Inspired By Design:
Student Trip to London Design Festival
Furniture fairs are great places to find new inspiration, to keep pulse with what's going on in the industry, and the best way to expose yourself to new materials and emerging trends.
Attending furniture and design fairs are also an opportunity to see how bespoke Furniture Makers present and market themselves within the industry, what styles are selling and how other makers are pricing their work.
As such, we feel it's really important for our students to visit exhibitions and fairs and we build trips into our course syllabus. (Trips are also open to our bespoke course students).
Last week, our tutor Maria, took seven students on a mammoth day trip to London covering London Design Fair, Design Junction and 100% Design.
Our student, Toby found it incredibly productive for meeting suppliers of new and cutting edge materials. In particular, Toby has been thinking of incorporating marble into a design for some time but has been conscious of the expense and sustainability issues surrounding this material and the cost of importing from his contacts in Italy.
As such he was interested to meet a retailer of faux marble, the look and durability of which was extremely close to the real thing....and at a fraction of the price of real marble.
Toby also used the visit to canvas opinion with exhibitors about how beneficial exhibiting can be in terms of selling work and promoting your business in relation to the cost and work involved in doing so.
One of our past students, Jan Lennon, had a successful show on her stand at 100% Design, selling her 'Exmoor Chair' in Solid European Oak with Louro Preto and Black Walnut (pictured below).
Not only did Jan sell her work, but she may now have repeat business from her customer and other visitors that viewed her work at 100% Design. So the business exposure has been worth the cost of exhibiting and long week organising and manning the stand in London.
Other students, like Nick, found great value in talking to other makers about how they had achieved certain designs, and techniques for realising difficult and clever constructions in the furniture exhibited at the show. Nick also found it useful for identifying styles of work that he liked and for making contact with makers working in his preffered design field.
All the students came away with bags of leaflets and cards from which to create a scrap book of materials and design inpiration back at the school
It's fair to say that the aching feet from pounding the streets of London between exhibitions and the long day were well worth the effort!