In the ever-evolving world of architecture, few companies shine as brightly as iMaker Group. Found in 2017 in Saudi Arabia and now headquartered in Dubai, the enterprise has rapidly gained recognition for its luxurious and visionary designs. We caught up with the brothers and co-founders, Arch. Baraa and Arch. Ahmed Al Refai, to discuss their journey, insights, and future aspirations.
We started by asking, “Arch. Baraa & Arch. Ahmed Al Refai, can you give us a brief about yourselves?”
Arch. Baraa Alrefai: “I am an entrepreneur with a rich background in architecture. As a co-founder and managing partner of iMaker Group, we specialize in architecture, interior design, and landscaping, with our headquarters located in Dubai. I graduated in architecture from the University of Petra in Jordan. Although originally from Damascus, Syria, I’ve been deeply involved in the architectural scene in various regions.”
Arch. Ahmad Alrefai: “I am also a co-founder and partner at iMaker Group. I hold a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Petra in Jordan. Over the years, I’ve worked in multiple roles across the MENA region. Together with my brother, Eng. Baraa Alrefai, we co-founded iMaker in 2017.”
Tell us more About iMaker Group.
Arch. Baraa: “iMaker Group is a well-established firm in the realms of architecture, interior design, landscaping, and we also have a furniture line. Based in both Dubai and Saudi Arabia, we offer services that emphasize a luxury lifestyle, exclusive bespoke designs for our clientele, and the creation of opulent spaces. Our in-house team, consisting of creative interior designers, architects, and experienced project managers, takes ownership of every step in our projects. With over 30 architects and designers on board, we have successfully delivered over 150 projects.”
Arch. Ahmed adds: “Baraa and I initially set up an office in Riyadh in 2017. By 2020, we had already taken on some landmark projects spanning residential, commercial, and luxury sectors for notable clients. By the end of 2020, even with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, we made the decision to expand our operations to Dubai. In our relatively short history, we have successfully executed more than 150 projects between Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with several more on the horizon.”
Arch. Baraa interjects: “For us, attention to detail is paramount. We are committed to elevating every project to its pinnacle of potential. Rather than imposing popular design trends, we invest time to truly understand our client’s vision and tailor our execution accordingly.”
Eng. Ahmed concludes: “We have ambitious plans for expansion into the UK, US, and Europe. iMaker is poised to embark on an exciting global journey, driven by the vision of its leaders and underpinned by our track record of dedication and hard work.”
We further asked, “Why did you choose to establish your architecture & design studio’s headquarters in the UAE?”
Arch. Baraa: “The architecture and interior design sectors are among the fastest-growing fields in the UAE, particularly in Dubai, which is recognized as the commercial capital. Recognizing this potential, Ahmed and I decided to set up our headquarters in Business Bay, Dubai.”
Arch. Ahmed adds: “Moreover, Dubai offers vast and varied business opportunities. The region has positioned itself as a formidable economic force with unparalleled access to international markets. Given the high demand for architectural and interior design services in the UAE, we wanted our firm to contribute to Dubai’s growth. We aim to make a positive impact on the city through our expertise in architecture, interior design, and landscaping.”
“What are the strategies & goals of iMaker Group, and how do you differentiate yourselves from competitors?” we asked.
Arch. Baraa: “Our primary goals and strategies revolve around delivering the highest level of creativity in design, ensuring it is technically robust and aesthetically pleasing. We prioritize health, safety, schedules, and budgets, aiming to forge meaningful and enduring relationships with our clients. We are driven to create structures and spaces with distinctive character, underlined by the use of genuine materials and meticulous detailing. Moreover, it’s vital for us that the homes and buildings we design have a deep connection with the environment they’re situated in.”
Arch. Ahmed believes: “The success of iMaker Group is multifaceted. Firstly, collaborating with the right individuals and employing the appropriate tools is essential. Complementing this with a potent marketing strategy, we remain vigilant in identifying potential clients and fostering strong professional ties.”
On Differentiating from Competitors:
Arch. Ahmed: “Navigating a saturated market is undeniably challenging. Yet, our commitment to exploring diverse ideas and embracing abstract thinking helps us carve a unique space for ourselves.”
Arch. Baraa adds: “Architecture transcends the mere visual appeal of impressive structural designs. It’s about translating a vision into tangible reality. To distinguish ourselves, we embrace a vision that blends sustainability with dynamic design.”
What are the future plans for iMaker Group?
“We have set our sights on capturing a larger market share in the UAE and the broader Middle East. Moreover, our expansion ambitions extend to Europe; we’re in the process of establishing an office there. This move aims not only to serve a wider clientele but also to elevate the prominence of the iMaker Group name on a global scale.” They replied.
What is the biggest strength of the iMaker Group right now?
Arch. Baraa: “Our strength undoubtedly lies in the exceptional quality of our services. Our forward-thinking perspective on modern luxury, positioned within a global context, is central to our achievements. This vision not only sets the bar higher with every project but also paves the way for future design innovations.”
Eng. Ahmed: “Equally significant is our diverse and adept team of architects and interior designers. The rich tapestry of cultures represented within our team, thanks to members hailing from various nationalities, enhances our creative dynamics. We regard this cultural mix as one of our core strengths.”
Our next question was, “What benefits do your clients are getting from your company in this competitive world?”
Save Time, Save Money, Reduce Stress and Change Orders to nearly zero.
They further said, “By using a full-service team to complete projects, we ensure that our clients are more satisfied overall. The advantages of full-service project management include:
- Better prices for services.
- More aligned goals and priorities.
- Improved allocation of budget and clearer financial accountability.
- Quicker feedback and turnaround times.
- A clearer understanding of our client’s needs.
- Reduced time and frustration for the client.
These elements are directly linked to our client’s satisfaction. We’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth repeating: the value of hiring a team that takes the time to fully understand the client’s wants and needs cannot be overstated. Building a strong relationship with the client positively impacts all aspects of the project.
When clients hire an architecture and interior design team, the relationship should be MORE than just transactional.”
“How do you see the Architecture & interior design sector evolving in the next 5-10 years, and how will iMaker Group stay ahead of the curve?”
Arch. Baraa: “Truth be told, modern technology will significantly transform the 3D interior design landscape, making it more accessible, faster, cost-effective, and potent than it’s ever been. The coming decade will empower homeowners like never before, enabling them to renovate and update their homes both economically and efficiently. Architecture, by its nature, is an evolving discipline that adapts to the shifting needs of society—from foundational needs like shelter and safety to advanced desires for comfort, aesthetics, and technology.”
Arch. Ahmed: “Looking ahead, we anticipate even more advanced technological tools in the next decade that will revolutionize everything from home renovations to comprehensive interior design projects. The architectural realm is evolving at an unprecedented rate, with artificial intelligence playing a pivotal role in shaping its trajectory. While these advancements offer vast potential, it’s paramount for architects to harness them responsibly and ethically.”
Lastly, we asked,”How will iMaker Group stay ahead of the curve?”
Arch. Baraa: “To stay at the forefront, it’s crucial for us to be continuously in tune with the latest trends and developments within our industry. We must remain vigilant, being aware of shifts, evolutions, and emerging innovations in our surroundings. Our commitment is to consistently monitor and embrace these changes.”
Arch. Ahmed: “Moreover, we recognize the importance of iterative evaluation. It’s essential for us to routinely assess our goals, revisiting and adjusting them based on our progress, feedback, and shifts in the market landscape. This process helps us determine our accomplishments, identify gaps, and chart the course for our next steps.”
Headquarters: U-bora Towers 32 Marasi Drive, Business Bay Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Contact iMaker Group at:
+971 50 739 4020