Garden and landscaping Middle East

Messe Frankfurt's Garden and Landscaping Middle East show has gone from strength to strength since it launched in 2003. Michele Howe reports on the 2008 edition.

There was a constant flow of visitors at the event.
There was a constant flow of visitors at the event.

Messe Frankfurt's Garden and Landscaping Middle East show has gone from strength to strength since it launched in 2003. Michele Howe reports on the 2008 edition.

It was a bumper month for trade shows last month. First up was Cityscape Abu Dhabi, which took place May 13-15. Attendance at the real estate show reached record heights, surprising even the organisers who extended the show for an extra day due to popular demand.

Highlights of the show included detail of Khalifa City, the new capital city for Abu Dhabi, the unveiling of the model of Al Zorah in Ajman, and the model of Al Barari gardens in Dubai.


[The show] has been very gratifying. We had a very good response from across the region.

Landscape design firms attending the show included Cracknell, Burt Hill, and Australian firm Taylor Brammer, while Dutch firm Complex Urban Landscape Design unveiled plans to open an office in the region.

Suppliers included a number of water feature design firms including Wet Design, Crystal Fountains, and Ghesa.

Over in Dubai, the main event of the month was the Garden and Landscaping Middle East show.

For outdoor design professionals in the region, the annual show is one of the biggest events on the calendar.

Stretched over three days, the event brings together companies from a range of sectors including landscaping, outdoor furniture, and irrigation systems.

Approximately 180 companies and an estimated 10,000 visitors were expected to take part in this year's show, according to organisers Epoc Messe Frankfurt.

Roughly 60% of the exhibitors attended from overseas, with representation from 23 different countries, and the remaining 40% from the Middle East.

The exhibition has grown massively since it first launched in 2003, show organiser Gavin Morlini tells Commercial Outdoor Design, expanding from around 12 exhibitors in 2003 to almost 180 this year.

"For visitors, in 2003, there were probably about 2,500. That grew to around 7,000 in 2007, and this year we expect to have over 10,000," he says.

Business certainly appeared brisk on the first day of the show, with a steady flow of traffic, and despite slacking off on the second and third days, kept its momentum thanks in part to its positioning sandwiched between the Hardware and Tools Middle East show and ISH Kitchen and Bath Middle East meaning it attracted a number of casual as well as sector specific visitors.

"It has been very gratifying. We had a very good response from across the region," opined Philip Lonsdale, sales and marketing director of Dubai-based Majestic Jetties & Marinas, representing MoistureShield, a composite decking product.

"It doesn't look that many people, but the quality of the visitors has been very good," he said, adding the stand had received landscape architects, developers and project managers.

The show, which is for trade professionals only, also garnered the support of the Spanish plant association, which attended the show for the first time.

Familiar names at the event included Terraverde with one of the largest stands at the show - a 90m2 space, Ripples Fountain Trading, and UK furniture supplier Bridgman, attending the show for the third time, while new faces included Belgian firm Landscape Product Suppliers, which presented a micro clover grass product, and UK company Platipus, which showcased a tree anchoring system.

New products on display included a sustainable fertiliser product Ecofert from Australian firm Scriptfert, and an irrigation control system from irrigation system supplier Fitco, that incorporates a weather station that enables the controller to be programmed allowing irrigation cycles to be modified with real time weather conditions.

The system can bring in water savings of approximately 30%, according to the firm.

The three-day show ran alongside four other trade shows in Dubai: Light Middle East, International CES/Hometech, Light Middle East, Kitchen and Bath Middle East, and flooring exhibition Domotex.


Dubai Road and Transport Authority

Supporting the show this year was the road landscaping beautification division of Dubai's Road and Transport Authority (RTA) which gave details of projects it is working on in the Emirate.

Established in the fourth quarter of 2006, the division is responsible for landscape and beautification of roads and intersections among other projects. It is currently working on some 130 projects in 26 different locations.

Rashed Abdulla Al Falasi, landscaping manager, roads department at the RTA, took time out at the Garden and Landscaping Middle East show to talk Commercial Outdoor Design through the division's work.

How much is the RTA investing in beautification projects this year?

Last year, it was around US$16.35 million to US$19 million but this year it is more than US$54.5 million. We are expecting the metro beautification will be a very big project. We have a good concept design landscape, which is still under approval. We will have big places, green spaces, [areas for] cyclists, and jogging.

Can you tell me about the planned beautification of Sheikh Zayed Road?

After studying the area, we decided to shift the service road and to maximise the pedestrian area, [to make it] approximately 12 metres or 14 metres wide.

From a landscape or urban design perspective, I think it will be one of the most beautiful roads after one year. We have high-rise buildings, we have shade and wind so even in the summer, I think it will be very successful. The construction is due to start from next month and to last eight months.

Who is the RTA working with on this?

The consultant is Parsons. The contract for a landscape contractor is still under tender. We expect to appoint someone shortly.

Why so much importance now on beautification?

There are a lot of construction projects and that caused a lot of removing of trees. We are trying to maximise the landscape as much as we can.

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