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Although Decorex 2014 is over, I am still basking in the after-glow of this year’s seminar series. Wow. With the Seminar Theatre buzzing with atmosphere throughout the duration of the show, I thought it only apt to give a small summary of the key topics and themes in this year’s talks, provided by a fascinating array of VIP speakers who generously gave their time and energy to the project.
Ben Pentreath with Sue Crewe, Victoria Meale, and Nina Campbell
Ranging from Ben Pentreath, who let us know that despite his recent “very important commission”, he does have a wild side, to fabulous insight into the luxury interiors client from the charming Francis Sultana. According to Francis, the usual client is a powerful perfectionist who is used to getting things right all the time, and exactly when she wants them. We also learnt that living in a historical Georgian house does not need to cramp your style in a wonderful session on the future of Georgian Britain with Nick Silver and Nigel Coates.
Francis Sultana wit Gianluca Longo
Throughout the inspirational seminar programme a common theme was most definitely evident, with speakers discussing the relative buoyancy of the market in London, and highlighting that there is plenty of work out there for designers willing to go out and get it. London is the center of design at the moment and it is impossible to discuss the city’s importance without acknowledging the property values and the number of wealthy international clients.
Sally Davies of Global Color
Learning to accommodate clients’ art collections could be key to working with these wealthy clients, and creating a home that is also a gallery - complete with a curator and light technician – could be key according to April Russell in her session on Art in Interiors. It was good news to finally hear that art led interiors are indeed an increasingly important aspect of the design world.
Russell Sage with Tim & Lizzie Butcher of Fromental
In another trend, speakers discussed the current pressures designers are under to turn commercial properties around as quickly as possible. Russell Sage is a prime example, and is currently running his studio on a seven day week. Combining this with the exceptional working relationships he has formed with his suppliers, he can achieve the short turn around deadlines which the market now demands.
Nick Munro, Russell Pinch, Charlotte Abrahams and Grant Gibson
One very powerful theme running through this year’s series was a passionate belief and demand for British made craft, championed by Corrine Julius. Designers embraced the artisan and scorned the instant gratification of junk furniture. In the age of 3D printing, at times it may seem like the lines are drawn between craft and technology - it may be better if they could happily co-exist as they appear to do with Joanna Bird.
Corinne Julius, Libby Sellars, Natasha Kerr and Christine Lalumia
Hassan Abdullah of Les Trois Garcons gave a very frank and refreshing insight into how to run a design business, and how the taste of the three founders was maturing, leading to questions of whether they will ever become Les Trois Homme – we wait with anticipation!
The Queen of Black and perhaps the most complicated of all interior decorators became ever more mysterious by playing to the void, and in a change to the programme Tim Gosling admirably gave some wonderful insights into the dark arts of Anouska Hempel.
Just when it could not get more exciting, enter David Archer of Archer Humphries , the architect and designer of the Chiltern Firehouse, who gave an energized tour of the vast amount of work that has gone into his last projects.
Adding to all of this, we learnt about the terrifying truth of brand layering from Christopher Jenner, who is now a part time Parisian, and all about how truly beautiful things endure from the perennially lovely William Yeoward.
This is only a small summary of the many interesting and intriguing sessions at this year’s Decorex Seminar Theatre, which more than exceeded the ever-anticipated expectations of the knowledge-hungry Decorex visitors.
Roll on 2015.