ALARABI Decoration and Construction is upbeat about prospects in the region, given the number of projects that are nearing the finishing stages and its already extensive order book which includes a host of commercial complexes and residential projects.
“The market holds immense potential and we are hopeful of working on prestigious projects such as the King Abdullah Economic City in Rabigh,” says Saleh M Saleh, business consultant for Alarabi.
He continues: “We are fully booked and doing our best to cope with orders. In fact, we have had to keep some of the new orders on hold so that we fulfil the contracts that we already have in hand. We are facing a staff shortage and are currently processing visas to recruit artisans.”
The company is urgently looking at boosting its current 1,000 staff strength of craftsmen.
The Jeddah-based interior décor specialist is close to completing the finishes on the highly prestigious King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (Kaust) in Thuwal, 80 km north of Jeddah, where it is carrying out gypsum work for the large auditorium and most of the educational centres within the complex, which is expected to open in September.
Alarabi has also completed the bulk of the gypsum work involved for the interiors of the Guest Palace Hotel and Symposium Centre in Riyadh. It is involved in the ongoing 1,320-suite Le Meridien Hotel & Towers project in Makkah and expects to start work shortly on a conference hall project in Jeddah for Saudi Oger.
Alarabi has just handed over a project which involved the supply and installation of gypsum suspended ceiling works at the King Abdul Aziz Endowment Development (Dokaae) in Makkah under a subcontract from Saudi Binladin Group; a development for the Equestrian Club in Jeddah; several palaces; a luxury private villa project; and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs HRH building in Jeddah, where it carried out fibrous gypsum and painting works.
Commenting about business prospects, Saleh says: “With some $1.4 trillion worth of civil construction projects expected to come on the regional market, we are optimistic that the next five to 10 years will be very busy as there aren’t enough experienced players to take on this volume of projects.”
The décor specialist has broadened the scope of its activities to include works such as parquet flooring, interior fit-outs and joinery, to enable it to implement interior projects on a turnkey basis.
Alarabi enjoys an enviable position in the market, being the preferred interior decoration firm for leading Saudi contractors such as Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) and Saudi Oger and developers such as Al Hokair.
The company has been involved in most of the landmark mall projects in Saudi Arabia. These include Jeddah’s two-storey Mall of Arabia, considered to be the largest shopping centre of its kind in the kingdom with a built-up area of 276,000 sq m. “We have supplied and installed Prodema ceilings, gypsum ceilings, ceramic and marble flooring and mosaic tiles for this prestigious mall of the Al Hokair Group – which opened last September – under a subcontract from Riyadh-based Haifa Al Jazira,” says Saleh.
Apart from the Mall of Arabia, the company has worked on other shopping centres for the Al Hokair Group, including the recently-opened Al Hofuf Mall in Hofuf, where it undertook a key role in the interior finishes, particularly the gypsum ceiling works.
Alarabi has also recently finished work on Al Nour Mall in Madinah, Red Sea Mall in Jeddah and Sephora Rashid Mall in Al Khobar, Stars Avenue Mall in Jeddah and the installation of acrylic ceiling works on the Mall of Dhahran extension in Dhahran.
In the retail fit-out sector, it has also carried out decoration works for the Tanagra retail centres in Jeddah, Riyadh and the Eastern Province, Christian Dior outlets in Jeddah and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, and Doha in Qatar as well as Louis Vuitton shops in Doha.
Commenting on trends in the interiors market, Saleh says: “With the bulk of the construction activity in the kingdom being high-rise buildings and malls, there is greater demand for contemporary designs, using gypsum. Classic and neo-classic interiors, however, are still popular in the luxury residential sector such as palaces.”
Over the past 26 years, Alarabi has undertaken a variety of decorative gypsum works, special painting and artistic decoration works for numerous projects and clientele across the Middle East. Its expertise covers the entire spectrum of decoration works from gypsum decorative ceilings and walls to artistic painting applications; and from furniture and special woodworks to marble mosaic and tiling works for pool and murals.
Founded by Faisal K Adham in Jeddah in 1982, Alarabi Decoration and Construction has grown into one of the key interior and exterior décor specialists in the Middle East. It has its head office and a 2,000-sq-m workshop in Jeddah as well as a branch office and a 1,500-sq-m workshop in Riyadh.
It also operates in Kuwait as Alarabi International for Decoration and in Abu Dhabi as Alarabi Decoration.