biggest design event in the Middle East, it is vital for INDEX 2017 to be forward-thinking, and innovative, says Kane-Macdonald, adding that the show has gained its first-ever endorsement from the Dubai Design & Fashion Council.
“The thriving design community we have here is what has made Dubai so internationally recognised. If we can reflect that with a show that engages the UAE’s creatives in a stimulating design environment, then what better tribute?”
What sets INDEX apart from similar exhibitions in its field, she continues, is its “scale and depth” – more than one in every five visitors to INDEX last year spent upwards of US $1mn.
“The show has been running since 1991, so maintaining that high level of visitor is what we must focus on. To do that, we hand-pick and personally invite the most influential buyers and procurement specialists from across the Middle East – a list that in itself is always changing. That ensures our exhibitors are meeting the right people at the right time.”
International exhibitors will be out in force at INDEX this year, with the European design hubs of Italy, France, and Germany all well-represented, alongside a record-breaking contingent of UAE-based designers. In total, more than 800 exhibitors will be represented.
“INDEX prides itself on gathering a pool of product designers that cater to every corner of the interiors market. Our doors are open to all – from the young start-up setting up their first office, to the multi-national overhauling five-star suites or fitting out their latest high-spec properties,” Kane-Macdonald adds.
The Workspace at INDEX Design Talks, sponsored by OFIS, will be chaired and panelled by some of the UAE’s most renowned names in design, architecture, and business, as well as international experts, and all the discussion topics have been decided upon after considerable consultation with the local design community, Kane-Macdonald explains.
“We find out what insight [the visitors] find valuable and then gather a panel that can discuss and help with these issues. Being able to provide such a strong knowledge-sharing and networking platform while bringing together designers, manufacturers, and buyers from around the world is what makes INDEX and Workspace unique.”