Khaleej Times, 12 March, 2019
The UAE’s vibrant and multicultural population has inspired interior designers and fit-out sector to adapt to changing tastes coupled with rising consumer demand that matches the latest trends. The sector is now invaded by much younger generation who heavily rely on technology to relate to the millennial population, which is more demanding in terms of trends, colours, styles and so on. The UAE fit-out and interiors market is estimated to be worth $973 million by 2022 and according to BNC Network’s report the UAE alone has 11,755 active construction projects valued at $818.2 billion.
Sustainability and innovation
The sector is currently witnessing combination of sustainability, innovation and technology and that is trending to new business strategies.
“Our environment strongly influences our health outcome and overall well being. It has been estimated that people spending more than 90 per cent of their time indoors and consequently it has become increasingly important for construction and design professionals to keep pace with evolving sustainability trends and extend themselves to increase energy efficiency, reduce carbon footprint as well as go beyond the traditional green building to incorporate these emerging wellness design standards,” said Neil Antony, operations manager, Gravity.
Innovation and technology will always lead the way as the current generation of home and business owners want to have the facility to access more at their fingertips than ever before. Mihir Sanganee, design director, Excel Engineering & Contracting Co, said: “Imagine custom interiors with automation systems controlled by Alexa, fabrics from Turkey, artefacts from India and your kitchen from Germany. All of this is now allowing the international demand to grow by making it accessible to the masses.”
The top sectors that are ranked to remain bullish in 2019 are hospitality, healthcare, realestate and corporate offices. “On a more local front, Emirati clients are building their homes, investors developing properties for themselves or rentals in gated communities for real estate purposes. Further F&B and retail sector is ever evolving – new established brands from across the globe now want to create experiences and establish their foothold in the UAE. This becomes an aspiration to local entrepreneurs now developing home grown brands locally competing at the very top,” added Sanganee.
The UAE has always been a promoter of new trends in interior design and it is interesting to see that more and more people have started believing in the interior designer companies, said Kamal Mangla, managing director, Turnkey Interior Decoration.
“Whenever a good design meets innovation, the results are exciting and transformative. Innovation and technology have brought a lot of positive changes to the interior industry. Studio time has reduced with the latest innovations in digital world. There were time when we used to manual draft drawings to computer aided designs, to 3 dimensional visuals to walk through and now virtual reality. This has improved the communication between client and designers. Execution pace has improved with the latest technologies, machinery and materials. The digital world has made the client more read and learned which has made the decision making easier. Interface of IT with construction has changed the way of doing interiors. It saves power and simplifies daily tasks using technology. With seamless integration of technology, today’s smart home has the ability to run itself. The smart home offers enormous versatility, flexibility and design options. It’s truly exciting.”
Echoing similar sentiment, Ammar Hayani, managing director of Porcelanosa Dubai, said: “We are catering to the demand for smart homes by incorporating IoT in our wares. The trend is shifting towards smart, digital fittings with sleek, compact designs and intuitive features – whether it is voice-recognised light sensors or automated desks. There is also shift towards button-free and remote-less furniture for ease of handling.”
Tenants are smart, savvy shoppers with an eye for design, are looking for tech-powered, low-maintenance, modern with some naturalistic, nostalgia elements living solutions. Millennials tend to be drawn to natural stones and woods. Pops of pastels and bold colours are popping up in small appliances and on pots and pans. Millennials aren’t nearly as obsessed with smart appliances such as speakers and home assistants as the connections are important to them, explains Amine Housni, regional manager, Blueground Middle East.
Blueground, a real-estate tech company is transforming the mid to long-term housing experience for business professionals and individual renters.
Housni, said: ” It is crucial to consider design solutions for interior environments, while supporting health, safety and the well-being of our guests in addition to enhancing their quality of life and designing a space where you can show up and start living. The good taste and pretty colors factor into the selections, however, it’s much more important, that a home feels right, in addition to looking right.”
“The UAE still has a very large expat population and this attributes to different requirements and trends in the realty sector. Interior design and build have progressively moved away from leading the design process with just mood boards. We’ve found that with projects in public and private spaces, design and build companies are being challenged to look at a more pragmatic approach with a primary focus in value for money, environmental impact, innovation, and social aspects when evaluating a brief. These attributes have morphed into a benchmark that outlines present and future trends,” said Antony.