Design Kingdom

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is benefiting from government investment in infrastructure, and will see the launch of its first INDEX KSA show in 2012

The interior design industry in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is showing an upward turn with a plethora of investments and the introduction of the first INDEX KSA 2012, to be held in Jeddah during May 29-31, 2012.

After 22 years of operation in Dubai, UAE, the organisers of INDEX are tapping into the growing market in the Kingdom. Held under the patronage of Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, president of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, INDEX KSA will target the Kingdom’s commercial, hospitality, residential and retail interior sector where spend reached $2.16bn in 2011.

It will feature six sectors: Furniture, Interiors, Kitchen & Bathroom, Lighting, Outdoor Living and Textiles. The launch event signals the strength and growth of the interiors sector, and increased demand for design and fit-out services in KSA, following the region’s highest recorded annual economic growth since 2004-2005. This in addition to a government social investment package valued at more than $130bn in 2011.

Reflecting this growth is the fact that between 2010 and 2012, 18 million m2 of office space will have become available for interiors and fit-outs in the Kingdom, which is now primarily focusing on infrastructure such as educational institutions and hospitals.

Jaafar Shubber, INDEX KSA 2012 project manager, said: “We are honoured by the patronage of Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, and grateful for the opportunity to hold our first INDEX event in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

A report conducted by INDEX with Ventures Middle East in 2011 saw interiors spend in the region across commercial, hospitality, residential and retail segments set to reach more than $2.16bn for the full year, led by $359m spend on commercial interiors and $383m on residential interior fit-out.

In addition, residential furniture sales in KSA, estimated at $1.7bn in 2011, are forecast to grow by more than 10% a year over the next four years, reaching $2.5bn by the end of 2015, with commercial furniture sales in KSA during 2011 estimated to be worth an additional $216m.

“Buoyed by government investment in a whole range of infrastructural projects — including housing, education and healthcare — as well as complimentary private sector investment in commercial, retail, hospitality and residential projects, there has been a huge spike in demand for interiors and fit-out services across the Kingdom, as projects near completion,” said Shubber.

Even transportation projects are moving. The Kingdom is focusing on providing the necessary travel infrastructure to boost religious, business and domestic tourism and is spending more than $500 million on expanding its existing airports and is planning a new $7 billion airport in Jeddah.

“It is this demand which has led to the launch of INDEX KSA 2012, with both exhibitors and visitors to our flagship Dubai event expressing a real interest in a dedicated edition of the show for the Kingdom,” added Shubber.

More than 120 exhibitors have confirmed from 25 countries across Europe, the Middle East, North and South America, and Asia.

Shubber said three months before its opening, 90% of exhibition space for the event had already been booked, and called it ‘unprecedented’.

“It is one of the strongest indicators of the incredible appetite here in the region for events of this scale and quality,” he added.

In addition to the overall increase in interior design services, smart entertainment systems are in demand in the region, leading to Archimedia officially opening its flagship showroom in Riyadh.

The showroom, designed by UK’s KVB retail design firm, showcases the industry’s latest products with applications from award-winning brand names such as Bowers and Wilkins, Runco, Meridian, Crestron, Classe and more.

Lighting, curtains, music and movie browsing are all engineered to be controlled by the touch of a button.
Archimedia uses technology, practicality and design to make sure products are integrated with interiors to produce the perfect smart home.

Walls are automated to slide revealing screens behind them and cabinets are geared to release screens where invisible speakers are embedded in the walls.

“After more than over nine years in business in the Gulf region, Archimedia is finally moving to Saudi Arabia to serve the needs of sophisticated Saudis who demand nothing but the very best in home entertainment and lighting solutions,” said Omar Hikal, CEO, Archimedia.

“The home entertainment products Archimedia provides can turn any living room into a movie theatre; any room suddenly becomes a concert hall.

“We only partner with the world’s best brands, many of which are not available anywhere else in the Kingdom. From private residences to royal palaces and even yachts, we are proud to present an unrivalled acoustics and sensory experience to our customers,” he added.