His Excellency Nicola Lener, Ambassador of Italy to the UAE; Her Excellency Valentina Setta, Consul General of Italy in Dubai; and Amedeo Scarpa, Italian Trade Commissioner to the UAE, Oman and Pakistan; toured the 330 square metre Italian pavilion at Downtown Design. They met with the 20 leading Italian design companies exhibiting at the pavilion, organized by the Italian Trade Agency in partnership with CNA and Confartigianato (Italian Associations of Artisans and Small-Medium Enterprises).
Among the 20 companies, a few are participating for the first time in the region’s leading trade fair to showcase their unique designs to decision makers from GCC’s sophisticated furniture market. In the GCC, more than 72% of furniture and design products are imported, and Italy is one of the leading suppliers of high-end designs.
According to His Excellency Nicola Lener: “What strikes visitors to the Italian pavilion is the perfect fusion of art and functionality in the products displayed. Some of the designs are the result of research and collaboration between architects and designers, ensuring they are unique and contemporary. These designs are meant to transform living spaces, giving each home or office a touch of individuality. This is what makes ‘Made in Italy’ design items so popular in the GCC market. The articles showcased by the 20 design companies, clearly reflect Italy’s strong manufacturing culture, matching modern industrial processes with a sophisticated and continuously regenerated tradition of artisanal craft, combining creativity, originality and innovation, with the ability to adapt to market trends.”
A few of the trends that are in spotlight in the Italian pavilion are the mix of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design, use of materials such as marble, wood and crystal, creative use of glass, fabulous designs made with unusual materials like lava, new forms and concepts created with old materials such as Murano glasses and, the clash of colours and shapes.
Her Excellency Valentina Setta, Consul General of Italy in Dubai, says: “This year’s Italian pavilion is an ode to design. Design is a representation of the world view and the times in which we live, and the participating designers have successfully created contemporary designs that speak to today’s consumers. Downtown Design is an amazing initiative to bring together architects, interior designers, manufacturers and consumers under one roof, and the Italian pavilion offers visitors a journey through the world of Italian creativity and design.”
Many of the participating companies have won international awards, some have exclusive partnerships with prestigious international interior design studios, hotel chains and fashion brands, and others have provided décor items and furniture that adorn the homes of VIPs and celebrities.
Italian Trade Commissioner, Amedeo Scarpa, said: “We are excited to be here, Downtown Design will open doors for the participating Italian companies to do more business in this region. The Gulf region represents 1.3% of the global furniture market, and Italy is the second largest supplier behind China and the strongest supplier among the high-income countries in GCC, with USD 520 million, and 40% of furniture exported to the UAE only. Furniture consumption in the UAE is expected to increase, driven by a housing boom and the growth in the hospitality sector in view of Expo 2020. We have also seen strong development in the lighting sector for Italian products. Vases, furniture and mirrors from Italy are a favourite here. Downtown Design gives companies the opportunity to meet, share design concepts and collaborate on projects.”