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Review: Index International Design Show, Surfaces & Workspace 2018

Held over four days in March, the 28th Dubai Index International Design Exhibition, incorporating Surface Design and Workspace, welcomed over 1000+ international and home-grown brands to showcase their latest interior collections alongside a host of industry-focused, interactive features & installations on-site.

The show, opened by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman & Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group, attracted over 27,000 visitors from 91 countries – 58 per cent of which were interior designers, architects or retailers.

It was refreshing to see the benefits of the reorganisation of the show, with furniture and furnishings all located in the new Sheikh Zayed and Arena Halls, whilst Surface Design and Workspace filled halls 4-8. This made it easier for specifiers and buyers to zero on their desired products.

The show was mostly contemporary in the products on display – with well-designed products sparingly displayed - a huge trend departure from previous shows. One of the installations -The Skateroom showed a limited edition of “Flowers” from Andy Worhol.

The Middle East’s Best Spaces Fifth Design Awards held on the second evening of the show were sponsored by BCFA member Boss Design. Isabel Pintado - Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Wilson Associates - won the Design Leader of the Year category with Dubai-based Bishop Design winning Design Firm of the year.

One of the most popular installations on site was “INDEX Off The Wall” – a one-off photo opportunity in a room designed by award-winning designer Sharon Jutla and fitted-out with products from Jonathan Adler and the Four Seasons Ramesh Gallery.

The UK group, organised by BCFA with support from the UK Department of International Trade, numbered over 20 companies, situated throughout the sectors of the show.

BCFA member and exhibitor Arqadia sponsored the Best in Show competition for participants in the Index Artists Avenue. Judged by famous artist Patricia Millns, Identity magazine editor Catherine Belbin and Pauline Hutchinson from Arqadia, the award was deservedly won by Hyderabad based artist Varsha Patra for her bespoke work.

The Middle East’s first ever Ventura project – a one off collection of 40+ exciting European contemporary designers was brought exclusively to Dubai for the event by Organisation in Design.   Participating in Ventura were UK companies John Green Designs and Liqui Group.

During the show, well attended CPD certified Design Talks were delivered by 60+ of the region’s leading interior designers, architects and retailers.

Some of the UK Exhibitors were

Boss Design exhibited their Atom Collection designed by Simon Pengelly

Reddiplex launched their G2G Jointing Systems in the Middle East

Crystal and petrified wood baths from Nigel Fenwick Designs

Bespoke installations from Ventique – Art Gallery

Shore Rugs showed off their new waterproof, uv resistant rugs

Spring apple blossom and olive trees from Foliages

Elstead Lighting showed off their superb new ranges

INDEX is set to host a compact edition of its design showcase from 16-18th September, where a Silk Road theme will bring value-driven products and premium brands together in Dubai. With a focus on East meets West, the show is presenting itself as a modern-day Silk Road; the famous cross-continental design pathway that opened-up new markets for Asian and European design philosophies. BCFA has Department of International Tradeshow Access Programme funding of £2,500 per eligible UK company for this September edition – further information by contacting