Recent showroom openings bode well for the recovery of the industry
A series of showroom openings over recent months bodes well for the recovery of the industry. CID looks at some of the key launches
A flurry of activity over the last couple of months signals positive news for the interior design industry. In a show of strength, a number of leading suppliers have launched new showrooms – an investment highlighting their commitment to the market.
Officially marking its evolution into two distinct business units, office specialist Gemaco Interiors has unveiled a new, state-of-the-art, sustainable showroom. Separate spaces have been allocated for the ‘Interiors’ and ‘Furniture’ arms of the business, to enable the company to better serve its various customers types.
“We have been able to separate the two business models under one roof,” said Kaj Helstrand, design manager, Gemaco Interiors. “Architects and designers (A&D) can come into an A&D orientated space, and an end user can come into an end-user space, and they can meet the right people and talk to them in a language they are used to.”
The company is also flouting its green credentials with a showroom that was designed with LEED firmly in mind. “I don’t know how many showrooms in town can claim and document that they have been designed with LEED as the main criteria. That’s obviously a great marketing tool but beyond that, it gives you a nice feeling to know that this space consumes less energy,” Helstrand added.
The aim was to create a living, working space – rather than a lifeless showroom that provided zero context for the products being displayed. As such, the showroom also doubles up as the Gemaco offices, meaning that products are presented ‘in action’.
“The big difference with our previous space was that we had hidden our workstations behind this invisible wall and our actual showroom was never really activated. You can put a pencil cup and a couple of pencils on a desk and try and make it look alive – but this new space is truly alive.”
This also allows Gemaco Interiors to provide a live demonstration of the various workspace solutions that it can provide to its clients. From hot-desking and open plan spaces to break-out pods and high-end enclosed offices, a whole gamut of solutions are on show.
“That’s one of the major things with this concept; we want to invite our clients behind that invisible curtain and say this is what we offer and this is where we can have a dialogue about the challenges you will be facing in your future offices,” Helstrand said. “Exposing those challenges increases our credibility and allows us to gain more trust from our clients.”
Reiterating an emerging trend, The Total Office launched a new showroom in Abu Dhabi at the end of October, and also placed sustainability at the top of its agenda. The new facility is also aiming for LEED certification and, on average, will use 40% less energy than a typical showroom of the same size.
“Aiming for LEED certification for our showroom shows our commitment to the environment and sustainable consumption,” said Siddharth Peters, managing director, The Total Office. “Designing our showroom and office facilities in such a way that we use less energy than a facility designed without this certification is a win-win situation for us, leading to lower expenses and a positive impact on the environment.”
The layout of the showroom was envisioned by Mehdi Moazzen of Point of Design, in conjunction with LEED consultant Samuel Keehn from Energy Management Services. “Abu Dhabi and the rest of the UAE are on the fast track to incorporating LEED and other sustainability criteria into projects, but along with this rapid push, some areas and components are not moving at the same pace,” said Keehn. “The existing building’s infrastructure, lack of materials and the documentation necessary even when materials are compliant, along with different understandings of what green is, all led to challenges with this project.
“However, the integrated approach, from the client to the contractor, and from concept to commissioning, addressed these issues, creating a project to be proud of,” he continued.
The showroom features office furniture solutions from brands such as Kusch & Co, Emmegi and Casamania, along with some of the latest product lines from Teknion.
In amongst a wave of other openings, also noteable was the launch of Molteni&C Dada’s first Middle East showroom on October 24. The venue was created in partnership with Dubai-based distributor, Finasi, and features a Molteni&C Dada home collection, including day and night systems, bookcases, upholstered furnishings, beds and wardrobes, tables and accessories.
The new 600m² show-space is located on Al Ittihad Road in Deira. “Molteni Group is elated to be entering the UAE. This is a dynamic market that yields great potential for us, particularly in light of the fact that there are a big number of projects both ongoing and complete. In addition to this, we believe that there is an abundance of savvy consumers who recognise the quality and refinement offered by the group’s product range,” commented Carlo Molteni, CEO of the Molteni Group.