Chairs, Chairs and More Chairs!

May 22, 2011

Last Thursday (19th May) the Studio EM team took a field trip to the Office Expo at the World Trade Centre Exhibition Halls. The usual suspects where exhibiting along with our media friends at ITP, Commercial Interior Design and Construction Week. Along with the steadfast Dubai suppliers such as Gemaco, O.K, Total Office and Officeland there were a few new faces visiting from Europe.

Our purpose in attending the show was to identify and meet with new suppliers, earmark new trends in office design and to pick up a few samples. We also went in the hope that we would see something “different”, “revolutionary”, “dynamic” or “unique”. These are the buzz words many a company describe themselves as being in their Bio’s.

Sadly, and I mean sadly, we left feeling let down. The Office Expo is a great concept; unfortunately a concept does not an exhibition make. This was a great platform for suppliers to reach out to us designers, inform us of their products, services, special offers and a chance for new suppliers to tempt us with that something different.

However, barring the usual suspects aforementioned the new European suppliers seemed disinterested, here for a jolly or simply too hung over to discuss anything with us at great depth.

The products on offer were largely soft furnishings, chairs, chairs, more chairs and a few lamps. We have long been in awe of designer works in Madrid, Barcelona and Munich. Their designs often eclipse the standard of designs in the Middle East, largely due to the quality of materials available to them. Unfortunately these materials and samples were not on show. Instead they brought lamps and chairs with them. Perhaps, as my colleagues suggested they brought these soft furnishings with them so as they can offload them for a “quick buck” after the exhibition. Whilst this makes sense at some level it still doesn’t detract from the fact that these companies who we have long been in awe of really let themselves down. It is a great shame really, as we are their perfect type of client.

It was not a total loss though, some of the Middle East based suppliers put on an excellent show and had some very good products on offer.

In conclusion, it is fair to suggest that once again most of our sourcing for office projects this year will be done within the UAE. For suppliers thinking about coming next year, please do, it is an excellent showcase for your products, but please for creativity sake, bring something new to the market, something unique, something revolutionary and something we are not likely to see in an office showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road.