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.
Whenever you undertake to participate in an expo, the key goal is to attract, excite, engage and finally evangelise your products and services to your prospective customers. However, how come most people do not put a conscious effort to make this happen? How do you attract people to your stand? What makes you stand out? How will you manage to excite with the purpose to engage and tell people about you services if your stand doesn’t tell the initial story.
It is in trying to answer these very real questions that Design Forty Ltd has pioneered in the provision of Expo systems that maximise the impact of your products and services. We achieve this by developing exhibition stands that are tailored and relevant to your services and products.
The unique panels are tailored to meet the highest standards of design. The designs are not the standard 3 x 3 sizes. Creative, innovative and flexible designs give you not only a stand that attracts visitors and envious looks from competitors, but is adaptable and re-usable and employs the best in materials and construction techniques.
Exhibition design is the process of developing an exhibit—from concept through to a physical, three-dimensional exhibition. It is a continually evolving field, drawing on innovative, creative and practical solutions to the challenge of developing communicative environments that ‘tell a story’ in a three-dimensional space.
At Design Forty, we use a wide range of technologies and techniques to create experiences that will resonate with diverse audiences–enabling these targeted audiences to access the messages, stories and objects of an exhibit.. All types of exhibits aim to communicate a message by engaging their audiences in meaningful and compelling interactions.
Exhibit design is a collaborative process, integrating the disciplines of Interior Design, Plantscaping, graphic design, audiovisual engineering, digital media, lighting, Architecture and content development to develop an audience experience that interprets information, involves and engages a user and influences their understanding of a subject.
Exhibition Design process builds on a conceptual or interpretive plan for an exhibit, determining the most effective, engaging and appropriate methods of communicating a message or telling a story. The process will often mirror the architectural process or schedule, moving from conceptual plan, through schematic design, design development, contract document, fabrication and installation.
The first phases establish a thematic direction and develop creative and appropriate design solutions to achieve the interpretive and communication goals of the exhibit. The latter phases employ technical expertise in translating the visual language of the designs into detailed documents that provide all the specifications required to fabricate and install an exhibit.
Dramatic changes in form of appearance speak volumes, writes Alnoor AMLANI with special reference to Ideal Interiors Expo 2011, which experienced an inspirational metamorphosis.
In the same way that a writer or painter approaches a blank page, or a musician reaches for a sweet and elusive melody; a great interior designer approaches an empty space with acute awareness of a large number of factors.
Ultimately, a designed space is a sensory experience and through design these spaces should encourage the occupant to react in the desired way. For instance, in a hotel, a client would be anticipating an overall effect of serenity and comfort for guests; for a home environment, the feeling of a nurturing shelter emerges. Where the space is intended for a retail function, designers seek to inspire confidence in the products and in a corporate office setting they seek to motivate.
Light, colour, dimension, movement, temperature, ventilation, flooring, amenities and mood are direct considerations to name a few. And of course, there must be a practical knowledge of what options are available locally and abroad in line with the budget. Finally (and certainly not the least), the designer must be clear on what the client requires and the purpose of the space.
Looking for inspiration
Yet amidst all this, designers all ultimately search for something that is difficult to describe. It is commonly referred to as inspiration, but it inches closer to a kind of presence or character of the space that can only be sensed or felt within its context. Indeed great sculptors claim only to be releasing the form or feeling that is trapped within the wood or stone they are working with. Therefore by inference, great interior designers bring forth or release a form that potentially exists in the empty space.
When the sense of what the space wants to be is strong and clear, and the creative force is allowed free reign, the result is transformative design.The presence that could only be sensed is manifested and can be experienced. In being manifest in-turn, it affects those who experience it and hence the true artist lives through his or her work.
All creatives search for this effect. But without vision, it cannot be successfully achieved.
The Decor Interiors’ space at the recently concluded Ideal Interiors Expo at The Village Market is an example of how a space can be transformed with vision. Their style of contemporary earth led them towards the use of natural materials and tones. With a simple and powerful vision, they blended the various interior elements in a complex interplay that is ultimately pleasing and comforting
Visitors to the first floor car park area discovered that the entire parking space had metamorphosed overnight into an unrecognizable interiors exhibition space, protected from the elements by canvas tents and filled with a range of furnishing, lighting, flooring, plumbing and even cutlery options. The car park ordinarily is a rushed, hurried space with people seeking to park quickly, avoid the cold and deal with their shopping bags and children before someone runs them over! This transformation took visitors to a
comfortable, warm and relaxing zone where they felt at ease to browse and feel. And at the centre of this transformation is DecorInteriors; offering a modern, multipurpose space, with a tasteful dining setting, lounge sofas and a bar counter all manufactured in workshops run by Décor Interiors Ltd. The elevated flooring and dramatic angled pillars projected visually a creative energy that is impossible to restrict or contain. It is a design simply bursting into being however you approach it. The effect wasparticularly dramatic in the middle of an exhibition setin a car park!
Home away from home
After the exhibition closed for public display, the Decor Interiors space became an intimate meeting place for people toshare, laugh and indulge; a testimonythat the energy of the 36 sqm was indeed transformed into a home away from home.
DECOR INTERIORS won two awards at the exhibition for Best Stand in the Auxiliary Décor & Support Services category, and also came in an outstanding second in the People’s Choice Award and set a new standard for exhibitive display regionally. Then they took it down and rebuilt it in their showroom in Viking House. The elements have moved somewhat in their showroom. The bar is in the corner and the lighting fixtures have shifted. The stone gazelles are now standing on the sisal coffee table. But the feeling is the same.
This is a tenet of good design. The elements flow together well, because they have been carefully thought through. The harmony within the space is evident and the effect of calming, warmth and comfort can betransplanted, modified and, if necessary scaled up.
The exhibition featured Kitchen Awards, which was conceptualized to recognize both international and local kitchen markers in the country. The judges placed Scavolini Kitchen by Prafulchandra & Brothers Ltd at the top of the pack for its user-friendly, exquisite and homely design. Kitchen and Office Interiors came in second overall. Wood Products was placed at number three. KITCHEN and Office Interiors was also duly recognized as the winner and subsequently presented with a Ksh 140,000 cheque from PG Bison who had sponsored the award.
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