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May 17, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Office Expo Dubai – Day Two

Office Expo Dubai – Day Two
Wednesday May 16, 2012
by Rob Kirkbride

Everyone has seen the towering skyscrapers for which Dubai is rightly known. The city has one of the most beautiful skylines in the world with the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab perhaps the most iconic structures ever built.

And yet little is known about what happens inside. Meet Rahul Soman, one of the interior designers who fills the buildings with office furniture. Soman is an interior designer with Bafco, one of Dubai’s largest office furniture dealers. Soman, along with a growing number of interior designers in Dubai help set the trends and fill the office spaces in one of the most dynamic real estate markets in the world.

So what do office dwellers in Dubai demand? Because of where Dubai is situated and the people that are attracted to this place, the city has one of the most unique blends of offices in the world. There are high end North American-style offices that look like they could be swapped out with any skyscraper in Chicago. There are stripped down European-style offices that would fit perfectly in London or Berlin. And, yes, there are a lot of offices filled with cheap Asian-made junk.

Soman said his job is about more than selling office furniture. Much of his job revolves around educating his customers about ergonomics, green building principles and the value of quality furniture. “Educating our clients is so important,” he said. “The right mix of furniture is critical to create an office that is attractive, healthy and safe.”

In many ways, Dubai is still trying to find its office style, but it is happening. The visual language is being shaped by the region’s cultural diversity and a young, internationally educated and technologically inclined workforce.

That was also the broad consensus of industry leaders at the Design Executive Roundtable, held at the Office Exhibition 2012. The session, represented by the heads of leading architectural and design firms, was chaired by Cheryl Durst, executive vice president and CEO of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA). The panellists debated how workplace design is helping to elevate standards of architecture in the region.

According to the group, the days of building iconic buildings for the sake of being iconic are a thing of the past. “A younger, internationally educated workforce is making more informed and considered decisions when it comes to workplace design. They understand more the importance of efficient, fit for purpose buildings,” said Steven Charlton, managing director of interior design firm Pringle Brandon.

Shams Naga, principal of Naga Architects, agreed. “The global recession has had a positive impact in the region in terms of helping people place a higher importance on ‘the real value of things.’ We are now collaborating with clients on the design process. This is better for us as an industry as design should be a two-way process. Now is the time to produce ‘good’ architecture,” he said.

Cultural diversity, coupled with pressure from international firms in the region to conform to global standards of design, is leading designers to create a new, unique style for the region. The group agreed technology has profoundly influenced this shift towards a more mature design market, not only because it improves clients’ access to information but also by necessitating a fundamental change in how people interact in the workplace.

According to Durst, the design profession worldwide now has a mandate to create spaces where people can think. “Our attachment to technology means reacting and responding to situations has replaced true work,” she said. “Human beings need interaction and they need time to think. The question now becomes what kinds of spaces do knowledge workers need?”

The panelists agreed that while employee mobility and connectedness requires office spaces and products that are also flexible and simple in their configuration, people will always gravitate towards a physical location in which to interact and collaborate. The workplace will remain an important part of the built environment, but there is now greater demand for creating spaces that are designed to last.

The panel agreed the region has a better appetite for sustainable design since the economic crisis, but criticized the level of commitment to such goals. This can be attributed, in part, to the transient work culture that exists in the UAE. If a CEO or manager is on a limited contract with the company and knows they are living in Dubai for the short-term, it is likely they are going to care less about being committed to meeting longer term sustainable goals.

The office furniture industry in Dubai continues to evolve. One panelist said client briefs have changed today from what they used to be before the financial slowdown. They are more about adding value than “all things nice to have.”

“Design is meant to improve the way we do things and in turn improve the human condition,” Durst said. “This is, and will be, the basic and the most important contribution of design, in any age and era. And that should be the focus of every designer.”

Courtesy of Monday Morning Quarterback


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May 17, 2012   Posted by: Indy

Office Expo Dubai – Day One

Office Expo Dubai – Day One
Tuesday May 15, 2012
by Rob Kirkbride

The first day of the Office Exhibition in Dubai started off with a bang, literally. As the show at the Dubai World Trade Centre kicked off this morning, one of the windows in a glass office built on the show floor by Officeland, a local dealer, blew out with a bang and a rain of glass. Luckily, no one was hurt and only a handful of attendees were trickling in at the time.

The opening of the show was also marked by royalty — the literal kind with flowing robes and pomp and the figurative kind, projects that won awards as part of the Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition.

Unfortunately, few people were around when H.E. Humaid Mohamed Obaid Al Qutami, the UAE’s Minister of Education cut the ribbon at the show. He arrived early, cut the ribbon, made a lap of the exhibition hall and left just as quickly. He shook hands along the way but avoided delving too deep into the office furniture industry before making his way out of the hall.

Despite the minor glitches, the show gained steam through out the day. More than 130 companies were showing from about 25 countries. Exhibitors at the 11th annual event ranged from large dealers to manufacturers. Whether they they all attend remains to be seen, but the show has seen a 15 percent increase in visitor pre-registrations from last year. About 5,500 trade and business delegates are expected to attend.

But in Dubai, it is about quality of attendee, not quantity, said Nathan Meyer, vice president of international sales at Global. Meyer experienced the power of the show with another office furniture maker in previous years. In his new position at Global, he feels it is critical that the company exhibit to build its brand in the region.

“To me, it is all about recycling some of that oil money,” Meyer joked. “It costs a lot of money to fill you car in North America. This is our way of getting a little bit of that back.”

In all seriousness, Meyer believes Global has great opportunities in the Middle East. In fact, its work there is already paying off. The company won a $2 million job to outfit Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Muscat. But Global — and all North American and European companies hoping to compete in the Middle East — need to do a better job of building their brand and supporting the dealer community. It is also important to meet the design community and introduce them to our brands, Meyer said.

“This show is not about a high volume of people coming through,” said Meyer, who exhibited here for eight or nine years. “If you compare this show to a show like NeoCon based on number of people attending, the Office Exhibition would be a total failure. It is when you see the attendees coming into the show with blueprints tucked under their arms that you see the value of this show. These are projects and they want to sit down with you and figure out what kind of furniture will work for them.”

With the area seeing a recovery trend in the real estate segment, international manufacturers are eyeing growing business opportunities in the region’s commercial office market. The show has seen an increase in exhibitor interest from many countries including Italy, Germany, Portugal, the U.S. and the wider Middle East, said Event Director David Wilson.

“We are pleased to welcome a host of first-time participants at the show this year. Newcomers at ‘The Campus’ — our contingent of companies from The Americas — include Canadian heavyweights Global and Allseating as well as Trendway from the U.S. The return of our long-standing participants Guialmi, Diemme, Sedus and many others reinforces the significance of the show to international manufacturers,” he said.

The Office Exhibition opened with an awards ceremony to honor the winners of The Middle East Office and Hospitality Product Design Awards. Organized and judged by the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the competition acknowledged exhibitors with the most innovative products in the office interiors and hospitality sectors. The results of The Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition – recognizing the best interior design projects across the Middle East followed in the afternoon.

The Office Exhibition this year launched a series of complimentary educational seminars and workshops. Taking place on each day of the show, the seminars address pressing issues in commercial interior design ranging from sustainability to best practices in healthcare designs and reinventing the classroom.

Commenting on the significance of The Office Exhibition, Woody Lennard, Managing Partner, Oceana Gulf said: “The Office Exhibition is the only dedicated show in the Middle East where we can exhibit our extensive product range, meet with a focused audience seeking suppliers for active projects and identify distributors. The Middle East is seeing an uptick in infrastructure developments and this is the perfect gateway for us to target new growth markets across the region.”

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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 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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March 18, 2012   Posted by: Indy

IIDA to identify best commercial design in the Middle East at The Office Exhibition 2012

Annual commercial interior design competition expands to the Middle East !
The Office Exhibition 2012, the Middle East’s premier trade event for office fit-out and design, is opening up its annual commercial interior design competition to the wider Middle East for the first time. In partnership with the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), ‘The Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition’ will recognise outstanding commercial interior design in corporate, education, healthcare, hospitality, government, restaurant, retail and fitness/spa projects located in the Middle East.
Interior designers, interior architects or design firms based anywhere around the world are eligible to enter ‘The Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition.’ The projects submitted should be based within the Middle East and completed within the last three years (between 1 January 2009 and 31 December 2011). The competition will remain open for entries from 5 March to 26 April 2012 and companies interested in participating can lodge their application online at
Organised by IIDA, the official knowledge partner for The Office Exhibition 2012, the interior design competition seeks to highlight excellence in commercial interior design across the Middle East. The winning design projects will be on display at The Office Exhibition 2012 from 15 – 17 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre and will be acknowledged at an official awards ceremony during the event.
Commenting on the competition, Cheryl Durst, Executive Vice President and CEO of IIDA said: “Design in the workplace matters because it facilitates human interaction and performance. Good design is not only aesthetic but should also benefit the end user. Through the Office Exhibition Interior Design Competition, we aim to recognise and celebrate those commercial spaces that are artistic, innovative and functional.”
David Wilson, Event Director of The Office Exhibition added: “As the only trade show for office interior design in the Middle East, broadening the reach of our design competition to include projects in the wider region was a logical extension of the programme in its second year. By recognising those companies that understand the impact of good design on business success, we hope the industry will be able to learn from their example.”
In collaboration with The Hotel Show, The Office Exhibition 2012 is also offering exhibitors at the show a chance to showcase their most innovative products through The Middle East Office & Hospitality Product Design Awards. Also organised by IIDA, the Awards will reward manufacturers and designers for excellence and innovation in product design across various categories in the commercial office and hotel industries.

“This awards programme is a valuable platform for exhibitors to highlight their best product innovations over the last year. The Office Exhibition is committed to bringing to the region the very best in design and highlighting game-changing products that help to create excellent workspaces.” says David Wilson.


For more information about the award programmes or The Office Exhibition 2012 visit

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March 3, 2012   Posted by: Indy

American Campus at the Office Exhibition ‘Major new companies enter the Mid East Market’

The American Campus announced today that a number of ‘major new names’ will be using the 2012 Office Exhibition in Dubai as the springboard for their campaigns for a stake in the lucrative Commercial Interiors market in the Middle East.

Details will be announced this week !

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February 5, 2012   Posted by: Indy

‘Middle East Market offers Amazing Opportunities to North American Manufacturers’

“So while the Middle East offers amazing opportunities for North American office furniture makers, it affords those same opportunities to companies around the world. Wait too long to join and the market will be full” – MMQB 5/23/11

GCC interior design spend forecasted at US$5.67 billion in 2011, with further regional growth in 2012 – Ventures Middle East.

The GCC’s healthcare sector is set to grow by an annual rate of 11 percent and will be worth nearly $44bn by 2015 – Alpen Capital.

Demand for hotel rooms in the Middle East grew by nine percent in 2011, the highest growth rate in the world – STR Global.

Abu Dhabi plans to build 100 new schools in the next decade to meet the increasing needs across the emirate.-

The outlook for the commercial fit-out segment in the Middle East Region remains vibrant in 2012 as contractors look to support new infrastructure projects. North American products continue to be sought after by the region’s specifiers and end users, with an unequalled reputation for sustainable, design-lead products, manufacturing quality and after sales support.

Co-located with the Hotel Show, The Office Exhibition 2012 is the Middle East’s industry platform for premium office, health, education sector design and fit-out solutions and is the gateway to the business opportunities across the region.  A must-attend event for the region’s architecture and design community, the show attracts visitors from across the wider Middle East and Africa.

As the North American agents for the Office Exhibition and Hotel Show, Independent provides a range of options including location within the North American Campus. Packages can be full turnkey, including premium space, stand build, show handling, international freight and an extensive marketing package in a very affordable package. Stand sizes are extremely flexible so as to best suit each exhibitor’s needs and budget.

We look forward to hearing from you and bringing your products to this rapidly growing market.

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January 30, 2012   Posted by: Indy

IIDA Presents Global Perspective to Architects and Designers in Dubai

Global demographics and technology have drastically changed architecture and design over the last 10 years. According to Cheryl Durst (Hon. FIIDA), Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), a younger world and social media are transforming how people think about their relationships to work and the office environment must respond accordingly.
Ms. Durst was presenting to a group of senior architects and designers in Dubai on Jan 24 as part of a dmg::events industry gathering. As organisers of the Office Exhibition 2012 and the Index International Design Exhibition 2012, dmg::events invited the US-based professional association to deliver a global perspective on the business of interior design and what this means for practices in the Middle East.
“Worldwide, design is responding to a youth culture”, said Durst. “Te world is getting younger and the youth are more visually literate than their older counterparts. Lighting and colour are design priorities; as is speed. This demographic consumes their information in 15 second newsfeeds. Design must not only look great, it must function quickly”.
While architects and designers have always been trained to create spatial environments in the context of the end user’s experience, IIDA says the influence of design in commercial environments is more pervasive than it has ever been.
“Design has always been about the experience, but that also extends to marketing. Brands these days are focused on experiental marketing and interiors are a big part of the visual language. It is no longer enough to just know design. You have to understand its place within the marketing mix; its influence on organisational behaviours. Designers today would benefit from broadening their education to include subjects like marketing, psychology and anthropology”, said Durst.
Despite a younger, more digitally savvy and connected world, Durst added that the fundamentals of workplace design remain unchanged. “Ultimately, design is about people. It’s not just a facade or decoration. We will always need to consider the whole end user experience and so space, security and privacy are basic needs that a designer must always meet”, she said.
As the office knowledge partner for the Office Exhibition 2012, IIDA will return to Dubai later this year to deliver design seminars during the show, taking place from 15-17 May at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
“We are really pleased to have renewed our knowledge partnership with IIDA” said David Wilson, Event Director of the Office Exhibition. “As a global association they facilitate important dialogue between the local design community and product manufacturers to ensure the regional industry keeps paces with these trends.”

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