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?
Attending the MILAN FURNITURE FAIR is every interior professional’s dream come true. The Crème De La Crème of European Fairs. For some local SA Designers and Trend Forecasters this is simply an annual occurrence. By my assumption, that would probably account for about 5 – max 10% of local designers. For the rest of the 90% of the profession, it is one of those must do in this lifetime events. Marica and I being in that latter number. BUT – I have decided: I am putting a trip for two on the bucket list for the two of us (vision board stuff).
In the meantime, let’s take a look at how the “other half live’. This is more of an ‘Aspirational’ post than anything else. Something like reading through the “Vogue” magazine would be considered aspirational.
If you thought that Design Indaba was where the hoards of people go, then think again. The video will reveal the reason for this Furniture Fair’s popularity. The quality and standard is just amazing. Watching this video, seeing all the incredible designs, textures, the shapes, the finishes which are a feast for the eyes, just had my blood tingling!! ENJOY.
The Design Indaba Expo is dead. Did you know? It was announced in June of last year already but somehow we missed that little titbit. Our tight work deadlines last year meant that several of the Design Indaba newsletters went straight to the trash bin unread.
Earlier this week we received confirmation of our press accreditation to attend the Conference Simulcast as we have done previous years. While sifting through the info and programme we were slightly puzzled as to why no mention was made of the Expo. I checked the website and to my utter astonishment found that the Expo is no more.
I thought I read wrong. It must be a mistake. This makes no sense.
Sure enough, an Indaba representative later confirmed the sad fact via telephone.
What is the reason behind this decision? Well, to the two of us, their explanation seemed “lig in die broek” – a little feeble to say the least.
Seemingly, Design Indaba feels that the Expo’s platform has gotten too small for the large demand: “The limitations of hosting one event, in one venue, in one city have become more apparent and we want to drive our platform to become even more inclusive.”
However, we will console ourselves and trust that the collective wisdom of Design Indaba that brings to South Africa some of THE foremost Design brains and personalities has a plan going forward. Yet, having said that, the hole that is left by the passing of this exceptional Expo is still felt. I feel sure that we speak for many, many of the pubic and the creatives alike. In this sad frame of mind, one almost wants to believe that a public vote might have been the order of the day, when making the choice to kill off the Expo or not.
The Expo was the “public face” of Design Indaba. It was the event that guaranteed the most “feet” – i.e. public exposure. More than six hundred exhibitors, covering every aspect of design, under one roof. What an amazing convenience.
Only two years ago Design Indaba was boasting with their massive income earning potential. 48 700 people, both local and international, visited the Expo in 2014. Exhibitors taking part in that same year’s Expo earned an amazing total of R 201.9million – yes, million – from business orders and sales.
That fact aside, the most appealing factor about the DI Expo for those of us resident in Cape Town, creatives and public alike, was that it really was one helluva grand showcase of SA design and crafts. For once the creatives from Jozi flocked to Cape Town, instead of the other way around (Jozi being host to some SA’s premier design showcases).
For me it is almost unthinkable that this standard has been lost to Cape Town. We do have a few other design-related Expos held here, but they just don’t cut it in terms of new creative thinking, designs and product.
The biggest DI Expo draw was that it was all under one roof. We did not have to schlep around town to the various venues and markets to catch a glimpse of what was hot and no hot. Is this now the only recourse left to us? If Design Indaba thinks that this is going to happen, I would venture to say – think again! A one-stop-shop like DI Expo has a far greater marketing impact than driving feet to the individual creative outlets (which is what I hear is planned by the Design Indaba marketing team).
What a total and utter shame.
What will take its place? Well, Design Indaba is still working on some new ideas. So who knows? Maybe they will surprise us with a new, better and more innovative platform.
Let us console ourselves with the fact that Cape Town remains the host city for the power-packed Design Indaba Conference and the Emerging Creatives exhibition.
Rest in peace Design Indaba Expo. You were the cream of local design-related expos, and will be sadly and greatly missed.
Listen up all Joburg peeps – the INSPIRE TRADE EXPO kicks off on Wednesday in Midrand and we have four tickets to the annual Trend Forecast to give-away – each worth R300!
The theme of this year’s Trend Report & Forecast is “REBOOT” and will focus on the future of Design, Architecture, Retail and Business in 2016 / 2017. The 2 hour talk, compiled by South African trend consultant Dave Nemeth, gives a clear understanding of what is happening in the world around us and more importantly WHY? You are guaranteed to leave this presentation inspired and informed.
Your Trend ticket allows your free entry into the Inspire Trade Expo! Yay!
So lets have a little speed give-away shall we!
To enter and stand a chance WIN you must:
1) Comment on this post below with your name.
2) “Like” our Facebook page: here
… additionally if you have Twitter you can also do the following…
This competition is only open to people residing in the Johannesburg area. WINNERS will be announced Tuesday morning, the 9th of June 2015 .
REBOOT Trend Forecast:
Date: Wednesday, 10 June 2015
Time: 11:00 – 13:00
Where: Gallagher Convention Centre, JHB
Find out more about the Inspire Trade Expo: here.