Meet the Indian behind UAE's National Day decorations
Abu Dhabi - Saw the light decorations around the UAE? This is the man behind them.
High-rise buildings, skyscrapers dot the skyline of the UAE - they are the symbol of Emirati pride and achievement. Adding glitz and sparkle to the cityscape are the illuminations and street decorations. And Yoosaf Karikkayil is the man behind most of the lighting works seen across the UAE. Come any festive occasion and this native from Thrissur district of Kerala kindles a chain of light across the UAE.
Yoosaf's journey started 25 years back with first project for Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce. And from there on his glow has got bigger and better. "I started from a small shop in Airport Road with my two brothers - Kabeer and Mohamed Salam. Now we have shifted to bigger facility in Al Falah Street. Close to 95 per cent of lights on display in the high-rise buildings are by my firm - Light Tower."
Being theme-based, makes his work standout.
"National Day projects are our specialty. Our awards for National Day street illumination project for Al Ain in 2010 and Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce illumination in 2011 are unforgettable. Many shaikhs have appreciated my work. One look at our project, people know the ideation behind it."
Which all places do you cover?
"We do street decoration works in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. We also have clients in Liwa and Ruwais. We have also extended our reach to Qatar and Bahrain."
High-rise building works are the USP.
"We light up towers of Adnoc, Etisalat, Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, National Drilling Company, Kahlifa Energy Complex, First Gulf Bank and other government-run companies. Also, we do their housing complexes. We have more than 100 clients."
How did you last so long and that too unchallenged?
"We innovate according to changing times. We shifted from bulbs to rope light, then we had LED string lights and now LED pixel. These are the technical advancements we have brought here. I take part in all international exhibitions to know about hi-tech updates."
Elaborating further, he said: "We have pre-qualification in illumination. We are ISO certified and got OHSAS health and safety certification. We are the preferred choice in the UAE because of our experience and technical advancements. We are 75-strong staff and engineers who work tirelessly to keep our reputation intact. We have branches in every city and warehouse in Al Ain."
Unlike any Gulf resident, Yoosaf loathes rain. "Yes, rain and windy conditions are something that can dampen all our hard work."
On the cost factor, he said: "We have invested millions. The glitz you see doesn't come cheap."
So what's next?
"I want to spread our light works to India. It's a big market with great potential," said the native of holy town of Guruvayur.