June 2016, ‘All Things Fair’ By Rhea Koumi.
It’s that time of year again. Summer is over and everyone is pulling out their winter coats (if you are anything like me, you have gloves and a beanie as well), AFL is in full swing and on the design front Melbourne’s premium design fairs have begun their pre-event email send outs.
Design fairs are a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the industry, both as an exhibitor and a consumer. These fairs allow for new designers to emerge and hopefully tantalise the senses of those professionals who pass through. As someone working in the industry I am constantly searching for new outlets and sources to tap into and for me, this is one of those places. Fairs and the like allow professionals and the general public to access a world that is forever growing and adapting, the opportunities are endless. Design moves with the times and the demand, whether it be what’s on-trend or taking a more stand-alone approach and individualising a design, there is something special for everyone.
For each year I have been to my favourite fairs and the usual suspects always catch my eye, however last year I made a conscious effort to address local designers and those I have not worked with before. Often the designer or collaborator will attend the fair, hovering near their works eager to attend to passers-by. I found it delightfully inspiring discussing the designer’s passions with them, from infancy to final product. These fairs allow for a more personal interaction with the creators, a glimpse into the history and inspiration of some of the designs.
If you are going to go take a friend! I recommend attending with a colleague or friend, last year I went along with a friend in a similar industry. It was great to bounce off one another and to be introduced to designers I would not normally have stopped to see. It is not always a terrible thing to be ripped from your comfort zone, you never know when the information you thought to be unimportant may become useful.
Another great opportunity are the seminars and talks readily available from inspirational speakers with local and international experience. These professionals are here to share their wisdom and educate you through workshops. I highly recommend looking into this at AIFF (Australian International Furniture Fair) in particular.
DEN Fair is the latest addition to the design fair trade, and in my opinion it is also the best. It is touted as ‘Australia’s most exclusive trade fair’ and is meticulously curated. It’s second annual fair wrapped up last week and did not disappoint. The highlights for me were In The Sac for amazing linen bed linen (http://www.inthesac.com.au), Cult Design for fantastic contemporary furniture (http://cultdesign.com.au), Armadillo & Co for beautifully made rugs (https://armadillo-co.com) and One Fine Print for fabulous contemporary photography (http://www.onefineprint.com.au). Great job Den Fair! I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.
So, if you are in the design industry or just have a passion for design make sure you get along to one or more of the many events on the Trade Show calendar. It’s a ‘Fair’ bet you will enjoy them as much as I do!