Oman set to welcome first IKEA store in 2022 

Oman set to welcome first IKEA store in 2022 
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Updated 25 October 2020

Oman set to welcome first IKEA store in 2022 

Oman set to welcome first IKEA store in 2022 

Oman is all set to welcome its first IKEA megastore at the Oman Avenues Mall, in the heart of the capital city of Muscat. The Swedish furniture and home retailer is expected to open doors to the public by the first quarter of 2022.
A development agreement between the Al-Taher Group, a diversified business group in the sultanate, who are the developers of Oman Avenues Mall, and the UAE-based conglomerate, Al-Futtaim Group who represents IKEA franchise in Oman as well as other territories like the UAE, Qatar and Egypt, was signed this week. Senior officials made the announcement in a virtual press event.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud Al-Khalili, board member of the Al-Taher Group, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Al-Futtaim Group, to bring the globally renowned IKEA brand to Oman Avenues Mall. We believe that IKEA Oman will not only strengthen the position of Oman Avenues Mall as a premier shopping destination, but also position the mall firmly as the shopping mall for the whole of Oman.”
Spread across two floors, the new store will be one of the largest stores of the brand in the region.
The Oman Avenues Mall is operated and managed by retail giant LuLu Group International.


Lulu Group’s Yusuf Ali appointed vice chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber

Lulu Group’s Yusuf Ali appointed vice chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber
Updated 26 July 2021

Lulu Group’s Yusuf Ali appointed vice chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber

Lulu Group’s Yusuf Ali appointed vice chairman of Abu Dhabi Chamber
  • ADCCI is the apex governing body of all businesses established in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the UAE Armed Forces, recently issued a resolution to form a new board of directors for the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ADCCI). The body will be chaired by Abdullah Mohamed Al-Mazrouei and prominent Indian businessman Yusuf Ali M.A. as the vice chairman.

ADCCI is the apex governing body of all businesses established in Abu Dhabi and functions as an effective bridge between the government and business sector. Each of the business establishments in Abu Dhabi, one of the wealthiest and most influential economic hubs in the region, has to be licensed by the ADCCI.

Ali, the chairman of retail giant LuLu Group, is the only Indian on the 29-member board, which is primarily made up of Emirati business owners and CEOs.

“This is truly a very humbling and proud moment in my life. My sincere gratitude to the visionary leadership of this great country; I will strive to do my best toward justifying the great responsibility entrusted upon me. My primary focus will be toward the growth of Abu Dhabi’s economy and the larger business community, especially in these challenging times,” Ali said.

Al-Nahyan recently honored Ali with the Abu Dhabi Award, the highest civilian honor for his almost five-decade long contributions in the fields of economic development and philanthropy. The LuLu chairman was the only Indian along with other 11 prominent personalities, which included nine UAE nationals, to receive the honor this year. The Abu Dhabi Awards — an initiative of the Abu Dhabi government — recognize and honor individuals who have selflessly dedicated themselves to support and contribute to the development of the emirate.


Cercle to host live concert on castaway island at W Maldives

Cercle to host live concert on castaway island at W Maldives
Updated 25 July 2021

Cercle to host live concert on castaway island at W Maldives

Cercle to host live concert on castaway island at W Maldives

If you throw a concert in the middle of the Indian Ocean and there is no one around to hear it, does it still make a sound? You bet it does. W Hotels Worldwide, part of Marriott International, has announced a collaboration with Cercle, a French media company known for filming and broadcasting music performances in the world’s most awe-inspiring places, to host an unforgettable live concert at Gaathafushi — the private castaway island at W Maldives. Streaming live on July 26, the hour-and-15-minute set will feature a performance by Berlin-based electronic musician Monolink with the island’s white sandy beach and turquoise lagoon serving as the stage. 

“From our Sound Suite recording studios to our intimate Living Room stages and DJ booths, there is always live music happening at a W hotel somewhere around the world,” said Carly Van Sickle, senior director, global brand marketing, W Hotels Worldwide. “For our next act, we’re excited to be collaborating with the visionaries at Cercle to celebrate the beauty and wonder of one of our most beautiful escapes — W Maldives — through the power of music.”

Cercle has produced and live streamed some of the most jaw-dropping musical performances ever filmed. From a hot air balloon above Cappadocia, Turkey and the Great Pyramids of Giza in Egypt to Glacier 3000 in the Swiss Alps and Mont Saint-Michel island in France, Cercle productions have amassed millions of views online. At sundown on July 26, Gaathafushi Island at W Maldives will join this list of iconic locations, becoming the first hotel to serve as the site of a Cercle show. 

“Cercle is all about great aesthetics, culture, nature and music, values which are shared by W, making this collaboration a groundbreaking no-brainer. When two entities have the same goal and vision, everything flows and expectations are exceeded,” said Pol Souchier, head of communication at Cercle. “That’s why we wanted to collaborate with W Maldives and the resort’s magnificent Gaathafushi Island. It’s a location we’ve been eager to feature on Cercle, and with Monolink, an artist long-awaited on the channel, we’re thrilled to celebrate the power of music with our loyal fan base alongside W.”

Electronic singer-songwriter Monolink is known for combining melodic techno with dreamy guitar-led folk. His performance will be live streamed via Facebook, Twitch, and Oculus Venues. Cercle will then work their magic to release the official performance video on their YouTube channel in August, which will be broadcast at select W Hotels around the world. 

This performance is meant to honor Gaathafushi, the remote island a stone’s throw away from W Maldives. Guests can take a two-minute speedboat ride to the secluded beach and enjoy more than 76,000 square feet of tropical playground by swimming in the surrounding lagoon, indulging in a candlelit meal on the beach prepared by a private chef, or simply relaxing and stargazing under a thatched-roof hut. W Maldives also offers an “Island Takeover” package where guests can book the entire W Maldives property, including Gaathafushi, for the ultimate castaway island experience. The resort is also home to one of the best reefs in the destination with vibrant colors of the coral forest and captivating, diverse marine life right at guests’ doorsteps.


Four weeks of fun & learning at Dubai summer camp

Four weeks of fun & learning at Dubai summer camp
Updated 25 July 2021

Four weeks of fun & learning at Dubai summer camp

Four weeks of fun & learning at Dubai summer camp

Dubai Culture and Arts Authority is returning with a comprehensive version of its summer camp from Aug. 1-28 under the theme “Our Summer is Culture and Creativity” to inspire the imaginations of children and adults during the summer vacation through its creative camps across Dubai Public Libraries branches. The camp will take place in virtual and physical formats and will present the youth with a rich package of innovative activities that will put them on an exploratory journey in the fields of arts, literature, heritage, technology and entertainment.

Over the course of four weeks, the Public Libraries Department at Dubai Culture has prepared an entertaining and cultural atmosphere to enhance the knowledge of young people aged 3-18 and enhance their creative skills through a variety of workshops, in addition to inspiring sessions and workshops distributed across Dubai Public Library branches in Al-Rashidiya, Al-Mankhool, Al-Safa, Hor Al-Anz, Umm Suqeim, Al-Twar and Hatta.

Dubai Culture has allocated a theme for each of the four weeks, where the first week from Aug. 1-7 revolves around the arts, providing participants with various artistic workshops focusing on developing their artistic and creative skills. 

The second week from Aug. 8-14 revolves around literature and is filled with rich reading activities that will develop the art of storytelling accompanied by workshops. In addition, participants will learn the arts of Arabic calligraphy as well as how to make a digital story, enjoying silent film shows, creative writing and other literature-related activities. 

The third week from Aug. 15-21 revolves around the theme of “Heritage and Museums,” which will take participants on a journey rich in Emirati heritage through popular games, traditional dishes, puzzles, heritage and cultural sites as well as interesting competitions, a virtual tour of Hatta, and knowledge of the different cultures around the world.

The summer camp will conclude with “Various Programs and Events” from Aug. 22-28, which will provide participants with an educational experience full of suspense, including in the fields of technology, designing digital games and space science, puppet theater, filmmaking, preparing healthy dishes, drawing with threads and other targeted activities.

Eiman Al-Hammadi, acting manager of Libraries Affairs Section at Dubai Culture, said: “In this year’s summer camp, we are keen to provide a unique experience for all family members as well as to help make their vacation enjoyable and useful at the same time.”


Alibaba provides cloud pin for journos at Olympics

Alibaba provides cloud pin for journos at Olympics
Updated 25 July 2021

Alibaba provides cloud pin for journos at Olympics

Alibaba provides cloud pin for journos at Olympics

Alibaba Group, a worldwide TOP partner of the International Olympic Committee, has unveiled the Alibaba Cloud Pin, a cloud-based digital pin, for broadcasting and media professionals at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. The pin can be worn either as a badge or attached to a lanyard. The digital wearable is designed to enable media professionals working at the International Broadcasting Center (IBC) and Main Press Center (MPC) to engage with each other and exchange social media contact information in a safe and interactive manner during the Olympic Games between July 23 and Aug. 8. 

“The Olympic Games has always been a thrilling event with opportunities for media staff to meet like-minded professionals. With this unprecedented Olympic Games, we want to use our technology to add new exciting elements to the Olympic pin tradition at the IBC and MPC while connecting media professionals and enabling them to maintain social interactions with safe distancing,” said Chris Tung, chief marketing officer of Alibaba Group. 

“As a proud worldwide Olympic partner, Alibaba is dedicated to the transformation of the games in the digital era, making the experience more accessible, aspirational and inclusive for broadcasters, sports fans and athletes from across the world.”


Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin launches new online configurator
Updated 24 July 2021

Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin launches new online configurator

Aston Martin has launched a new configurator, designed to elevate the luxury brand’s online digital experience for customers, fans and dealer partners.

A key component of the brand’s transformation plan “Project Horizon” is the rejuvenation of the customer journey, and the new configurator is an important part of that process.

The new configurator simplifies the specification process, allowing customers to intuitively create their most desired Aston Martin. New technologies have enabled the brand to remove the mundane and replace it with a pleasurable experience that offers greater flexibility and a level of convenience that is hugely valuable. For customers who wish to create a unique Aston Martin, the configurator also offers a full suite of personalization, which includes unique options and an extensive selection of paints, leathers and alcantaras.

Offering immersive 3D ultra-high-definition environments, the Aston Martin configurator provides customers with the ability to zoom in on the fine details of the car, which can then be viewed in a cinematic video that clearly shows the full exterior and interior specification chosen. A choice of beautiful backdrops, from a studio environment to real locations helps customers visualize their perfect car. This new, streamlined customer journey can even pick up the exact specification of a car that a customer has seen in an advertisement, recreating the exact look of the selected car.

The configurator is designed to engage, excite and enable the brand’s customers, wherever they are in the purchase journey. At any point in the online process they will be able to switch to personal interaction and schedule an online session with their local dealer who can assist with their configuration. Customers and fans can download a personalized brochure of their configuration, share their favorite configurations to social media and also choose to book a test drive at any point in the process.

Developed in partnership with the digitization experts MHP, the new configurator offers a highly personalized and visual experience, providing the ability to explore all options and custom features at an unprecedented level of detail and in real-time.

Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers said: “We will go above and beyond to deliver perfection to our customers. The experience of buying an Aston Martin should be as pleasurable as owning one and our new configurator has been created with this in mind. Our customers are very busy people, so it is our job to make the buying process as simple and as enjoyable as possible. This new configurator does that. Like many businesses, a proportion of our customers switched over to online buying during the pandemic, so we have improved this process to allow remote customers to receive the full Aston Martin experience.”

In 2020, the Aston Martin configurator saw more than 2 million sessions and this number is expected to grow for 2021.