This week, the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane opened its doors for the British Contract Furnishing Association’s (BCFA) first ever Spring design show. The Brewery is a landmark London venue, home to various other design shows (such as the London Design festival), fashion pop ups (think the massive American Apparel discount store) and sporting events (cast your mind back to the first Shuffle club), not to mention being one of the largest brewery’s back when it opened in 1980. An ideal place to host the first design show then.
The BCFA covers the full spectrum of interior products and services in and outside of the UK. It is a business association for those in the contract furnishing industry, an association which aims to unite manufacturers, suppliers and designers who have a commitment to ethical practice and excellent standards.
Their first Spring show was quite an intimate affair with a select few niche companies, a small lecturing space and a funky free bar. Stand out items were fabrics with maps and other intricate patterns printed and interwoven into, the swinging garden egg chair and the pebble stroke bean bag ornaments.
Special mention deserves to go to the table by Leisure Plan which can adapt in size according to your needs. You can seamlessly fit the extra lengths as you would with Lego pieces. The table also has spaces incorporated into its centre for key pieces such as your fruit bowl or your water jug. Furthermore, the table is designed for outdoor spaces, like any other Leisure Plan furnishing. It is therefore suitable for outdoor use as well as inside for boardroom tables or meeting rooms.
Another mention goes to the guys over at Malone/ Skai Fabrics / Global Upholstery Solutions who decorated the entire bar section of the brewery. Using a vast range of fabrics in different colours (Magenta made an appearance, I kid you not), textures such as raised, bumpy and quilted for bar counter surfaces and materials – everything from snakeskin to faux leather to crushed velvet.
Common themes throughout the show, aside from the friendliness and passion which flowed from person to person at the stands, were: the use of bold and dramatic colour, the incorporation of biophilia (hello Spring!) and fire safe fabrics.
The BCFA organised a series of seminars and panel discussions throughout the two day show to give attendees further insight into trends and hot topics. Tuesday saw talks by organisations including Gensler, Hemingway Design and Mix magazine.
The keynote speaker, Wayne Hemingway gave a super inspirational, genuine and honest talk which explored the idea of sustainability. Hemingway discussed how from a very young age, he had to make his own toys and clothes – providing him with a knack for creativity and resourcefulness. He spoke of his move from Lancashire to London as a teenager explain the move as a bid to follow the party scene alongside his girlfriend. His knack for resourcefulness was manifested in his decision to start up Red or Dead in Kensington Market (the creative hotbed which saw the likes of Freddie Mercury and Boy George), the extremely popular, healthy fashion brand.
Following on from the story of is background, Hemingway discussed everything from the changing political and artistic landscape, touching on Brexit and soaring rent prices in one fell swoop. His most endearing point was focused on the transformation of Kings Cross St Pancras station – from a near desert to the thriving hub that it has become a mere two years after the redevelopment.
The atmosphere of the entire room was one of respect and excitement, mirrored by the enthusiasm of all exhibitors and delegates. Overall, the first BCFA Spring design show established itself in the design circles, making it an event to put in the calendar for years to come.