Everything design-wise under the one roof

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The design industry’s first major event for the year has just kicked off with the Australian International Furniture Fair (AIFF) which once again showcases the latest designs from both local and international furniture manufacturers and importers. A definitive event on the design calendar, the great thing about the show is that it not only allows the industry to learn of the latest developments and shop for the latest wares, it also features keynote talks with leading lights in design (an army of international speakers as well as local). The AIFF is co-located with Australia’s premiere interior and soft furnishings trade fair, ‘Decoration + Design’, this year bringing together over 100 suppliers from here and beyond under the one roof. Visitors to the 2012 fair will see the latest collections in wallpaper, decorative accessories, fabrics, furniture, homewares, lighting, soft furnishings and wall art.

Alongside established labels such as About Space, Craft Enterprises and Crowley & Grouch, ‘Decoration + Design’ Sydney 2012 will also boast stands by new homewares exhibitors Design R Secrets , Inside Africa and Homepride across the largest floor space the event has seen to date. Attractions include ‘Hotel + Hospitality Furnishings’ (highlight on products that are suitable for hotels, motels, clubs and restaurants), ‘The Edge Design Competition’ (renowned for unearthing our next generation of furniture design talent) and ‘Design Futures’ (an inspirational trend feature at the heart of ‘Decoration + Design’). Probably the most exciting drawcard is the ‘International Industry Seminar Series’, a coveted attraction luring some of the biggest international and local design names in the industry who will be discussing their individual ethoses over the span of the event.

On his first visit to Australia, US designer to the stars Martyn Lawrence Bullard (pictured above) will headline the series, talking about “creating a superstar interior”, that is, mixing classic chic with contemporary glamour. A celebrity in his own right with his reality TV show Million Dollar Decorators (airing last year in Australia on Foxtel), Lawrence Bullard’s clientele includes Elton John, Cher, Christina Aguillera, and even Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne. He has also completed commercial projects for Jimmy Choo, Warner Brothers, and Paramount Studios and has written a book, Live, Love & Decorate. Joining Martyn in the series is UK’s Suzanne Trocmé, curator of the London Design Festival and Special Projects Editor for Wallpaper magazine.

From our own shores, local speakers include style leader Melinda Ashton Turner, lighting designer Petra Kleegraefe, and interior designers Chelsea Hing and Sarah Davison. Genty Marshall, Decoration + Design’s resident trend forecaster will again join the series, giving a seminar on ‘The Collector, The Creator and The Connoisseur’. Based on her installation area at ‘Decoration + Design’, Genty’s talk will look at three distinctive ways of relating to design while demonstrating some of the trends we’ll be seeing in 2012.

On a more organic level, the event’s ‘Student Award’ continues to thrive as the leading category, boasting an impressive 27 out of 50 competition entries, with designs entered from a vast array of leading design centres, colleges and universities around the country.

‘Decoration + Design’ Sydney is co-located with the Australian International Furniture Fair and ‘Hotel + Hospitality Furnishings’, all on at the Sydney Exhibition Centre February 1-3, 2012. Seminar and event tickets are priced from $44 and available online at www.decorationdesign.com.au or www.aiff.net.au. Pre-booking is essential.