SmartGlass aiming to be top of the class in Qatar

Irish switchable glass manufacturer hoping to build on GCC successes

SmartGlass International have supplied projects like the Kempinski Hotel and Zain Telecom headquarters in Bahrain
SmartGlass International have supplied projects like the Kempinski Hotel and Zain Telecom headquarters in Bahrain

Smartglass International, an Irish glazing manufacturer specialising in privacy glass that becomes transparent at the flick of a switch, is targeting the booming Qatari market in the hope of building on its GCC success to date, according to Orla Keogh, the firm’s marketing manager.

The company, which has offices in Dubai and London, has already supplied its technologically advanced products to the Kempinski hotel and Zain Telecom headquarters, both in Bahrain, as well as the Etihad offices in Abu Dhabi.

It is now keen to broaden its GCC base and establish itself in Qatar at a time when the country is working through a huge development and infrastructure programme.

Speaking to Construction Week recently at Project Qatar, Keogh said, “We’re already operating in the GCC, but we’re looking to move into the Qatari market in particular.

“We want to get as much brand awareness as possible at the moment ahead of setting up an office in Doha. That’s how we did it in Dubai – we measured the interest and decided it was worth it,” she added.

SmartGlass International is already well-established in Europe and has supplied projects involving well-known global brands, such as the Microsoft headquarters in Portugal.

However, in recent years, the company has identified the GCC as an increasingly attractive market due to characteristics specific to the region, according to Keogh.

“The Middle East market is where it’s going on at the moment, because of the type of projects that are going on. We focus on offices, hotels and healthcare projects mostly,” Keogh said.

“For offices, it’s that high-end corporate feel for boardrooms and commercial banks where our product comes in. In hotels, it is mostly used to separate bedroom from bathroom within the guest room from a point of view of making the area more spacious and also to allow more light into the room.

“We find that architects are specifying the product here, for reasons of space and light mostly, but also from a cultural point of view, to separate men and women.

“It can be an architectural challenge if two separate spaces within a building are required. However, with SmartGlass you don’t have to have a partition wall, you can just use a privacy glass screen,” she added.


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