1 week, 2 shows and lots of new discoveries
Over the last week I have been to both the Surface Design Show and the Listed Property Show. Attending exhibitions and shows can take a chunk of your time, and you can think it is time that could be spent working on client’s projects but sometimes, as I did, you can discover great new products.
The Surface Design Show was held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, just 5 minutes from our office so I visited a couple of times during the three days it was on.
I already knew Hannah Coleman who runs Dreamwall through twitter but hadn’t seen a full-scale installation of their wall panels before the show. The company sells a wide range of wall coverings that mimic the look and feel of materials such as stone, brick, and slate. The quality is very good and now used in commercial premises around the UK, for example Next stores, but they would equally be suitable for domestic use. If you want an exposed brick wall the easy way their brick panels are superb and a very quick way to achieve the effect. Some of their newest products can also be used in bathrooms.
Another great find was Idea Paint on the Muraspec stand. The product is a white paint which transforms any smooth area into a high performance dry-erase writing surface – an updated alternative to blackboard paint. It has a wide range of uses in the commercial and education markets but could equally be used in a kitchen to provide a handy wall area for household notes.
My final favourite from Surface was Quantum Glass, pioneers in the field of active glass they have some amazing innovative ideas on ways to use glass. Their Priva-Lite product is active glass which, under the effect of an electric current, switches from translucent to transparent. It can also be used in the translucent state as back-projection screen. The product could be used in an en-suite to provide a privacy screen, when needed, between the bedroom and bathroom.
The Listed Property Show is held at Olympia and is run by the Listed Property Owners Club, this is its fifth year. The shows offers practical advice, ideas and inspiration for current and prospective owners of period properties, and when I visited on Sunday there was a big turnout.
My first stop was the stand of Atkey, a company that manufacturers superb architectural joinery, including architraves, doors, door linings and skirting boards. Working with Charles Brooking they have access to over 20,000 sections of joinery from the Tudor period onwards. The level of craftsmanship was very impressive, and they work on not only historic homes from the Georgian through to the Edwardian period, but also classical new build properties.
I then visited Projectbook, started by James Mott, and a great resource centre for period and listed properties. They have a Heritage Register of craftsman, contractors and consultants who have all been vetted to assess their skills before Projectbook agree to list them. Their website also includes details of products suitable for use in heritage properties.
James introduced me to Bethan from The Ironworks Studio. The company is based in Guildford and Thirsk and will cover most locations in the UK. Their level of craftsmanship was very impressive with a solid understanding of blacksmith techniques complemented by design training and project management skills. They have worked on traditional projects, including many well-known buildings, but I really like their contemporary work, the balustrade below was for an apartment in London.