The interior design and renovation market in Bangladesh is growing rapidly thanks to a booming real estate market, rising incomes of people and urbanization.
The domestic interior design market is estimated to have quadrupled over the past decade and currently stands at around Tk 20,000 crore, according to industry insiders. The market is expected to double over the next five years.
Experts have attributed the surge in demand for interior design services to people’s growing inclination towards smart homes and commercial spaces amid the influence of social media and changes in their standard of living and their way of life.
People are choosing themed designs for their commercial and residential spaces, they added.
Take AR Shams Robin, an importer of drug manufacturing machinery, for example. He bought a flat in the Rangs Propertiy luxury housing project in the Banani district of the capital for around Tk 12 crore in 2020.
Next, he had the interior of the apartment 3D printed using CADD – computer-aided design and drafting – technology at his own expense. At the same time, he placed a 360° video and a still image in the living room using virtual reality technology.
As soon as the door to the living room is opened, the video and the still image also start in such a way that it seems that you have entered the living room directly.
“This apartment is 1800 square feet. Besides the living room, four other rooms have been designed with exotic wood floors and ceilings. The kitchen is designed with special technology. Virtual curtains have been used in the windows”, Shams Robin told The Business Standard.
About Tk 1.5 crore was spent on decorating the interior of the apartment with various modern technologies, he added.
The interior design of the apartment was done by Interior Concepts BD.
An official from the company told TBS that in addition to designing the interiors of these luxury apartments, they also do interior decorations of residential buildings, duplex houses, hotels, restaurants, office buildings, etc. companies, hospitals and educational institutions across the capital, for which they use totally foreign technologies and imported materials.
Interior Concepts BD has been in this business for 15 years, he said, adding that three renowned designers from China, Canada and England work as consultants in the company. Also, some architects from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) are working on the development of the design. And there are 16 skilled workers from China and India to execute the designs.
The market for interior design and relevant materials is getting bigger and bigger, with rapid urbanization across the country, and gradually emerging as an important contributor to the national economy, economists said. They note, however, that the development of a national policy for this sector will further increase its reach.
Humayan Kabir, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Buet, obtained a post-master’s degree from the University of Virginia, USA. He then pursued graduate studies in interior design and obtained a doctorate. In addition to teaching at a university in the United States, he joined an interior design company there.
In 2009, he launched his company, Smart Interior, in Bangladesh. He runs the company from the United States. Architects from Le Buet work with the firm, which also imports various technologies and materials for interior design.
In June last year, Smart Interior conducted a study which revealed that the interior design market in Bangladesh had reached around Tk 20,000 crore.
According to the study, interior design in Bangladesh took on a modern twist in the 1990s and has been growing ever since.
About 7 lakh people are currently employed in this sector, according to the study.
Iqbal Mahmud, Senior Consulting Architect of Smart Interior, said growth in the interior design market has slowed over the past two years due to the Covid pandemic, but started to rebound in late 2021.
The market will touch Tk 40,000 crore by 2027, projects the study.
Materials and technologies
Industry insiders once said building interiors were decorated with local and foreign wood.
Then various artificial wooden boards and plastic sheets were used. These are still in use. But, in addition, virtual reality technology using 3D printing papers or cardboards imported from different countries, CAD technology, 3D photos, virtual reality, SketchUp, V-Ray and 3D Max software have carried the interior design to a new level.
Asif Ibrahim, a manager of Trimattra, a leading interior design company in the country, said themed designs are becoming very popular among the new generation of shoppers like elsewhere in the world.
Countless themes, such as Mediterranean style, European style and Indian ethnic style of design and decoration, are becoming mainstream these days, he added.
In addition, multi-purpose laminate flooring, hardwood flooring, carpet flooring and ceramic flooring to decorate the floor are now quite common demand, Asif said.
The design of window curtains is also very popular. Box plates, pinch plates, tail plates, islands and rod holders are made for this.
Another popular aspect is the glass wall – soundproof and colored glass walls inside the rooms.
According to the study of Smart Interior, all the technology used for interior decoration is imported from abroad. About 30% of the materials, such as natural wood, artificial wood, sheets and tiles, for interior decoration are locally sourced, while the rest comes from about 20 countries, including China, the United States United States and the United Kingdom.
Mahfuzur Rahman, an engineer owner of Max International, an interior materials supplier in the capital city of Hatirpul, said the material market size is Tk 15,000 crore out of the total investment of Tk 20,000 crore made. by interior designers and material suppliers.
Industry insiders say around 10,000 companies across the country, including Dhaka, are engaged in home decor. Moreover, many do it individually.
Alamgir Shamsul Alamin Kajal, chairman of the Bangladesh Property and Housing Association, told TBS that today nearly 90 percent of apartments built by real estate agents in the capital have their interiors decorated.
Economist Dr Ahsan H Munsurr said the interior design market thrives on people’s changing tastes and preferences over time. It has also created many job opportunities.
Most of them who are involved in interior design are educated. Many universities and private institutions now offer interior design courses and training, he also said.
“But our economy cannot take full advantage of this growing market because most of the materials used in this sector are imported,” the economist said, suggesting that the government take initiatives to develop an industry supplying all the materials needed for interior decoration.