Awwwwww, I’m a bit sad!! We’ve been visiting January’s Design Interiors at the Birmingham NEC for about 7 years, watching it develop into a much more funky and innovative trade show year by year, and learned at last week’s show that this is the last one before it ups sticks and moves to London’s Excel in Spring 2015. I attended the first May Design Series last year and it did need to be bigger, so I’m not surprised that organisers UBM have taken this course, however it’s still the end of an era. Can someone else please organise a Northern based furniture designer / makers / manufacturers fair?
Anyway, enough moping! What did we see at last week’s furniture extravaganza? It was certainly more muted than past years, no spectacular entrance hall decor or pop-up pubs. Maybe money is tighter and the reins have been pulled in a little, I suspect energy & funds are being conserved for the big new launch in 2015.
There was much to see, with five halls packed full of products. Lots of bright, punchy colours seemed to be the order of the day, not neons mind, but more muted tones of green, orange, blues & yellow. I loved the Out Of The Dark area, in which four different designers had created room sets using OOTD revitalised furniture, especially Deadgood’s moody black and gold dining space and the coloured turned legs of one of the upcycled tables. Coloured cables and fittings had been provided by Urban Cottage Industries, a fabulous way to create your own personalised lighting.
The Birmingham Institute of Art & Design’s stand featured two interesting sets. I liked the way the one on the left below mixed up the industrial steel table base with pastel shades & ghostly transparents – this space-age twist on the heavy industrial vibe is something we’ll see more of as the industrial trend morphs.
A definite emerging trend is the very geometric retro look on the right, an updated seventies feel. Think blocky, circles, splashes and drips:A whole host of boldly coloured geometric fabrics to be seen, kicking the floral trend to the back of the trend queue for 2014:
I featured hexagons on the Moregeous blog last April and have been seeing them everywhere ever since. Love this sideboard by Soap Designs in birch and grey with clever interlocking doors. See more hexagonal design on our Pinterest page.Here’s something which is emerging as a trend, in my opinion. We’ve all seen upcycled and painted furniture in the past few years but I’ve spotted more and more drawers & sideboards with pattern and print to their surfaces. For me, Margate designer Zoe Murphy spearheaded this contemporary trend using paint but I liked the method used by Jason Mutenham on the top sideboard in the image below, where fabric and vanish collide in a very skilled and labour intensive process. It truly felt like paint, absolutely glass smooth. Maybe the pattern style isn’t to your taste but he can use any fabric as a bespoke piece. Very clever.The Industrial influence was still strong. I particularly liked this table by young design team Fulbeck Woods which used massive metal ‘legs’ to balance the heavy rustic timber top.Many companies seized on the industrial vibe and twisted it to enhance their stands, some successfully, some not so. John Sankey’s had a very plush feel, cleverly done, though I’m unsure whether the spoon was intentional or down to a caterer’s forgetfulness 😉
Now this is different eh? Designed by Charlotte Millett to be bursting at the seams, it was fun, playful and practical. Big tick from us 🙂
Lighting wise only a few things caught my eye because Birmingham tends to be very trade led, with lots of practical LEDs and relatively (for a design buff) middle of the road exhibitors. The ones below stood out as cool, innovative and unusual:
Some rather beautiful geometric folded lighting by Kyla MCCallum called Foldability:
These amazing dripping light bulbs by SBOAD called Melt. I want one quite desperately!Talented textile artist Charlotte Nash‘s multi-coloured thread lighting cable gave a pop of colour in an unusual way. I’ve used lots of single coloured thread cable before but never seen anything so intricate on something so simple. A great way of making oh-so-on-trend single bulb lighting stand out.
There was also the new shaped Plumen energy saving lamp and some interesting flat lighting by Camilla Barnard, a nice use of cork & copper and some glam gilded numbers on the Dar stand (loved the peacock backdrop!):Do not even try to tell me you’ve seen trees like these before from Solus Lighting! Perfect for events, weddings or those lucky people with massive gardens 🙂So all in all some fab finds, but that’s not all. I’ve a gorgeous timber feature, with lots of talented young designer makers, up my Moregeous sleeve for later this week so be sure to pop back and check it out x