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A month for design

November will see Dubai partner with the IFI

Dubai will play host to a series of high-profile design events this November. Between November 6 and 11, the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers (IFI) will host its 24th General Assembly alongside the World Interior Design Congress 2009, in Dubai.

Set over a six day period, the event will also include two interior design competitions – one for professionals and another for students.

The design extravaganza is being held in this region for the first time, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein, wife of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of the UAE, and ruler of the UAE. Support has also been extended by the Dubai Business Women Council.

Over 800 interior designers from 45 countries are expected to gather in Dubai to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the industry. Held under the theme, ‘Celebrate Interior Design’, the congress will play host to a number of big-name industry speakers, including ‘Captain Organic’ Ross Lovegrove, Italian designer Piero Lissoni and Sebastian Conran.

Notable interior designers from around the world, including Japan’s Naoki Iijima; architect and urban conservationist Brinda Chinnappa Somaya of India; and Bob Puccini, CEO of the US’ Puccini Group, will also be sharing their experiences and opinions.

The event will act as a celebration of the buoyancy of the region’s interior design industry, which, according to independent reasearch firm, Proleads, will see $43 billion-worth of projects confirmed by the end of 2009.

“Interior design has never been appreciated as a business necessity more than it is today. We’re delighted to be hosting this important event, where opinion makers from the profession will share their insight into future trends and opportunities,” said Ken Laidler, president of the Association of Professional Interior Designers (APID).

The benefits of being involved with such an event were highlighted by Laith Haboubi, business development manager at Mapei, one of the event’s sponsors. “The IFI congress offers us a unique opportunity to meet and interact with designers both from the region and around the world,” he said.

“Such events are very important in ensuring that designers in the region stay at the ‘cutting-edge’ and benefit from the experiences gleaned by others around the world. Putting this into a local or regional context should result in higher standards of designs and specifications being insisted upon,” he continued.

APID has also signed an agreement with Index 2009, making it an official partner for this year’s exhibition. This marks the first steps towards a combined goal of introducing a ‘Dubai Festival of Interior Design’, which would place the emirate at the forefront of the international design calendar.

Index is taking place the week after the IFI event, from November 14 to 17, at the Dubai World Trade Centre. In order to bridge the gap between the two events, Index will be hosting cultural tours for IFI delegates on November 12 and 13, as well as a reception at the show.

In addition, IFI delegates will be invited to join Index’s ‘VIP Business Match-Making’ programme, which will match top interior designers, specifiers and buyers with relevant exhibitors.

“We have been working closely with the industry to ensure that Index 2009 is very design-focused, as we want to produce a show that rivals the other leading international interior design events.

“Our longer-term goal is to expand Index so that it becomes part of a brand new Dubai Festival of Interior Design. Working with APID, and other interested parties, will ensure that this happens, and our formal relationship for Index 2009 is a great start to this process,” explained Lu Buchanan, event director, Index.

Also taking place in November are the CID awards. Created to celebrate innovation and excellence in the Middle East’s design industry, the annual awards ceremony will be hosted at Park Hyatt Dubai on November 15.

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