The CEO and founder of Graniti Building Materials, CARLO NASSIF, talks about their successful career, how porcelain has taken over the luxury market segment, and future expansion plans
How has your journey with been, seeing your growth with the company’s progression?
Graniti’s entry into the market came at a time when property development in Dubai was at a tipping point, opening the door to an enormous and phenomenal blueprint that will soon put the emirate and the Gulf region in a construction boom. In 1996, we established the company and opened our first showroom in Deira, Salah Al Din street. In 2002, We felt the need to expand our collection , so we began importing a wider range of tiles, particularly porcelain tiles, because demand was high. We also felt there was a need to open a showroom on Sheikh Zayed Road (SZR) in Dubai as a part of our expansion plan . So, the SZR showroom was launched in 2015, and in 2017, we expanded and opened one of the first concepts in the Middle East which is a specialised showroom for large slabs of porcelain tiles, which have recently become popular.
How has Dubai contributed to Graniti’s success and proven to be an excellent location?
Dubai is a great place to work; we feel secure doing business here. I’d also say we arrived at the right time and in the right place. Dubai provided us with the opportunity to do great business, expand further, and import various styles of tiles from around the world. We only deal with some of the world’s leading manufacturers, such as Atlas Concorde, Ariostea, Marca Corona, Cotto D’este and the leading brands from Brazil, Portobello and Portinari, as well as many other brands from Asia, because we pay close attention to quality and delivery commitments.
How are tiles becoming more popular in the luxury market?
The luxury market is expanding; previously, people were unaware of porcelain tiles and preferred marble. However, thanks to advances in technology, porcelain tiles are now available in a wide range of styles, resulting in our increased market share. Marble prices are also higher than ceramic prices, which has boosted our segment even more.
What exciting projects are you currently working on in the region?
Graniti’s prestigious projects include Tilal Al Ghaf for Majid Al Futtaim, which consists more than 1000 villas and townhouses, and Murooj Al Furjan for Nakheel. We are proud to be associated with and involved in the most recent and prestigious projects, such as the Bvlgari Hotel, Blue Waters, City Walk, and more. How do you deal with competition in your industry? In this region, competition is increasing by the day. To deal with this, our strategy is to avoid the competition. If the market is trending in one direction, we would rather deviate and explore another. And another important way of dealing with competition is through providing the best service and solutions for our clients to meet their demands and budgets. We maintain high standards and import high-quality products, and we work with high-end clients such as, Nakheel, Emaar,Meraas and many other big developers.
How are revolutionary engineered surfaces changing the industry?
Revolutionary engineered products are completely changing the game. They have many advantages over marble, such as being water-resistant, stain and scratch -resistant, lightweight, easy maintenance, consistency of colours and shades and many other benefits.
What are the latest trends?
Big slabs are the latest trends, they come in different sizes such as 120×240, 120×280,150×300, 160×320, and 100×300 where they are used for floors and walls especially in bathrooms, lift lobbies, corridors of buildings where the tiles are installed from floor to wall without any cut piece and with less joints in the floorings as well.
Can you tell us about how the market has changed in the last five years?
The biggest change in the last five years was when India began producing tiles, which changed the world in so many ways. We relocated some of our manufacturing base to India and visited the country several times to choose the best factories with the highest quality and designs . In addition, the transit time is shorter in comparison to other countries, taking only 4-5 days. The container is less expensive. This is why many Indian companies are coming here and opening showrooms, resulting in fierce competition. What are the most popular surface finishes in this region? Personally, I prefer the marbleised look because it gives luxury and richness. Also, I like simple tiles with a concrete finish which are also popular and uncluttered The subtle and simple finishes give the space a classy appearance and blend well with any interior style and decor.
Are you focussing on new ventures?
We increased the size of our big porcelain tiles inventory because of the high demand. Additionally, we opened a new showroom for porcelain 12 and 15mm countertops in addition to the quartz and terrazzo tops and a showroom for outdoor furniture last year. What can we expect from Graniti in the year 2023? In 2022, the retail industry grew significantly. We will continue to grow in 2023. The Salah Din Street showroom will be renovated with a new concept. For nearly two decades, we have produced our own brand, Elina, in Turkey, India, China, and Brazil. We are planning to open a new showroom called Elina by Graniti , which will sell ceramics, sanitary ware and fixtures, mosaics, outdoor tiles and furniture, and of course our special collections of big slabs