Media partnership: The Middle East’s longest-running interior design event, INDEX, is making a return this year with a physical fair and talks programme, from 31 May to 2 June 2021. We catch up with fair director Kaite McBridge to learn more.
What can we expect from INDEX 2021? Visitors can expect INDEX to feel (and look!) a little different this year. There will be fewer handshakes, and much more space within the halls to enable sourcing and networking at a safe distance. The experiences, opportunities and content will be greater than ever. We even have some surprises in store, [which are] designed to inspire and enhance the full experience, thanks to some wonderful creative leaders that have collaborated with the show and designed some fabulous installations.
We’re also excited to see the show conferences evolving for the 30th edition. INDEX Design Talks has been very popular this year, and it’s been great to see their excitement in being part of this project. There’s a lot to discuss and debate after such a long time apart, so everyone’s really looking forward to this. We’ve also launched a Work Design Summit and a Retail Forum at this year’s show, to meet the demand for education on these topic areas.
All in all, it feels much more important and essential than ever before to get the industry back together in person. We can’t wait to open the doors!
What were the challenges in setting up a live exhibition during a global pandemic, and why did you feel this was important? The biggest challenge has been the uncertainty on travel policies and whether our international exhibitors are able to participate in the fair. We’re lucky that we’re not the first or largest show to have taken place at Dubai World Trade Centre during the pandemic, so we fully trust the venue’s safety standards and protocols that have enabled them to be successful. And of course, we are very thankful to the Dubai Government for their effective handling of the pandemic, which means we’re in a position to operate earlier than other countries.
The global pandemic means it’s now more important than ever before to reconnect, find new suppliers and show the industry who is still in business. This is critical for the survival of manufacturers, retailers and distributors. They need to meet with the community to do business and, more importantly, find out ‘who is doing what’ now. Everyone needs to refresh their contact lists! For specifiers and buyers, it’s [about] finding new products that are available in the region, and learning insights from the region’s leaders.
What can we expect from the exhibitors this year – is there a more regional presence? We have some great international brands participating at INDEX, many of whom are returning after being absent for a few years, and some who are exhibiting for the first time. Look out for Cosentino, Geberit, VitrA, Presto, Scientechnic and Eichholtz, to name a few. It has been great to see that, despite the current situation, we’ve also seen this year a huge influx of gorgeous new designer furniture coming to the show from countries such as France, Poland and Italy. ‘A Gallery’ will also be bringing artwork by the famous Christy Lee Rogers to the show, and we have lots of product launches to reveal! I could go on, but you will have to visit yourself to see the variety of products and experiences on offer.