CASPAIOU

HANS + MAR­IJKE BRUINSMA

Identity - - DESIGN PIONEERS -

With com­ple­men­tary skills and a shared vi­sion, de­sign con­sul­tants Hans and Mar­ijke Bruinsma were al­ready fa­mil­iar with the UAE from ear­lier trade ex­pe­ri­ences be­fore they made the de­ci­sion to set up busi­ness here in 2006. Hans’ civil en­gi­neer­ing and man­age­ment back­ground, and his ex­per­tise in spa­tial aware­ness and the need for bal­ance when de­sign­ing spa­ces, were matched by Mar­ijke’s ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence in the fash­ion in­dus­try, where her knowl­edge of colours, tex­tures and fab­rics were driv­ers for suc­cess.

In 2006 the hus­band-and-wife team were drawn to Dubai for sev­eral rea­sons. Says Hans: “We loved the ‘can do’ at­ti­tude and broad vi­sion for the fu­ture, as well as the 24/ 7 dy­nam­ics. As the build­ing boom reached its pin­na­cle, we were sure that by of­fer­ing a min­i­mal­ist Euro­pean style for the fur­nish­ing of all th­ese newly­built vil­las and apart­ments we could cre­ate a niche ap­proach to the in­dus­try, so we just started.”

Rent­ing a show­room on Sheikh Zayed Road for max­i­mum vis­i­bil­ity was, they say, their best de­ci­sion. They chose the fan­tasy name of Caspaiou, and the im­pres­sive Aqua lights that il­lu­mi­nated their show­room were like a bea­con for de­sign afi­ciona­dos, who found within a re­tail space fur­nished as a warm and wel­com­ing home. This was an­other strate­gic de­ci­sion, matched by a knowl­edge­able staff. Early en­dorse­ments from The Ad­dress and Jebel Ali Ho­tel & Re­sort fol­lowed, with both se­lect­ing the dis­tinc­tive light­ing. Cur­rently, Caspaiou of­fers more than 60 brands. “All brands have had their im­pact - even the smaller ones, as they pro­vide the fin­ish­ing touch,” says Hans. “But brands such as Merid­i­ani have had a great im­pact as they have grown with us. To­day, Merid­i­ani of­fers a com­plete range of fur­ni­ture, whereas when we started twelve and a half years ago, it was with one sofa.”

Merid­i­ani’s de­sign di­rec­tor An­drea Pari­sio is now both a friend and in­spi­ra­tion to the de­sign duo, not least be­cause the Ital­ian brand un­der­stands the na­ture of UAE busi­ness. Caspaiou has nur­tured smaller com­pa­nies such as Lin­teloo (from the Nether­lands, the Bru­ins­mas’ home coun­try), while niche brands such as Laura Meroni and Ulivi Salotti also play an im­por­tant role in their col­lec­tions.

Word of mouth has been Caspaiou’s main mar­ket­ing tool. “We are al­ways ex­cited when peo­ple come to us on the spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tion of an ex­ist­ing client,” says Hans, with a com­bi­na­tion of pride and hu­mil­ity. Projects in the emi­rate’s key lo­ca­tions - Burj Khal­ifa, DIFC Pent­house, Cayan Tower and Palm Jumeirah - have in­creased their vis­i­bil­ity and pro­vided creative in­spi­ra­tion. Hans ac­knowl­edges, “Of course, each villa or apart­ment has its own par­tic­u­lar­i­ties and chal­lenges. In the UAE, one of the most re­ward­ing as­pects of our role in the res­i­den­tial sec­tor is that we get to work also on ex­tra­or­di­nary projects in terms of size, ar­chi­tec­ture or avail­able bud­get, and with peo­ple from so many dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties, cul­tures and back­grounds.” And if Caspaiou now has an in­creas­ing global outreach (present in places such as Los An­ge­les), it is be­cause the brand has grown or­gan­i­cally, never de­sert­ing its own de­sign in­tegrity.

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