Putting the Focus on Ceramics in Qatar

If there is one place in Qatar that has sourced and beautifully displayed a wide array of products from leading ceramics manufacturers in Italy and other parts of the world, it is Highrise Trading & Contracting WLL, with a purpose-built facility that is now open on Barwa Commercial Avenue. The one person who is aware of the characteristics of the business of ceramic and porcelain tiles, is Shaji N Nair, Managing Director of the company.

Shaji N Nair, Managing Director, Highrise Trading & Contracting WLL. Photographer: Shaji Panicker

The 40th edition of Cersaie, one of the largest Ceramics exhibitions in the world, which was held in Bologna this year from September 25-29, reached almost 100,000 visitors with more than 47,000 international attendees.

One visitor from Qatar amassed a lot of attention, more so when he was interviewed by Channel 5 also known as “Canale 5”, a popular TV Channel in Italy. The visitor is Shaji N Nair, a businessman from Qatar.

Shaji N Nair is no ordinary visitor; he is a regular Cersaie enthusiast for over a decade, with over 10 world renowned suppliers from Italy and numerous others from around the world supplying his large tile showroom in Doha. Nair is actively involved in the world of construction business for over 35 years.

“Cersaie has always been the hub of the ceramic and porcelain industry since its inception 40 years ago. It is the largest business gathering in the world where the latest trends and innovations in the ceramic and porcelain realm is showcased. It is always been a great place for networking and gaining more data about the scene,” says Nair about his travels to Cersaie every year.

Being the Managing Director of Highrise Trading & Contracting WLL, he has succeeded in creating an identity in Qatar for the past 16 years as a catalyst in transforming the tiles and sanitary -ware industry towards a sustainable and eco-conscious future.

Interiors of the new facility. Photographer Shaji Panicker

Under his guidance his team has been actively involved in large scale architectural projects and enormous construction ventures in Qatar against all odds in the past decade. A specialist supplier of the world’s finest ceramic and porcelain tiles, the company’s mission is to close the gap between market needs and the availability of greener products and environmentally sustainable building solutions.

“We have been involved in the National Vision 2030 since its inception and the projects for FIFA 2022 World Cup. We consider Highrise Trading as a true ambassador for Italian ceramic tiles and the Italian tile industry,” says Nair.

New display units at Highrise

From the first major commission which was the supply of Black Bazalt at Katara for the contractor Galfar Al Misnad to the latest major commission for the Gewan Island project at The Pearl, Highrise has been involved in major construction and architectural works in and around Qatar with other notable projects being, the Lusail Towers, all the Doha Metro Stations and the Al Bayt Stadium.

More than the value and the quantity supplied, what comes to our attention is the advancement in porcelain manufacturing that is the highlight for each of the product that is used.

Pranav Shaji describing the new materials in the industry.

We remind our readers to look closely at the golden and white 3D tiles used at the Doha Metro Stations that are sourced by Highrise from Atlas Concord, a leading innovator in porcelain designs from Italy with some of its designs developed by Zaha Hadid Architects. Another noteworthy product is the fluted porcelain tiles used in the interiors of the Lusail Plaza Towers designed by Fosters supplied by another historically significant porcelain manufacturer in Italy, Etruria Design.

Shaji Nair tells us about the growth of the industry in this small country of Qatar which is not bound by its size to dream big. He says, “Qatar has always had a rapid growth in the construction industry and it goes without saying that the demand of ceramic and porcelain tiles has had a parallel incline. Marble has always been a highly desirable material in the region but due to its unsustainable characteristics from its extraction, application and maintenance, porcelain tiles have taken a huge part of its market share due to its revolutionary advancements which has caught the attention of many designers and consultants in Qatar. The fact of the matter is that marble is a finished product in itself whereas in the contrary porcelain has shown new and improved features almost every year.”

And it is to understand the new innovations in the field of ceramics and porcelain that Nair and his team make the yearly trip to Cersaie where experts in this field congregate.

 New Facilities for Stunning Range

Father & Son; the two generations at work at Highrise

Recently Highrise Contracting has added one more feather to its cap; of relocating to a large purpose-built facility that puts focus on its varied and massive array of luxurious ceramic and porcelain tiles, sanitaryware and bathroom accessories.

Designed by Pranav Shaji, who is assisting his father Shaji Nair is fast picking up the reins of ceramics business boosted by his own passion and the able guidance from his father.

The new showroom with its double height reception area that forms the centre of area from which spines off smaller nooks, all of which are tastefully decorated with bestsellers from the Ceramics industry.

The centre of attraction is of course the large reception table in a chunk of green stone which to our surprise in not a natural stone but cast from the more malleable porcelain.

“This is the perfect example of how versatile of a material porcelain can be. The entire counter and back walls of the reception is made in large sized porcelain slabs that come in 12 mm thickness and 1.6×3.2m in length which is a great alternate for marble as you can use this for vanities, kitchen islands, counters, feature walls, ventilated facades etc,” says Pranav.

“It is the latest trend in the market and a premium product for those who desire marble but don’t want to deal with the hassle of sourcing and cutting,” he continues.

The rest of the showroom has the best of textures, colours, sizes, mosaics and other features of porcelain exhibited in the most appealing fashion. This is also the place that tries its best to bring the latest trends as seen in the finest of ceramics exhibitions to Qatar.

We invite our readers to this new paradise of ceramics and porcelain to understand the advancements in technology which makes this product more sustainable that it ever was.

Photography Shaji Panicker