'Creative 30' Powerlist 2020 - Design Middle East

‘Creative 30’ Powerlist 2020 – Design Middle East


Presenting creative 30 Powerlist:

  • 01 Isabel Pintado, Managing Director, Wilson Associates

For full story, visit here November issue: https://bit.ly/3nwIfaS

Quality meets technology - Design Middle East

Quality meets technology – Design Middle East

Mehdi Khoury, Founder and Managing Director of Marwa Marble, on brand’s core offerings, trends, current project, and their expansion plans. It’s a family-owned business and today with the help of the second generation, Marwa Marble is trying to break the boundaries of the industry to give marble in all its forms the appreciation it deserves

Can you tell us more about Marwan Marble-your purpose, mission, core offerings, and prestigious projects?

We are here to provide our customers with a wide range of high-quality marbles, granites, travertines, onyx, quartzites, and quartz with excellent finishing and installation. The objective of providing our customers with high-quality material assists in bringing all stone related conceptual designs to life. Our ultimate goal is to ensure our customers are satisfied with the overall service – most importantly the end-product and to give marble; a natural product, the value and appreciation it deserves. Our Core offerings include site measurements, shop drawings, marble cutting, dry laying, fixing, and polishing of the marble after fixing.

Some of our prestigious commissions include Past projects Le Reve Tower, Dubai Marina; Volante Tower, Business Bay; One 100 Palm Jumeirah, VIP luxury mansions in Emirates Hills and Palaces all across the seven Emirates, Presidential Place in Turkmenistan, amongst others.

Marwa Marble offers a wide range of unique high-quality marble and granite with exquisite designs, finishing and installation, bringing all conceptual designs to life

What influences the products you import or are planning to develop?

We take into consideration the market trends and our recommendations in terms of quality, colour schemes, and budgets.

How is the market situation at the moment? How COVID-19 has impacted your business?

When COVID-19 first hit, the business was a bit slow due to lockdown and customers having trouble visiting our showroom. Now, over the past three to four months with the ease of restrictions, we have seen a surge in sales, a main reason for that is because our projects are mostly private villas and is not directly influenced by the real estate market.

What are the challenges in this region?

Misguidance within the industry such as the effects of social media on peoples taste and requirements when it doesn’t match their budget and receiving wrong information from inexperienced individuals in the industry. Contractors and consultants unreasonably pricing marble at a relatively low price which always causes clients confusion and disappointment when they are introduced to marble and its real costs.

Nabil Khoury, business development manager, Marwa Marble

Could you tell us more about your factory and the modern facilities you are using?

A minimum of 90,000m2 of material is stored in our factory at all times of the year. This guarantees our customers a wide range of colours and marbles to select from depending on what is most suitable for their project. Marwa Marble facility is built on 100,000 sqft of land fully equipped with modern facilities such as cranes and forklifts for proper loading and unloading of materials in addition to

imported machines like waterjet machines, calibrating machines, bridge machines, grinding, cutting and polishing machines to ensure excellent cutting and superb finishing for our customers.

With the help of over 100 employees, Marwa Marble is committed to continuously improve its services and product quality by purchasing the most advanced machines in the industry. Our aim is to provide our customers with the best material to complement their designs at the most competitive prices.

Fadi Khoury, COO at Marwa Marble

What is the most popular variety of marbles best-suited for this region and why? Tell us an emerging trend we should look out for in 2021.

Italian Travertine has proven to be one of the most reliable stones and has been very popular recently in the UAE market due to how resilient it can be with the weather in the region. It can be fixed indoors and outdoors because of its near zero absorption rate compared to other marbles, it can also be used in multiple ways, such as on flooring, wall cladding, façades and pool decking. It also offers many finishing options such as leather, honed, polished or for a more natural look simply raw.

Something that we should all look out for in 2021, and can emerge as a trend is grey marbles. Depending on different preferences grey marbles have many different shades and can match any style or mood. Another trend that has recently become popular in the market is the installation of Marble TV units and also using marble as wall features.

What are the current projects you’re working on?

There are a lot of exciting projects that we’re currently working on. Some of those include Al Rahmaniya Mall, two private Palaces in Zabeel, one private villa in Jumeirah Golf Estates, another five private villas on The Palm, DIFC common area, and other multiple private villas across the seven Emirates.

Any expansion plans in the pipeline?

Marwa Marble is currently in the process of building an additional 50,000sqft where materials will be held in an all indoor facility.

Marwa Marble was established in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates in 1987, by Mehdi Khoury.

Splendour of marble – Design Middle East

Splendour of marble - Design Middle East

Splendour of marble – Design Middle East

Umesh Punia, CEO of Glaze Marble, talks about the brand’s core values, the newest addition of Neolith sintered stone to its state-of-the-art gallery, and the marble and granite popular trends

What is the brand philosophy of Glaze?
Since our inception, we have always focussed on the minor details that define quality. This philosophy has given us an identity, that despite beginning from an insignificant operation size, has shaped us into a renowned brand. Even today, being the largest importer of natural stones in the UAE, we stick to our philosophy and our quality. We radically changed the way marble or natural stone was selected, imported, sold & traded in the UAE market. In the late 90’s, when we began, natural stone was imported, stored, and traded in a shabby way, more or less similar to construction or masonry stone. So basically, we believed in the beauty of natural stone, and giving it the same respect as any gemstone in a Jeweler’s shop, this became our strength and brand. This different perspective completely reshaped the whole landscape of stone business in the UAE market. For comparison, if you see the marble companies and their stockyards in Qatar, or in Kuwait, or even in Oman, you can see a completely different scenario, with totally different quality and standards, a different price range, and no luxury products at all. So focussing on quality, details, and believing that the marble is no less than a diamond or a ruby, gives us a niche in the market – and then it is all about scaling. In a nutshell, the foundation stone was laid on the quality detailing of the natural stone which inspired our brand philosophy from the beginning.

What is your competitive edge in this market?
Undoubtedly, the UAE clientele, which has a good taste and refined appetite for quality products, in whichever field or segment that may be, we found our competitive edge. Initially, it was not about finding a competitive edge or something of that sort, it was just passion for the natural stone and marble. Finding new and better-quality natural stone was just a mere passion. In the late 90’s when I started travelling to Italy, I saw how many varieties and high-quality natural stones were being processed, imported to Italy from different corners of the planet for processing in Italy and then for re-export to the EU and North American countries. I was always wondering why our market is limited to some few basic colours. Why do those exotic stones have no presence in our market? That’s where the journey started to add new exotic colours to our collection. So, it was a bold attempt to try and introduce all those expensive and high-end stones. Of course, there were setbacks of dead stock as well, however,

Glaze warehouse stocks more than 400 colours of marble, granite, and other different styles of natural stones

eventually it became our strength and today we have about 400 colours of marble, granite and different kinds of natural stones in our collection. So, this huge range of collections, combined with our fundamentals of quality and detailing, gave us the cutting edge in the market over many companies that were well established for as long as 30-40 years. Not only that, but we also have many exclusive agreements for different materials for the UAE market. Each block (lot) of marble/ stone in our stone gallery is hand-picked from the best sources at the most competitive prices from different corners of the world.

Could you tell us more about your biggest state-of-the-art stone gallery in the Middle East?
It’s about the passion for the stone business if you have ever heard about the famous stone galleries of Verona (Italy), such as Antolini etc., whenever I was visiting those galleries, every time – the thought used to occur to me to make something like that in UAE, and we did an experiment on a smaller scale in 2007, and made a version of the same, but unfortunately this place was bit far, and despite the earlier version being ready in 2007-08, we were still operating from our old location. But in 2014, when we fully shifted to this location, it was very easy for us to recognise that it was indeed time to make something big, a masterpiece, and here we are today. We are once again very thankful to the Architects and Designers of the UAE who have that world-class taste and appetite to select their great gift of Mother Nature to enhance the esthetic appeal of their spaces. We got a tremendously positive response from everyone, from homeowner to designer or architect, that it was a world-class experience to come and visit our state-of-the-art gallery space. We can proudly say that it is a class apart in this part of the world. It’s not just about the infrastructure and the ambience of the building alone, but the huge collection, variety, and quality also. Every piece of the stone is carefully selected and handpicked. If you are a stone lover, it is irresistible for you not to pick out something or the other. Very often we hear from our clients that they come here just to choose something to enhance a small area, but after walking through our gallery, they purchase material for a much larger space than originally planned. Apart from top-quality marble from Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and Turkey, we have 100% of super exotic granite and quartzite from Brazil. We also have a large range of semi-precious stone slabs, made of high-quality Agate, Crystals, and petrified wood etc., all these are made in Europe with extreme precision and the highest quality standards.

You are the official distributor of innovative surface—Neolith in the region. Share some features about this hi-tech surface and where all it can be used?
Neolith is undoubtedly the #1 sintered stone, it is a revolutionary product, and technologically speaking, the most advanced surface solution. It’s made from 100% natural minerals such as silica, quartz, feldspar etc. These minerals are grinded into a powder and then compressed very tightly, and then heated. So basically, this process is an imitation of what happens in nature to create natural stones, but in a factory setting, using ultra-modern technology to produce Neolith. Neolith is special because it is extremely versatile, it can practically be used for almost everything, such as flooring, wall cladding, kitchen tops, bar counters, furniture, landscaping …. basically everything. It is UV resistant, very hard to scratch, completely non-porous, fire-resistant, it comes in a large format, same as marble slabs. Moreover, the designs are truly stunning – especially the marble collection. One of the most distinguished features of the Neolith is its special finishes, such as ULTRASOFT, it gives the same touch and feels like marble.

Which is the most popular surface which gets repeated orders and why?
Trends in architecture and interior design are always evolving, it’s not that they change overnight, but they do transform in phases of 10-12 years. In the early 2000’s, mainly beige and brown were in vogue, most projects, whether residential or commercial, all were inspired by these warm themes and those days we used to sell the iconic marble Crema Marfil more than anything else, whereas these days it’s all about white and grey concepts, so now Statuario, a legendary white marble from Italy, is our best seller. Similarly, for kitchen tops, the Brazilian Quartzites have replaced the old black and red coloured granites. Now the reconstituted Quartzs are also fast sellers for the kitchen and countertops.





Design Middle East November 2020
Adelaide-based design firm Hardy Milazzo merges with dwp

Adelaide-based design firm Hardy Milazzo merges with dwp

Adelaide-based design firm Hardy Milazzo merges with dwp

Adelaide architecture and interior design practice ​Hardy Milazzo has announced that it is joining ​dwp | design worldwide partnership​.

“The benefits of growing our capabilities and global reach within a design firm that operates a network of studios internationally will be of enormous value to our clients, our people and our business,” Hardy Milazzo founder Graham Hardy says​.

Scott Whittaker, dwp founder, ​says: “Coming together with South Australia’s Hardy Milazzo Architects brings it all back home and will see the full extent of each practice’s experience put to market in a spirit of collaboration.”

Regional MD for Australia Michael Hegarty says, “We are determined to support our clients through the current economic downturn and beyond, and further mergers and acquisitions will be considered so that we emerge stronger than ever from the global recession. Consolidating with other firms to make a more robust, firm with a broader base of clients across multiple states is a key way of achieving that growth and strength.”


Artemide showcases the latest lighting collection at Dubai Design Week 2020

Artemide showcases the latest lighting collection at Dubai Design Week 2020

Artemide showcases the latest lighting collection at Dubai Design Week 2020

The Italian lighting brand, Artemide participates in the latest edition of the Fair with installations and product launches at the ongoing Dubai Design Week being held at Dubai Design District (d3).

Artemide introduces its latest, forward-thinking lighting collections in partnership with established international architecture firms and developed using research based on cutting-edge technologies. Displayed through installations and showcases within the exhibitions, extensive programming across varying locations in the d3. As part of the d3 edit, a capsule exhibit featuring works across a diverse range of design disciplines by various individuals and brands in the d3, Artemide presents a scenographic installation of the innovative Discovery Space. Discovery, designed by Artemide’s Founder and President Ernesto Gismondi, interprets Artemide’s technological expertise and design knowledge to produce surprising solutions.

Artemide’s latest product collection La Linea designed in partnership with renowned international architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group: BIG is also presented within the district. Launched earlier this year, La Linea is a flexible tube of light, capable of freely twisting and turning in space according to undefined geometries. With its minimal form, the object’s versatility allows the structure to either adhere to the architecture or use folds to create highly expressive three-dimensional shapes and linear graphics. Due to the light’s high mechanical and thermal resistance, the product complements architectural forms both indoor and outdoor. La Linea is on show within the d3 Architectural Festival, a showcase of 40 of the best architectural works in the GCC region, ranging from small to large works that have contributed to both the economic and cultural value of the surrounding built environment.

Debuting at the 2020 edition, Artemide is supporting the exhibition’s charity initiative Designed for Sharing by Fantini Mosaici. Housed with the ground floor of the d3 building, Artemide’s Alphabet of Light circular suspensions, together with Tolomeo Maxi and Cadmo floor lamps, illuminate the 17 tables designed by artists and creatives that are participating in the UAE Red Crescent Authority silent auction.

H2R Design delivers Chunk at two new locations in Riyadh

H2R Design delivers Chunk at two new locations in Riyadh

H2R Design delivers Chunk at two new locations in Riyadh

H2R DESIGN was commissioned to design two new locations of a Riyadh favourite; Chunk, the renowned home of delightful pastries and desserts made from scratch in Riyadh Park Mall and in the Diplomatic Quarter. The larger of the two new locations is called Chunk Social as it is a space to leisurely dine and socialize throughout the day, while savouring a variety of dishes. Chunk DQ is on the other hand, is dedicated to take-aways and quick service focusing on cakes, crepes and coffees.

Already having established a successful dessert concept with the first Chunk, the client wanted a refreshed approach to the design of the two new locations while retaining the branding styles and guidelines. The goal was to refine the concept and H2R Design was called in to translate their vision into tangible models.

Chunk Social

After studying the brief, viewing the locations, and understanding the client’s vision, H2R Design decided to focus on preserving the identity of Chunk but to also uplift the personality with a design that was more in-tune with the concept. With the inspiration to keep it raw, transparent and honest, a minimal interior design was developed keeping the space clean, fresh and neutral. This allowed contrasts to be revealed against the canvas and to let the menu do the talking.

“The inspiration of this project resulted in a design that is simple and refreshing. The secret to creating something that visually appears to have a modest sophistication and seems quite simple, is actually in the detail, which makes the space flow seamlessly. Whether it is the way the edges of the frames are slightly rounded, or the transitions and trims in the terrazzo flooring are spaced, and how they are aligned with the frames of the perimeter glazing, it’s the detail that unites the space into one,” said Hasan and Husain Roomi, co-founders of H2R Design.

“The delicate routing of the marble slabs or the carefully aligned shadow gaps to each joinery piece, demonstrate the intricacy and the attention to detail reflecting the concept’s ideology. It is further translated through the dinning offering and the overall experience of the space,” they continued.

Chunk DQ

The colour palette of this project can be defined as refreshing and neutral with concrete, stainless steels and black metal as the predominant chromaticity across the locations.

A striking design feature in Chunk Social is the terrazzo flooring, which was placed as a statement facet since the rest of the design is so pure and minimal. However, with the canvas space at Chunk DQ being much smaller, sheer micro-topping was used to cover the floor versus the terrazzo which would have made the space claustrophobic.

Above the flooring, clean and neutral micro-topping fasciae appear with timber detailing in the banquettes to add warmth, along with rattan and designer furniture pieces. Black framing on the walls, in the furniture and in the lighting grid add an elegant contrast to the neutral materials.

The crisp white ceiling and light grey textured walls reinforce the minimal fresh vibe.

Elements such as the hanging shelving in Chink Social subtly divides the restaurant’s dining space and the counters, while maintaining a harmonious connection from one section to the next.

Stainless steel is another prominent element. It has been placed in its untainted form, with no powder coating or electroplating. It is stripped back to its purest form for an authentic look.

Concrete micro-topping on the counters and the joinery items has created a powdery neutral mood. In contrast, black metal was implemented into the design to juxtapose the neutral toned materials.

The space in Chunk Social celebrates transparency from the way the creperie and the open counter are designed. Minimal and accessible, with visible shelving, the open counter and creperie tease diners with glazing for the smell of the mouth-watering desserts and speciality coffees.

Chunk DQ

The contrasting features of the design are expressed by the white tiles against the dark walls or the micro-topping facets with stainless steel counter tops and framework of shelving.

In Chunk Social, marble table tops umbrella-ed by marble walls, subtly convey the refinement, the unassuming luxury and savvy sophistication of the space. Additionally, there is a marbled column where H2R Design has created a cantilevered style ledge as well as the shopfront’s main signage panel.

Fine mesh was added to create some depth and layer to the raw materials. It was also artfully used as a partition between the central banquette, the shelving display behind it, and to the perimeter wall and windows, to add depth and texture.

Elements of greenery that pop against the canvas, almost feeling like a fresh calm oasis were adopted to create a sense of zen.

For the lighting, a simple grid was drawn, illuminating the space with large round fixtures over the dining area and track lights at the edges. All of the lighting features are in black creating a contrast against the minimal clean white ceiling. The feature lights also highlight the dining spaces, and the spots accentuate the perimeter, shelving, and façades.


Swiss exhibition showcases innovative designs at Dubai Design Week 2020

Swiss exhibition showcases innovative designs at Dubai Design Week 2020

Swiss exhibition showcases innovative designs at Dubai Design Week 2020

Switzerland is running an exhibition titled ‘Reflections of Swiss innovation’, at the ongoing Dubai Design Week (Nov 9-14) at Dubai Design District (D3), building 7, plot 10. This exhibition is curated by the Embassy of Switzerland in the UAE & Bahrain, in cooperation with partners FREITAG, HyperAktiv, Pro Helvetia Cairo, and the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

The exhibition highlights Swiss know-how and excellence in cutting-edge and innovative design. The centrepiece of the exhibition is an interactive installation referring to the Swiss Pavilion at the upcoming World Expo and sheds the light on a selection of iconic Swiss design elements.

Manuel Salchli, Commissioner General of the Swiss Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Our presence at Dubai Design Week is a great opportunity for visitors to immerse in a unique Swiss experience bringing together the best of Swiss creativity. We are looking forward to this event that will bring people closer to Switzerland through art”.

Iconic Swiss brand and upcycling pioneer FREITAG will make its debut in the Gulf region. Known for its functional, water-repellent and robust bags made from used truck tarpaulins, it will present the ‘From Truck Till Bag’ production process.

On a topical note, the ‘Bring your own mask’ (BYOM) project by Swiss design agency HyperAktiv gives young Swiss designers a platform to reconsider protective masks not only as an item that now accompanies our daily lives but also as a fashion statement.

As a display of Swiss design, the Swiss Pavilion will offer visitors an interactive experience, who will be able to get a first glimpse of the Swiss Pavilion ‘Reflections’ at Expo 2020 Dubai and discover some iconic and surprising Swiss design elements.


Kart group unveils an interactive art installation at Dubai Design Week 2020

Kart group unveils an interactive art installation at Dubai Design Week 2020

Kart group unveils an interactive art installation at Dubai Design Week 2020

Kart Group is unveiling an art installation at Dubai Design Week 2020— ‘The Leader’; which celebrates HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s journey of leadership and supports future designers. Dubai Design Week will take place from 9-14 November 2020.

The experimental and interactive three-dimensional art installation showcases a giant silhouette of the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of the Emirate of Dubai. ‘The Leader’ is a commemorative admiration of HH Sheikh Mohammed and his inspired leadership of the eclectic population of the United Arab Emirates. The sculpture virtually guides onlookers through his journey of accomplishment, diversity and ordeals. ‘The Leader’ progresses into an optimistic future through an ‘ewan’ style space. HH Sheikh Mohammed has a down-to-earth relationship with the people of Dubai.

The vibrant culture of the city attracts residents and visitors from around the world, and this sculpture pays homage to a remarkable man. The inspired Kart team brainstormed the various factors and pressures of being a leader.

The concept was to create a complex and multi-layered inverted sculpture that possesses a powerful visual impact whilst remaining minimalistic. The space inside the cube provides a sphere in which a white cementitious paint finish ornaments layered cut out Styrofoam. The textured veneer gives weight to the otherwise light-weight and voluminous sculpture. Concise internal layering creates an aureole around the silhouette of His Highness, representing his revered leadership glory.

The artwork installations will be positioned across the city, which will enrich an already creative vibrancy and raise the community’s connection with art. The sculpture will convey a message, through art, of hope and prosperity despite the effects of the global pandemic. The distinctive three-finger salute expresses his approach to the country -winning, victory and love, which symbolises his work ethic, success, and the love of the nation.






Ideal Standard announces its participation in Downtown Design Digital Fair 2020

Ideal Standard announces its participation in Downtown Design Digital Fair 2020

Ideal Standard announces its participation in Downtown Design Digital Fair 2020

Ideal Standard announces its participation at Downtown Design, the key event of Dubai Design Week. The exhibition will launch from November 9-14, 2020, presented this year in a new hybrid format across physical and digital platforms.

Ideal Standard will showcase their latest collections digitally on Downtown Design’s website www.downtowndesign.com The digital fair will be complemented with a virtual talks series featuring Roberto Palomba, international renowned designer and architect and Ideal Standard Chief Design Officer, joining other international and regional design leaders such as Sacha Walckhoff (Designer and Christian Lacroix Maison Creative Director ) and Jennie Binchy (Architect and Design Director Binchy and Binchy Architecture ) who will all speak about how innovation and creative collaboration can offer tradition and heritage a voice on the contemporary design stage.

Palomba Serafini Associati have been trendsetters in bathroom design for the last 25 years. Beyond the bathroom space they collaborate with leading international brands like Kartell or Samsung. Their work is internationally recognised having received a multitude of prestigious awards, including the acclaimed Compasso D’Oro. To date, PS+A is the only designer who received this award for a bathroom project.

Earlier in December 2018, Ideal Standard announced its collaboration with Italian design studio Palomba Serafini Roberto Palomba. This partnership sees Ideal Standard draw on its strong design heritage, taking inspiration from previous iconic products to create new, contemporary collections that will drive the brand’s overall design philosophy and shape the bathrooms of the future, and that’s how ‘Atelier Collections’ was born.

Atelier Collection is Ideal Standard’s latest contribution to the culture of design. Aimed at fostering the process of creation, every suite from this laboratory of design-led products brings together innovation and beauty to enable the realization of timeless projects. The collection comprises a range of unique ceramics and fittings, as well as furniture and bathtubs, and a return to the use of color to enhance modern interiors projects.

A true example of reinterpreting a classic masterpiece for the modern era is the Conca basin collection, which takes inspiration from the original, designed in 1972, by Paolo Tilche – a range that signaled a shift from pure practicality to a combination of form and function in the bathroom. Palomba Serafini Associati has taken the traditional rounded basin and revamped it with a minimalistic square design to align with contemporary trends, while retaining its unique, sophisticated character.

Roberto Palomba’s Virtual Talk will premier on their website and on Dubai Design Week’s Youtube channel, 12 November 2020 at 4pm.