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August 6, 2020

A&T Group Interiors CEO & Co-Founder Tareq Khalafawi shares his views to the following questions with Hotelier Middle East:

How much do local cultural influences weigh in while interior designing hotels in the Middle East?

"If you look at the Arabic shapes and history of Arabic art, you will see them translated in many projects locally. Designers are implementing these trends in their projects. Also, it is worth mentioning that His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has launched a number of initiatives which help to support cultural activity within the country and encourages projects and initiatives aimed at promoting the development of the UAE’s culture."

How important is collaboration with suppliers, operators and designers? Why?

"The contracting industry in particular, has to deal with very high standards when it comes to quality, efficiency and timeliness. The construction and renovation industry in the Middle East has seen a dramatic shift in recent years. Dubai is increasingly becoming a designer’s heaven with the passage of time, because of so many start-ups entering the market each day. It is therefore very crucial to work with experienced suppliers, designers and fit-out contractors in Dubai to guarantee the project’s success."

What are some of the challenges you face as designers in the Middle East?

"Exceeding the customer’s perception of the project and delivering something that totally amazes them. This requires thinking out-of-the-box and communicating this paradigm shift to everyone who is involved in designing, building, and finishing. Clients are also becoming actively involved in what goes on throughout the project life cycle."

What are some of the concerns hoteliers bring up during the interior design process?

"Hoteliers are always looking for a personal touch, something that their clients can easily feel connected to from the moment they enter. Concerns are mostly based around the ability to offer value for money and being able to adjust the hotel offering, to the needs of the guest the hotel wants to attract."

How important is value engineering? What are some of the challenges you run into?

"Value engineering helps for clients who are looking into ROI on their project to balance between money spent and design execution. This balance is important to share with cost control companies and management prior to execution and to set budgets matching expectation."

What are some of the design trends you have seen in the recent years in the Middle East?

"Clients these days feel comfortable with exotic designs. The use of natural materials such as wood, concrete and raw steel are now also trending within the region."

What role does sustainability play in interior design for hotels?

"Society is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of environmentally-responsible building and interior design for hotels. As a result, more clients seek to incorporate sustainable principles in their interiors. Interior designers can do a lot to improve a building’s energy efficiency, mainly by reducing the amount of energy needed for heating, lighting and running appliances, and by providing renewable, non-carbon-based energy to the building."

To find out what the other industry experts including DavidT’Kint, Design Director and partner at HBA Dubai; Dausser Chennoufi, Principal and CEO at Draw Link Group; Amyas Wade, Design Director at Kinnersley Kent Design; Rosha Ehsan, Interior Designer, Creneau International; and finally Martin Meijer, Mojo Interior Design had to say then head over to read the full article - Suppliers roundtable: Design deconstructed by Hotelier Middle East.

Our news and blog posts intend to keep our audience up to date with everything A&T. Via this section we strive to deliver information that provides real value to the design and construction industry. If you would like to open a conversation with us, comment or debate – please get in touch with info@atginteriors.com.

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