Dubai: The UAE luxury decor brand Al Huzaifa has launched an interior designing company - Design Studio – to offer bespoke services. The 8,600 square studio features concept settings, walk-through mockups, and discussion rooms.
“All our stores would have a section that talked about customisation but not showcasing the strength of what can be done locally, in terms of manufacturing,” said Shiraz Jamaji, CEO of Al Huzaifa. “As clientele grew, we became confident that there is a huge gap in the market where customisation was not being catered to in a professional level. And that’s how the concept was born.”
Al Hufaiza is known for projects with epiphany hotels and F&B brands such as Tom Hortons, CK, Billionaires Mansion in Taj, Josette, Clay and the latest Drvn Cafe, Blue waters. ”We already had a taste for high-end finishes, so it was a seamless transition when the management and stakeholders took a decision about showcasing the strength,” said Jamaji.
A team of 16 designers are working on various residential projects in the UAE. Al Hufaiza has a factory at Emirates Industrial City in Sharjah that has received the ‘Made in UAE’ manufacturer’ status. Therefore, Al Huzaifa is exempt from customs duties while exporting to any country within the MENA region.
Inside the studio
The Design Studio is divided into two halves, the first presents a sample of TV units, customised furniture, decoration wallpaper curtains and flooring. The second half of the studio showcases big-scale offices for meeting clients and designing the mood board. “Design Studio is about bringing imagination to reality,” said Lama Al Awa, Head of Interior Designer and Design Studio Manager.
Step by step
“We start by planning for the area and aligning the theme in the very beginning,” said Al Awa. “Following which we start working on the proposal and design. Once the budget is set, we go to our mood board and start working at the backend.”
“Apart from the UAE, we also cater to customers in Kuwait, Saudi, Muscat and Qatar,” said Jamaji. “Currently, we are working with high-end luxury hotels and F&B companies, but we might even start customisation for residential very soon in these markets.”
Following Al Huzaifa’s expansion into the Muscat market, the CEO said, “Now we want to move the same thing in a very bigger market like Saudi Arabia.”
Design Studio doubled its manpower and capital to cater to meet the demand of high-end luxury residentials. “We have hired manager categories like designer detailers, purchasing and sourcing team and procurement engineers for seamless delivery,” said Jamaji.
Talking about the pandemic, Jamaji said people have a tendency of upgrading their homes or move into bigger ones when the markets fall. “There is a shift towards real estate during the recession. We have seen it during the 2008 crisis. And idea is to be ready with stocks when the customers walk in.
“Now there is an opportunity for new buyers to step in. We started seeing our business going up in numbers and that gives us more confidence. Last quarter of last year was a bit shaky, but in January we really started picking up the confidence.
“The stocking capacity is gone up almost three times or what we usually would stop you know, our whole inventories you know, we tripled it.”
Jamaji reckons pandemic effect on luxury did not have a huge impact. “At that end, people don’t get shaken up too quick.”