Kia Designs is preparing to open an office in Dubai. The expanding and exciting hub is a perfect place for us to reach new and existing clients, as well as access the myriad of suppliers and manufacturers available in the gulf states.
In the modern age there is nothing that competes with the design juggernaut that is Dubai. They are bold, brave, brass and they certainly don’t lack ambition. Wanting to capitalise on hosting the 2020 Expo, the city is creating a design quarter to rival that of Chelsea Harbour in London.
Often criticised for it’s lack of history or real sense of culture, Dubai is now focusing on developing a wider cultural appreciation. The dedicated design district, a bustling hub of over 800 retail outlets, restaurants and industry professionals has seen it’s bi-yearly design weeks generate a lot of interest, and they aim to make them the most comprehensive and well attended in the world by the time the Expo rolls in.
The centre celebrates the work of local designers alongside big international names and featured up-and-coming graduates from around the world. Dubai’s taxation system and minimal import duties makes purchasing in the country very appealing to international firms. For example, if we purchase pieces from West Elm in Dubai and ship them to the UK ourselves, they work out 15% cheaper than if we purchase them here. Combine that in the shipping container with brands not available in Europe and you end up producing a lovely, unique design for a client at a much more reasonable price.
The trading paths work favourable both ways. Many of the key attributes of good design are highly valued in the UAE – craftsmanship, attention to detail, exotic and rare sustainable materials and exclusivity. The demand keeps specialised craftsmen in the UK in business and helps us cement our reputation as a nation of skilled, time-honed producers.