Art Interior Design

Thoughts on 2019 Art and Design Shows

9th December 2019

During 2019, I’ve attended Focus, London Design Festival, Maison et Objet, AD Intereurs, IIDE, Decorex, PAD LONDON, 1-54 London, Salone Del Mobile, Downtown Design Dubai, Art Dubai, Abu Dhabi Art and the enormous furniture market at High Point in the USA. In addition I’ve hosted some private events, the largest of which was Art House in Cape Town in November. I was also due to be in Dubai for their annual design week and Miami for Design Miami, but there’s only so much you can get to. 

Keeping my finger on the pulse globally is quite a challenge. It costs an enormous amount of money and time to do this. The ROI is of course building global relationships with brands, designers, editors and those in the know.  It also helps me guide my clients, helping them to understand the global opportunities and to help build their networks too. Design is a global business and if you want to be at the top of your game, you need to understand this dynamic. 

There aren’t many people who travel to so many design shows, it places me in a very unique space to be able to comment. Those of you who know me will know that when I get excited about something, I share it everywhere. Going through my instagram is a showcase of highlights for me. What I find sad though is that the London design shows don’t really feature much, with the exception of two shows, Decorex and PAD London. 

Decorex has really sorted itself out and made a statement by moving back into town, taking on a large venue and doing a fantastic job of curating exhibitors. Almost everyone I’ve spoken to who exhibited at Decorex said that they most definitely got a return on investment. That’s good to know. 

But more importantly, it was an exciting show to attend. Great to see all the usual faces, but also to encounter some new and exciting brands. Personally, I think Decorex did a better job of showcasing London design than LDF did. I know that’s controversial, but I’ve never really understood and connected with LDF, not in the way you do with Salone del Mobile. 

London is the home of great design and I’m hoping that Decorex is going to up our game. 

The shows on the international scene that I love and will continue to attend are Deco Off, Salone del Mobile and Art Dubai. 3 very different shows, but all so good at showcasing design, art and creativity in unique ways. 

I love the intersection of design and fashion at Salone. Deco Off is just the best experience, set amongst the galleries and ateliers of St Germain, you get to see everyone, fall into a brasserie for lunch and carry on until the parties begin in the evening. Why can’t Clerkenwell Design Week be like this? It’s a similar set up, but seems it hasn’t quite seduced us in the same way that the French have. 

Art Dubai is of course an art show and not about design, but for a small new show, it’s punching far above its weight with it’s curation of galleries and experiences. The rest of the city is starting to join forces too, and a visit to Art Dubai is not complete without visiting Alserkal Avenue and the Jameel Arts Centre. It makes for a real experience of Middle Eastern, Indian and North African art. 

I love Design and I love Art, but what I love more is seeing different expressions of these disciplines. My travels allow me to witness these different perspectives. I just wish London would get its act together and put on a world class show (barring Decorex and PAD). 

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