You won't find Arte Vivo on the high street or, should I say, in the nearest shopping mall; instead it is based at the Design House near the exclusive Acacia Avenues development. Sadly, for us proud homeowners, Arte Vivo specialises in servicing the hospitality industry. However, as the team at Arte Vivo will be updating the furniture in their showroom every three to four months, there may be the slight possibility of buying some of this stock once they have finished with it.
For the hospitality industry, Arte Vivo will provide interior design services, which include the design and manufacture of products.
Mike Pass, managing director of the company, explains, "Arte Vivo will act as a strong single source of solutions for hoteliers. There is not a piece of furniture that we can't produce." When you meet Pass, you truly believe that there is nothing that he would not be able to achieve and he certainly has a flair for style, something which can be traced back as his
heritage. "I have always had a passion for furniture," says Pass. "It runs in the family. My father was artistic and my brother is an interior designer and has been working in Abu Dhabi for the past 20 years. He is my twin brother so what he likes, I like."
Arte Vivo, which was initially launched during Index last year, is working in alliance with Philippines-based Pacific Traders and Manufactures, who will produce the furniture. What makes this company exciting is the fact that they work with some of the best brands in the world. As design director of Pacific Traders, Bernice Montenegro has worked on projects with renowned designers such as Antonio Citterio, Tommy Bahama and Ralph Lauren. But while she is very particular about the finish of her designs and vehemently proud of the intricate workmanship that takes place in their Cebu workshop, she also produces stylish pieces with a conscience.
She says, "For the past four years we have used all sustainable products. I work a lot with rattan." In fact many of the pieces in Arte Vivo's showroom are made from rattan, even if it isn't obvious at first. Gone are the traditional chairs that first spring to mind when you consider rattan; in their place are ubiquitous eclectic designs that would make an interesting addition to almost any interior.
Globally renowned designer Gregg Huettel, who works alongside Montenegro, and has designs in Ethan Allan and Polo Ralph Lauren, has also produced some absolutely stunning pieces that can be found in the showroom, which include striking desks and tables, some of which have been produced to look mature.
"Every piece of furniture should tell a story about the owner's personality while touching upon the geographic location and ultimately considering the space availability and the practical and artistic functions required," says Huettel. "The measure of my furniture designs success is that my customers can successfully express themselves within their environment."
With Huettel being such an established designer who has worked in the industry for the past 20 years, it is interesting to ask him his thoughts on the design trends in Dubai.
"The biggest shock I had when I came to Dubai was how multinational it is. It has European, US design teams and so on. You cannot really detect a theme," says Huettel. "In the US, the trend has been for reclaimed wood, a very casual distressed look. Although it is getting a little more transitional, it is neither here nor there and there are lots of clean lines now. Here the trends seem quite varied; I do not think I can conclude that one trend is taking over. Everyone seems to do their own thing."
So what exactly is Huettel's style? "It is hard to pinpoint a style," says Huettel, "I combine veneers and like to make a nice clear finish - that is my trademark. But I am very versatile depending on what the customer wants, as ultimately you always have to design what the they want."
What the customer wants, I suspect, is more of the Arte Vivo products around, possibly in malls in the community so that more of us can take advantage of Huettel and Montenegro's designs. So might there be any possibility of this happening in the near future? In every good business plan, there is room for growth and Pass concludes, "We may look at some distributors on the high street as a second stage." Let's keep our fingers crossed