Archive for April, 2012

April 24, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Office Expo Conversations with Rob Kirkbride of the MMQB

Office Expo Conversations
Monday April 23, 2012
by Rob Kirkbride

For most who work in the North American office furniture industry, Dubai is a long, long way from home — about 15 hours of flying time from the industry’s Midwest hub. So why bother with The Office Exhibition 2012, the Middle East’s largest office furniture show? To most attending and exhibiting at The Office Exhibition 2012 at the Dubai World Trade Center May 15-17, it is a matter of numbers. The Gulf Cooperation Council region, which consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Yemen, is expected to spend $56 billion on interior projects.

That’s why The Office Exhibition is attracting new exhibitors like Global, Allseating, Loft, JDD and Bisley along with a large number of North American, European, African and Asian office furniture makers. The show will also see participation from top UAE suppliers including Mobili Emirates Furniture, United Furniture and Ritmo Furniture with the “Doimo Office” range. With representation from almost every continent in the world, The Office Exhibition 2012 will include more than 140 new-to-region products and a wide array of award-winning designs.

The Monday Morning Quarterback caught up with David Wilson, exhibition director at The Office Exhibition 2012, to talk about the upcoming show.

What makes this year’s event different? What’s new and improved for exhibitors and attendees?

“The Office Exhibition 2012 is now in its 11th year and has developed into the premier trade event for every aspect of office design and fit-out. It is a must-attend event for the architecture and design community, attracting some of the most recognized brands in office furniture from every continent in the world.

“We have continued our knowledge partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) who will collaborate with the American University of Sharjah on our Design Seminar and Workshop program. Knowledge exchange is a very important part of The Office Exhibition and this year we are delighted to partner with leading architects, designers, fit-out contractors and manufacturers to deliver a full three-day program of stimulating presentations and panel discussions. We have also expanded our focus on education and healthcare products, a reflection of the regional growth in those sectors.

“The Office Exhibition is an all-encompassing trade show – we showcase the best in office design from around the world, educate the region about the latest office trends, and provide invaluable industry networking opportunities.”

How many exhibitors are committed to the show this year? Is that number up or down compared to last year? What is driving the growth?

“The Office Exhibition 2012 has attracted the participation of 130 exhibitors from every continent in the world. We have seen an increase of 15 percent in exhibitor numbers from last year especially from Italy, Germany, Portugal, Canada and the U.S.

“Many of these countries are faced with depressed or flat home economies and the recovery trend in certain GCC real estate markets is encouraging top international interior brands to target this region.

“International manufacturers and distributors have won significant projects in the Middle East and North Africa region through the Office Exhibition. The show is an important gateway through which companies can tap into market opportunities in the wider region.”

How many are expected to visit the show this year? Is that number expected to be up or down?

“Last year, we had a 62 percent increase in the number of visitors to the show over 2010. We are expecting that to increase further this year. With a wider range of innovative design products and solutions and an exciting roster of activities at the show, we have already recorded strong pre-registration visitor numbers.

What are you doing to make the show as dynamic and worthwhile as possible for visitors and exhibitors alike?

“The 11th edition of The Office Exhibition will see the largest participation of design companies from every continent in the world bringing with them an exciting range of new-to-region and award-winning products.

“We believe that market education is as important as offering business opportunities to visitors. In addition to providing access to top design firms, we have introduced a number of activities to help foster learning and encourage knowledge exchange among visitors. Part of this commitment is our ongoing partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), which we have continued this year to offer international design expertise to our regional architectural and design community.”

What can visitors to the show expect?

“We have a number of activities that make The Office Exhibition 2012 a must-attend event for architects, designers, fit-out specialist and business decision makers.

“Earlier this year, we opened entries for The Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition, overseen and judged by our knowledge partner IIDA. The competition has expanded to the Middle East this year and aims to recognize outstanding design projects in the region completed in the last three years. IIDA will announce winning projects across eight categories on the opening day of the show.

“Last year was the first time we introduced an industry roundtable discussion into The Office Exhibition program. Following its success, we have expanded this into a series of workshops and seminars on topics ranging from ‘The Evolution of the Corporate Workplace in the Middle East’ to ‘Reinventing the Classroom.’ Any registered visitor to The Office Exhibition 2012 is able to attend these complimentary sessions.

“In addition, Summertown Interiors, the only LEED Gold certified fit-out contractor in the UAE will be running the ‘Green Day,’ a series of panel discussions and case studies that will address issues regarding sustainability in workplace design. The sessions will feature leading names in the architecture and design industry.

“Visitors will also have access to a wide range of innovative, award-winning products and design options to suit their varying needs, be it for corporate, healthcare, education, aviation or hospitality environments.

“Our first time participants include industry heavyweights Global Group and Allseating from Canada, Trendway and Indiana Furniture from the U.S., as well as Loft, JDD and Bisley from the U.K. Also returning to the show for the first time since 2007 is Japanese manufacturer Okamura, widely celebrated for its game changing Contessa Chair – an elegant and ergonomically designed mesh chair with a synchro-reclining mechanism.

“We also have increased participation from the Middle East, including UAE distributors Mobili Emirates Furniture, Ritmo Furniture, Human Space, Williams from Egypt and Office Division from Lebanon.”

What can show exhibitors expect?

“The most valuable thing for exhibitors at the show is having direct access to a focused and targeted audience from not only the UAE but the wider Middle East and North Africa region. Participating companies have won significant contracts on the show floor previously and we expect this trend to continue in 2012.

“The Office Exhibition is also co-located with The Hotel Show, the largest hospitality trade show for the Middle East and North Africa region. Exhibitors at both shows benefit from the cross-over of visitors.

“In addition to being an excellent business and networking platform, the show aims to provide design inspiration and expertise to exhibitors. As well as the Interior Design project competition, IIDA has invited exhibitors at The Office Exhibition and The Hotel Show to participate in the Middle East Office & Hospitality Product Design Awards. The competition aims to recognise excellence and innovation in product design for the commercial office and hotel industries.”

Many exhibitors also use the time in Dubai to work on other business opportunities.

What is the general business climate in Dubai?

“Dubai is one of the world’s top 10 business destinations, with more than half of the world’s largest companies running their regional offices from the city. An estimated 75 million square meters of office space in Dubai is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012, with 1.2 million square meters in Abu Dhabi due to come online in 2013, according to a 2011 report by Jones Lang LaSalle.

“In addition, the Arab Spring has encouraged governments across the region to increase spending on development projects, in a bid to head off unrest and improve infrastructure. Riyadh’s project expenditure is expected to almost triple by 2016 compared with $100 billion in 2005. Kuwait, the UAE and Qatar are also set to double their expenditure rates over the same period.

“Dubai’s excellent location, infrastructure and logistical facilities have established the city as a hub for conducting business in the wider region. In the wake of the Arab Spring, more companies have moved their offices to Dubai given that it is free from political instability and offers a safer environment to conduct business.

Is project activity high for office, educational, healthcare, hospitality furniture in the region? Please explain how it compares to past years.

“We are definitely seeing increased project activity in the GCC healthcare and education sectors. In a recent report issued by Alpen Capital, the GCC’s healthcare sector is set to grow by an annual rate of 11 percent and will be worth nearly $44 billion by 2015. The Sharjah Government and DM healthcare have also recently announced plans to make significant investments in the healthcare sector.

“With regards to education projects, there are a number of international universities setting up campuses in the region and large projects such as Qatar’s Education City and Saudi Arabia’s Tatweer Education project are underway.

“Owing to increasing demand in these sectors, The Office Exhibition has expanded its focus on healthcare and education products this year. We have a number of exhibitors who will be showcasing products that are best suited to these environments. For instance, Canada’s Allseating is launching its award-winning Tuck stacking chair in the region. Tuck is ideal for education and training facilities due to its lightweight, easy-to-clean surface, durability and the ability to be ‘tucked away’ without taking up too much space.

“The 1972 classic Polo chair is another product that has been used worldwide in a number of applications within the education sectors and will be launched in the region for the first time by its U.K. based manufacturer and distributor, Loft in collaboration with Human Space. Human Space will also be showcasing furniture ranges suitable for medical centers and clinical facilities designed by the Dauphin Human Design Group.

“We also have a number of launches for the standard corporate office including acoustic wall partitions, technologically integrated desking systems, executive furniture ranges, conference room facilities and ergonomic chairs.”

Why should North American companies attend and exhibit at the show?

“The Office Exhibition is the only dedicated show for office fit-outs and commercial interior design in the Middle East. The show is an important gateway through which international companies can source real business opportunities in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Returning exhibitors and significant projects won by participating companies are a testament to what The Office Exhibition offers; excellent business and networking opportunities for exhibitors and visitors.

Is it worthwhile for North American office furniture manufacturers to expand into the region? Why?

“As the GCC continues to invest in major infrastructure projects, demand for commercial interior design and fit out services will grow apace.

“More than $300 billion worth of major projects are expected to be awarded across the Middle East by 2012, according to a 2011 report from MEED Middle East Projects Forecast & Review. Qatar’s successful 2022 FIFA World Cup bid will also drive considerable commercial development over the next decade. In addition, the Arab Spring has propelled governments across the region to increase spending on development projects, in a bid to head off unrest and improve infrastructure.

“This is a very buoyant projects market when compared to the U.S. or other international markets and there is an increasing awareness and appreciation of good quality design. North American manufacturers would do very well here.”

Thanks to

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April 18, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Show organisers announce workshop and seminar programme

The changing nature of organisations, work and workplaces will form the focus of professional debate and insight at The Dubai Office Exhibition 2012. Through a series of high-level addresses and interactive seminars, regional architects, designers and executives will gain access to sought-after industry opinion on the issues that matter most in modern workplace design.

The Office Exhibition, now in its 11th year, is the Middle East’s premier trade event for commercial fit-out and design. As part of the three-day event, taking place from 15-17 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre, trade professionals will be able to participate in a series of complimentary workshops led by local and international design experts.

A design executive roundtable with business and design leaders from the Middle East will be hosted by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) on the opening day. Building on the success of last year, which explored the new global economy as a driver of sustainable design, this year’s session will discuss how the practice of commercial design must respond to the different way we now view the workplace.

On day two, delegates can join their peers for industry led discussions about sustainability in the workplace. The ‘Green Day’ will be led by Summertown Interiors, the UAE’s first fit-out company to be accredited with LEED Gold certified interiors. Together with international and regional representatives, they will discuss local perspectives on green design and project execution featuring presentations, panel discussions moderated by Emirates Green Council and case studies from the region.

A special presentation by Loft, exclusive manufacturer of Robin Day OBE collections, will deliver an insight into Britain’s most revered and accomplished furniture designer of the 20th Century. A great pioneer of contemporary furniture in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, Robin Day received widespread international acclaim for his creations which are all licensed Great British Design Icons of the 20th Century.

While sustainable design and build will be the main topic at the table, the seminars and workshops will also address other pressing issues in commercial interior design including best practices in healthcare designs and reinventing the classroom – ‘How furniture and space design can change the way we collaborate.’

The speaking programme is still being finalised, but confirmed so far include: Pringle Brandon’s managing director Steven Charlton; ISG’s Stephen Taylor; and Peter Di Sabatino, Dean of Architecture, Art and Design at American University Sharjah (AUS). Also speaking at the seminar will be the winner of the 2010 Interior Designer of the year award Pallavi Dean.

David Wilson, Event Director of The Office Exhibition said: “Market education has always been an important pillar in The Office Exhibition’s offering. We aim to strengthen the opportunities for knowledge transfer every year to help local architects and designers keep pace with global trends within a regional context. At the 2012 show we have an excellent roster of international and regional speakers that will stimulate healthy debate and foster great professional learning.”

For more information on the seminars and workshops or The Office Exhibition 2012 visit

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April 16, 2012   Posted by: Indy

How buildings and the furniture in them are coming to life

From BBC Click

The buildings in our cities could quite literally come alive in the decades ahead. Spencer Kelly looks at a series of projects that will allow buildings and even the furniture in them to be able to sense how they are being used and adapt to changes in the environment around them.

It opens the way for chairs to know who is sitting on them so they can become more comfortable and buildings to change their own heating and lighting without human intervention.

BBC Click – link to full videohere

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April 10, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Entries invited for the Middle East Office & Hospitality Product Design Awards

Exhibitors at The Office Exhibition Dubai 2012 are encouraged to enter their products for this year’s Middle East Office & Hospitality Product Design Awards.

Endorsed by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA) , who have set the guidelines, criteria and judging panel, these prestigious awards will be announced between 9.30am and 10.30am on the 15th May, prior to the opening ceremony on the first day of The Office Exhibition at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The winners of these Awards and the Interior Design Competition will be proudly displayed next to the IIDA lounge area, located within The Campus at The Office Exhibition.

To view the categories and to enter your products for these awards please click here

Entries can be made via the online entry form, and close on 26 April 2012 (11.00pm GMT).

Good luck to all entrants and we look forward to seeing everyone at the show in Dubai 15th-17th May !

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April 4, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Leading Manufacturers Showcase award-winning and functional designs at The Dubai Office Exhibition 2012

The Dubai Office Exhibition 2012, the Middle East’s premier trade event for office fit-outs, taking place from 15 – 17 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre, promises to deliver an exciting product showcase of sleek, innovative and smart office designs for the modern workplace. With GCC interior design spend forecast to reach US$56 billion in 2012, according to Ventures Middle East, the 11th edition of the show is attracting participation from world leaders in office design as well as a host of first-time exhibitors.

Among the new exhibitors are Canadian heavyweights, Global Group and Allseating, leading designers of office furniture and seating solutions and US market innovators Trendway and Indiana Furniture. HNI group companies return in force, highlighting their Paoli, Maxxon and HBF brands.They are joined by British manufacturers Loft, JDD and Bisley. The show will also see participation from top UAE suppliers including Mobili Emirates Furniture, United Furniture and Ritmo Furniture with the “Doimo Office” range.

With representation from almost every continent in the world, The Office Exhibition 2012 will reveal over 140 new-to-region products and a wide array of award-winning designs.

In line with the growth in healthcare and education projects across the Middle East, The Office Exhibition 2012 will have an increased focus on specialised furnishings for these environments. Loft, exclusive manufacturer of celebrated 20th century British furniture designer Robin Day, will introduce some of the most iconic seating designs for large scale applications.  Day is renowned for having seated more people in his low cost, functional chairs than any other designer in the world. Exhibiting in collaboration with its UAE distributor Human Space, Loft will bring back the classic “1973 Polo chair”. Celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2012, the Polo chair has remained a popular choice for healthcare and education spaces due to its bright colour palette, strong exterior and easy-to-clean surface.

Allseating is another manufacturer targeting the healthcare and education sectors with its award-winning stacking chair “Tuck.” Designed by Todd Yetman, “Tuck” features subtle curves in the seat and back to provide ergonomic support and, as the name suggests, effortlessly tucks away when not in use.  The chair recently won the “2011 Good Design Award” from The Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design.

For corporate environments, JDD will launch three thoughtfully designed seating ranges. The “Polly” range offers relaxed seating for casual brainstorming or breakout sessions while the “Norah” and “Georgia” ranges are individual seating solutions perfectly suited for moments of quiet reflection.

Returning to the show for the first time since 2007, Japanese design house and manufacturer, Okamura will launch its award-winning “Luce” chair and “Alzata Spine System.” Making its regional debut and winner of the “2011 Good Design Award” from the Japan Industrial Design Promotion Organization, “Luce” is a multipurpose ergonomic chair designed for active work settings where users are required to stand up frequently. Its “smart relaxation” mechanism quickly absorbs the impact of sitting and helps the body to ease into a relaxed posture.

In addition to versatile seating solutions, manufacturers will showcase innovation in workstations and desking systems, along with a wide range of modular products that offer intelligent space-saving solutions for the office desk such as the More Space System, showcased by German office specialists, Novus.

The Office Exhibition 2012 will also be the regional launch pad for leading German manufacturers, C + P’s new range of acoustic and wireless office solutions. Combining creativity and functionality, the “Sonic Wall” range of workstation partitions are sound absorbing surfaces that can be printed with individual motifs to make the office space look aesthetically pleasing.  As the first European manufacturer to integrate technology into standard office furniture, C + P will also display a variety of products that combine smart design and technology.  While its “Monotop” partition system can be controlled using a tablet or smartphone, the “Cegano” and “Premio” desk systems are fitted with wireless charging modules to ensure smartphone devices remain fully powered.

Commenting on the line-up of exhibitors, David Wilson, Event Director of The Office Exhibition said: “We are delighted to bring to the Middle East such innovative and intelligent products in office furniture and design that complement the evolving modern workplace. This year’s show promises to be yet another exciting showcase of excellent design and offers fantastic opportunities for knowledge exchange and networking. The Office Exhibition 2012 is undoubtedly the leading platform in the Middle East for architects, designers and business decision makers to source inspiring design ideas and new products.”

For more information about The Office Exhibition 2012 visit

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