Muraspec's design studio in London.

Muraspec's innovative and creative range of wall coverings is a triumph of true teamwork, from the design to the manufacturing process.

Creativity and design are the key to Muraspec's success in creating exclusive and innovative wall coverings, says Steven Pratt, the company's sales manager for the UAE.

"Wandering around the company's design studio one comes across the most unexpected materials: canvases with embedded chunks of metal, samples of frosted glass, suede cuttings, dried grasses and other organic material - all inspiration for new developments," he says.

The company's brand positioning, 'Better walls make better environments,' reflects the inspiration and passion that drives Muraspec and reigns throughout all departments of the company, according to Pratt. "When considering potential new product lines, a combination of marketing brief, technical and creative ideas as well as practical considerations are bounced around, refined and developed," he says.

Product and brand manager Chris Delafield elaborates: "Some of our best products have been the result of happy accidents which would not have occurred at all if we did not cultivate this environment. Fusion, for example, is a combination of a non-woven fibre, fused onto a metallic base. The inspiration for this range came from a sample of insulating material normally used in the roofing trade: one of the Muraspec team was taken up with the cobweb-like effect and thus an idea was born."

This is where the studio-cum-factory set-up comes into its own. Studio manager Richard Collier explains: "The combination of having the design studio, technical support and factory all on the same site gives us tremendous freedom. Once I have a promising design, I can hand it straight to our technical department. I can also explain my thinking to them, and they, in turn, can describe any foreseeable difficulties in producing the product. We can also get very hands-on with the factory. The creative team may be reluctant to compromise on design, while the technicians will want as reliable a technique as possible. Between us, we can reach solutions that stretch us all, but which are workable and innovative."

This true team-based approach is rare in the world of design and manufacturing, and the advantages are evident in Muraspec's latest products, which will be on display at the forthcoming Index 2002 exhibition in Dubai, says Pratt. These include Xeres (Resimur), which was launched recently and targets the renovation sector. Its deep texture helps hide dents and marks on the walls, saving both time and money.

Muraspec is also set to launch Xeres 2, which is similar to Xeres but with an added advantage that it can be painted. It is thicker and deeper in texture and has sound-absorption properties.

Another product to be on display at Index and launched later this year, is a complementary product for wall-coverings targeted at the new-style offices designed for use with stainless steel and glass.

"Highlighted at Index will be a new and innovative marketing tool," says Pratt. "Comprising the latest technology in 3-D imaging, it is set to take the industry by storm."

"In order to prove our belief that the walls have the power to change how an environment looks, works and feels, we are constantly striving to push forward the boundaries of how walls are approached," comments Chris Williams, sales and marketing director. The results are wall-coverings that also have practical and aesthetic benefits, such as sound insulation, anti-bacterial and anti-graffiti properties."

Muraspec was established in 1971 as a distributor of contract vinyl wall-coverings manufactured by Brymor, UK. The company was said to be the leading manufacturer and the first in the UK to start using vinyl. Muraspec and Brymor joined forces in 1998, to become a division of Omnova Wallcovering, a world-leader in wall-covering manufacturing and distribution. The Omnova umbrella also includes brands such as Genon, Lanark, Essex and Bolta. Recognising the importance of the Middle East markets, a regional office and warehouse was established in Dubai seven years ago.

"Today Muraspec is the world's leading designer and manufacturer of wall-coverings for the contract market," says Pratt. "Our products are being used with much success in major offices, hotels and commercial projects throughout the Middle East. These include Dubai International Airport, El Gezirah Sheraton and Meridien Heliopolis in Egypt, government projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Al Ain, the Lexus Tower, Ramada, Renaissance and Radisson SAS hotels in Dubai, various hotels in Oman and Jordan, the Sheraton in Kuwait, Sharjah National Hotels and the Riyadh Marriott. Muraspec is also group supplier to Hilton Hotels."

Muraspec's range includes over 1,300 colourways in more than 100 designs, offering a great variety of designs and textures, including textiles, to give professional specifiers the right product for any scheme. The company also produces custom colours or custom designs for special projects.

Looking at future prospects for the industry, Pratt comments: "To coin a phrase, it looks like the revolution has just begun."