It’s the start of the exhibition season again. There’s no better place to kick off my 2020 events exploration this year than the January Furniture Show held annually at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Spread over 5 halls, this is the UK’s biggest furniture buying event. This is my first time in this show and I was feeling excited about what can I see and learn here.
The show’s exhibits were more or less 80% furniture, 15% lighting and 5% were home accessories. Two halls were dedicated to Premium designs, 1 hall for Living, Dining and Bedroom furniture, 1 hall for more furniture, upholstery and beds and 1 hall for interior accessories which include lighting, rugs, and mirrors, and other small home accessories. Exhibitors were manufacturers from the UK, Italy, Turkey, China, Europe, Poland and Scandinavian countries amongst others. There were many businesses from England that have participated and the products were of incredible selections. Wholesalers and design consultants were also represented in this event.
This luxury sofa is from Gascoigne Designs, the pride of the UK. Based in the East Midlands of England, their clients include royal families from around the world, elite athletes and famous celebrities. The quality of materials and the workmanship of Gascoigne Designs are world-class.
Generally, the designs of the sofas are almost identical but the width and heights varied. The competition lies in the quality and design of the materials which include the class of wood, type of leather, various range of upholstery fabrics including tweed, aluminum steel, rattan, and wicker. From ultra-modern to a vintage collection, there was something for everyone’s taste. The concept of sofas and beds are basic; people need something to sleep or sit on. Designers can only do so much in these groups of furniture; creativity, functionality and superior finish make a design stand out.
The one design that stood out for me was the floating bed! It is something you don’t see in many homes, in fact, this is the first time I have seen one like this. A unique design for someone who wishes to deviate from the traditional bulky ones. A breath of fresh air. Being a fan of minimalism, this strikes me as a modern minimalist design with a class and elegance. This Levitating Bed bed looks neat in a room. Underneath the bed, you can put a lighting effect of any color that you wish for a dramatic or cozy feel. The lighting feature may appeal to younger members of the family. (Photo credit: Levitas Design)
At the exhibition, they were showing the engineering works under the cushion. This sophisticated and magical looking bed is designed to hold 750kgs weight. To know more about their futuristic furniture and accessories collection, click here.
This luxurious yellow lounge set, with a touch of French, is designed by Ri Tong from Guangdong Province, China. It was their first time to exhibit in the UK. Because of the high-quality finish and beautiful designs of their products, I have suggested to them to exhibit as well at Decorex in London, a luxury interior design exhibition, held annually as part of the London Design Festival. They were keen to know about Decorex so I’ve explained a bit more about the show. You may see them there in the near future.
These beautifully designed rugs and carpets are products of Rama Carpets based in London. Catering for the hospitality sector and upscale residential clients, the standard of quality and workmanship meet the expectations. They do bespoke designs for clients with particular requirements. To know more about their different collections, click here.
This artistic lighting is a presentation of Wofi Lighting from Meschede-Freienohl, Germany. With decades of experience in the industry, they are able to create lightings to suit everyone’s lifestyle.
Stone International which is based in Florence, Italy was one of the exhibitors that offer hand-crafted products with the use of different types of natural stone, including marbles. Their products include dining, living and bedroom furniture. If you think quality, durability, and design that could last with the changing times, they have it all here. See more of their collections here.
This impressive hand-crafted woodwork is the pride of Poland. Their shoutout is “Second Life for a Tree”. Having an item of wood furniture in any place where people spend life’s activities makes the room look and feel closer to nature. The creativity is unique, contemporary and carved to impress. They cater to homes, offices, and the hospitality sector. More of their skillfully hand-made products can be viewed here.
The design and quality showcase was not for the products alone. There was also a competition in the presentation of the exhibitors’ image and reputation by the design and layout of their showrooms. Here are some of the most impressive.
The Anti-Copying in Design (ACID) was highlighted. ACID is the voice against design thief. Copies of ACID publications were made available at the show for more awareness. To know more about the campaign on the Act please visit here.
The Design Act
Shortly to be formally announced is THE DESIGN ACT. The founding members of ACID are the British Institute of Interior Designers (BIID), The British Contract Furnishings Association (BCFA), the Association for the Creative Industries (AFCI), The International Lighting Association (LIA) and the Design Business Association (DBA). The plan is to launch this officially in early 2020 – ACID
As in most trade fairs, the first impression was that the dress code was very business-like. The visitors and especially the exhibitors were dressed in business attire; men were in their dark trousers, coat and tie and women in their business outfits. The atmosphere was formal.
Being a specialist show, the crowd was not as busy compared to expansive retail trade shows like the Spring Fair or Autumn Fair shows for gifts, fashion, and home accessories. The products and showrooms resembled high quality and class. It was a great opportunity to see the many great creations from around the world
It was well organized, neat and clean throughout. It was more of a large showroom than a traditional trade fair where visitors sometimes bump into each other in crowded hallways. A big crowd is good, it means more business opportunities but the less crowded environment is equally good. You can spend quality time in one area and think clearly which products suit the needs of your own clients.
The January Furniture Show is one of the larger trade shows that offer free parking and shuttle buses from the different car parks within the NEC premises to the main entrance of the halls. This is always a plus factor for visitors traveling by private transportation.
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