The Design Talks, brought to you by OFIS, provided cutting-edge educational content to the region’s design community. The four day conference discussed the latest trends and forecasts, with lively and spontaneous panel discussions with lots of audience interaction and dialogue. 



Jo Hamilton,
Founder & Interior Designer
Jo Hamilton Interiors 

Henry Holland,
Fashion Designer
House of Holland

Bethan Gray,
Founder & Designer
Bethan Gray

Letitia Taylor,
Head of Interiors
Harrods Interiors 

Design Talks Day 1:
Monday 22nd May

Introductory Address
Jo Hamilton, Founder & Creative Director, Jo Hamilton Interiors

Market Demand Panel
Forecasting residential furniture demand & trends: Anticipating consumer spending patterns, fashions and quality expectations

Trends Panel
Minimalism: Capitalising on the move towards simplicity and restrained elegance in residential and hospitality design

- Sejal Patel, Lead Designer, Gensle

- Justin Wells, Head of Lifestyle Interiors, Woods Bagot

- Julia Dempster, Managing Director, Interior Motives

Technology & Materials Panel
Reviewing the latest fashion and functionality in home automation technology and design

Business Strategy Panel
Managing disputes with your clients: What recourse do retailers and interior designers have when clients have unrealistic expectations, change specifications or delay /refuse payment

- Albert Fakhoury, Chair of Interior Design, The American University in Dubai

Design Talks Day 2:
Tuesday 23rd May

Introductory Address
Henry Holland, Founder, House of Holland

Market Demand Panel
Forecasting the rate of demand for office furniture and fit-out across the GCC: Current and mid-term projections for new build and refurbished office space

Trends Panel
Identifying trends in modern office layout and design across the GCC: Encouraging more healthy and productive workplaces by managing space, light, ergonomics and worker wellbeing

- Stuart Allen, Managing Director & Founder, Allen Architecture Interiors Design

- Benjamin Piper, Partner & Design Principal, Killa Architectural Design

Technology & Materials Panel
Next generation LED lighting: Exploring new design concepts, technologies, control systems and their sustainability implications

Business Strategy Panel
Market positioning: Judging the appropriate balance between quality, price and service levels in a tightening market

- Indu Varanasi, Design Director, IR Design

Design Talks Day 3:
Wednesday 24th May

Introductory Address
Bethan Gray, Founder, Bethan Gray Design

Market Demand Panel
Anticipating the volume and nature of interior design and furnishing demand in the GCC hospitality sector: A move towards increased segmentation, value and youthfulness

- Christian Merieau, Managing Director & Founding Partner, MMAC Design

- Patrick Bean, Design Director – Hospitality, LACASA Architects & Engineering Consultants

Trends Panel
Affordable sustainability: Capitalising on an emerging trend by sourcing and implementing suitable products and designs

Technology & Materials Panel
Exploring the latest capabilities and applications of 3D & digital printing: creating cost-efficient and speedy prototypes and bespoke products

Business Strategy Panel
Sourcing new suppliers: developing an efficient process for finding novel and cost-effective products and materials

Design Talks Day 4:
Thursday 25th May

Introductory Address
Vanessa Brady OBE, Interior Designer, President & Founder, Society of British & International Design (SBID)

Market Demand Panel
Surveying the current and planned pipeline of major retail developments and projects across the GCC

Technology & Materials Panel
Exploring the latest novel and cost-efficient materials available to the UAE market: Performance, textures, colours, ease of availability, durability, ease of fitting and cost

Business Strategy Panel
Using distinctive brand positioning and promotion to stand out from the crowd in an increasingly noisy marketplace

- Graeme Erens, CEO/ECD, Genius Loci

- Shabbar R. Sagarwala, Principal, Eight Inc.

Index Partners

  • Silver Sponsor

  • Design Talks Sponsor

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  • IADA Silver Sponsor

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  • Best Commercial Design Project, Public Space

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  • Best Residential Project

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  • Best Restaurant Design Project

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  • INDEX Design Cafe Sponsor

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  • Elite Sponsor - Made a Mano

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  • Elite Sponsor - Finasi

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  • Gift Sponsor - Salt

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  • Gift Sponsor - Playsam

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  • Gift Sponsor - Parkers

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  • Dubai Design & Fashion Council

  • APID

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  • BCFA

  • EPCH

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  • ICC

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  • IIID

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  • Official Intelligence Partner

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  • Travel Partner

  • Exclusive Lanyard Sponsor

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Media Partners

  • AEC Online

  • Ceramicanda SRL

  • Compassesworld

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  • Design 4 2day

  • G & G Magazine

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  • CovetED Magazine

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  • darc Magazine

  • Design Middle East

  • Lamasat

  • Dubai Blog Network

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  • e-architect Magazine

  • Design Insider | BCFA

  • EK Magazine

  • Zingy Homes

  • Encyclomedia

  • Home Italia

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  • Homescope

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  • Hot Media Publishing

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  • Commercial Interior Design

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  • Construction Week

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  • Middle East Architect

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  • Official Food & Beverage Partner

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