Dubai:Local and international design companies say demand is increasing for hospitality interiors and fit-outs due to a growing number of hotel projects announced recently in Dubai.
“Naturally, after 2008 there has been a return to progress in all sectors, in infrastructure, government support and people’s needs. We see that the UAE and GCC’s growth and development has exceeded that of most countries in the world,” Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance, told Gulf News after opening the International Design Exhibition (Index) on Monday.
Al Aqili Furnishings, a UAE-based furniture company, saw demand for furniture grow 20 to 30 per cent so far in 2013 compared to the same time last year.
“There has been an improvement in business from the hospitality and residential sectors since the beginning of the year. There are new hotels coming up and refurbishments.” said Rashid Yousif, business director of Al Aqili, on the sidelines of the International Design Exhibition (Index) that opened Monday. “For local furniture manufacturers, they mainly supply hotels and there’s more than enough work.”
The hospitality sector, at 19 per cent of total interiors and fitouts spends in the GCC, will be worth $1.62 billion in 2013, up from $1.33 billion in 2012, according to a study by management consultancy Ventures Middle East.
“The growth in the hospitality sector and holiday homes has added great demand to the furniture and fittings industry,” said Hilal Al Marri, chief executive of the Dubai World Trade Centre, after the show opening.
However, some local interiors companies are still struggling to catch up with their international counterparts for business with the hospitality sector here.
“It depends on the client’s budget and delivery time. but in design no one can exceed the European companies…we just don’t have the technology for some things,” said Bassam Merheb, head of sourcing at Galaxy Trading, a UAE-based company that supplied ceramics to The Address Downtown hotel.
La Farma, an Italian customised and hand-made furniture company, participated in Index to seek opportunities in Dubai.
“We hope to target villas and boutique hotels with customisation in design and specifications,” said Chiara Del Bene, manager of the family business.
Others were more sceptical of the interiors work done here.
“The hotel projects here look impressive but they’re made cheaply and commercially. They aim to make a profit in five years and then re-decorate,” said Thomas Faustig, president of chandelier manufacturer Faustig. “There’s no long-term décor investment, everything is like a movie mock-up.”
Instead, Faustig is targeting work in the private palaces in Dubai, which could cost starting from €100,000, he said.
Dubai has announced several hotel projects including 100 hotels in the Mohammad Bin Rashid City and the $1 billion Viceroy Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah.