The last time I visited this show was about 10 years ago. Then, I went just went for fun but this time I thought I would go with my work-head on. I was looking forward to grasping insights into the massive homes and lifestyle industry. My intention was to leave filled with ideas and inspirations, which I could then relate back to my own industry.
By keeping up to date with colour trends and home styles (which I normally d0 through magazines), I thought it would help me keep ahead of the game. Understanding who and what your customers aspire to, is something that I feel Framers should be more aware of.
What’s going on in the land of property development, home buying and decoration trends has a big impact on how customers choose to frame their pieces and influences their budget.
So, geared up with some kind of thought structure to my day, I set off with immense enthusiasm. I docked my bag and coat in the locker room, which left me hands free. Great, this meant I could grab all those little objects of inspiration (and the freebees of course!).
I’m rubbish at working out where things are, so apart from finding the “How to” Theatre, my plan was just to look and find.
After wondering for about 15mins, I started to get agitated with the “in your face” sales men and women on their stalls. People trying to shove leaflets into my hand and asking me to complete questionnaires. Now, I know this show is aimed at the general public and in these hard times, everyone wants to grab as much business as possible. But somehow, this felt like the wrong place for it.
The very fact that someone has paid to come here and have possibly travelled a long way, means that you already have a captive audience to build on. Making someone feel like they are in the middle of the stock exchange dealer floor, is just going to push them away and leave them confused and frustrated.
It was not unlike being in Blackbush Market 25 years ago. There were stalls that had cut price stock and Del Boy style pitches trying to convince me to buy anything from an amazing shammy cloth to a floating beach hut. Foreign companies with “Emporium” featuring heavily in the name were abundant. My mind was swimming, so I escaped upstairs to the food area. After being accosted by yet another salesman, telling me of the amazing healing effects of the Dead Sea (do you ever get cornered in a shopping centre by these people or is it just me?), I was hot, flustered and exasperated.
I made my way to the “How To” Theatre where I settled down to watch the first of the three presentations I was interested in. The Theatre was open plan and the noise from the rest of the show made it hard to concentrate (I’ve been to other shows where they build a walled theatre, this would have been beneficial here).
I was excited at the prospect of listening to a well known and respected Interior Designer about what inspires her creativity and an insight into colour trends. I can’t believe what I’m about to say here, as I’m no expert in interior design but I was left feeling underwhelmed and cold. I sat through two presentations.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this person has one of the most successful practices, award winning in fact and teaches at her own academy. People pay a lot of money for her undeniable experience and skills.
Perhaps it was just the way it was presented but it felt out of touch and unattainable. In my head, I could see hundreds of flash Chelsea apartments, dinner parties being thrown under the layers of her designs. But in the words of a famous Smiths song “it says nothing to me about my life”.
I gleaned nothing more than finding out that Yve Saint Laurent has something to do with a colourful garden in Morocco.
Colour trends, apparently are going to be influenced by the earth until 2013. The lecture about how we can give back to the earth what we have taken (complete with PowerPoint slides listing the natural disasters within the last year, I kid you not!), just didn’t sit right with me.
I’m sure all those worthy people around the world who can afford an Interior Designer, are thinking of that when they choose from a colour palette of chalk, rock and sand (blood colour is just so last season). If I had had a lighter on me, I would have got up a completed a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “What About us”?
My next visit was the Dulux Let’s Colour Studio. The staff were very helpful and pleasant. I asked them about the trends coming up, they obliged by getting their designer to take me around. I found that most of what I was told, I had already got from the home magazines. This was OK as I understand that home colours don’t change as much as in fashion industry. It makes sense I suppose as people can’t just keep redecorating their homes. I was satisfied with what I was told, but I didn’t get inspired by anything new.
I did try queuing for the life-size Rover’s Return set purely as an indulgence but the queue was just so long I decided against it.
(Taken by a mobile phone – sorry for the lack of quality!)
The show designers had built an impressive village at the back, complete with life-size houses, showing off the interiors. These did look quite interesting and after doing my impression of a peeping tom, I decided I could see enough through the window to know what was in there.
The Ideal Home Magazine sets were also quite interesting and I really liked all the interiors shown. I took some photographs but again, there was nothing that really jumped out at me as new and fresh.
By 14.30, I had given up trying to find something to interest or influence me and short of spending the afternoon sampling at the wine stalls (not a good idea or I really would get up and do that MJ rendition!), I decided to make tracks.
I was really glad that I went, but I think that I would have been better off finding a trade event to visit, of which I am sure there are many. I went on the first day of the show opening, so please don’t let me put you off as there are new presentations by many interesting people for the duration. Go to their website to find out more.
If you are interested in what’s hot though & how it might tie in with framing, I’m putting something together this week, which I hope might interest you.