Interface has been in the Middle East for more than 25 years, and we have always been based in Dubai. However, six years ago we opened our regional head office here and at the same time built a much larger team of people in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE.
As we are a global leader in the design and production of carpet tiles, we have manufacturing plants from the US to Asia. In 1995, Interface became one of the first companies to publicly commit to doing business in a more sustainable way.
THE MATERIALS USED
In terms of sustainable buildings, probably the biggest impact you can have in this region is in the consumption of energy and water, which seems to be what everyone is focusing on. However, the materials that are used in a building also have a huge effect.
The first imports the company made were back in 1993. We imported the first materials for $15,000. At the end, in the brokerage business you do not make much money—just enough to survive. We then started importing materials. We spoke with suppliers and asked to supply materials on a consignment basis. I sold the materials then passed the proceeds back to them. That was how we built the business.
AFTER THE CRISIS
Because we were present in so many countries, business in different markets was barely affected, and that allowed us to bounce back very quickly. Our business increased by 25% between 2010 and 2011. We are expecting another 25% growth this year.
Our goal is always to expand. We want to open more and more stores. We have 33 stores at the moment. By next year we want to have 50 stores in total. We want to open a new store every two months.
PUMP IT UP
The team that manages Emirates Beton has been in the industry for over 20 years. We have, as a team, gained valuable technical experience in the business of producing high-performance concrete and in pumping it for high-rise projects.
I have been involved in projects such as the Maktoum Bridge, Wafi, Grand Hyatt, Shangri-La, the Burj Al Arab hotel, Emirates Towers, Jumeirah Beach Hotel, and City of Arabia—which are all famous landmarks—and most importantly the Burj Khalifa, where we surpassed the previous world record for high-rise pumping.
Corrosion is a very predominant factor in this region, which is enhanced by the ground water and environmental conditions. There are windblown salts as well, and so the quality of the concrete here has to be exceptionally good.
© The Business Year