By Oliver ODHIAMBO
The recently-held Ideal Interiors Expo 2011 was a breathtaking affair, so effective and timely that most exhibitors and visitors were left yearning for more. Coming to town for the second time since inception, the event was billed a profound success story by both observers and participants.
The Village Market once again played host to the region’s leading interiors expo in March 10 – 13, 2011, on the backdrop of successful exposition in 2010. With a cumulative statistical count of close of 10,000 visitors, the expo drew quality and decisive buyers who were obviously yearning for new and trendy interiors aesthetics to change their home, office and hospitality environs.
The over 60 exhibitors drawn from the interiors sector and other closely related segments of real estate in the region expressed their deep gratification at the way the event turned out to be, and subsequently sought to participate in the Ideal Interiors 2012.
Set-up and the opening day
A breakfast briefing at The Tribe Hotel set the tone for what is arguably the best edition of the Ideal Interiors Expo so far. Exhibitors learnt sufficiently what was required of them, more so during set up. The organizers had to attribute the need for preparedness to previous lapses that were experienced during the assembling of the 1st Ideal Interiors Expo.
It was understood that numerous challenges hampered the successful execution of the first edition of the show, and therefore the need to ensure this second edition was seamless.
As such, there was an advisory that set-up needed to be done early to avoid last minute rush, owing to the nature of exhibiting flare that was manifested in the four days that the event was held.
It emerged equally, that there was need for the team designing a show house to be showcased during the event to work tirelessly over the two weeks accorded for the construction of the house so as to beat the tight deadline to the expo days.
A buzz of activity
Right from set-up, the venue was a beehive of activity. The construction of the house took centre stage, and challenges were abounding especially in relation to the house structure. The lead design consultant for the construction and design of the house, Shahin Rajwani,
together with the team assembled from different companies in the sector had to stare a huge obstacle in the face owing to this unforeseen occurrence where the structure was proving a nightmare to construct.
Eventually, through consultation and stop-gap measures, the structure was hoisted, and the design of the interior commenced. As Shahin, who is the managing director of Spiegel Interiors worked tireless with her team, the organizers clawed frantically ahead into all the logistical aspects of the show, seeking to ensure this time round there weren’t glaring flaws.
Indeed, the shell-scheme provider was on the ground on time to construct the exhibition booths. Events Solutions worked well ahead of time to provide a ground that was habitable for exhibitors, who equally did well to set up on time for the show.
The opening day’s highlights
The chief guest on the opening ceremony did not disappoint. Housing Assistant Minister Hon. Bishop Dr. Margaret Wanjiru highlighted key and significant aspects of the show that proved vital in the overall success disposition for the organizers, the exhibitors and the visitors.
During the opening ceremony, Dr. Wanjiru said time had come for the interiors sector to emerge from a long silence and to use the Ideal Interiors as a platform, along with forming a strong association, so the issues within the sector can be lobbied and addressed effectively with relevant authorities.
She said the Ideal Interiors Expo was a crucial platform in showcasing what the interiors segment of the economy had to offer. Equally, she challenged that there was need for developers to realize it was time interior designers took a lead role in the conceptualizing of projects to ensure the end product suits the tastes of an ever changing market.
“Home buyers these days are looking to secure properties whose interiors are well-done,” she said. “That cannot be achieved if we continue doing projects by considering the shell before we consider how the interiors would look like.”
Dr. Wanjiru pointed out that she was deeply impressed by what she had seen in the show, and promised to support the sector through her minister to lift standards of housing in the industry.
Gala night celebrations
As visitors poured into the expo, there was obvious indication that this event was truly going to be a success. Exhibitors were all smiles, most of them intimating that the visitor profile was quality and there was lots of business made.
An exhibitor confessed to have sold products worth Ksh. 400,000 on the first day. Another said the company had signed a deal worth Ksh2 million with one of the leading entities in the diplomatic community. There was a story to tell at every stall, and what better way to appreciate the good turn out with an awards event?
A gala was subsequently hosted to celebrate the success of the event. The grand gala evening was attended by prolific interior design market players at the expo were commended for putting up a fascinating show.
Exhibitors whose stalls were adjudicated in two days by Quadrant Shift Africa, University of Nairobi and Planning Interiors at the expo managed by Real Wealth expressed satisfaction.
Robert Yawe, the Quadrant Shift Africa managing director who chaired the adjudication panel noted that his team was indeed privileged to access the standards of display and knowledge of the interiors industry stalwarts.
Ideal Interiors Awards function acknowledged the Best Stand Awards, the Best Exhibition Awards, the Excellence Awards and the Memorable Events Awards. The winners were announced eventually, and trophies as well as certificates given.