dwp is ready, willing and able to face the current challenges in the kingdom, reports NIKKI BUSUTTIL
Bahrain has been through some tumultuous times of late and any business would perhaps be forgiven for adopting a cautious approach in the market while things settle down. However, it is not in the DNA of world-class architecture and interior design firm dwp (design world partnership), which established an office in the kingdom in 2006, to shy away from any challenging situation or market.
On the contrary, dwp can survive and thrive in any environment, thanks to its good understanding of the locale, clients and their needs, says dwp’s chief executive officer Brenton Mauriello.
Managing a design company in Bahrain has not been easy, but dwp has chalked up one success after another and in the process created client loyalty while setting new benchmarks in design and innovation, Mauriello adds.
With offices in 10 different countries worldwide, dwp benefits from a large support network and a diverse pool of talented designers, meaning it is able to draw on a wide-ranging portfolio. With everything from the hospitality industry, workplaces, residential, retail, banking and finance, to education, healthcare and civic buildings and spaces, dwp covers all bases of design in both architecture and interiors.
Working across its branches, dwp can offer clients unrivalled broad experience, adaptability and international standards coupled with cultural sensitivities and local knowledge.
“From the very small to the incredibly large, private to government contracts, we have the know-how to take to task any development or project and make it work,” says Mauriello.
“We build close relationships with our clients, and make it our business to fully foster an all-encompassing understanding of their needs, set against the practicalities of the environment, location, functional and aesthetic requirements, among others, each and every time,” he says.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why so many customers seek dwp’s design acumen, while other competitors have to market and sell their services.
Moda Mall’s corridor water feature
Within Bahrain, dwp is one of the largest interior design enterprises, which makes it very attractive to local and international talent looking for a solid, reputable employer. It already has over 45 employees in Bahrain, who are part of a larger group of just under 500 people.
This makes dwp capable of handling the larger-scale projects due to its in-house resources, and although dwp may appear to be the more expensive choice at times, it is able to keep costs down by looking inward rather than expensively outsourcing chunks of any given project.
As Neil Mark Glassberg, the managing director of the dwp’s Bahrain operations, explains: “We are an integrated one-stop design service with our brand recognition and a strong reputation growing from strength to strength.”
Word-of-mouth would appear to play an important role in the spread of dwp’s reputation. A significant portion of its success is due to its ability to win high-profile projects outside of Bahrain too, such as in Saudi Arabia, although the company remains fully committed to the kingdom. The spillover into Saudi Arabia is notable with projects ranging from master-planning a 100,000 sq m resort, workplace solutions for Aramco, designing the Gulf International Bank headquarters, creating the Al Khobar Gardens residential development for Jenan and producing the roll-out design concept for Sigma Paint’s retail stores throughout the Middle East.
Its work in Bahrain is no less considerable either: dwp has been involved with the InterContinental Regency hotel, the Bahrain World Trade Centre and Moda Mall, the offices of CrediMax and the headquarters of Zain, as well as the Sigma Paint store.
As dwp continues to rack up new projects and sign on new clients, it remains entirely positive for the future of Bahrain’s design industry. “We feel the recovery is starting to take place. Bahrain should make a complete comeback and that is why dwp is making a concerted commitment to stay in the kingdom,” he says. “We are finding the design trend both in Bahrain, as well as Saudi Arabia, is moving from a classic design to a transitional look, which still incorporates simple and elegant Arabic patterns.”
In the meantime, dwp will continues to source projects abroad to see it through the downturn.
“The future is bright for us in Saudi Arabia too. We are landing new projects constantly and there are good things to come,” Glassberg says.
So far, the start of 2012 is definitely looking bright for the company, with dwp opening another office in Jeddah before the second half of the year. Its aim is to continue producing iconic designs across the entire region while continuing to build on its well established reputation in Bahrain.