DECOREX 2023

An image of Olympia exhibition hall with words Decorex 2023 on top of image.

Decorex 2023 Review

This year, 8th to 11th October, saw the 25th Anniversary of Decorex at Olympia.

Billed as a key date in the autumn design calendar – Interior Designers who attended Decorex this year seem to agree it was a great show. There were some new and interesting suppliers, many more accessible brands (not just super luxe or high end) and a really great schedule of talks in the seminar theatre.

I opted for a VIP ticket when they were on early bird offer – mostly due to the promise of recordings of all of the Design Talks. However, the VIP ticket also gave me access to the VIP lounge – which was an immersive treat in itself! I had heard Brian Woulfe of Designed by Woulfe talk about the design of this area on ‘The Interior Design Business’ podcast so had an inkling of what to expect.

A couple of hours were spent networking with Prosecco in this space! Which means I’m even more pleased I got the ticket as I missed the talk I had planned to attend. I look forward to working my way through all of the Decorex talks when the link drops into my inbox.

There were a few key themes that I saw as I wondered the stands – but something that strikes me is that you tend to see what you like! On chatting to a couple of other interior designers I feel like I was at a different show. No matter how diligently I walk up and down the aisles, I inevitably miss a stand or two, so it’s great to see other interior designers’ updates on social media.

SUSTAINABILITY

As well as a couple of talks: ‘Interested in sustainability, where do I start?’ and ‘Sustainability Accreditations: making it easier to understand the jargon’, it felt like more suppliers were focused on sustainability and the environmental impact of products this year at Decorex.

My favourite was the Linen Collection from Soho Lighting. These pendants have a beautiful, diffused light which is oh so subtle – and oh so beautiful. Perfect for over a dining room table or clustered in a hallway.

Soho Lighting used recycled plastics in their 3D printing, meaning this collection is helping in the effort to rid our oceans of plastic.

YesColours who sponsored the Colour Café – focused on colourful yet sustainable design and featured a kaleidoscope of colours and brand partners that showcased the positive impact colour can have on residential, commercial, and public spaces.

The YesColours colour tunnel (electric cobalt blue from the opposite direction) one of the most photographed features from Decorex.

YesColours paints are vegan, made in Britain and BREEAM certified.

The Colour café also featured pods for ‘meet and greets’ (below), areas for content capture and a relaxed break-out area. These were highly saturated – a real blast of colour, and in contrast to the earthy tones seen on the majority of stands elsewhere. Furniture was provided by Merchant & Found

Tapping in to both the colour green and sustainability.

Clearwater Interiors. I hadn’t heard of them previously – but you are no doubt familiar with Cross Water – and they are part of the same group.

Working with ClimatePartner, Clearwater Interiors is on a mission to reduce carbon emissions – adapting, innovating and evolving processes to create elevated sensory experiences that positively impact the planet.

New designs from Clear Water (above) include innovative showers and baths.

Chatting to the rep on stand – she explained that it was much easier to design products with the environment in mind from a standing start – then for an established company such as Cross Water to work through their vast collection of products and make these more environmentally friendly.

COLOUR and SHAPE

I’m not particularly a fan of trends – design with what you love – but the colour green, along with earthy tones, seemed big at Decorex this year. Green works in just about every scheme so it makes sense – and brings such harmony and peace to an interior. Curves were still big, with a softness seen in furniture and lighting.

Green seen above left on the Neptune Home stand – plus all those delicious curves and scallops. More curves, plus more green, and more scallops at the L Drucker stand (above right) where you can have items made bespoke (both the size and colour).

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about the chairs at www.chairmaker.co.uk (seen below left). My particular favourite was the bobbin legs, and boucle covered, curved chair. Plus (below right) playful shapes, beautifully handmade (and eye wateringly expensive) wooden furniture at Jan Waterston.

PATTERN, TEXTURE and TEXTILES

Graphic patterns – and checks in particular – were coming through strong – on fabrics, flooring and tiles. Boucle seems here to stay too – it’s such a beautiful tactile fabric.

There were some florals about, but I felt that graphic patterns were more evident.

I loved the graphic designs on show at Vanda Rugs (above).

Sophie Cooney Runners also showcased graphic pattern and colours. Amazing on a staircase, in a hallway or in a kitchen between cabinetry.

Traditionally Decorex is attended by the big textile houses, but these were largely absent – likely because they recently exhibited from their showrooms at Chelsea during September’s Focus. Of the bigger brands, Ian Sanderson, Warwick Fabrics and Linwood had stands.

LIGHTING

There was a lot of lighting on show. Of all the different areas of design, I’d say the lighting sector was the best represented at Decorex this year.

I loved this light from Kaia Lighting – the Glow Pendant (captured by Emma Capron at Bean Interiors below left) and, in the Making Spaces area (a lovely feature at Decorex 2023), I loved the designs from Studio KH by Karen Henriksen. A former milliner – they were beautifully crafted (below right).

Favourite Things:

I paid a visit to the Dowsing & Reynolds stand. I just love their products. I’ve used their lighting, switches and sockets in projects, as well as taps. They have a new range of colours coming out (which I failed to capture as I was too busy chatting) on top of their existing lavender, Miami pink and neo mint.

I also want to find out more about D I Designs (below left and right). A trade only contemporary furniture company – they design, manufacture and stock a wide range of designs in a variety of finishes – and seem very reasonably priced. This is a great way for interior designers to differentiate their designs – and move away from readily accessed high street brands.

They had some great lighting on display on their Decorex stand – which apparently will be available soon.

I loved the art on display at Abstract House and would love to use some of the art in future projects (seen below).

CONNECTIONS

Last, but definitely not least, my very favourite part of the show was the opportunity to catch up with other interior designers – in real life! It was great to meet so many members of Interior Design Insiders, catch-up and share notes.

If you enjoyed this update you might also enjoy my blog on the Dulux Colour of the Year 2024.