Show of strength
The aim this year is to make Index easy, explains Lu Buchanan
Recognising that one of Index’s greatest strengths, its size, can also act as a weakness, the show’s organisers are this year focusing on making the event more accessible and easier to navigate than ever.
“What we are trying to do is make it easy for the visitor,” explained exhibition director, Index, Lu Buchanan. “The complaint we’ve always had in the past is that people spent hours walking around but couldn’t actually find what they wanted,” she continued.
“We’ve addressed that – people can get their plans beforehand and actually meet the people they need to meet, because we know that time is precious.”
Another key focus area for the organisers this year is content and, as such, a series of ‘design talks’ will be taking place on the show floor. In addition to Victoria Redshaw, CEO of trend forecasting firm Scarlet Opus, visitors will be hearing from Kinnersley Kent Design, the company responsible for the design of the Waitrose, Dubai Mall, as well as Ventures Middle East, which will be providing facts and figures about the UAE market and talking about how to do business in the region.
“There are going to be lots of interesting, interactive things going on. Visitors are going to see innovation, they are going to see variation. It’s much more of a design event. It’s going to be buzzing and a fantastic networking opportunity.
“It’s a whole new event. It has changed and I think that’s the really important thing. We’ve really listened to what visitors want and we’ve created a show based around what they want, rather than what we think they want,” Buchanan maintained.
Another highlight this year is the ‘jewelery 4 architecture’ live design competition, which is being run by Daniel Holguin and his business partner Victoria Simes. Holguin was born in Mexico, graduated from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, went on to work for the Rockwell Group and now runs his own architecture business in New York City.
The ‘jewelery 4 architecture’ design competition will challenge 13 students from local universities to create design objects that can work for the ceiling, the floor and openings, out of unorthodox materials such as horse hair, plants, rope, rocks, minerals and spring wire.
“That’s going to be very interesting because it’ll be live and going on the whole time. It’s a great opportunity for the students as well. It’s something a little bit different,” said Buchanan.
The show has also been bolstered by the recent signing of RS Arabia, which has secured some 650m of exhibition space. According to Buchanan, the company represents a series of top Italian brands, such as Flou, Serralunga, Zanotta, Vitra, Kartell and Paola Lenti, and will be showcasing a number of top-end products in the centre of Hall 5.
For Waddah Mardini, general tableware manager for the GCC & Levant for Villeroy & Boch, Sara General Trading, Index is still a must-attend event. “As Index is the largest international exhibition for the interior design and home related sectors within the Middle East, it is essential that we are present at the show. Participating at Index is central to our marketing strategy and allows us to build strong and profitable relationships with local and regional interior designers. The exhibition thus provides a great forum for networking within the business community,” he said.
Muhammad Virji, proprietor, Beyond Design, agreed. “Beyond Design is very excited to be exhibiting at Index for the fourth year running. The exhibition is a great way of raising our profile and provides a unique platform within the region to showcase our very exclusive architectural features and moulding products,” he said.
“This year we will have new models and designs, with more of a move towards wooden finishings, as well as our usual stone finished products. We look forward to generating lots of new interest in our products and are confident that the show will be a great success!”
Also returning is Armourcoat, the UK-based global decorative coatings group, which will be promoting its recently-launched Armourcoat Sculptural.
“We are delighted to be participating at Index again this year, in conjunction with our agent for the Middle East, Al Zubaidi. Together, we have been fortunate enough to build a solid portfolio of projects – many of which have stemmed from exhibiting at the show. Our decorative finishes grace many prestigious interiors throughout the area including the Burj Al Arab, Burj Dubai and Madinat Jumeirah resort. Index is a great showcase for our products and demonstrates the strength of the Armourcoat brand in the territory,” said Daniel Nevitt, group marketing director, Armourcoat.
Guy Whitehead, CEO of Armourcoat, has been visiting the show for five years and has seen tangible benefits year on year. “To be honest I have nothing to suggest regarding changes to Index. I have been the last five years and have always seen it as a premier Middle East event. It is always well organised and for Armourcoat our operations there have grown year on year, as has the number of quality leads generated directly from the show. We attend every year because we think it really delivers on what we want to see.”
Eight reasons you should visit Index this year
1. The exhibitors: Index 2009 is the largest interiors trade show in the Middle East, showcasing some of the industry’s leading products and designs from high-profile local and international companies, including Alpha Crystal Lighting, Villeroy & Boch, 2XL and Saniplex.
2. The pavilions: International pavilions will host some of world’s biggest names in design, from countries such as France, Spain and Italy, showcasing leading international brands such as Flou, Serralunga, Haute Material, Zanotta, Vitra, Kartell and Paola Lenti.
3. Design Talks: Catch these practical, informal, seminar-style events on the show floor, which will address key industry challenges, including cost-effective design and the environment. These Design Talks provide an excellent opportunity for professionals within the design industry to get expert insight on topical issues.
4. Victoria Redshaw of Scarlet Opus: Designers looking for inspiration can’t miss Victoria Redshaw’s Design Talk on trend forecasting. Get an insight into this powerful tool, which is increasingly being utilised by forward-thinking interior designers to get a competitive edge, and get a full preview of the upcoming trends for the spring/summer 2010 and autumn/winter 2010/11 seasons.
5. Victoria Simes and Daniel Holguin’s ‘jewelery 4 architecture’ feature: Don’t miss this live design competition on the Index show floor, where students will be briefed and given interesting materials, including horse hair, wood, metal, earth, organic fibers and plants, and tasked with making interior objects and products.
6. The Contemporary Majilis: Four different companies, including Etcetera and Hirsch Bedner Associates, will design and set up their interpretation of the ‘majilis of the future’ on the show floor. These cutting-edge room sets will provide a modern twist to a central part of the traditional Arabic home.
7. InRetail: Co-located with Index, InRetail will focus on the design, fit-out and operational management of malls, retail outlets and supermarkets, whether it be lighting, furnishings or point of sales systems.
8. Consumer Day: Although Index is predominantly a trade event aimed at the world’s top interior designers and architects, consumers will also be able to snatch up some of the most cutting-edge products by leading companies from across the world on November 16 between 16:00-21:00pm.