Big 5, Big Ambitions

Big 5 2005 was the largest building, building materials and construction exhibition ever held in the Middle East. Last year’s visitor numbers had increased by 14.4% from the year before to 38,535 and it has become an annual meeting place for all industry professionals. The expectations for this year’s expo, therefore, are very high.

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By  Monika Grzesik Published  October 1, 2006

|~|big5-body-1.gif|~||~|Big 5 2005 was the largest building, building materials and construction exhibition ever held in the Middle East. Last year’s visitor numbers had increased by 14.4% from the year before to 38,535 and it has become an annual meeting place for all industry professionals. The expectations for this year’s expo, therefore, are very high.

Approximately 2,500 companies will exhibit from 60 countries and the show will encompass seven key product sectors: Building and Construction; Water Technology and Environment; Air Conditioning and Refrigeration; Cleaning and Maintenance; Glass and Metal; Bathrooms and Ceramics and Marble and Machinery.

“All of the major international companies from each of these vital sectors will be represented at this year’s Big 5,” said Bernard Walsh, managing director of dmg world media Dubai Ltd. “We will stage the biggest event in the history of the show this year, due to the availability of additional floor space,” he continued.

||**|||~|big5-body-2.gif|~||~|For commercial interior designers, the areas of most interest will no doubt be companies specialising in bathrooms and marble and stone and ceramics, with major groups from the main markets of Italy, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Jordan and Turkey, plus many individual companies from overseas and around the region, being included, such as RAK Ceramics. The ceramic and sanitaryware specialist is now established as one of the world’s largest manufacturers in the industry, with current worldwide sales reaching more than $400 million.

Dinesh Bandiwadekar, senior manager, (marketing services) for RAK Ceramics says: “We will be exhibiting recently developed products, including unique Gres Porcellanato models such as Techno Chroma, Bahia and Nacar, and ceramic tile developments such as Alicante, Contrasto, Croco, Roma, Jeans, Chelsea and Venetian, which will share the limelight at the show with a few new sanitaryware sets.”

In the bathroom sector visitors can expect to see all the big players. Grohe has exhibited at Big 5 since the expo was launched. “We are exhibiting because of the reach and power of Big 5, which has accumulated over the past decade. We now recognise that Big 5 is the premier sanitary fittings fair in the region. This year we will be looking to further enhance our market share through the launch of our latest products,” says regional marketing director Selim G. Semaan. Grohe plan to have the largest stand in the German pavilion, and will be launching several new tap and shower ranges. “This will be an excellent opportunity to see all the new products in one place. The exposure that we gain at Big 5 will go some way in increasing the awareness of the professional sector as well as the general public about the Grohe brand,” says Semaan.

||**|||~|big5-body-3.gif|~||~|European market leader in sanitary technology, Geberit will showcase its innovative range of concealed flushing solutions. The company has an ongoing commitment to the UAE market. “Big 5 is in our opinion the single most important exhibition for our products as it draws visitors from across the full spectrum of our target market sectors and is strategically the best vehicle regionally through which to promote our products and raise brand awareness,” says Guy Wilson, head of U.A.E. international sales for Geberit.

“The trend is definitely going towards a greater use of technology and electronics in plumbing and sanitary products as the market moves towards wall hung toilets. Designers are increasingly demanding freedom and flexibility of design allowing creativity without the normal restriction of practical plumbing considerations,” he says.

Many companies realise the significance of this region in their global marketing strategies. Tony Azzam, manager, DuPont Surfaces, Middle East comments: “We are exhibiting at Big 5 this year to show new products and reach new customers as the Dubai market is the largest construction market in the Gulf.” DuPont will showcase new Corian, Montelli and Zodiaq colours in addition to glass-laminated solutions and protective and decorative paints.

||**|||~|big5-body-4.gif|~||~|Rana Chalhoub from Somfy Middle East agrees: “One of our major marketing tools in the Gulf is our participation every year in the Big 5 Show. We believe that it’s an excellent opportunity to be closer to the market and to launch our new products and solutions to professionals and end-users in the Gulf region, which will help us to develop our business, and to get a regional market exposure. Dubai is witnessing a real boom and growth in the field of construction at different levels: residential and commercial projects. This boom has a direct impact on our business, as we are the creators of “home motion,” which is the co-ordination of technological systems for all openings in residential, commercial and industrial buildings.” Somfy will launch new remote control designs and functions at the show.

Often the launch pad for new building materials, this year’s show promises to be no exception. Design Composite will introduce an innovative design material onto the Middle Eastern market. The translucent honeycomb panels are available in a wide variety of colours and textures and can be used in all manner of design applications ranging from partitions, shelving, lighting, sliding doors, furniture and in bathroom design. Marketing and sales director, Alexander Doersek says: “Dubai as a booming market is one of our prioritised export markets. Architects and investors are focused on design and visions and we are committed to realise their boldest and most innovative ideas. We hope to start up a trend in thinking outside of the box of using standard materials and commodities especially for interior design.”

||**|||~|big5-body5.gif|~||~|Overseas exhibitors will have a strong presence at the show as always and the number of participating countries grows each year. 2006 will witness the first contribution from the Philippines with mosaic furniture and tiles featuring heavily. Charles A. Belleza, CEO of Raphael Legacy says: “Mosaic has been fascinating the world for quite sometime, and it is again getting popular as a building and interior material.” Raphael Legacy combines stone fragments into furniture. “Our participation in Big 5 is more exploratory on our side. We believe that the booming hotel industry in Dubai will open doors of opportunities for our company, and for the whole Philippine delegation as well.”

Also from the Philippines are Teresa Marble, one of the country’s leading suppliers of marble and tiles and Lightworks Resources who will introduce fibreglass as a new covering for bathroom and floor tiles.

A spokesman for the show highlighted the importance of Big 5: “In the current construction climate in the Gulf, Big 5 is the main event for the whole of the industry. For contractors, engineers, architects, designers and public and private buyers, the Big 5 is the essential forum to learn of new products and specify any product or service for a project. With the addition of the new Zabeel hall at the DIEC, the exhibition will be larger than ever before.” ||**||

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