Saudi Arabia's Alarabi Decoration, one of the Middle East's leading interior decorators, has celebrated its 20th year of operations.
Alarabi was established in the early 1980s by a group of Italian decoration specialists. "When we first started, we never dreamt that our company would develop so impressively," says president and founder Pietro Nebbia. "At the beginning, we had just a few workers specialised in gypsum decorative works. A small workshop was opened in Jeddah, where we trained carvers and artisans in the art of preparing the originals, from which moulds are then made for casting."
He continues: "Within a couple of years, Alarabi became renowned for its quality work and the small workshop soon became a large decorative gypsum factory. Today, in addition to our facilities in Jeddah and Riyadh, we have factories in Kuwait, Spain and Morocco. We also have a training centre in the Philippines, where we train carvers, who are being hired for our operations in the Kingdom or Europe."
"As Alarabi started off with gypsum work, we are normally associated with this activity. But Alarabi has expanded a great deal since, and today we specialise in several other fields of decoration and special finishings techniques that are may be less known, but are as successful, as decorative gypsum. Our technical department has developed a special decorative material for exteriors, similar to GRC. It is weather-resistant, with characteristics that give the total guarantee of an exclusive, high-quality product.
"Marketed as 'Alarabirock', it has been successfully used in projects spanning three continents. We have a division for special painting applications, which include artistic works as trompe l'oeil, gold leafing and incausto. And we have a landscaping division, set up more than five years ago, that specialises in hard and soft landscaping.
"Our marble mosaic factory can execute any design for pools, murals, fountains or domes. For the glass mosaics, an item that is very much in demand, we use the world-renowned Bisazza product from Italy, while for woodwork, we are associated with the famous GMC of Italy.
"Today, Alarabi provides a high standard of services in the entire field of decoration required by the clients or consultants, either separately, or on a turnkey basis. Our family has grown now to over 1,200 employees among whom are architects, engineers, draftsmen, artisans and decoration specialists of several nationalities, all under European management and European supervision.
"We have executed projects in Asia, Europe and Africa and are involved at the moment in 12 major projects in the Gulf, one in Africa and two in Europe. We are very confident that, with the prospected improved economy in the region, our company has a great potential of further expanding its activities."
Among Alarabi's major projects are several royal palaces in the Kingdom, the new royal and passenger terminals at the airport in Dhahran, the presidential palace in Kazakhstan, a royal palace in Marbella, Spain, the Sheraton hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the extension to the Meridien hotel in Cairo, the new Hilton hotel in Jeddah, a mosque in Algiers, Algeria, and a golf course complex near Izmir, in Turkey.