Whether adding texture and subtlety to a showroom, or creating an immense, mixed-activity environment, NGA offers solutions that are rigorously client-driven. The brand continues to create highly customised programmes that are led by a simple mantra: on time and in-budget. Now in their third year with Love That Design, we met with the team on ground to hear about their journey to date, and their plans for the future.
Above from Left: Emad Qraeah, Operations Manager; Justine Welch, Sales Director; Elliot Barron, Partner at No Grey Area
The challenges faced in 2020
“2020 has been a tough year for everyone,” says Justine. “The challenge we faced was restrictions on components being made available, and yet keep up with lead times. When companies got back on track, all the projects that had been kept on hold fast forwarded a bit, and we had to keep up with that. Manufacturing the products and getting them shipped here in time, to not let our clients down.”
During this crunch time, Justine points out that the clients were always kept in the loop. “That is why we’re called No Grey Area,” she says. “We always make sure that we work with our clients and give them realistic expectations. We’re very honest with our clients, and it’s always black and white.”
This honest and realistic approach is what Justine believes gives them repeat business with loyal clients.
One other challenge that the team overcame during the pandemic was to address the tougher delivery and lead time situation by banding together and working hard as a team. “This has brought us through the other side even stronger and more a family than ever,” says Justine.
The successes of the past year
Although the brand is a lighting and acoustics solutions supplier, NGA takes special pride in introducing new products into the market. “We’re always looking for the next trend, or something that has not been seen before,” says Justine. “And last year, we got a chance to work on some really unique projects where we brought in new and innovative products from Europe and the UK.
“One of the reasons that designers like to work with NGA is that we like to make their visions a reality. We have quite a unique mix of talent within the company, and we’re good at bringing all those elements together to create solutions for people.”
– Justine Welch, Sales Director at NGA
Over the last year the brand has expanded its offerings across a wider breadth of industry, going so far as to include residential, F&B and hospitality markets. One of their latest projects was the Google Innovation Hub, which was both challenging and exhilarating to complete, as Emad Qraeah, Operations Manager at NGA, relates. “We created the staircase, which is a metal mesh aluminium structure integrated with linear lighting. The design and the manufacturing came with its own set of challenges, because of the numerous angles incorporated in the design, but we accomplished it beautifully, resulting in a happy client and designer.”
Future plans and growth within the region
“We have quite an exciting time ahead of us, not just here or in the region, but also from a global expansion perspective,” says Elliot Barron, Partner at No Grey Area. “We have branched out into Egypt and recently finished the Egyptian Museum. We have also been working heavily out of Saudi Arabia for the last three years.”
The regional expansion has allowed NGA to work within different sectors. They have also added projects to their repertoire that have required the full line of services from design to completion. One, in particular, is the new, ultra high-end, JLT Clinic. “The design is not so much that of a clinic as it is of a hospitality venue,” says Elliot. From the concept design provided by the designers, the outcome was not only functional but also leaned heavily towards a comfortable and beautiful aesthetic. “It shows a very different side to NGA with full package lighting, stretch fabrics, acoustics, printed wall panelling, the lot. That is the sort of project we want to showcase more of this year.”
Within the next two years, NGA plans to manufacture at least 50 percent or more of its products within the local market. “This allows for shorter lead times, better quality control, and improves the logistical barrier, thereby greatly reducing our carbon footprint,” says Emad.
The brand has placed special emphasis on their growth plan over the next five years, with new developments in the pipeline.
“Starting from marketing, we have a great new showroom that I am excited to open to the public this September,” says Elliot. “We also have a refreshed brand and a new website launching soon, as well as a brand new catalogue that is also near completion.”
“Aside from our investments into marketing and our regional expansion, we’ve also invested heavily into the upgrade of our production facilities in the UK,” says Elliot. “This has allowed us to produce more volume and to be more responsive to queries, but also to produce more new products.”