AS THE UK’s largest trading event, this years Birmingham Interiors Show needed to prove itself after last years poor performance echoed the damaging effect the recession had on the interior industry. It had definitely improved with less pine this year however, I couldn’t help but feel the lack of cutting edge content. Businesses spent thousands producing breathtaking exhibition stands and the high-end hall was a mirage of silk laced settee’s and soft Italian leather armchairs, but somehow I was unfulfilled. Stood amongst top industry names like Aimbry International, Dreamweavers, Caxton and Duresta, I craved something different and obscure.
The “Thinking Space” designated in Hall 2 was by far the best section of the show for innovative designs, inspiration and content. It was a great place for those wanting to delve deeper into various areas of interior design or the low down on the latest trends. Each day different experts in all fields of design from lighting to colour, held seminars giving more information. I was very disappointed that Hannah Malein from Global Colour Research cancelled her seminar on “Colour stories” for autumn and winter 2011/12, due to illness. I would have loved to attend each day and sit in on Oliver Heath and his Eco-Chic presentation but unfortunately I do have to carry on with the joys of working life.
Birmingham City University in collaboration with Global Colour Research, put on a stupendous display of student work which was cutting edge and inspiring. May favorite piece was a bucket chair with a print of a human spine down the middle. I wish I could show you a picture but the University’s PR responsible caught me as I was lifting my camera, the shot was too blurred to see. BUT!….. sneakily I managed to hide behind a screen and film part of the display un-noticed.
The Designers Shop Window section of the ”Thinking Space” was a slight disappointment in the sense that I expected more extravagant large-scale displays. Coming from a retail and visual merchandising background (one of my many talents), I initially thought the designs where simple and bare, but then when I removed myself from the high horse I was sitting on and actually saw the displays as typical windows for SMALL BUSINESSES, I changed my mind. In fact, the attention to detail and positioning of the displays was intricate and well thought out for its purpose.
Now to my favorite part of the whole show, The Designers Block. This section, in my opinion was the most active, bustling, and talked about area. I found it disappointing that The Designers Block only had a small section, I feel it should have been a lot bigger and focused on more instead of in the corner of hall 2. You can find out about the designs and curators featured in The Designers Block by looking at the “Trendsetters” post and check out interviews and pictures created by thedesignhub!
Even though I wasn’t majorly unimpressed with the bulk of the show, there were a few hidden gems. The Stamp Rug Collection stand was one of them, people were queuing to get their hands on the rug which depicts Queen Elizabeth’s head in a variety of colours. Now a cult craze, the rug first sparked off huge interest when appearing on Alan Carr’s chatty man. Check it out on our “Design of the day” category.
Another refreshing find was a beautiful Swarovski crystal chandelier created by designer Carlos Oliveira for special Swarovski project. Inspired by the lost world Atlantis, he wanted the light to connote the rising of Atlantis from the water and the waves of water seeping from it. You can buy this bespoke piece for 5192 euros.
If you’re looking to expand your interiors business and explore whats on the market, the Birmingham Interiors Show is up your street, however if you’re a design enthusiast looking for something cutting edge, I’d skip the toff and head over to the “Thinking Space” which I believe stole the show.