Swiss company Hawa looks ahead at upcoming year of mergers, product launches and expanding its presence
Known worldwide for its sliding door solutions, Hawa Sliding Hardware Systems has worked tirelessly to pioneer its niche business in the fit-out industry across Europe, North America and the Middle East. Established in 1965 by Karl and Otto Haab in Mettmenstetten, Switzerland, the company, which manufactures high-quality solutions for sliding and folding doors, has managed to not only become the face of such mechanisms, but to also remain true to its principles of quality production.
“All our products are designed and manufactured in Switzerland,” says Adeeb Ghazal, Hawa’s Middle East sales director. “It gives us a kind of leverage and advantage, since most Swiss products are well know for their high quality.”
In the 52 years since founding Hawa, the Haab family – now headed by Gregor and Heinz – has bought EKU (another sliding solutions entity), opened a Middle East branch for Hawa in Dubai’s Jebel Ali district, and continued to evolve and expand its sliding solutions. And though Hawa’s history is marked with countless milestones that celebrate its many contributions to the advancement of the fit-out industry, 2017 looks to be a year of even greater momentum.
“The big news right now is that we’re introducing a merger between the two companies – Hawa and EKU,” says Ghazal. “Though we’ve always operated completely independently of each other, we’ve now become one.” While Hawa produces large-scale sliding solutions, EKU is better know for its furniture sliding systems, like cabinetry in office spaces. “Let me put it this way,” adds Ghazal, “EKU is similar
but different to Hawa – there’s overlapping, sure, but EKU provides more lightweight solutions while Hawa is into bigger, heavier doors.”
The merger sees the two companies brought together under the name of Hawa Sliding Solutions, which will be in effect by the end of 2018. Under joint management and with newly generated synergy effects, the company aims to achieve more for the benefit of end-users by offering the world’s biggest range of sliding solutions for commercial projects, private residences, corporate offices and home offices.
“The two companies no longer exist as separate entities, but within the merger we’ll have Hawa products and EKU products,” Ghazal says. “Any merger will mainly have benefits. For example, this helps us reduce costs, increase turnover and make a better impression on the end-users because now we can sell double the products when speaking to customers. The only thing that won’t be easy is bringing the two factory units together. Right now, they’re located about an hour and half away from each other by car in Switzerland.”
The new parent company, Hawa Sliding Solutions communicates this new restructuring via its new logo, which is an apparent allusion to Hawa and EKU’s familiar branding. Using the same red and blue coloring, it emphasises Hawa and EKU’s claim to market and technology leadership for sliding solutions, and stands for its relationship with its customers and trading partners.
While the brands are releasing new productsfrequently, like the EKU-Frontline 20 and Hawa-Folding Concepts, one of Hawa’s latest products, the Hawa-Junior 80 B Pocket, is of great significance, as it opts to make life a little bit easier for fit-out contractors.
A new sliding door fitting with minimal installation height, it eliminates the typical challenges of sliding door construction. According to Ghazal, contractors can now install and remove the fitting at any time of the build phase via rattle-proof bayonet locks, thanks to a pre-mounted retainer profile. The Junior 80 B Pocket’s components remain freely accessible and can be easily replaced or extended, and sliding the door into the pocket is especially easy, as the suspension unit on the pocket side is located directly on the edge of the door.
The Junior 80 B Pocket’s other advantages include its aesthetic appeal and its convenient adjustment. Its clip-on facia enables the concealed attachment of the lintel panelling up to a material thickness of 40 millimetres, while the end position can be adjusted via the suspension in the pocket when the door is open.
“Now, even if the whole pocket is built, you can still insert the solution. It gives contractors an advantage of flexibility – they can finish their own work and complete the solution when they have the materials rather than wait. To my knowledge, there’s nothing on the market like this,” says Ghazal. “It’s a unique solution that we’ve just introduced.”
And while there seems to be a lot on Hawa’s plate, its regional team is also looking forward to this year’s edition of INDEX, one of Dubai’s leading design trade fairs. Held from May 22 to May 25, the four-day long exhibition will host a number of events including its architecture and design award ceremony, which looks to celebrate creativity and innovation in design across various categories like retail, corporate and residential.
Hawa, which will be sponsoring the awards’ hospitality category, is sure to have its presence felt throughout the event. With fit-out solutions in the emirate’s most extravagant hospitality hotspots like the Burj Khalifa, Armani Hotel, Address Hotel Dubai Mall and the Sofitel Dubai The Palm, Hawa’s specialists have worked on a number of iconic projects across the UAE and hopes to use this opportunity to socialise with the community.
“We were at INDEX last year and thought it was a great event and gave us some good exposure. And now, with our new logo, the big players who are important to us will learn about our latest developments – either by attending INDEX, participating, or even just opening up their email newsletters,” says Ghazal.
“This year, it will be one of my colleagues and myself. Last year was quite successful, as we met a few people that we wanted to see. It was an opportunity and a great platform. We’re not expecting to close deals there, but it’s a different environment than the sales meetings – it can provide better chemistry to meet people. Our community is very important to us, because the cooperation with our trade partners is always something we like to focus on and improve