FOCUS/19 CULTIVATING SUCCESS
“The ultimate destination for interior architects, decorators and architects”
Vincent Van Duysen, designer
Focus/19 was the most dynamic show to date at Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour – the breadth and magnitude which has never been seen before. Across six days, 130 sessions saw star-studded names sharing their knowledge and expertise at packed sessions. Cultivating success, there were the latest launches at every turn, stylish showroom openings, and inspiration and insight in abundance with visitors attending in droves to celebrate the best in international design.
Twice-daily design discovery tours saw the highest turnout ever, while sold out Design Workshops delved deeper into hot topics on the style radar including the rise of bespoke design and the importance of outdoor spaces. On the main stage, the acclaimed Conversations in Design series boasted a formidable line-up of world-renowned speakers including legendary designers David Mlinaric, Collett-Zarzycki and Andrew Winch, amongst many others, sharing their creative visions in front of capacity audiences.
Operating on such an unparalleled scale and looking set to grow, Focus/19 was the assured linchpin of the season with interior designers, architects, decision-makers and design enthusiasts making it their first port of call from around the globe. “We’re committed to being the world’s No.1 design destination,” says managing director, Claire German. “It’s an exciting time here, and Focus/19 was proof positive that in the astonishing environment of Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour great design thrives.”
“The Design Centre will expose us to products we’ve never experienced before; it’s educational”
Anthony Collett, managing partner, Collett-Zarzycki
With flora and fauna high on the design agenda this season, the Focus/19 party had a decidedly green theme in recognition of the new zeitgeist. Stylish A-listers mingled with industry insiders for a glamorous evening to celebrate the influential show at design’s natural habitat. Sparkling conversation, laidback tracks and plenty of cocktails kept the creative crowd in a convivial mood. Guests enjoyed drinks and canapés made from seasonal ingredients. Think gin, thyme, & pear cocktails; and fresh Vietnamese rice paper wraps. Overhead, the ‘Sky Garden’ in pastoral patterns was a reminder of how Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour continues to grow, nurturing its design community for an even brighter future.
SOWING THE SEEDS OF INTERNATIONAL DESIGN
“The best thing is the relationships, and friendships… this is the number one place”
Andrew Winch, managing director, Winch Design
An abundance of new season collections from 600 international brands showcased the latest colour stories and thoughtful narratives at Focus/19. Embracing the bounty of the earth, from the rattan revival to wood, sisal and stone, they brought authentic yet refined elements to interior design. The use of natural materials, tactile textures and examples of handcrafted artisanship were seen throughout. In the showrooms, there were more opportunities than ever to engage with established makers at close hand and discover the creative process with talented teams behind the collections at one-of-a-kind talks and presentations.
Design collaborations were a talking point, an indication that originality flourishes when collective minds come together. Visitors were able to meet their design heroes who included, amongst others, Belgium architect Vincent Van Duysen for Sutherland Perennials Studio, Irish fashion designer Paul Costelloe for Ventura, from Italy came Draw Studio for Ceccotti Collezioni, David Dolcini for Porada and Andrea Bonini who also devised the new Turri showroom.
FOCUS/19 AWARDS: DRUM ROLL PLEASE…
“The most fantastic forum for people to come along and deepen their knowledge and understanding”
Giles Kime, interiors editor, Country Life
Collection of the Year
Porta Romana has been honoured by The World of Interiors, winning the magazine’s ‘Collection of the Year’ award at Focus/19 for its collaboration with Italian artist Viola Lanari. Her plaster lighting and furniture – recast from the originals in a composite material – marry simplicity with organic, sculptural shapes. Lanari was presented with the award by editor Rupert Thomas himself. Four further designs won Highly Commended awards: Tissus d’Hélène’s French collection by Pukka Fabre; Morris & Co’s Lethaby Weaves; the trimmings collection by Michael Aiduss for Houlès; and Cole & Son’s Pearwood wallcoverings.
This year’s Focus/19 saw the launch of a new award, judged by ELLE Decoration, for ‘Best Showcase’. Style editor Kiera Buckley-Jones toured the floors to select one winner and two highly commended places, with the top spot going to Hermès’s bold showcase on the Ground Floor, Centre Dome. The runnersup were Ventura, showing its new collaboration with fashion designer Paul Costelloe, and Tom Faulkner.
AN ABUNDANCE OF INSPIRATION
“Designers love to come here, and there’s always a reason to come back”
Paolo Moschino, designer, Nicholas Haslam Ltd
Filling the Centre Dome with its creative use of the latest designs, Focus/19’s ‘Sky Garden’ installation was an expression of how important a deeper connection to the natural world has become to interiors. ‘Biophilia’, literally meaning ‘love of nature’ – is the latest buzzword, and the suspended lanterns in the freshest new-season fabrics, with trailing fronds emulating seedpods spinning to the ground,
encapsulated the trend.
Elsewhere, Focus/19’s food and drink venues were not just convivial places to refuel but a way to incorporate even more of the latest design directions. Dominating the FT How To Spend It Restaurant was a magnificent tiered tower of Houlès’ cut fringes, beneath which CTO Lighting’s lights gently illuminated the bar. Banquettes were upholstered in bold fabrics from Créations Métaphores at Abbott & Boyd, Kravet and Pierre Frey. Bar Botanical in the North Dome was enclosed by panels showcasing ‘Cap d’Ail’ wallcovering from Lelièvre Paris in tribute to Jean Cocteau, with dramatic panels above made from Villa Nova’s ‘Zamiifolia’ sheer palm-print fabric from Romo, emulating a leafy canopy.
“The Design Centre feels like home”
Natalia Miyar, founder, Natalia Miyar Atelier
Curated spaces were a Focus/19 highlight, showcasing the new season’s collections, seen through the eyes of leading interior designers. Hill House Interiors created a glamorous bar with a tented ceiling within Arteriors’ showroom, Suzy Hoodless designed a chic office space at GP & J Baker with sumptuous ikat velvet wrapping the walls, while Nina Campbell restyled her ‘Nina’s Apartment’ concept with a hallway, dining and living spaces. Bringing visitors closer than ever to the heart of a design story, artisan demonstrations were the perfect way to deepen understanding and knowledge. The new Morris & Co showroom hosted block-printing sessions all week, decorative artists from the San Patrignano community revealed their techniques at Paolo Moschino for Nicholas Haslam Ltd and Lincrusta invited visitors
to customise designs with imaginative paint effects in the new showroom in Design Centre East.