Our own Anthony Rayworth was a judge for the New Design Britain Awards so missing the event due to snow was not an option for him!
One of the many benefits of shows like Interiors UK for developing interior designers is in providing current product knowledge. It provides the opportunity to view new products and store away knowledge of niche products in case you have a client with very specific needs.
One such furniture producer was Starbay. Their Avant Garde series was inspired by classic furniture from the British Colonial past and could easily have adorned a luxury ocean liner or colonial mansion in the time of the Raj. The style reflects the Parisian Art Deco era of the 1930s and would provide an excellent range for any designer trying to re-create the atmosphere of that period. Emanating from France, their collection includes distinctive colonial pieces not commonly found in ranges today. Beautifully crafted in American Black Walnut with a range of leather trims and upholstery, this range is distinctive and would undoubtedly create a talking point in an art deco, colonial or plantation style setting.
If your clients are more modern in their tastes Tom Schneider presented an interesting collection. Like Starbay, Tom Schneider’s work reflects the beauty of wood with contemporary curves flowing through all his pieces. The new Atlas Collection shows fluid simplicity with glass tops completing the sculptured look for a range of products including dining, console, lamp, coffee and media tables. The signature curves are present through all his ranges of furniture and are constructed using veneers of maple, oak, cherry, ash and walnut. There is an extensive range of furniture and bespoke options are available. We are hoping to organise an industry partner seminar at Tom Schneider’s north London Showroom later in the year.
Whilst furniture can undoubtedly create the “wow” factor, it is often accessories that provide the finishing touches and shouldn’t be forgotten. Retrotouch claim to be the first company to provide glass light switches and sockets. These are commonly seen in a range of metallic finishes but Retrotouch now provide these in striking black or white glass, with or without chrome trims. They have glow-in-the-dark indicators and large, easy press rocker switches. Screws are concealed and retro fitting is quick and easy. The new LED Retrotouch dimmer and remote light switch can be used manually or with a remote control and is compatible with all LED brands. You can also install a light switch in an almost impossible or impractical situation without any wiring. All it needs to work wirelessly is a 9v battery to power the switch. This could be particularly useful in bedrooms or large rooms where the switches are not conveniently located. If sockets are on display, all glass switches can match to single or double sockets.
Fabric stands tended to be in short supply, which was disappointing but there were some useful and elegant fabrics on display. Ian Mankin for example, weaves its own fabrics in Lancashire. They were the first weaving mill to receive the Global Organic Textile Standard indicating that all their fabrics use natural fibres and no chemicals are used in the weaving process. Whilst their range is not extensive, they specialise in stripes and checks which have evolved from their trademark ticking designs, producing a very English feel to their fabrics. They have also developed a range of plain fabrics to compliment the stripes and their entire product range provides timeless designs that will not date; providing a staple diet for interior designers.
Lighting stands showed a broad range of designs but, as previously, there were a significant number of stands displaying crystal products that have been around for a number of years ranging from stunning chandeliers to small wall lights. Many were combined with LED lighting for economy and practicality, reducing the need for frequent replenishment of light bulbs. If bling is your thing, or your clients, there was plenty of choice e.g. www.Illuminati.com but one stand showed a refreshingly simple contemporary approach:
A Portuguese company that had a number of variations on the crystal theme. Although the range displayed was relatively small, some of their creations utilised colour, enabling the lighting to follow a colour scheme rather than simply providing metallic trims.
Specialists in LED products, TP24 were exhibiting their new Award Winning G40, winner of the Lighting Design Awards ‘Energy Saving Design’ 2013. The G40 was born out of the desire to create a slim and sleek light fitting with a lamp that can be replaced. G40 lamps are expected to have a lifespan of at least 20,000 hours equivalent to 2.25 years of continuous (24/7) use saving up to 90% of the energy costs. TP24 have a showroom and lighting studio in Cambridgeshire and we hope to organise a visit later in the year.
Attendance appeared to be low, due to the weather conditions, which made it very pleasant for browsing and it is always useful to see what will be in the retail stores in the coming year. It is also good for sourcing specialist suppliers for different projects.
Anthony Rayworth, judging the New Design Britain Awards at Interiors UK, will provide an overview of the event and the winners later in the week.