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Design Pop Up

15 Apr 2015

A hat trick of successful design showcases has whetted the appetites of  organisers, attendees and exhibitors alike for future exhibitions. Urban  Realm caught up with some of the contributors who had a pop at the  Aberdonian market and looks forward to a Glasgow reprise.<br/>

A hat trick of successful design showcases has whetted the appetites of organisers, attendees and exhibitors alike for future exhibitions. Urban Realm caught up with some of the contributors who had a pop at the Aberdonian market and looks forward to a Glasgow reprise.

Aberdeen’s #DesignPopUp, third in a series of temporary product showcases around the country, has brought together a roster of leading suppliers including Allgood, Domus Tiles, MYB Textiles, Shadbolt, Source Developments, Milliken, Mapei and Artemide keen to show off their wares to city architects and designers.

Attendees from Covell Matthews, Michael Gilmour Associates, Mackie Ramsay Taylor, Tinto Architecture, Cumming and Co, BMJ Architects, Fitzgerald Associates, Halliday Fraser & Munro, Space Solutions, Dandara, Wood Group and Unispace were amongst those to be enticed through the doors to take stock of the latest design trends, following in the footsteps of their colleagues in Glasgow and Edinburgh who had already attended previous events.

On hand were industry representatives keen to demonstrate a wide-range of furniture, textiles and finishes, amongst them Scott Murray of lighting suppliers Artemide. Asked whether hands-on product showcases were becoming more important in the digital era he told Urban Realm: “Seeing the product in the flesh is invaluable, it gives designers and architects the chance to feel the materials and see the quality of a particular light in all its nuances and complexities. We can connect and get to know the local design industry and create meaningful relationships with the A&D community, which is a vital part of our profession.” 

Moving onto emerging trends exhibited by the collection Murray added:“At Artemide we are strongly committed to a holistic approach based on the principles of sustainability and energy efficiency, in order to improve our users’ quality of life and their relationship with the environment.

“Most importantly we focus on the extreme innovation and quality of our products, made in the European Union and featuring the most technologically advanced LEDs and energy-saving light sources. The most prominent trend in the lighting sector has definitely been the use of LEDs. At the moment architects are especially interested in LED lamps and fittings and what they can offer to their project. LED’s are more energy efficient and require minimum maintenance over time, so it’s not surprising that they have generated such a radical impact on the industry overall.”

Looking to the future Murray is quietly optimistic about the market going forward following his experience in Aberdeen. He said: “At Artemide we have seen a positive trend in the last few years and we are optimistic about the growth of our market shares. Same situation applies to UK market where we definitely see a growing design culture. We are very pleased that our brand and company values are recognized and requested more and more by both trade and general public.”

Joining Artemide on the show floor was another Design Pop-Up regular, Milliken, with their third appearance at the event. Joyce Main, regional sales manager, for the flooring specialists said: ”Milliken showed an extensive selection of their most recent collections at #DesignPopUp in Aberdeen, including, Rogue Knit, Fixation Shapes, Nordic Stories, and Formwork. There was also an intricate installation of Milliken’s latest collection Naturally Drawn made up of the designs ‘Watercolour Lesson’, ‘Hand Sketched’ and ‘Drawing in Ink’, as well as the innovative Hand Sketched Transition design.

“Hands-on product showcases allow specifiers to see the actual colours and to feel the textures in the carpets that cannot be fully appreciated from a flat screen representation. As designs become more complex and involve multiple tiles the opportunity to view a larger area of the product allows a better understanding of the pattern and how the various designs interact and co-ordinate with each other. Installed areas of product show how the various products can be used together to create a more sophisticated and exciting look. Events such as the pop up exhibition also provide a great social dimension where architects and designers can meet with their peers in a less formal environment and view the products at their leisure. For Milliken hands-on product showcases give us the opportunity to obtain, at first hand, the specifiers reactions to the products, allowing us to pick up on any perceived issues that could be addressed in future collections.”

Picking up on one such emerging trend Main added: “Our Latest collection, Naturally Drawn, addresses the demand for a more organic aesthetic. The patterns are less structured and more free-flowing. They also offer the client an opportunity for interaction and experimentation by combining the designs and colours in multitudes of different ways. The colour palette takes its cues from nature and combines the expected range of neutrals with a selection of unexpected statement colours.”

Above all else the Aberdeen showcase presented an opportunity for national suppliers to demonstrate their products at a local level, something Main was only too happy to engage with: “As time constraints on architects and designers are becoming more intense we hope it is useful to be able to bring our products nearer to them so that they need take less time out of their busy working days to experience new products first-hand. By showing products locally we are able to learn a lot about any regional variations, influences and requirements. It also gives us the opportunity to reinforce to our customers how much we value them.”

Also on hand in Aberdeen were MYB Textiles, who were keen to give some innovative new products their first airing in the north east market, as well as other recent additions such as the Galloway Collection of geometric laces and Como Collection using silks and linens. MYB’s business development director Wendy Murray observed: “We are launching a new collection of silks and linens in April of this year, our first collaboration with an Italian mill. These fabrics are quite different from our historical offering whilst maintaining our neutral and pastel colour palette. These were a central feature of the show and are receiving a great reaction. We complemented these fabrics with sheer draperies created using our 100 per cent Trevira CS yarns. These fabrics are inherently flame retardant and so fit perfectly with contract interiors.”

Extolling the value of hands-on product showcases Murray added: “Essentially business is about people and I think relationships still form an important part of the buying process and so pop up shows and exhibitions are still key to this process. In saying that, our website contains well written information, good photography and social media advantages and certainly helps kick start the process with international clients. We have noticed a considerable surge in new enquiries and sales since our new website launched in 2012. We do offer samples on our website and as textiles are very tactile, we find a lot of customers contact us for samples first. Because of this I think product showcases, exhibitions and trade fairs will always play an important part, certainly for the textiles industry.

“The luxury and contract interior markets have changed dramatically over the past 10 years and continue to develop quickly. As a mill we are focussed on quality, innovation and product development which has meant we have maintained our strong position over those years. With our Trevira product, although we now have the technological formula, we will continue to adapt and develop this fabric to fulfil the changing needs of the market and ensure we are producing the highest quality solution of its kind. Continual product innovation and development is key but what is equally important is making sure we have the right partners worldwide and that those partners are fully educated on the capabilities of MYB. This will help to push the business forward and we are currently working closely on expanding this network.”

With a successful Aberdeen event under their belt organisers Double S Events are set to return to the city where it all began, Glasgow, with a new and improved pop up showcase within the historic Briggait building from 3 to 19 June.

The bigger venue and relaxation of a non-competition clause between exhibiting companies will allow firms within the same product category to go head to head with each other for the first time, promising to add to the show’s popularity. Already this has borne fruit with new exhibitors confirmed for the summer display including Boss Design, Triumph Furniture and Desso, who will participate in a joint space sponsored by HCS Group.

One of these new contributors is bathroom design specialists Crosswater who will be dipping their toes into the pop-up arena for the first time with a range of basins, taps and showers not to mention their ‘glitter & sparkle’ basin monobloc range. David Balmer, Crossover’s senior projects consultant for the hospitality sector said: “Our brochures and website, even though extremely informative and visual, can never tell the full story until you have the physical tap in your hand. Hands on is always best - when specifiers choose products they still want samples to make sure of their choice, that it works with other items in the bathroom and of course to confirm the quality. “

Aware of the need to nurture local contacts Balmer added:  “When coordinating contract projects we work with a customer in the region of the project who supply the architect/interior designer with the product and arrange fitting. This not only helps out our customer but puts the architect in the safe hands of a well-practised and experienced industry professional that has knowledge of the local area and is around for after care too.

“It seems that when the market is slow and there is a down turn in the economy, people go with safe designs such as more square and angular shapes. However, when there is an upturn in the market such as in many main cities, bolder and rounder shapes become available. With regards to brassware, more colours and finishes are been requested, plus with technology increasingly taking over our lives, our Crosswater Digital Solo packages are most in demand and are one of the simplest operated controls around.”

Looking forward Balmer concluded: “With Crosswater driving design, investment in our own magnificent showroom and the experience of our contracts team, I am in no doubt that our growth will continue, and if you see how we have been performing at the start of this year already, it is building and building.”

To mix up proceedings further for those attending The Briggait reveal a range of CPD seminars will be offered in tandem with the exhibitions with an evening launch party, private views and workshops. To find out more about Glasgow 2015 please email

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