At the beginning of 2020, the UAE was expected to be responsible for 42 percent of the GCC's fit-out spend.
Shining a light on the companies that bring incredible design projects to life, we profile 23 of the region's leading fit-out firms in alphabetical order.
Here are the firms from A to D.
Al Tayer Stocks
Need to know: Based in Al Barsha, Dubai, Al Tayer Stocks employs some 650 people directly and is headed up by CEO Ian Milford. As well as the space in Dubai, there are offices in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, and a new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The firm specialises in interior fitout, focusing on hotel refurbishments, technology, healthcare, entertainment, offices, education, F&B, retail and residential projects.
Notable projects: Perhaps the most exciting upcoming project is with Dubai Future Foundation on the fit-out of the iconic Museum of the Future Building in Dubai. Recent big projects include the guestroom and suite refurbishment of Atlantis, the Palm (which was completed five months ahead of schedule) and The W Abu Dhabi – Yas Island, which was turned around in three-months, in time for the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Founder's Office in Abu Dhabi is another impressive space, created as a work environment to continue the legacy of the UAE's founding father, HH Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. More upcoming work includes EY and PWC, as well as the office fit-out for Google.
Need to know: Employing around 1,000 staff, ALEC FITOUT's general manager is Laurent Farge and is based in Dubai, with sites located on different project. The firm specialises in the fit-out and refurbishment of five star hotels and resorts, as well acultural, immersive and luxury mixed-use developments in the MENA region. ALEX is knows for delivering high-quality fit-out and refurbishment solutions at a costeffective budget by value engineering. The scope can include fit-out, FF&E, AV Technology and MEP and civil works, if required.
Notable projects: ALEC FITOUT teams are delivering a variety of immersive, cultural and technology led construction and fit-out solutions at the EXPO 2020 site, including the Mobility Pavilion Exhibition, KSA Pavilion, Opportunity Pavilion Exhibition, Vision Pavilion, as well as the DP World Pavilion fit-out and build of the ENOC Pavilion. The firm's core business is luxury five star hotel fit-out and recently completed projects include The Address Sky Views Tower, the Waldorf Astoria DIFC, a project that included 275 luxury guestrooms, suites and branded apartments, a wellness spa, diverse restaurants and lounges with indoor/outdoor dining options and flexible, creative meeting spaces including a library with open kitchen. Covering 35,000 squared metres, the scope included fit out, MEP, FF&E, kitchen equipment, AV, and structural and façade reworking. ALEC also has a long working relationship with DAEP, delivering a variety of fit out and refurbishment solutions at Dubai International Airport. Future work includes the fit-out package for all guestrooms and suites at the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Wasl Tower in Dubai, featuring 257 guestrooms, suites and serviced apartments.
Bash Hesnef Interiors Design LLC
Need to know: A firm based in Dubai's Barsha Heights, Mohammed Basheer's Bash Hesnef employs 75 people, among them interior architects and designers, an in-house MEP design team and a department dedicated to obtaining government approvals for projects. The firm also has a joinery factory in Al Barsha and provides bespoke joinery for all its projects and specialises in 'Think Work-Play' spaces, designed with a clear focus on teams and productivity but with a relaxed mandate for places that employees will enjoy their time working.
Notable projects: Specialising in the area it does, Bash Hesnef has multiple projects around Dubai Media City, including Roland Berger's HQ Innovation Hub, with more coming up this year, as well as more than 30,000 square feet of gym space to work on before the end of 2020 and new fit-outs for the Loft 5th Avenue Group. Bash Hesnef recently completed a 10,000 sq ft office for Geometry Global
on Sheikh Zayed Road, which has gained plaudits among the company's 42-strong array of offices worldwide, as well as redesign and branding for Bakemart Group and F-Marts, and almost 30,000 sq ft of office space for companies such as Asda'a BCW, Partnership and Y&R Dubai.
Blue Camel Design LLC
Need to know: This Dubai-based firm employs 110 staff and specialises in G+1 general contracting, turnkey interior fit-out (with in-house MEP and joinery works), furniture, fixtures and equipment, and lighting. Hisham Zaher is general manager and founder and the company also has an Abu Dhabi branch and is licensed to work in the UAE capital, including Al Ain, and the Western Region.
Notable projects: Blue Camel has recently been awarded the contract for the east wing presidential penthouse at Serenia Residences on Palm Jumeirah and is working with IQOS Middle East on its new store at Dubai Mall. There are also projects in the pipeline at Dubai Airports, such as Air Canada Offices and Marhaba Lounge renovation. There is also ongoing work with real estate developer The First Group and the firm's affiliates on front of house public areas and restaurants at The One Marina Hotel, Skybay Hotel and Dolphin Towers in Business Bay. Previous notable work includes more work with Dubai Airports, including the new Smoking Lounge at Terminal 3 and a VVIP residential villa at Dubai Hills and the north presidential penthouse at Serenia The Palm. Another project is Switch Restaurant at Mirdif City Center, which is the first F&B design project from Karim Rashid in the Middle East.
Need to know:: This huge firm is headed up by Saad Moaswes and is based in Dubai Internet City. It employs 2,000 across the globe, with a head office in Sharjah, branch in Abu Dhabi and duct manufacturing factory in Ajman. Elsewhere there are engineering branches in Philippines and India, a representative office in Milan and a sourcing office in China. The company specialises in high-end interior fit-outs for the hospitality, retail, residential and office sectors. All manufacturing is done in-house, under one roof.
Notable projects: There are some huge projects in Dubai with Bond Interiors fit-outs, including ME by Melia Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and Palazzo Versace hotels, Armani and Burberry stores in Dubai Mall and the city's Mastercard headquarters. Coming up, the firm is working on the new SLS hotel in Business Bay, as well as the upcoming St. Regis hotel The Palm Tower on Palm Jumeirah.
Need to know: Headed up by founder Peter Bruce and MD Michael Melnick, BW employs 1,450 people over its sites across the UAE. There's a base in Al Quoz as well as two joinery factories, a marble and stone facility in Al Hamriya, an upholstery division in Dubai Investments Park, as well as an electro mechanical division, metal and glass works and gypsum and other finishing trades all taken care of in-house. The firm specialises in all facets of superior quality interior fit-out works, including food and beverage venues, highend residential, hospitality, commercial offices and retail outlets.
Notable projects: In the pipeline is the Arts Club, a prestigious social venue set over four floors in the new IDC Brookfield place development in DIFC, including restaurants, lounges and a rooftop terrace. Over the past two decades, BW has worked on an incredible array of localand international projects, including Zuma, Coya, Il Borro, Flamingo Room, LPM Restaurant & Bar, Nusr-et and Avli in the F&B sector, as well as commercial office fit-outs such as Legatum, Oracle, Deutsche Bank , Richemont ROC facility and a recently completed new broadcast and office facility for a multi-national corporation, which is soon to open. It is spread over several floors and incorporates several broadcast studios, sound and light control rooms, offices, IT and equipment rooms, as well as common spaces and meeting rooms. One of the most technically advanced projects of its kind in the region, it required a high level of skill and coordination to bring to fruition.
Need to know: A Nasdaq Dubai listed firm, Depa employs 5,600 people and has offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Germany, Bangladesh, Morocco and India as well as owning ten state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in Germany, the UAE, Egypt, Singapore, China and Malaysia, which have facilities for stone, marble, joinery, FF&E and Metal Work. The firm specialises in interior fit-out and FF&E.
Notable projects: Some of the biggest projects out there, including the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Presidential Palace and Dubai Metro, as well as working on Dubai Opera, Dubai Airport, Atlantis, the Palm, Kapsarc in KSA with Zaha Hadid, Mandarin Oriental Dubai and Address Fountain Views. Upcoming projects include one in Abu Dhabi with Fosters and Partners, one in Dubai with Caletrava, two new Address Hotels and a high-rise luxury hospitality project next to DIFC.
Design Infinity LLC
Need to know: The firm was formed in 2012 by founders Geetha Nayak and Pratap Mendonca. In the past eight years, the team has grown from the two architects who founded the firm to more than 400 people including interior specialists, project managers, MEP engineers and quantity surveyors. As well as the corporate head office in Dubai there are two further branches in Abu Dhabi and Sharjah, along with a 30,000 square feet joinery facility in Dubai Investments Park that helps clients realise their vision by providing bespoke interior services and producing intricate fit-out works. There is a separate division for metal and glass works meaning the firm can customise wood and joinery works, furniture, metal and glass design pieces for clients and their fit-out projects. Design Infinity provides a complete range of high-end interior services and turnkey solutions for commercial offices across various sectors and is owned and operated by a highly experienced team of interiors specialists who plan, design and build commercial interiors. The firm specialises in large-scale fit-out and design projects, focusing on ensuring full satisfaction for clients and always delivering on-time completion of projects. There's a strong emphasis on health, safety, quality and environmental policies and practices in place.
Notable projects: One project Design Infinity is proud of is Provis and Khidmah headquarters in Yas Mall, Abu Dhabi, which has recently received platinum LEED Platinum Certification. Going forward, the firm intends to incorporate sustainability in all its projects. Recent projects include Samba Bank, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park, Zayed University Innovation Centre and Novotel Hotel. Future projects are primarily catering to the banking, corporate, universities and the hospitality sector.