Man caves, hanging gardens, nests for beds, hectic-eclectic interiors and a 'trek' of farm to city - home enthusiasts and design-minded trade professionals, fifteen per cent more than last year, flocked to Decorex Cape Town, held at the CTICC from 26 to 29 April, for their annual décor fix and to spot the next best thing in interior design.
"Not only is the strong growth in visitor numbers an indication of the region's growing design sophistication, it also confirms the standing of Decorex Cape Town as the leading exhibition in its field," says Cairey Baxter-Bruce, general manager: Decorex SA. "This sterling performance is good reason to be optimistic about the future of the Western Cape's interior design sector and related industries."
Setting a new benchmark, the four-day interior design and décor show, sponsored by Plascon with M-Net as the media partner, was a meeting place for creative collaborations, do-good design and global style trends. Contrasts abounded as burlap and jute rubbed shoulders with velvet; Mid-Century modern design fused with a local retro revival to make 'Afri-Scandi' the hot buzz word, while sculpted skulls joined grandma's knitting wool as the season's most desirable objet d'art in a contemporary country setting.
Celebrating its 14th anniversary, the show was themed "Real" to express the move towards simpler living, a back-to-basics design approach and a natural merging of rural and urban lifestyles. Clearly the days of ostentation and grandiose living are numbered as bling made way for streamlined contemporary upholstery, industrial lighting, the repurposed, the over-stitched and the vegetable-dyed. Edgy colours mixed with raw timbers, hand-crafted ceramics and reminders of natural sources.
Visitors experienced a plethora of home ideas and design inspiration, leaving the show invigorated and informed, judging from their overwhelmingly positive feedback. "The high level of satisfied visitors is a feather in the cap of the 250 exhibitors who not only introduced them to new concepts and products, but also stimulated their imagination," says Baxter-Bruce.
She cites the show's continuous reinvention as one of the main reasons for Decorex Cape Town's success. "It is key to stay on top of local and international industry trends and interpret these new directions in a novel, yet accessible manner for trade and consumer visitors alike. Special projects and fresh initiatives such as Operation Man Cave, the Inspire Theatre that looked afresh at entertaining, cooking and home improvement; the Plascon Colour Forecast curated room-settings and the industry conference 'Conversations on Architecture' (COA Cape Town 2012) reflecting on the built environment, added to the allure of the exhibition.
Also proving to be very popular with trade visitors and consumers alike was the Fabric Trend House. "While we are based in Gauteng, we chose Decorex Cape Town to launch our new fabric range, as the city is such a hotbed for design", says Lisa Butler, co-founder of Design Team. Known for their quirky home grown motifs, their new range is inspired by their travels to Barcelona, Paris and Istanbul.
Looking for their design inspiration closer to home, Hertex Fabrics launched 'From Cape Town with love', created by Tanya Sturgeon. "The imagery is about maps, photos of the old city, the birds and flowers of the towering Table Mountain as well as the loving letters from home, making this collection as relevant now as it would have been to the first settlers to the Cape of Good Hope," reckons June da Silva, textile expert.
The judging panel for the Best Stand Awards all agreed that Decorex Cape Town 2012 was a standout-out show, marked for the wide range of imaginative concepts and desirable products. "I was particularly impressed with the mix of the functional and the aesthetically-pleasing," says Kim Gray, editor of the eponymous blog. Fellow judges - décor editors Mandy Allen and Vicki Sleet - commented on the clever layout that makes the show so easy to navigate.
The judges awarded Victorian Bathrooms as the best overall stand for the way the stand design took every aspect into consideration from the overall concept to the most basic design - even the shower was running. "Victorian Bathrooms took sanitary ware from a staple home product to the most desirable have-to-have," commented Allen.
The trend and fabric-focused installation Contemporary Country, curated for Decorex SA by Laurence Brick Creative Direction, was such a strong contender in the 'best on show stakes' that the judges awarded the excellence of the stand with a special mention. "It should be shouted from the rooftops just how well-curated, inviting, cutting edge and chic this modern installation is. It is a world-class interpretation of mega-trends that will sit comfortably in any of Europe's top design shows," the panel said.
It was the attention to detail at interior designer Adriaan Lochner's stand that won him 'Best Small Stand' accolade. "To make such a big statement in a small space, is remarkable," according to the judges. "Lochner's small, but beautifully executed stand touched one with its stillness. Its carefully considered use of old family photographs from his own childhood stood as a reminder of what matters more than material things and objects ... life and family. This he did without being sentimental."
Making such an opening statement with her debut stand at the entrance to the exhibition hall, Marissa Pretorius of Opus Studio clinched the award as the best newcomer to the show. Showing how earth, moss and plants can bring a breath of fresh earth to hard-edged cityscapes, Pretorius - who opened her multi-faceted plant studio in Woodstock earlier this year - created a contemporary hanging garden to showcase 'Kokedama', a fascinating Japanese gardening form often referred to as 'poor man's bonsai.
The earth-caring ethos of the Bamboo Warehouse won them the coveted Decorex Cape Town Green Award, while the riotous use of energetic brights won Ambiente Luce the Plascon award for the best use of colour. Says Anne Roselt, Plascon colour manager: "this lighting stand used the energizing and engaging impact of colour to the hilt. The use of on-trend tangerine, hot pink and colour blocking in a very tiny space is bold, daring and highly effective."
Voted the most innovative product on show, the SMEG wine fridge with built-in iPod docking station (used in the Man Cave designed for brothers Bob and Dan Skinstad) blends cutting-edge technology with lifestyle. "While not commercially available, the response to this concept-product hopefully will convince SMEG to produce it in the future as everyone would want one", says Angela Chatfield, who heads up Decorex's sales division.
The judges were also most impressed with the way Furnspace 3D who specialises in design software for trade professionals and consumers, connected with visitors. This won them the award as the most interactive stand on show. "Drawing people in and getting them involved with a product is an art all of its own," commented Sleet. (Summary of stand awards below)
Putting the collaborative spirit together four of the country's top design personalities interpreted the Plascon 2012 Colour Forecast in highly individual roomsettings described by the judges as "a collection of highly inspirational colour pods". This installation won three Excellence Awards: one for the curatorship of the total installation (accepted on behalf of Plascon by LBCD). Another went to Aidan Bennetts for his mysterious take on a study which took its design cue from a 1950s detective novels to portray the darker, moody and mysterious palette. Furniture designer James Mudge, collaborating with other talented designers including his sister Rose Mudge, portrayed the Origins palette to rave reviews - clinching the 3rd excellence award related to this trend-forward installation.
Also part of this multi-award winning Plascon installation, Porky Hefer used his giant reed nest to interpret the Memories colour palette, which proved to be a big hit with visitors of all ages as they clamoured in and out of the nest.
Man Caves for good causes - the year's show stopper
It is official. After a testosterone-filled and dramatic battle brothers Bob and Dan Skinstad earned the bragging rights to the ultimate Man Cave, designed for them by Aidan Bennetts. Stepping out of their cave as the Operation Man Cave champions, they raised R10 030 for their chosen charity - The Chase Winshaw Trust. Raising the most donations from show visitors, Team Skinstad also won an additional R10 000 for their charity, courtesy of Decorex SA, pushing their total earnings to R20 030, which will benefit a young boy with cerebral palsy who needs an operation for a chance at a normal life.
The other three celebrity teams fighting it out in their kitted-out man caves were:
- Surfing entrepreneur Dene Botha and designer Danielle Ehrlich from The Do Colab. raised R11 337 for Rhinoprotect, an organisation aimed at finding sustainable solutions to the critical plight of the African rhino.
- Coffee evangelist David Donde and designer Dieter Rauch of Furnspace raised R10 838 for The Light from African Foundation, a charity generating funding for vulnerable children through creative projects.
- Professional soccer player Ryan Botha teamed up with Yvonne Kramer of Yvonne Kramer Interiors, raising R8 170 for Kitty and Puppy Haven, a rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing centre.
- (Note: these figures include the Decorex-contribution of R10 000 to the winner's chosen charity and R2 000 to each of the other charities represented.)
Sian Steyn, marketing manager: Decorex SA expressed her delight at the outcome of this creative fundraising-initiative. "The celebrities gave it their all, and so did the designers who helped create the man caves. What also made this project special is the way in which the public, sponsors, designers and celebrities all embraced Operation Man Cave, triggering a social media buzz which helped raise awareness of the various charities and what they stand for."
Design for Literacy
Decorex Cape Town initiated several charity-driven initiatives that harness design. One such initiative, the M-Net Cares Café and Decorex Reading Corner, is a partnership between M-Net Cares, Decorex Cape Town, Salvocorp (the official distributor of Staron by Samsung), as well as local designers and businesses supporting the M-Net Naledi Children's Literacy Project, a programme that encourages a love of reading in primary school children. Visitors were encouraged to bring new or second-hand children's books to the show and stack it on shelves exclusively designed for the project by Katie Thompson of Recreate and Joe Paine.
Summary: Results Decorex Cape Town 2012 Best Stand Awards
- Best Stand on Show: Victorian Bathrooms
- Best Small Stand: Adriaan Lochner Interiors
- Best Green Stand: Bamboo Warehouse
- Innovative Product: SMEG wine fridge with built-in iPod docking station
- Best Newcomer: Opus Studio
- Plascon Colour Award: Ambiente Luce
- Most Interactive Stand: Furnspace 3D
- Decorex Cape Town Excellence Awards
- 'Contemporary Country' fabric and trend installation by Laurence Brick Creative Direction
- Classic Trading
- Bos Bar by Nicolas de Klerk of Design and Display
- Forest Flooring
- Sweet Temptations Toffees
- Hertex Fabrics
- Creative House for Morphy Richards
- Design Team
- Eastern Cape Development Corporation
- James Mudge for interpreting the Origins palette of the Plascon 2012 Colour Forecast
- James Russell
- Ambiente Luce
- Supreme Upholstery
- Stable Marketing
- Plascon 2012 Colour Forecast Stand