ALARABI Decoration and Construction is gearing up to tap the considerable potential offered by the regional market and is optimistic about its business prospects, having added a number of niche projects in Saudi Arabia to its projects portfolio.
The Jeddah-based interior decoration veteran has already started work on the King Abdullah International Conference Centre in Jeddah and is poised to commence work on the highly prestigious Princess Nora University for Women (PNUW) project in Riyadh – just two among a myriad of interior decoration projects it is currently handling in the kingdom.
The company has started gypsum work at the King Abdullah International Conference Centre. According to Saleh M Saleh, business consultant for Alarabi, the projects heralds a new era in interior design with its abstract-style modern décor.
Saleh estimates that some $1.5 trillion worth of civil construction projects are expected to come on the regional market, and is upbeat about future prospects.
“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,” says Saleh. “We are fully booked and are facing a staff shortage.”
The company is currently looking at boosting its 1,000-strong team of craftsmen, to cope with demands of projects that are nearing the finishing stages in addition to meeting the commitments of its already bulky order book comprising a host of commercial and residential developments.
The décor specialist has enhanced its skills and broadened its scope of activities to include works such as parquet flooring, interior fit-outs and joinery, to enable it to implement interior projects on a turnkey basis. It is also now offering expertise in the application of Tadellakt as part of its contemporary interior design portfolio.
Tadellakt is a bright lime plaster waterproof coating traditionally used in the palaces, hammams and bathrooms in Morocco.
Alarabi is the preferred choice of leading Saudi contractors such as Saudi Binladin Group (SBG) and Saudi Oger and developers such as Al Hokair – its latest order for the Princess Nora University is for Saudi Oger.
The firm has recently 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 the Saudi Binladin Group.
Alarabi has also completed the bulk of the gypsum work for the interiors of King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (Kaust) in Rabigh, the Guest Palace Hotel and Symposium Centre in Riyadh; the 1,320-suite Le Meridien Hotel & Towers project in Makkah, 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 both fibrous gypsum and painting works.
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 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 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.
Given the trend towards contemporary designs, gypsum work will continue to maintain its popularity in the market, according to Saleh. “With the bulk of the construction activity in the kingdom being high-rise buildings and malls, universities and conference centres, there is greater demand for contemporary designs, using gypsum,” he says. “Classic and neo-classic interiors, however, are still popular in the luxury residential sector such as palaces, where interior furnishings, finishing and ornaments are expected to be objects of self expression.”
Alarabi’s 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 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.