Business is looking good ahead of the 30th edition of INDEX, the Middle East’s dedicated exhibition for the interiors industry which is set to take place from September 14-16, 2020, at Dubai World Trade Centre. An essential date in the design community calendar, the event will host over 500 exhibitors who are planning to capitalise on the growth of the GCC interiors and fit-out markets.

Alongside knowledge partner, Ventures Onsite, INDEX have produced a report detailing the current business outlook for the industry for the year ahead. The report summarises how technology, digital solutions, and innovation are central to the growth of the sector:
• Innovation and sustainability in construction, specifically in connection with new digital solutions, are driving the future of real estate in the Middle East, according to Dierk Mutschler, CEO, Drees & Sommer
• Adopting digital solutions throughout every phase of the construction process could increase market productivity by over 15% and reduce project costs by up to 45%, according to research by McKinsey & Company

The report also notes how BIM software Revit is utilised to ensure high quality construction documentation, flexibility and enhanced multidisciplinary coordination, particularly between interior design and MEP. Mehmet Aktash, general manager at Bishop Design, one of the leading Interior Design agencies in the UAE, explains “Offering increased efficiency for the construction industry, the software allows all consultants involved in a particular project to have easy and quick access to extensive information. Currently, we are witnessing a spread of the software throughout the construction field, and it’s on the cusp of taking the interiors industry by storm, ultimately transforming the way we are designing.”

The stats show that the GCC building construction market’s outlook is finally positive and highlights that interior design and fit-out are closely tied to the overall health of the economy, specifying some key forecasts:

• The GCC building construction projects expected to be completed across all sectors are forecast to increase from $ 75,983mn in 2019 to $ 78,962mn in 2020
• The overall GCC interior contracting and fit-out spend across all sectors is expected to increase from $ 8,975mn in 2019 to $10,160mn (9%) in 2020
• The emirate’s largest-ever annual budget, worth US$ 18Bn for 2020, was approved in December 2019, making it the biggest in Dubai’s history

In 2020, the UAE is expected to lead in the share of interiors and fit-out spend in the GCC region, at 42% of the total, followed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (29%) and Qatar (13%)

Bishop Design’s Mehmet Aktash explains in more detail how this will soon be disrupted: “We expect to see the UAE percentage of market share to be outweighed in the years to come, dropping to 35-40%, owing to the boom of new construction across the rest of the GCC region, specifically in KSA.”

According to the report, the main focus of new activity will be on residential and hotel projects in 2020, which is reflected in the continued collaboration between INDEX and the hospitality industry’s flagship event: The Hotel Show, once again as part on the second annual Middle East Design & Hospitality Week (MEDHW).

Katie McBride, commercial director of INDEX explained: “We launched Middle East Design & Hospitality Week in 2019, to add more value to the visiting audience. With a large crossover specifically in the Hospitality Interiors aspect of The Hotel Show and INDEX, the collaboration made sense and we found an increase in visitors of a more senior designation coming along to make the most of the variety of products available. Now covering the leisure, office, hotel, and home sectors in one location we had a hugely positive response and are excited to continue the cross-sector collaboration into 2020.”