THE NEXT GAME CHANGERS
They are here to conquer the design industry by storm. Roma Arora had a candid chat with the creative heads behind the four design startups in the region who are already the talk of the town. Starting with JuxtaPiece, it was formed by co-founders-Arghavan Hatamabadi and Hanin Abbas Hazeem with an aim of bringing budget-effective customisation to everyone. Moving on, Janaika Elders is the founder of Urban Nest, the online portal selling exclusive and curated collection of leading Dutch interior design items and now have a store at Ibn Battuta Gate as well. Next in the pipeline is an exciting design firm – The Hub Interiors by talented duo – Ayesha Al Moosa, cofounder and Yasmin Noureldin, the managing partner. Another interesting startup is by young interior designer and CEO, Mariem Seddiqi, and her venture Grand Hills Interiors. Learning more about each of them hereon:
Founders: Arghavan Hatamabadi, 25, co-founder and designer at JuxtaPiece, is an Iranian interior designer graduated from the American University of Sharjah (AUS). She is the recipient of the MAD (Motivation, Attitude, and Dedication) Interior Design Award from AUS. Hanin Abbas Hazeem, 23, co-founder and designer at JuxtaPiece, is an interior designer graduated from the American University of Sharjah. A Jordanian citizen with Palestinian roots was born in Dubai, UAE.
The company brief: JuxtaPiece was founded in June 2015 and officially launched in March 2017. The brand provides an all in one design and execution solution created using a system that is made to order, budget considerate, and maintains the spirit of handcrafting. It provides a wide range of product lines that are customised as per the client’s needs and requirement. The products include the signature products, personalised portraits, bespoke corporate giveaways, limited edition keepsakes, and exclusive wall features.
USP of the brand: A unique system of juxtaposing pieces using wood as the primary material to create customised, budget effective, and handcrafted products.
Funding: The company was started with the personal funding of Hatamabadi and Hazeem. The company received a grant of AED 35,000, a trade license, and access to mentorship tracks from Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa). JuxtaPiece is an organically grown business that is self-funded and use product sales as a source of investment into the company. Furthermore, they’re currently working on collaborations with online and retail outlets to scale.
Target audience: Our main customer segment is corporates/private entities who are looking for unique gifts and trophies for their events. On the other hand, our portraits and exclusive wall features are mainly designed for art enthusiasts looking for a special customised product.
Plans for future: As part of our future plans, we are adopting a zero-waste methodology whereby all of our products are environment-friendly. Also, we are working on integrating motorised technology into our products in order to make them more interactive and enhance the user experience.
Location: Saif Desk R5-18/C, SAIF Zone, Sharjah, UAE
Inputs by Arghavan Hatamabadi and Hanin Abbas Hazeem
Founder: Janaika Elders is the founder and brainchild of Urban Nest. Elders has a multicultural background with a Dutch father and Peruvian mother. She has lived in many countries like Brazil, Mexico, France to name a few, and now in Dubai for the last eight years with her Lebanese husband and two-year-old son. She has a Bachelor degree in International Business and has worked as a supply chain manager in the FMCG industry for the last 10 years. However, she was always fascinated and passionate about interior design.
The company brief: Urban Nest was launched in September 2017. The brand sells exclusive and curated collection of leading Dutch interior design items in the Middle East through our online store. These items can be also viewed at their new studio located in the IBN Battuta Gate offices.
USP of the brand: We curate our items exclusively from well-reputed brands including HK Living and Puik Design who work with the Netherlands’ most talented designers like Pepe Heykoop, Lex Pott, and Ontwerpduo. We currently live in a society that strives to differentiate itself and is always on the lookout for that unique item. As such we aim to provide items that stand out and have a story.
Funding: For all startups, it is crucial to have a solid business plan with a thorough risk assessment. Like any startup, you learn while you go, and you should have a “small cushion” to help when needed. Urban Nest did that and was able to launch with the personal investment of the founder.
Target audience: I work very closely and have good relationships with the designers that we represent, such as HK Living and Puik Design to understand the product innovations and know about the new collections. Our customers are a wide range of companies like boutique concept stores, design firms and other talented individual designers as well. As a member of the Dutch Design Centre based in Dubai Design District, we participate in their events to promote Dutch design in the Middle East region.
Plans for future: The brand is always on the lookout for interior design labels with inspiring stories to fit our philosophy. In April I had the exciting opportunity to attend the PERUMODA, a trade show in Lima, supported by the Peru Trade & Investment office in Dubai. Following this recent trip and because of the founders’ own Peruvian background and connections, we are currently exploring the options to add some South American designers with unique stories to our collection.
Location: IBN Battuta Gate office 903C
Inputs by Janaika Elders
The Hub Interiors
Founders: Ayesha Al Moosa, co-founder and interior designer at The Hub Interiors, graduated from American University in Dubai (AUD) with a BA degree in interior design. Al Moosa’s designs are driven from a non-traditional inspiration and the creative imaginations of multi-material usage. Yasmin Noureldin, the managing partner and interior designer at The Hub interiors, graduated from AUD with a BA degree in interior design and a previous BA degree in business management. Noureldin has worked on several commercial and residential projects as a freelance designer since her graduation.
The company brief: Since the launch in 2015, the main goal of The Hub Interiors has always been to develop close working relationships with their clientele. Based in Dubai Design District (d3), The Hub Interior Decoration is a boutique design firm highlighting the sophistication and glamour of Dubai, whilst keeping the authenticity of its Arabic roots.
USP of the brand: We specialise in residential designs. We focus relentlessly on achieving the highest quality standards in the industry. Funding: It’s a self-funded company by Al Moosa and Noureldin.
Target audience: We collaborate with our costumers, suppliers, and peers to bring about the best possible outcome for our clients and community. Being part of a diverse design community here in D3 we have unique opportunities to create, invent, and design. Our clients are based on referrals.
Plans for future: We passionately support our clients in creating well-designed spaces that translate their vision and dreams into reality. We are striving to become a leading design firm known for both interior and furniture design.
Location: Office 306 Building 1B, Dubai Design District
Inputs by Ayesha Al Moosa and Yasmin Noureldin
Grand Hills Interiors
Founder: Mariem Seddiqi is the CEO at Grand Hills Interiors, she studied at London for College and University. She chose architecture and interior design for her Bachelors while studying at the London Metropolitan University.
The company brief: Grand Hills Interiors was recently launched in April 2018. Mariem Seddiqi is the CEO of the company and she works along with her partner and managing director Basmah Siddique who primarily looks after the sales, marketing, and developments.
USP of the brand: The company firmly believes in working closely with clients and understanding their requirements. If we get a big job, we work with a consultant that helps with the execution of work with quality. Funding: Seddiqi used her own funds and collaborated with joint ventures related fit-out factories to provide competitive prices. We aim to sustain our presence with the two-year budget we have with them at the moment. Target audience: Hotel, commercial projects, and renovation of offices and villas.
Plans for future: We have an Letter of Intent (LOI) for a G+17, four-star hotel to be located in Tecom with its design completed and expecting the contract to be awarded to us within next three months. This is a three years project and would amount to AED7mn for interior fit-out work. Another project we are looking forward to is a G +1 mall located in Meydan which has got its drawings approved and would amount to AED1.5mn for fit-out work. Other projects are related to commercial interior fit-out and renovation of villas.
Location: Clover Bay Tower-809, Business Bay
Inputs by Mariem Seddiqi