Having recently shared the news of our wins at the MUSE Design awards for both Depachika the Palm and Alkebulan the African Dining Hall, we sat down and spoke to the brains behind the designs – Creative Director, Gabriel Murray.
Please give us a brief bio of yourself and your design background.
"I am the Creative Director of TGP international with over 30 years experience working in retail and hospitality specialising in Architecture Branding and Design."
Why did you choose to become a designer/artist?
"Since I was small I always wanted to be an Architect,a Graphic Designer and a Designer
I just always had it in me – I think I was always inspired by the movies and for a long time I wanted to be a set designer……….either that or a rock star!!"
Tell us more about TGP, your job profile, and what you do.
"We are an International Hospitality consultancy and I work with the creative teams developing new concepts and design direction of customer experiences for Food Halls, Restaurants and Bars."
What does “design” mean to you?
"Everything – through design I try to make the world better."
What’s your favourite kind of design and why?
"Graphics and architecture – they are always the first thing you see and influence a customer to a hospitality experience!"
To you, what makes a “good” design?
"Something that stimulates and is memorable – something that creates a buzz and you feel comfortable with."
Describe your design style and its main characteristics.
"I don’t have a style - we design for the customer, the market and purpose – the ‘style’ evolves to meet the commercial needs."
Tell us about your design process.
"The first thing we always do is to explore exactly what the design needs to be. We then establish the design criteria and the exact brief. Once this is completed we start to express the creative element to meet the brief.
This initial expression will then evolve over time to hone exactly the design criteria. Once the design is complete we then go to the execution phase where the design is realised in the real world. Once completed we then evaluate – to sense check the performance over time so we can gauge the success."
Congratulations! As the winner of the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, what does it mean to you and the TGP team to receive this award distinction?
"It’s a great honour and we are all so proud to have been recognised as part of the success of (Depachicka and Alkebulan) the design was a key element in the business success."
Can you explain a bit about the winning work you entered into the 2022 MUSE Design Awards, and why you chose to enter these projects?
"Depachika is a Japanese style luxury food and gourmet Foodhall in the Nakheel Mall in Dubai – we decided to enter as we are so proud of its success and how it has become a local landmark for the local residents and beyond."
"Alkebulan is the very first African influenced Foodhall – we selected this as we believe it is a world first and it has become the most successful food experience at EXPO 2020 Dubai being the largest footfall generator. The initial concept was underscored by Eat Entertain and Educate which became the mantra of the space. Our customers became totally engaged with the immersive experience."
What was the biggest challenge with these projects?
"Depachika – as the space was originally allocated as a pure retail space we had to design the experience so that it fit within the building infrastructures. Working closely with our MEP team we were able to effectively create a seamless transition and beautiful space."
"Alkebulan – here we had to work within an incredibly short timeline. We were able to design from scratch and implement a 2-floor Food Hall experience with 11 new concepts in 16 weeks. The team here was exceptional everyone worked so hard and passionately to realise this world first."
How has winning an Award developed your practice/career?
"It just makes us feel so proud of our work and our creative teams, their passion and commitment to design brands and experiences that really make a difference."
Where do you see the evolution of the design industry going over the next 5-10 years?
"The creation of much more socially engaging spaces and socially aware brands for people to enjoy, explore and embrace."
If you were a student entering this industry or an aspiring MUSE Design Awards submitter, what advice would you give them?
"Be passionate in what you do, express yourself and make the world better!"
Tell us something you have never told anyone else.
"I play the trumpet!"
Who has inspired you in your life and why?
"My old tutor at college, Drew Plunkett - he now writes books on design – he got me over the line!"
What is your key to success? Any parting words of wisdom?
"Thinking things through being able the wiliness to change and explore new things and to be able to express my unique creative thoughts by drawing – I worked with the on-site architect in Dubai from London drawing online with an iPad through the Covid lockdown!"