The plain truth is that trade shows have been, and still are, under significant pressure to deliver on all fronts with a reduced platform. As time has passed, the commercial and creative effort levels have risen considerably and visitors and exhibitors now seek inspiration zones, beautiful layouts, great marketing enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff, an event that makes sense to diverse parties with differing agenda – and the fact that the organiser UBM can and does deliver such a good event in such testing circumstances, is impressive to say the least.
The 2013 incarnation of Interiors UK was an excellent event, well organised and full of inspiration. Whatever part of the market buyers were looking for, from budget domestic to contemporary designer contract furniture, there was a vast array of new products – and many more sported new colours, textures, formats and fittings offering immense choice. From vintage to contemporary, restained to decorative, refined or rustic, commercial or mere window-dressing, Interiors UK had something for everyone.
The real stars of the show of course are the designers, manufacturers, importers, wholesalers and suppliers who are challenging retailers and interior designers to “chuck out the chintz” – as one well-known retailer once exclaimed, and change up to a more creative, and expressive design language.
Of course, at an event such as this, there is a huge choice of staple products such as oak furniture, leather upholstery, repro lighting and so forth. But many suppliers are offering really interesting variants on oak, with part-painted or even part metal-wrapped options in a wider choice of finishes and formats. In upholstery, again a more dynamic colour palette is being offered, and contrasting piping is one of the fashion cross-overs for this season. Upholstery formats are pushing in both directions at the same time, with compact and XL designs much in evidence. With increasing multi-functional arrangements, sofa beds in various incarnations continue to be a growing trend. In lighting, crystal and clear glass options are proving enduring, and a terrific array of coloured contemporary lighting is on offer.
The market for kids and youth furniture continues to develop, with the overwhelming option of choice being white or off-white. For younger users, multi-functional bunks with desks, shelving and a bewildering array of added options feature heavily. For teens, there is a resurgence in demand for 4ft beds, with optional TV built in to the footboard. Storage beds too continue to be a growing trend with an array of opening options.
On the carpet and flooring side of things, there was a good turn out of suppliers showing a considerable choice of rugs in a huge choice of colours and textures. In fact, coloured and contemporary options seemed to outweigh the traditional patterns at this event. Antiqued and blended patterns and colours are showing on a couple of flooring stands, and these give a timeless and sophisticated look to the design.
The choice of decorative accessories, art and mirrors at Interiors UK really requires investigation as there are literally hundreds of exhibitors offering thousands of new introductions at this show. For a modest outlay, retail showrooms can, and should, in my opinion, be regularly refreshed and revitalised, and be seen worthy of popping into to have a look around. And with a considerable swing back to wholesale suppliers, offering fairly quick deliveries, a visit to Interiors UK comes highly recommended for retailers intent on offering their customers a better experience than the competition.