Last Thursday saw Rose and I at the Decorex Cape Town Expo. I have to confess – I haven’t been to Decorex since my first year of college, a good 6 years ago. Back then my experience of it was not too inspirational. At that time, I felt that it lacked creativity and was possibly more commercialized than I would have hoped for. I guess it all has to do with expectations. However, Rose was taken up with last year’s expo so I thought it high time to revisit Decorex and my opinion of it. Being Trade Day and still relatively quiet – we managed to have a good look around.
We started our expo experience on a high note – the launch of Design Team’s stunning new fabric range (more on that later) – and systematically worked our way through all the stalls and exhibitors. Phew, it was quite a lot to take in and now, a week later, I’m struggling to recall all I’ve seen. A few exhibits however are branded into memory and logic dictates that those exhibits are therefore my perceived “highlights”…
One of the most memorable exhibit stands was that of the “Contemporary Country” Trend Installation aimed to be a fusion of rural country spirit and urbanized contemporary style. The bold yellow and chartreuse colour scheme with contrasting dark charcoal and greys was rather a striking sight. This was mixed with loads of texture – gorgeous natural timbers, raw linen, a big knitted ottoman, dainty crocheted throws and dramatic patterned wallpaper.
BOS Ice Tea, a now familiar sight at most South African expos and events, provided some funky refreshment. Their impressive (if somewhat “re-used”) stand which featured big tree-like structures, fake grass, lawn chairs, a very cute refreshments caravan, and LOADS of branding won Best Overall Stand at LAST year’s Decorex in Johannesburg.
We also spotted lots of pretty things in the Cape Craft & Design Institute sector including some amazing Su Wolf & The Big Heart Company cushions and a beautiful old church bench rescued and upholstered by Katie Thompson of Recreate in different textures of linen, hessian, hemp, ticking and leather.
I also thought the Decorex Designer Collection Homeware Range desirable – ceramic, wood, glass and textile items designed by local creatives in white and fresh shades of blues. The pity here is that the exhibit was tucked away in a dark corner…
In retrospect I can’t recall any Decorex exhibitors or installations that enticed public participation and interaction. This is a shame as interaction is such a valuable facet of design. Perhaps in this instance, Design Indaba has spoilt it for me, raising my expectations to the next level, leaving me a bit disappointed…
However, the always forward-thinking design legend that is Porky Hefer did not disappoint – his contribution to the Plascon Colour Forecast 2012 trend installation consisted of massive Weaver’s nest-like structure. Suspended from the roof, it contained cushy seating that begged you to find your inner-child and climb into the comfort and protection of the nest.
So, Decorex… was I once again disappointed? Truth is that despite my past reservations and my mediocre expectations… NO, I was not disappointed! Will I go back next year? Absolutely! I really enjoyed it and saw lots of pretty things… and you know how much I like pretty things! Anyway, Decorex is on the right track and I’m sure next year will be kicked-up another notch.
Your thoughts on Decorex 2012? Did you attend? See something inspirational that you liked?All images copyright of The Design Tabloid