The new Silk Road

IN­DEX Dubai and FIM Di­rec­tor Sa­man­tha Kane-Macdon­ald re­veals what’s in store at all the new Septem­ber shows


De­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects in the re­gion and from around the globe are al­ready gear­ing up for what is go­ing to be one of the busiest weeks of the Dubai de­sign cal­en­dar. IN­DEX – the Mid­dle East’s largest in­te­ri­ors ex­hi­bi­tion – is host­ing its sec­ond de­sign event of the year, of­fer­ing a fully rounded cre­ative ex­pe­ri­ence by run­ning along­side its new sis­ter show, FIM – both of which will take place along­side Dubai’s The Ho­tel Show and The Leisure Show.

Fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of IN­DEX’s March fair, this sec­ond edi­tion is tak­ing place at Dubai World Trade Cen­tre on 16-18 Septem­ber and will of­fer a com­bi­na­tion of de­sign and hos­pi­tal­ity ex­hi­bi­tions that meet the grow­ing needs of the de­sign in­dus­try. FIM will unite lo­cal fur­ni­ture-mak­ers, in­te­rior de­sign­ers and ar­chi­tects with in­ter­na­tional providers of ma­te­ri­als, tools and com­po­nents who are look­ing to ex­pand their reach across the Mid­dle East.

Event Di­rec­tor Sa­man­tha Kane-Macdon­ald ex­plains: “Septem­ber’s IN­DEX – our sec­ond of the year – and FIM run­ning ad­ja­cent to one an­other makes it eas­ier than ever for de­sign­ers, ar­chi­tects, buy­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers to come and ab­sorb an all-en­com­pass­ing de­sign show­case that’s been put to­gether to help them achieve all the am­bi­tions of their clients. That can be from ac­quir­ing light­ing, fur­ni­ture or bed­ding for a ho­tel, villa or shop in­te­rior, to dis­cov­er­ing the parts and fab­rics needed to cre­ate that one-off arm­chair, pouf or walk-in­wardrobe. To be able to serve-up all of that for our vis­i­tors in one place is a real source of ex­cite­ment for us – and our ex­hibitors.”

Ac­cord­ing to a 2017 mar­ket re­port by an­a­lysts Ven­tures Mid­dle East – cit­ing the United Na­tions Com­mod­ity Trade Data­base – the an­nual ex­port value of fur­ni­ture and parts thereof out of the re­gion is es­ti­mated to be worth Dhs1.5 bil­lion (US$400 mil­lion) each year. Of that, the UAE ac­counted for roughly half the to­tal fig­ure.

The theme – ‘ Where East meets West: Silk Road’ – will of­fer some­thing dif­fer­ent to the usual buyer ex­pe­ri­ence as the show presents it­self as a mod­ern-day Silk Road; the famous cross-con­ti­nen­tal path­way that opened up new mar­kets for Asian and Euro­pean de­sign philoso­phies.

Kane-Macdon­ald elab­o­rates: “The Silk Road started over 2000 years ago, and through its many routes be­came the first way that Europe and the West were in­tro­duced to the likes of silk, dyes, pre­cious stones, porce­lain, spices and per­fumes. In re­turn, the route took western goods like glass­ware, wool tex­tiles, rugs, car­pets, an­i­mal firs and skins to a new mar­ket in the East, mak­ing it the world’s first and then pre­miere trade route, at the heart of which was de­sign and creativ­ity. Its path ven­tured through the deserts of the Mid­dle East. Two mil­len­nia on and the re­gion – the UAE es­pe­cially – plays just as cen­tral a role now, be­ing the hub be­tween the two con­ti­nents.”

More than 400 fur­ni­ture and dé­cor de­sign and sup­ply com­pa­nies from across the con­ti­nents – all spe­cial­is­ing in fit-out and in­te­rior prod­ucts for com­mer­cial, hos­pi­tal­ity, retail and res­i­den­tial de­sign projects – are set to par­tic­i­pate, in­clud­ing renowned in­ter­na­tional brands. A Casa K, Alain Saint-Joa­nis, Cristal de Paris, Gas­parri De­sign and Mi­nardi Pi­ume are all con­firmed, as are ex­cit­ing new brands such as CIELLO from Sri Lanka and Lisowski Glass Stu­dio from Cyprus.

FIM will be pro­mot­ing the skill and value of the ex­perts fu­elling this boom­ing mar­ket, such as Häfele GmbH & Co, Si­mon­swerk, Pla­mac Spa, L&S, Sedil Curvi, Seven Italia and Vi­terie, who will all be tak­ing part.

IN­DEX will come alive with the colours, pat­terns and tex­tures that en­cap­su­lated The Silk Road when it was its most densely trod­den, and the show will be brought alive with a num­ber of live fea­tures. High­lights in­clude the Trend Hub – an in­ter­ac­tive plat­form for de­sign­ers and re­tail­ers that will fea­ture sem­i­nar ses­sions on topics in­clud­ing 2020 de­sign and colour trends, ex­pe­ri­en­tial de­sign, so­cial me­dia for busi­ness de­vel­op­ment and visual mer­chan­dis­ing.

The show floor will also host a cu­rated show­case of lo­cal tal­ent com­piled by Tashkeel, plus a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween Box­mark and South African de­signer Ronel Jor­daan that will cul­mi­nate in the cre­ation of a ‘ Wool Wa­ter­fall’.

“This is the first time we have been able to in­cor­po­rate these two sep­a­rate de­sign el­e­ments to­gether in the same place, so Septem­ber’s event is go­ing to be some­thing dif­fer­ent for all our vis­i­tors. We feel it al­lows our ex­hibitors to pro­vide an es­sen­tial one-stop shop that hasn’t ex­isted up un­til now,” sum­marises Kane-Macdon­ald.

Sa­man­tha Kane-Macdon­ald

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