The High Point of Trade Shows
There's nothing like the experience of a major industry exhibition. Here are some of the design industry's finest shows.
It's tradeshow season and with so many different venues for interior designers, it would be easy to tally up tons of frequent flyer miles! How to decide where to invest your time and attention can be made easier, depending on your area of specialty or the interests of your clients. There may be design centers in almost every major city, but there's nothing like the firsthand experience of a major industry exhibition.
I'll share a helpful list of some of the "go-to" spots, beginning with my personal favorite, the High Point Furniture Market. This year the Spring show runs this year from April 21-26. Not only do I think it's the "pièce de résistance" of the design industry, other designers from around the globe have concurred through their repeated attendance.
I feel like I'm a veteran of this market! Being a native North Carolinian, I almost took my close proximity for granted. As an interior design student, at ECU, it was easy to make a day trip for a visit. I do remember being in awe of the perfection of each company's showroom and the stories behind creating the product. I couldn't wait to realize the possibility of specifying solutions for my own clients!
High Point has grown exponentially and the market is attended by some key design leaders. You never know who you might bump into, while you're in the showrooms or at an event. I've had the pleasure to meet: Vincente Wolf, Laura Kirar, Marriet Himes Gomez, Suzanne Kasler, Barry Dixon, Eddie Ross, Tobi Fairley, Joe Ruggerio, and to catch a glimpse of Margaret Russell at the Architectural Digest party. Not dropping names, mind you...just an illustration of the caliber of designers attracted to this show.
Aside from the showrooms and the fabulous social events, interior designers are offered a bevy of ways to capture CEU points through the Design Viewpoint series. Every day, there seems to be a luncheon or seminar available to elevate your professional skills.
Of course, there are other shows worth placing on your itinerary. Here are a few of the majors:
1. KBIS – The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show
Where: Chicago, Illinois - USA
When: April 24 - April 26, 2012
About: "The Kitchen & Bath industry's main event is an inspiring, interactive showcase of everything new, where the brightest and best assemble to spot trends, experience product introductions and find the practical solutions and valuable connections that will take them into the future."
2. International Contemporary Furniture Fair
Where: New York, New York - USA
When: May 19 - May 22, 2012
About: "North America's premier showcase for contemporary design, the ICFF annually lures those in determined pursuit of design's timely truths and latest trends to an encyclopedic exhibition of up-to-the-moment offerings, as well as a series of fascinating, fun, edifying programs, and a packed schedule of exhibits and features."
Where: Chicago, Illinois - USA
When: June 11 - June 13, 2012
About: "Discover thousands of innovative products and resources for corporate hospitality, healthcare, retail, government, institutional and residential interiors from more than 700 showrooms and exhibitors."
4. AmericasMart Atlanta
Where: Atlanta, Georgia - USA
When: July 11 - July 17, 2012
About: Having personally attended this market, for many years, as an interior designer, I find it to be a showcase focused a bit more towards retailers and retail products. There is everything from gift, to holiday, paper goods, jewelry, apparel, tabletop, bedding, and home design products. It;s a "something for everyone" kind of market!
5. Las Vegas Market
Where: Las Vegas, Nevada - USA
When: July 30 - August 3, 2012
About: "Las Vegas Market gives you easy access to more than 1,500 world-class manufacturers and fresh new resources. It debuts the latest industry trends all within one impressive, state-of-the-art event, and offers products across all categories, including furniture, accessories, gift, lighting, home textile, rugs, floor coverings and more." (From friends who have attended this show, I gather it's a western version of the AmericasMart Atlanta.)
A few more shows – some coming soon and some for 2013:
- Architectural Digest Home Design Show - New York City, NY USA
- Dallas Market - Dallas, TX USA
- New York International Gift Fair - New York City, NY USA
- Hemtextil - Frankfurt, Germany
- Maison&Objet - Paris, France
Photos courtesy of Wanda S. Horton Interior Design.
Wanda S. Horton is a residential interior designer based in the Charlotte, NC metro area and brings a distinct perspective on all things regarding design. She shares her design musings with consumers and interior designers, alike, via her blog, Interior Concepts by Wanda. She also writes monthly posts for Hooker Furniture's, "Experience Your Home". She's an active participant during the nationally acclaimed High Point Furniture Market, including articles in the Designer Lookbook ,and was in the first group of Style Spotters focusing on market trends. She has been included as a guest panelist during several industry social media events. HGTV honored Wanda as one of Five Designers to Follow on Twitter. Her focus on multigenerational interior design has evolved from addressing the various ranges of her clients' lifestyles needs. Wanda has been recently volunteering her time and services in the transformation of her local community shelter, in order to create bright, new beginnings.