Quick note of indemnity – this is a longer than usual read. Wanna run over to the kettle to make a cuppa quickly? Otherwise – here we go.
The 2016 Decorex Cape Town Expo happened in the beginning of May. To be honest, I have been dragging my feet since then to write my report back on it. However, a survey that I have just completed with feedback to the organizers of the Expo has jerked me out of my state of numbness. I wanted to take my time in this post, allowing what I experienced at the Expo to integrate properly so that I could write this article from a place of sincerity. I don’t really want to give negative feedback or get into that hyper judgemental and critical space. What would that benefit anyone?
So, very briefly, Marica and I were not wildly enthusiastic about attending the Decorex Expo. I guess our experience of it over the past 2 years is what was at the heart of this reluctance. We were however, offered the opportunity to attend as members of the Trade, and I felt we should go have a look-see.
Expectations versus Reality:
A few realisations have subsequently dawned on me. There is no doubt in my mind, that when you go to the exhibition under such a cloud of negative expectation, that is exactly what you get. During the time we walked the Expo, my disappointment just took on larger proportions, so much so that I lost sight of some of the “loveliness” that was actually happening around me. It is all wrapped up in a neat little parcel labelled ‘Expectations & Desires”…
Decorex is NOT Design Indaba:
Expectation/Desire Number 1: Expecting Decorex to be comparable to Design Indaba Expo (sadly that expo died an untimely death in my view). This particular Decorex Expo made it quite apparent to me, that they were two different animals. Decorex seems to have morphed into more of a Lifestyle Expo, while Design Indaba was a very pure design-orientated expo. My earliest and past experiences of Decorex were that of being more interior design & decorating orientated.
Show Me Something New:
Number 2: The desire to see new trends on display, new products that we haven’t encountered before and fresh creative talent showing off their craft… all went unanswered.
Out-Of-The-Box Interiors, Please:
Number 3: A desire to see a greater variation of experienced creative talent and designers, revealing unique interiors – showing how it can be done.
There is more, but I will stop at this point.
Striding out of the CTICC under this cloud of disappointment, I somehow felt that it was my expectations that was the root of my disappointment rather than the Expo itself. I decided to rather turn this around into a more positive take away. Slowly I recounted those exhibition stands that did make an impression on me. Those that remain top of mind are:
Some Decorex 2016 WOW Factors:
Mr. Price Home: Wow, I think that I might well have awarded them for their display. They took the winter theme and ran with it. Included were many contemporary decorative elements, which were set out in such an inspiring, easy to read, replicable way. All very affordable at that. Let’s face it – Mr. P Home’s retail store layouts are anything but inspiring. Functional – yes, but inspiring – no! Guess that is why they took me totally by surprise.
Naturally, because I am a huge fan of colour and Plascon Spaces / Colour Forecast, I was enamoured by their stand. Nothing short of total eye pleasure and delight. They tell the story of trending colours effortlessly.
While on the matter of colour, the other striking colourful display was the 100% Design South Africa preview called Picture Africa at the 100% Textile pavilion. The vibrant African textile designs with its African Pop Culture flavour were stunning. That ticked the “new and fresh” box for me. I hope it gains huge traction so that the visual effects that South Africans designers can produce will spread far and wide.
The other big “wow factor” at the Expo was the incredibly well designed kitchen from The Kitchen Studio. The kitchen was unlike what I have encountered before (possibly, because we have not been into too many kitchen designs of late). Inspirational stuff indeed.
Milestone Kitchens was another in the kitchen genre that stood out. They manufacture compact kitchens, aptly named “Kitchen in a Cupboard“, for small studio spaces. I believe that this company has identified a growing niche market, since apartments are being built smaller and smaller. Plus the price tags were do-able, so you are sure to get a bang for your bucks. Milestone Kitchens even won the “Best Innovative Product” award for their Kitchen in a Cupboard at Cape Town Decorex 2016.
Of course, there were many other exhibitors, but somehow they just did not manage to stand out in the crowd. Ultimately, for me that is the defining factor that makes a difference. There are huge numbers of feet that go through the Expo. It is so crowded in there that sometimes even the well-known designers and producers get lost in the crowd.
Dorothy Van Der Riet was one such. I was so looking forward to seeing this well-known Jozi Interior Designer’s work. It was however too crowded and what I saw did not impress. I was expecting vibrant and unique from her. Maybe I would have been impressed had I been able to move in closer. On the other hand, that defeats the “MAKE A STATEMENT!” objective. FIRST IMPRESSIONS DO COUNT.
Decorex Has a Strong Commercial Vibe:
That said, there are some that stayed top of mind for the wrong reasons. Most of the Man Caves were completely uninspiring, lacked innovation and creative dynamics. It was too commercially driven me thinks. There was also a much bigger than normal art display, but largely it was a commercial for my taste. As a designer, it just does not inspire.
I believe that the public should be exposed to a far larger variety of decorated exhibition stands, less commercial stuff and more design stuff. What about Decorex reeling in some interior designers and decorators to present various contemporary interpretations of a variety of interior styles. Interpretations, which will leave the viewer feeling that the pages of the décor magazines are being experienced in real time.
This year saw the talented Mr. Adriaan Lochner doing just that by showcasing a beautiful blue and white interior scene of what I term “the Condé Nast Home Interior Style” – contemporary, yet timeless and classical. It is something he does almost effortlessly and so well. However, Decorex CT has seen that kind of interior before. I want more! I want different! I want edgy and unique.
There is a market out there is filled with a new generation of buyers and clients that needs to be catered for more vigorously. The money power is changing hands as we speak. The baton is being passed over to the 30 something’s. The exhibitions should be an answer to their interior needs.
Cape Town Needs a Trade-geared Design Show:
I feel that unless design and lifestyle exhibitions in Cape Town gets a bit more edgy, we are going to go stale, remain stuck in what is current, instead of being ahead of the game. We lack that edgy Jozi energy and going stale without even knowing it, happens in a blink of an eye for Cape Town. After all, we are known for being chilled – bit to chilled maybe. We have HUGE design talent and amazingly forward-thinking creatives in Cape Town – there is no need for exhibition staleness to set in.
Other than the weak Homemakers Expo, Decorex is basically all that we have left in C.T. in terms of design and lifestyle exhibitions. We have to remember that expos act as a vibrant point of reference to the buying public. We need less same ole, same ole, and more edgy, vibey and entertaining interiors scenes.
So, by all accounts, it seems that I will have to take myself off to Jozi in order to experience something that may come closer to my expectations and desires. I am thinking of doing Inspire Trade Show, as well as Rooms on View.
Images via Decorex Facebook Page.
Did you pay Decorex Cape Town 2016 a visit? What did you think of it? Were you delighted, dazzled and entertained? Or were you disappointed?
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
Decorex Cape Town to rolling around again – can you believe this décor & design expo is fourteen years old this year. The main theme of Decorex 2012 – “Real” as in “getting real”.
Cairey Baxter-Bruce, General Manager of Decorex SA, explains that the positive energy sparked by original thinking contributes to unique – and very real – show experiences. “In the era of the mass-produced, the digital and the virtual, real experiences are treasured,” says Baxter-Bruce. “The real thing is what we covet right now, explaining the return of old-school styles, craftsmanship and artisanal creation.”
Some things to look forward too:
1. Like every year a handful of local designers get the opportunity to interpret the new Plascon Colour Forecast in their own individual way. This year, the trend installation will be headed by designers Laurence Brick, Porky Hefer, James Mudge and Aidan Bennetts. Experience their interpretation of the colour palettes ‘Expression’, ‘Memory’, ‘Origins’ and ‘Mystery’.
2. South Africa’s darling fabric designing duo, Design Team, will unveil their 2012 collection at Decorex. Can’t wait for that!
3. Operation Man Cave for charity. Four local celebrities team up with four designers to see who can create the coolest man-hideout and raise the most money for charity. Keep an eye out for Bob Skinstad and his brother Dan, Aidan Bennetts and Ryan Botha.
4. Inspire Theatre, kitted out by Whirpool and Sembel-It, will host inspirational décor talks throughout the show, so pull up a chair for talks on Sunday Lunch, Living with Colour, High Tea and Sunday Night Sundowners.
5. Contemporary Country promises to be a jaw dropping trend installation of rural goes city with the powerhouse team of Laurence Brick, Timna Russell and Cathy O’ Clery.
6. Decorex Designer Collection of homeware in a soothing palette of greys and blues, by SA’s top creative and boasts show specials at the pop-up store! So pull in to stock up the gift drawer for 2012.
7. M-net Cares Café will be putting creative bookshelves on show and encouraging visitors to donate children’s’ book. M-net personalities will be doing lives reads, so get your celebrity on.
8. District Delicious is a foodie paradise, with gourmet food and designer gadgets.
9. Design inspiration in the Dream Rooms section where roomscapes by top talent will be on show.
10. After a great walk around, with inspiration to take home and a new home gadget or two, enjoy a lovely glass of bubbly from the Graham Beck bar by Wetherlys. Oysters, a tapas menu and a delightful range of Graham Beck wine will be on the menu.
Be on the look-out for Vicki Sleet of I Want That and Kim Gray as they will be judging the stands this year! Super cool! These generous ladies are also giving away some Decorex tickets, so you might want to pop over to their respective blogs and enter to stand a chance to win free entrance to the show.
Decorex Cape Town:
26 – 29 April, CTICC
Hours: 10:00 – 19:00 (closes at 18:00 on 29th April)
Cost: R65 adults. R55 pensioners and students. R10 Children under 12.Visit www.decorex.co.za for regular updates on exciting competitions and speaker line-ups. Facebook: Decorex SA Twitter: @decorexSA and stay in touch using #decorexcapetown Images & Info via Decorex