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Decorex was founded in 1978 as a show for design professionals to meet, network and share ideas. Over the years, we’ve hosted captivating installations, thought leading seminars and inspiring spaces for our community to catch up. We’ve become a marked date in the industry calendar – each year we try to present something that’s fresh and new.
With help from the passionate Decorex team, we’re taking a look back at some of the most iconic features ever to have appeared at Decorex; plus, we reveal what we’ve got in store for you this year.
Decorex Director, Sam Fisher, reminisces on the decision to move the event from Syon Park to Olympia London: “Syon Park was a beautiful location to host an event, we were very lucky to host the show there. However, we needed to move back into central London to make it easier for our audience to attend. We saw a 10% increase in visitors in 2019 when we moved to Olympia London. We are so looking forward to welcoming the industry back again,” Fisher recalls.
The entranceway of Olympia London often involves a visually impressive feature, an installation to welcome our visitors and get them prepared for four days of design inspiration. This particular feature is created by a guest designer of our choosing, who sees it from inception to creation and build.
Decorex’s Creative Director, Andy Bishop, thinks back to one of his most memorable entranceways: “In 2012, I worked with Dame Vivienne Westwood’s interiors team to create the entrance feature. Viv had just collaborated with the Rug Company and wanted this collection to be presented as flying carpets with no sign of any support. We built a custom hidden structure to contour the rugs in a ‘flying position’ and added black wires in a black box to create the desired effect.”
“Our ‘merry go round’ in 2017 was unique and allowed us to work with so many different suppliers including Larry Walshe’s stunning flower display," says Fisher.
“Brian Woulfe’s memorable jungle installation in 2018 gave hints of his journey to being a designer and we managed to sneak his dog in for a photoshoot, which was a personal highlight that year,” she adds.
“Tim Gosling’s “The heritage of chair making” presented classic chairs from the V&A archive and private collections, documenting the links between interior design, architecture and the exceptional heritage of British craftsmanship through the ages. The original chairs on display were extremely rare and required a 24-hour guard,” Bishop explains.
The bar is the centrepiece of Decorex, a place for visitors and exhibitors to meet in a sophisticated yet relaxed setting. Discover some of our most celebrated bar designs and the designers who brought them into fruition.
“Rabih Hage’s bar in 2013 was conceptually really interesting, involving a giant net over the bar collected champagne corks over the course of the event - you can imagine how many were there by the last day,” Bishop recalls.
“Shalini Misra’s bar in 2017 couldn’t go without a mention. The design was for our 40th year anniversary and the attention to detail Shalini put into the design was second to none, the bar would have rivalled any members club, with an enormous chandelier accentuating the space,” Fisher remarks.
“Lambart & Browne’s bar in 2018 was a real highlight. With a central covered bar space and banquets around the perimeter, this maximalist bar featured clever use of space and huge detail in decoration."
“Also, the custom-built bar by Barr Joinery was beautifully designed and De Gournay’s stunning hand embroidered velvet screens were amazing, all built just for the event,” Bishop says.
Future Heritage is the leading showcase for emerging and established talents in British craft. Curated by Corinne Julius – celebrated journalist, critic and broadcaster – Future Heritage holds an integral space on the show floor. Presenting makers who harness unique materials and interesting methods of working, it’s always a highly anticipated part of our event.
“Future Heritage never disappoints. For me, stand out designs include Moritz Waldermeyer’s vast LED vases, Marcin Rusak’s incredible pressed flower furniture and who can forget “The Colour of Hair” tiles made with human hair,” Bishop says.
“I love that Sebastian Cox was a maker at our first Future Heritage and then due to his growing success, he exhibited with us for the following few years on his own stand,” Fisher says.
Curator Corinne Julius highlights some of her most memorable moments of Future Heritage: “In 2015 the public really warmed to Marcin Rusak and his Flora range. He used leftover flowers from florists to make his incredibly beautiful resin and floral furniture. Marcin preserves the blooms, but then introduces bacteria that will eventually eat them away.”
“In 2018 Kaori Tatebayashi, a ceramicist who had largely concentrated on domestic tableware, experimented with non-functional objects. I asked her to make a wall of ceramic flowers, modelled on what was blooming in Syon Park. It was a huge success,” Julius explains.
“I love makers who experiment with unlikely materials and nothing could be more unlikely than using food like mashed potato, couscous and jelly to create furniture moulds. In 2019 Gavin Keightley developed a range of stools and cabinets that used food waste to mould Jesmonite to show at Future Heritage,” Julius remarks.
In 2021, we hosted a grand reunion at Olympia London. After 18 months of separation, our aim was to bring our community back together to celebrate design and have some fun. Moritz Waldemey created a spectacular entranceway for the edition called True Love. Intricately designed butterflies cascaded from tall columns, dancing and swaying amongst a mesmerising light display.
Meanwhile, Sara Cosgrove Studio designed the central bar at Decorex 2021. Her design was inspired by the theatre and whimsy of the circus, bringing together exotic drapes, sumptuous velvet furnishings and hand-painted motifs.
2021's talented Future Heritage makers included Daniel Freyne, who made a series of over-sized ‘Transition’ metal vessels to show at Decorex, Callum Partridge who created a series of candelabra in angular, modernist and geometric shapes, along with Frances Pinnock who used traditionally oak tanned leather to make a large sculptural piece – plus many more.
We can't wait for you to see what future editions of Decorex bring and what inspiring features are involved.
Decorex is Europe’s leading high-end interior design event, which showcases a curated selection of exhibitors. We're bringing together the design community at Olympia London from 9-12 October 2022. This is an opportunity for design lovers to reunite and celebrate design in all its forms.
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