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Decorex International’s 42nd edition was its most exciting yet, with thousands of visitors flocking to the most important show in the UK’s design calendar. Debuting at Olympia London, its new home in the heart of the Capital, this year saw a 10% rise in visitors across the four-day spectacle.
Over 400 of the world’s top design talents showcased everything from hand-painted wallpapers and printed fabrics to bespoke furniture and conceptual lighting. Visitors could preview the latest launches from leading brands including Arte International, Hästens, Beaumont & Fletcher, Bert Frank, Dedar, Devon & Devon, Ferreira de Sá, Lincrusta, Nicholas Haslam, Officine Gullo, Rose Uniacke, Tom Faulkner, Thibaut, Vaughan and Villaverde.
Environmental responsibility was central to year’s edition, with Decorex finding new and innovative ways to put the environment at the heart of luxury design. Nowhere was this more evident than in the VIP room, created by UK interior design studio, Harding & Read. The team worked closely with suppliers, including Vinterior, Matthew Cox, Christopher Howe, British Standard and Farrow & Ball, to encourage a conscious approach to consumption. Mindful of the lifecycle of furniture and fixtures, the studio chose vintage and reclaimed pieces where possible. Each and every piece that featured was given the opportunity to find a new home after the show, with an online auction that raised £14,300 for Emmaus – the charity working to end homelessness.
Alongside inspiring new ways for brands to think about their environmental impact, Decorex also celebrated those that are already going above and beyond to be sustainable. This year’s Decorex Awards were the ideal opportunity, with the introduction of a new ‘Best Sustainable Product’ prize. Judges Henry Prideaux, interior designer, and Irene Gunter of interior architecture practice Gunter & Co, gave the accolade to Jennifer Manners, whose eponymous rug brand has released
two new designs made from 100% recycled plastic.
Similarly, this year’s bar design celebrated the very best of biophilic design in the interior space. Created by set designer, Paula May Evans, in collaboration with Cameron Landscapes and Gardens, the bar connected visitors with nature through distinct areas - the Amazonian Jungle Garden, the Abandoned Desert Garden, the English Country Garden and the Urban Industrial Garden.
Technology and the home
Luxury design and technological innovation were seamlessly fused in Decorex’s exciting new initiative, ‘Design Encounter’. Working with John Allsopp Studio, Central Saint Martins and Catalyst VR, the installation featured a series of six interconnecting rooms – each designed by leading interior designers – that used augmented reality to offer heightened personalisation.
Allsopp continued to explore our experience of the home with ‘Design of Wellbeing’, an engaging talk where he asked the audience to consider what ‘home’ means today. The seminar examined how we physically and emotionally interact with our surroundings while sharing practical design advice to help transform living spaces.
Craft and making
Decorex is renowned for championing the very best in craft and making, and this year was no exception. Future Heritage, the British craft and applied arts exhibition brought together by design critic and curator Corinne Julius, showed new work by 15 of the best emerging artistmakers working across diverse mediums.
With museum quality pieces on display, many of the exhibitors received interest from international cultural institutions, while others began the process of commissioning for leisure and hospitality organisations as well as architects and large-scale private residential projects.
Elsewhere at the show ‘In the Making’ offered live, interactive demonstrations that gave insight into the meticulous journey of skill and care an artisanal piece takes before it reaches a client’s home. One stand showcased the woodworking and stone masonry skills of alumni from the British Crafts College, founded in 1893 by the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, while another dedicated a space to Morris & Co. As custodians of William Morris’ original company, Morris & Co., his legacy was bought to life through wallpaper printing demonstrations using original archival blocks.
Decorex continued its support of emerging craftspeople with Foundation, a platform for the next generation of designer-makers of contemporary, bespoke furnishings. Featuring craft and design companies from various disciplines, Foundation presented twelve businesses that have been operational for fewer than five years. Testament to the exceptional skill and expertise of this up-and-coming group, Foundation exhibitor and artist Amy Collins was the recipient of Decorex’s ‘Best New Exhibitor’ award.
The judges said of her work, “Amy has turned her evocative, detailed and hand-drawn artworks into beautiful, yet simple, wallpapers inspired by toile du joie in a delicate modern interpretation. She is clearly a designer to look out for.” Amy commented that “this has been an amazing experience. Decorex is a show that has been full of great opportunities for me. I wasn’t expecting this award and I feel very excited.”
Decorex Awards winners
Joining Amy Collins and Jennifer Manners as 2019 award winners were three other lucky exhibitors who scooped up the prize in the remaining categories: Best stand, Best New Product and Best International Exhibitor.
The first and most prestigious accolade, best stand, went to lighting designer, Bert Frank. The judges chose the brand for its “excellent products” that were “creatively displayed incorporating really fun and interactive elements that appeal to the senses.” On the news of its win, the British brand commented that “it’s an honour to have been given this award. We have put a great deal of effort into the stand and it’s so gratifying to have that recognised. Thank you, we are delighted.”
The best new product award went to Parker & Jules for its ‘Ziggy’ wallpaper, which draws on its founder Nancy’s fashion background. Commenting on the design, the textile company said “Nancy loved this print but felt its application somehow wasn’t quite right for the fashion world. In interiors, it works incredibly well.” The Judges agreed, selecting the design because “it’s versatile, the kind of paper you can imagine using in a variety of environments from period property to modern homes. We really like the colourways.”
French lighting artist, Coralie Beauchamp, took away the prize for best international exhibitor. The judges were captivated by her “completely unique product range in classic globe shapes made from a structure composed of fiberglass and a carbon braid, which is then laminated by hand with an epoxy resin”, stating “her fashion background shines through these tailored and delicate lights.” Coralie commented “this is my first time here at Decorex and I am extremely touched to receive this award.”