Design Prima predicts hit despite crunch

A need to network in a recession-hit sector will ensure that this year’s Design Prima office interiors event will be well-attended, the organisers predict.

Founder David Field says, ‘People will want to come along and talk, network and see where the opportunities are.’ Field adds that many furniture and interiors showrooms, which are currently struggling to get customers through their doors, will also be attracted by the opportunity to display.

He claims he knows of one showroom in the capital which has not had a single customer through the door in the past month.

Field claims that, ‘It’s very hard for them – some are in a state of paralysis.’

This year’s show, to be held at the Business Design Centre, London N1 from 2-4 June, will focus firmly on the products on display, without accompanying lectures, speeches or other events.

Field says, ‘We don’t have a role in educating visitors unless it is through the product. Exhibitors have never been keen on lectures, continuing professional development classes and other events, as they draw visitors away from the stand.

‘At the show we will put drinks on the stands so that exhibitors can keep the order books open and visitors can party on the stands.’

Field adds that this year Vitra has bought more than 100m2 of space, and Orange Box more than 110m2. Other exhibitors will include Hitch Mylius, Naughtone, Lammhults and Jennifer Newman.

Among products being launched will be the Cirrus Range of furniture by Ben Dawson Design for Cambridge Park, and the Rodney monitor support from Colebrook Bosson Saunders (pictured top right).

Field says the timing of Design Prima, coming after the Orgatec furniture fair in Cologne in October, means that products that debut in prototype form at Orgatec are often ready for market by the time they are shown at Design Prima.

He picks out Vitra’s Work It office furniture system (pictured left), designed by Arik Levy, as one that could do well in a time of recession-prompted austerity. ‘It’s beautiful, simple and not likely to go out of style soon,’ says Field. ‘It was developed two-and-a-half years ago, before the recession hit, so Vitra has fallen on its feet.’

Other designs on display at Design Prima will include the Level chair (pictured right), by Simon Pengelly for Johanson Design, and Teruhiro Yanagihara’s Grow sofa, for Offecct.

Design Prima

• Evolved from the Spectrum event held at London’s Royal College of Art in 1992

• This is its second year at London’s Business Design Centre. Former venues/ Commonwealth Galleries and Old Billingsgate

• The identity was created by Alan Fletcher and Julia Alldridge

• Visit www.designprima.co.uk for more information

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