Interior design shows, why you should make a visit?

Picture of people at an exhibition for interior design
Exhibitions give us a great chance to experience all aspects of design

What’s the point of an interior design show?

It’s a fair question, when there are so many excellent online and offline publications that display the latest trends and designs in the industry. But as interior design is not just a visual process, seeing new products and design concepts in person allows you to use the other senses to get a greater sense of how schemes and products can be used. Whilst a fabric might look stunning in an edited Instagram feed, is it durable and suitable for your latest project or scheme proposal? Similarly, there’s an excellent piece of furniture on a company website complete with dimensions, but how does it feel? What does it look like next to certain colours and different light sources? Will it provide both style and substance in your design scheme?

Connect with the interior design industry?

There are so many questions that designers have when selecting products, that they need to step away from the online bubble and get out there in real life. Excellent interior design goes beyond just the visual with combinations of textures and smells really adding to the experience that is created in any space. So basically, getting out and about to trade shows allows you to develop your sensory awareness of all things design and question whether it will work for you. If you’re like me, it gives you a good chance to get some samples, catalogues and see what is up and coming and perhaps where a blog post or insta feed can get a good ideas boost. Let’s not ignore the chance to experience design in the offline sense and make some connections with the industry.

Where to go?

Now that’s a question! The UK has so many shows, aimed at different audiences, from hospitality, leisure to new and student designer shows. So, selecting where to get your inspiration can be a bit of a challenge, but it shouldn’t be one that is insurmountable. Also there are so many opportunities for travel out of the country which can be exciting because I can then explore a potentially new town or city and get an eyeful of what’s going on in interior design in a new context.

There are some “seminal” shows that are known to everyone, both amateur, professional and the public. There are then the shows that are a little more niche and only frequented by those interested in that niche or that work in that particular sector, such as wet leisure or hospitality. So, there are shows all of the UK, some of the bigger brands like the Ideal Home Show and Grand Designs, are sort of ‘on tour’, which means that interior design is not a London-centric industry.

Picture of a map with photos to plan going to an interior design show
Plan where to visit, there are so many options!

Where am I planning to go this year?

This is a pretty good question and one that I haven’t got a definitive answer to at the moment. But below is an early shortlist of the events that I am likely to get to during the course of 2019. There are so many different sorts of events, some of which I just can’t make because of my own work commitments, so expect a few last-minute changes to this schedule, if you can call it that! Also, my other half exhibits at trade shows, some of which might interest me so I might tag a long, trying not to get roped into working on the stand!

So, time to think about booking and putting the following into my diary and social media calendar for 2019:

· March/April – Ideal Home Show, Olympia, London

· May – Grand Designs, Excel Centre, London

· May – Clerkenwell Design Week, London

· June – House and Garden Festival, Olympia, London

· September – Maison Objet, Paris

· September – 100% Design, Olympia, London

· September – London Design Fair, London

· October – Decorex, Olympia, London

The list below is definitely a little more hopeful as the majority are not so local! That said, if there’s a good deal on a flight and hotel, I might make it as I love some of the places listed below, so it would be a massive win on that front! So, who fancies coming along to discover these shows?

· March – Design March in Reykjavik, Iceland

· April – Interior/Interjöör in Tallinn, Estonia

· June – Barcelona Design Week, Barcelona, Spain

· September – Habitare in Helsinki, Finland

· October – Pad, London

· November – World Festival of Interior Design, Berlin

I could have included some information about the shows but have decided that I will do that as part of a series of retrospective blog posts about my visits. Any further suggestions are welcomed and feel free to leave a comment below.

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