AHK founder Haldun Kilit had only recently finished studying interior architecture at Turkey’s Bilkent University when he opened his first factory. In 1996, he launched a showroom in his home town of Antalya, displaying AHK’s range of furniture and upholstery, and added an art gallery. With the hotel industry on the brink of a boom in exciting new territories, developers in the UEA showed an interest in AHK’s interior offering. The company’s first major project was a 130,000 sq m ‘turn-key’ fit-out project for Mövenpick IBG Hotel and apartments, Dubai. ‘We went to the Gulf before everybody came,’ says Kilit.
Now, 21 years later, AHK’s furniture, fabric and equipment has since fitted out further Dubai properties: the Emirates Pearl Hotel, the W, the Westin, the St Regis Dubai Al Habtoor Polo and, perhaps most impressively, the Bulgari Resort & Residences Dubai, considered the most luxurious accommodation offering in the Emirates. ‘After successfully completing three to four good projects, your reputation holds,’ says Kilit.
With more than 200 projects in its ever-expanding portfolio, AHK’s in-house services now include several bespoke furniture and interior design brands, lighting design and a ‘global warehouse’ of quality furniture stock. AHK is also the UAE’s exclusive agent for Armani Casa products. Established in 2015, AHK Marine recently completed its most prestigious project to date – the interior design and fit-out for Emirates property tycoon Mohammed Al Habtoor’s new 52m, six-bedroom yacht.
Kilit has also developed an AI simulator capable of providing international customers with an immersive, multi-sensorial AHK experience. Encouraging potential clients to envisage their future interiors, the distinctive gloss-red pod combines contemporary design with sci-fi tech – automatic doors, surround sound and a table that has a holographic videoconferencing display at its centre.
Earlier this year, Kilit and the AHK Construction brand unveiled AHK KNDU Villas in Antalya. A sustainable community of curvy, wood-clad buildings that will eventually comprise more than 100 residential units (with private greenhouses, winter gardens and jogging paths), the project has already won AHK and its partner GAD architects a Best Residential Development Turkey award. ‘I created this project in order to add value to the city where I was born and where I grew up,’ says Kilit. ‘It is one of few developments in Turkey to be rewarded with the BREEAM Very Good green building certificate.’ Solar energy is used for the heating systems and electric power and rainwater is re-used for the irrigation of the common green areas. Furniture is by Armani Casa and, of course, AHK.