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.