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Surface treatments have become one of the most versatile applications in interior spaces

Surface treatments have become one of the most versatile applications in interior spaces

Business, Design research, Flooring, Interior design, Materials, MENA Region, Surfaces

Creativity and innovation come together to make surface treatments one of the most versatile applications in interior spaces.

According to a BMI Research report, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) construction market is expected to be worth US$336bn by 2020, up from US$235bn in 2016, a net growth of 43%. The real estate projects spanning hospitality, retail and residential are driving the demand in architecture and interior products.

One of the most integral components is surfaces, which not only provide an unlimited milieu for designers’ creative expression, but also make the space more functional and sustainable. Interior architecture is often defined by its materials and surfaces, and with a plethora of innovative products in the industry, designers, clients and the end-users have an infinite selection to choose from.

An earlier report by analysts BNC reveals that widespread new build and renovation projects throughout the region will lead to growth of more than 5% per year across the flooring market. It also states that the regional flooring market is set for a decade of strong growth – culminating in an annual value of US$10bn by 2026. The research further states that the UAE is leading the way in the GCC flooring boom, with almost 9,000 projects already underway. That has been attributed to rising tourist numbers and the push towards Dubai Expo 2020.


Surface materials by Century Ceramics

New materials and technologies offer a glimpse into where innovation is taking us, both in terms of sustainability and simply as cool ideas.

Each one represents a step forward in an existing idea, but gives us an idea of where materials in interiors could go next.

From simple reductions in environmental impact or material mass, to electronic innovations that will change how information can be delivered, these new developments offer a view of a future and some great ideas of what is possible for our built spaces.

The top concerns of most commercial and hospitality places are the ability to withstand high traffic flow and water splashes. With superior wear resistance and an advanced patented multi-layer build up, they are capable of standing up to high traffic, it is no wonder laminated flooring is becoming popular.


Metallic concrete finish by Supergres tiles from Italy.

With surfaces, the tactile feel is perhaps even more important than how it looks. The right texture enhances the character of a space and lends more depth. A building’s interior surfaces have a bigger impact on users than the exterior facades.

The connection is immediate due to the tactile nature of these surfaces – the visual and haptic, acoustic and the olfactory qualities of materials can immediately provide a perceptive feel to the user.

Characteristics such as textures, whether matt or glossy; sound reflective or absorbant; transparent or shimmering; untreated or coated, can play a decisive role in the overall appeal of any project.


Dekton by Cosentino is a preferred material in industrial spaces.

Ceramics of Italy, an association that promotes Italian ceramic industry around the world, has released figures on the use of ceramic tiles in the MENA region, putting their consumption at 35mn m2 and 84mn m2 respectively in the year 2018-2019.

At Cersaie 2017, an annual event in Bologna, Italy, manufacturers from around the world showcased new products and innovations in the ceramic, tile and bathroom industry, ranging from the large format porcelain stoneware to the reinterpretation of classical decorative cement tiles; from the moisture-proof wallpaper to the modern declinations of the wood strips.

Highlighting fresh approach to surfaces, the event presented such novel items as real Iceland moss from Freund, leather, tweed, tartan, knitted, knotted, and other tactile elements on hard surfaces.

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