Renata Khassanova, RR Decor Middle East’s co-founder, marketing and sales director, discusses the company’s ongoing commitment to developing environmentally responsible products, as well as expansion plans with partners and collaboration with other creative businesses in the region.

RR Decor began in Kazakhstan, and the brand is now spreading throughout the Middle East. What can you tell us about this expansion?
The RR Decor brand has established itself as a maker of high-quality and environmentally friendly architectural designs made of MDF-engineered wood products in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We have spent the last seven years developing and designing architectural décor pieces that combine high-quality, premium designs, and we’ve been active in the Middle East market since 2019. By establishing a service and distribution centre in the UAE, we have set several ambitions and targets for ourselves. There is an established and well-coordinated team that works with partners to develop the brand in the UAE.

What is the secret of our success?
We believe that development is the key to any success. We have been committed to finding new design and technological solutions since our inception. As a result, RR Decor is the first firm in Central Asia to introduce interior decor items made of a durable material like MDF.

What was your inspiration behind RR Decor? How does your background in hotel and spa management assist you in running the company?
The luxury hotels and boutique hotels where I worked while living and studying in Europe served as a source of inspiration. Many hotels used high skirting boards, ornamental panels, and mouldings on the walls to create an attractive and luxurious look. Later, while my brother and I were restoring our family home in Kazakhstan, we were faced with the task of selecting decorative pieces for our project. Except for polyurethane and gypsum materials, there was a little option on the market for finishing materials at the time. We wanted to use wood-based materials, so I had to purchase them from Europe and wait a few months for them to arrive. Then we had the bright idea of making such decorative materials ourselves and making them available to residents of our country. My brother is still leading our firm in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and is the head of the RR Decor production range.

What are the various services (products) you provide to your clients?
The RR Decor trademark product line includes wainscoting, skirting, LED skirting, mouldings, and architraves appropriate for a variety of interior designs ranging from classic to contemporary, neoclassical, Provence, art deco, American, and Scandinavian.

How has COVID-19 influenced both company offerings and customer preferences?
The COVID-19 pandemic has influenced many people’s business practices, including ours. During the lockdown, we followed the UAE government’s safety standards and relocated 90% of our administrative staff to work remotely. Because of new technologies, it is still an efficient method. Our people’s health and safety are our top priorities. While we have put in place a variety of steps to protect our employees, we have also put in place business security plans to strengthen the company’s ability to provide our products to our consumers and partners.

Could you tell us about the projects you’re working on right now in the region?
We are currently completing our part of work for amazing luxury villa projects in Dubai Hills and Al Barari and apartments on Blue Waters. There are other exciting projects across Sharjah and Ras Al Khaimah as well.

How does working in the Middle East vary from other projects you’ve worked on around the world?While working in the UAE market, we discovered that consumers are very interested in interior design but have limited knowledge of materials, alternatives to gypsum or foam, and installation and painting technology – something we have not encountered in other areas of the world. Our goal is to broaden that expertise by providing one-of-a-kind décor options with our products, and we are delighted to inform you that Middle Eastern customers are open to new ideas.

There’s a lot of focus on sustainability now. How has that evolved?
Each of us is responsible for the planet’s future. We believe it is critical to plan the entire manufacturing process of our MDF decorative pieces in such a way that forests are preserved rather than torn down. We use only environmentally friendly technologies in the production of RR DECOR MDF products. Our materials and installation method have a high-quality rating and last for decades, do not wear out or require regular replacement, and do not pollute cities. All of the decorative pieces are made in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. We make every effort to use raw resources that are replenishable, such as pine timber from replenishable plantations.

What opportunities or growth plans do you see in 2022?
In 2022, we hope to witness the development of our partnership program and the collaboration of people who share our values in terms of quality standards, aesthetic vision, and business ethics.

Where do you see your future taking you, particularly in terms of general design and the direction of your company?
We are working to increase brand awareness among all private clients as well as the B2B segment. One of the aims is to open new showrooms with our partners all across the UAE and to make our partnership program more accessible to more creative businesses around the Middle East.