Sotheby’s is due to open a 300-sq.-m office space and showroom in Dubai’s International Financial Centre in early October. Heading up the office is Katia Nounou, who works for the firm’s private sales arm. “It’s about the numbers; our UAE clients have more than doubled in the past five years, and the value of their purchases has tripled,” says Edward Gibbs, the company’s chairman and head of department for the Middle East and India. “Our clients are international and comfortable buying at auction in Hong Kong, New York, Paris and London,” he says, and so, rather than opening a new saleroom in the emirate, Sotheby’s intends to use the outpost to expand its private sales activities, which, in 2015, accounted for 10% of its sales. The space is split over two floors, one of which will be an “open, white-cube-type space” to show Modern and contemporary art by Middle Eastern, Iranian and Western artists, while the other will house offices and a “more discreet space for luxury items” such as jewellery, Gibbs says. Noting an increasing appetite for education in the region, Gibbs says that Sotheby’s will join forces with the independently run Sotheby’s Institute of Art to hold short courses there, too.