by Expo Events Consulting Expo Events Consulting

The Middle East’s interior designers, hotel developers, retailers, and fit-out contractors will gather in Dubai this May to explore the future of the multi-billion-dollar interiors and fit-out sector.

More than 17,500 professionals are expected to convene at INDEX Dubai, which runs at the Dubai World Trade Centre from May 23-25. In the GCC alone, the regional interiors and fit-out sector is expected to grow five per cent annually over the next five years. The forecast comes in the latest INDEX: Business of Interiors commercial outlook report produced by dmg events, organiser of the three-day exhibition.

The outlook reveals a bullish forecast for the GCC sector, with the GCC interior design market to reach US$5.2 billion by 2025. The growth of the GCC interior design market is attributed to the region’s increasing population, rising urbanization, and growing construction and real estate sectors, as well as a demand for sustainable and eco-friendly designs that are driving innovation in the industry.

The UAE is the largest market for interior design in the GCC region, followed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. “There are exciting times ahead for interior design services in the GCC,” commented Elaine O’Connell, Vice President of Design & Hospitality at dmg events. “Our outlook report has also identified some major challenges faced by the sector, including a flight to sustainability, digital transformation, and e-commerce growth which will be addressed by sector pioneers at the event in May, and is why we build exploratory knowledge features into the INDEX profile .”

“INDEX is more than just an exhibition. It offers knowledge for the transformation of built spaces, now and in the future. It is a destination event that showcases the newsiest, best and broadest range of global products, design and technology, under one roof. We will also champion the region as a home for manufacturers, Middle Eastern designs, Emirati designers, forward-thinking Giga projects, innovative hospitality projects and interior design.”

Also taking place at the show is the INDEX Design Talks, sponsored by GEBERIT, Cosentino, Presto and Kohler which is a series of open and lively discussions amongst many leading design figures, including inspiring interior designers, renowned regional architects and prominent creative thinkers who will debate the latest trends and innovations.

Esra Lemmens, Founder of The Esra Lemmens Agency and Chairperson of Design Talks, said, “UAE is an international playground with renowned brands in IT, fashion, and lifestyle, but also with strong historical roots and a progressive, modern outlook and the Design Talks conference hosted at INDEX is the perfect spot to educate and interact with like-minded people from the interior design industry. My ambition is to build relationships that would reflect this perception of our nation and its thriving creative sector”

The industry challenges and opportunities will be explored further via cutting-edge insights from experts in the Retail Leadership Forum. “The Forum is a dedicated conference for senior retail buyers and leaders who seek dedicated intelligence and critical discussion,” explained O’Connell. “With an increasing volume of retail buyers attending the show, it’s time to feed the demand for knowledge at a critical time for commerce. Retail leaders and buyers will find out the latest in consumer trends, logistics strategy and detailed procurement techniques.”

INDEX is a design showcase covering the entire industry ecosystem, with dedicated exhibition segments for outdoor furniture, interior fit-out, decorative lighting and accessories, furniture, furnishing and textiles, surfaces and flooring, kitchens and bathrooms, bedrooms, and art. Some of the confirmed leading global brands include emerging manufacturers and regional distributors such as Sanipex, Pan Emirates, Ligne Roset, Floorworld, Al Mina Marble and Gautier.

For the first time ever, INDEX is running an ‘INDEX Student Competition’, a country-wide University Challenge aimed at supporting the future generation of architects and designers. Sponsored by VitrA, up to nine leading design houses have taken part in the judging process, including Bishop Design, Roar, Kristina Zanic Consultants, Woods Bagot, Dewan, Architects + Engineers, 4space Design, Brand Creative, Dwp and Gensler, with the winning submissions across a number of categories being given internships when their ongoing courses are complete.

Also co-located alongside INDEX and Workspace will be The Hotel Show and Leisure Show making a powerful quartet of influential design-driven events that will span the entire interiors ecosystem, helping attendees connect with individuals from the full spectrum of their businesses. “The shows running alongside each other form a powerful quartet of information, products, services and supplies that inform the wider hospitality and leisure sectors, meaning visitors can maximise their time and exhibitors can network and unearth new opportunities for partnerships and collaboration,” explained O’Connell.

Tariq Al Fahaam/ Muhammad Aamir