We came away from our visit to Interiors UK 2013 feeling beyond inspired with lots of new ideas and introductions to many new and exciting designers. Not even the snow and bleak weather could keep us away from this exciting exhibition. Fortunately, there were some lovely coffee shops where we could take a break and mull over and chat about samples, suppliers and the new trends for interior design. With plenty of caffeine to keep us going we pretty much covered the exhibition before a chilly journey back home again.
We knew Interiors UK 2013 was shaping up to become better and bigger than before be we were taken aback at the number of designers, architects, retailers, and product suppliers offering an amazing array of products and services. There were over 600 leading international manufacturers of interiors products so we had our work cut out to cover it all.
There was a very British theme last year and this year for 2013, the theme of the exhibition is “modern retailing”. Many beautiful display areas set up by retailers welcomed you at every corner of the event, inviting you to sit in a comfortable and stylish chair or walk on luxurious carpet, flooring, and rugs. We were delighted by top designer Nina Campbell’s designs for the entrances and feature space, as she is a legend amongst designers. The individual halls of the exhibition were defined by Nina’s greatest love – colour. The marriage of fresh and contemporary colours with opulent design was simply wonderful.
2013 also saw the return of designersblock who used their exceptional creativity and talent to create a brand new concept for a store including identity and brand. Aptly named the designersblock department store, this huge feature included lots of departments featuring toys, furniture, lighting, bedding, linens, and much more all sourced from design makers and young designers. Some of the featured exhibitors included Plumen, Catherine Verpoort, House of Hackney and too many more to mention. This area also housed the show’s regular features such as Birmingham City University, the press office, seminar theatre, and VIP lounge.
We enjoyed some of Interiors UK 2013 renowned talks and seminars and found them thought provoking certainly and very informative. There were some interesting contributors including Nayna Macintosh (Marks & Spencer’s Director of Store Design), and Nina Campbell. The theme was mostly retail and visual merchandising but design is design and many tips can be learned from every aspect.
We loved the new addition for 2013 of the Pitfield café and pop up shop in Hall 4. Pitfield is a shop and café based in Shoreditch London and stocks an eclectic mix of interior design items combined with delicious coffee. The designers Paul Brewster and Shaun Clarkson own it.
The lighting section this year was stunning, plenty of brooding and moody ambiences combined with great unusual designs and beautiful artisanship. Many materials were ethically and reliably sourced which is important. We are looking forward to using some of these lighting ideas to add an air of mystery to some interiors.
The different categories to see were many and we had a ball exploring beds and bedding, cabinets, furnishings and soft furnishings, flooring and high end modern. Of course, high end traditional is a great favourite of ours, which we could not miss. Lighting of course we have already described and we also enjoyed the Occasional and Dining sections. Upholstery saw some wonderful fabrics and colours, while miscellaneous objet d’art and must have accessories kept our eyes busy.
The Scandinavians were also out in force at the exhibition with lots of Norwegian, Swedish, and Danish exhibitors, showing their passion for all things Scandinavian. The textiles and soft furnishings on display showed great design techniques using geometric (think backgammon sets!) and illustrative prints. There were a lot of really bright colours that were joyful and vibrant with great bursts of cobalt blue, yellow, mustard, and vermilion. We liked many of the kitchen accessories too which reflected loud colours and by contrast more organic and simple tools and accessories.
The Interiors UK 2013 exhibition never disappoints and is an essential part of our year. Budding students of interior design would do well to visit exhibitions of this kind to get their creative juices flowing and to appreciate design from around the globe conveniently in one place. Photographs do not do justice at times and seeing design in real life tells a story. You can also feel textures and materials and experience items like furnishings at a practical level. This exhibition at the start of the year always sets us up for our year ahead and gives us more ideas to impart to our students of design.