After 24 years in the Dubai interiors industry, you would think that our Owner & Founder, Chris Barnes would want to be thinking about hanging up his site boots and taking some well-earned downtime, on the golf course or playing paddle tennis, his favourite activity! The reality however is very different, he has had his most successful year to date, winning ‘Interior Design Leader of the Year’ at Index Awards, highly commended for ‘Interior Designer of the Year’ at the CID Awards and listed as No. 2 in the Power 50!

So how does he keep himself motivated and stay at the top of his game year after year? The answer is simple, he loves the Dubai design industry! In a recent podcast for CID, Chris commented “The number of talented designers in the region pushes us all to do better. I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else in the world, you wouldn’t get the level of interesting projects we get to work on here, we can be proud to say we can compete with any design industry on a global platform!”

So, who is he and how did he get to be one of the most successful award-winning interior designers in the Middle East? Starting his career as an apprentice in a UK construction company, he qualified with a Civil Engineering Bachelor’s Degree. Moving into Project Management with a national construction company, Chris gained experience across many disciplines, achieving MCIOB status in 1991. With a keen eye for detail, he developed his design flair through evening college before moving to Dubai in 1998 to expand his creative abilities. Working as a construction manager and soon after establishing Broadway Interiors in 1999, initially as a fit-out company, he progressed into office design and build, building much of DIFC, Internet and Media City and Dubai, diversifying to include residential design during the 2008 crash and latterly into F&B design and the government office sector. From 2009 he submitted his designs into awards, recording early successes, which have continued year on year!

Passion and dedication to excellence, together with honesty and integrity has earned Chris huge respect. His strength is his understanding of space and existing condition, inspiring his intelligent design strategy of utilising existing materials, reinventing and recycling product, resulting in a series of uniquely successful interiors. Passion for functional, industrial and contemporary styling and a keen eye for detail, his designs are synonymous for their innovative and sustainable qualities. Chris takes his inspiration from what he sees around him; real life and architecture on the street and his travels, provide him with new perspective, incorporating original ideas into his designs. The street vibe of Black Tap, demonstrates perfectly his ability to take a casual bar, transforming it into a 5* restaurant and bar design venue, incorporating the gritty, industrial, street vibe of New York, permeating this through the materials and detail within the Black Tap brand DNA. Well-known for creating visually distinctive interiors that are immensely popular and high grossing such as the multi award-winning LSB, he has continued to demonstrate his ability to reinvent and reuse materials keeping budgets tight, yet completely transforming the space. His latest designs opened to high acclaim and demonstrate his passion and initiative for what is required to create striking, highly successful dining and entertainment concepts! Koyo explores Tokyo’s underground world; wild and sassy this Asian restaurant design ignites experimental creativity, with moody vibes, energised and daring art, keeping guests wondering! The refurbishment interior design of Ula uses rigid form and floaty organic elements combined with a neutral colour palate and natural elements; the ultimate karma and relaxation of the holiday vibe, from day to night!

Chris is a forward thinking, vanguard leader in his field. His extensive knowledge, experience and dedication to the industry, means he is a strong role model and has built a solid reputation as someone who has a broad vision, knows what he wants to achieve and communicates this effectively, going over and above to support clients in creating their dreams and delivers every time! He commands great respect from clients, colleagues, industry peers and suppliers alike; a modest, intelligent man, his portfolio is an impressive array of local and international companies, across a diverse and extensive range of sectors, testament to his professionalism. He inspires and empowers all around him to achieve excellence, nothing is too much trouble! Developing the Broadway Design Competition demonstrates his leadership and commitment to the future design industry, supporting 4th year students at UAE Universities to apply their learning in a practical environment, engaging top designers to judge and mentor the applicants to see their designs come to life and exhibited at Dubai Design Week! We are lucky to have him, huge congratulations Chris on your best year yet!

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