Poor organisation leads to a pretty poor show

Lack of design buyers in attendance either at European Designer 96, organised by MECC, or the medical show in New York, organised by Canon Communications (DW 14 June), must raise some questions regarding both organisers’ “promises” versus their delivery.

I can’t comment on Canon Communications, but having been involved with European Designer, I know that the lack of attendance of European design buyers was down to MECC’s failure to promote the event on time.

They were fully aware of who should be invited, but a month before the show, tickets were still not available. The buyers stayed away in droves because they simply did not know about the event.

This is a shame, particularly given David Maddison’s comments on the medical show, as in the past design consultancies have had no option but to take part in exhibitions which are an attraction to manufacturers but not focused on design and hope that some visitors with an interest in design will attend.

British Design Initiative took more than 175 enquiries, just 15 per cent of which were from design buyers. At least those were of a very high quality and we are confident that some of our represented consultancies may yet turn those enquiries into business.

I also have to agree with Lynda Relph-Knight’s comment in the same issue regarding the commendable effort the Dutch, German and French designers put into their exhibition stands. However, those companies must now be counting the cost which far exceeded the majority of the British “toe in the water” investment.

We can only hope that MECC learns from this and ensures that it starts communicating the show to buyers at least six months in advance. Despite the low turn-out of buyers, BDI remains positive towards the concept of a pan-European trade show.

We still expect to salvage our own and our consultancies’ investment and we expect to be there next year with an impressive presentation and thousands, rather than hundreds, of design buyers to impress.

As it transpired, the event was good for the BDI. The international press expressed interest in several consultancies on the BDI stand and dozens of European design groups enquired about partnerships with UK design groups.

Maxine J Horn

Business Design Initiative

London SW6

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