The highlights from this years Designex include many inspiring new products and new directions in design that has been missing for the last couple of years.

Overall the quality of the show was very high. Not as many exhibitors as in previous years, however all the companies had new products, so there was quality over quantity.

There were many timber floor/ floating floor companies. The trends are larger format boards with a worn finish, almost like driftwood in colours ranging from sand to taupe to charcoal/ black. Most suppliers had a bamboo floor option, the standout being The Market Floors. Which was a wider, natural looking bamboo in a grey/ brown colour.

Graphics suppliers were in abundance showing the new technology in printing. Almost anything can be replicated with printing and cutting machinery e.g a very convincing ripple leather, like the Louis Vuitton luggage, was created before our eyes!

Of particular interest was Print 2 Metal where your own images can be printed onto recycled aluminum in either a stainless steel or bright white finish. The effect of printing with gloss onto the white was the appearance of the image being backlit; while a black & white image onto the stainless steel look liked etched metal. I would like to use this product as a feature panel or near a wall mounted LCD TV screen to make the TV less obtrusive.

The new Crystalline collection from Abet Laminati has sand like Swarvoski crystals imbedded into the black laminate. This collection would look great with all the new black glass appliances that have been released by Smeg.

We had the privilege of attending the key note seminar by the highly esteemed architect Masimillano Fuksas. Fuksas started his first office in Italy in 1969. With offices and projects now spread across the globe Fuksas has a wealth of experience that he very generously shared over the hour lecture. From very abstract sketches that he then interprets as paintings. The paintings then provide the inspiration for the feats of engineering marvels that become whole complexes. I expect that most people left the lecture with a renewed vow to follow through with your initial concept, as a designer regardless of the limitations.

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