UK, London. This week SuperyachtDesign.com visited the 38th instalment of Decorex International held in Syon Park, on the grounds of Syon House, London. The theme for Decorex 2015 was ‘The Future of Luxury.’ We travelled to Syon Park to see the best of this year’s seminars and instalments and discover the variety of furniture, surfaces, textiles, lighting and bathrooms on display, speaking to the designers who created them.
On entering Decorex the weary journalist, buyer or artisan was greeted by a feast of colour. Hattie Fox, described as “one of the hippest young florists in London” by The Telegraph, had created a beautiful floral archway to ease entry into the hustle and bustle of the main event. Fox’s countryside roots are plain to see in the wild yet ordered style of her floristry and many passers by stopped to appreciate the spectacle.
A theme that arose across the many samples of textile on show this year at Decorex was a predilection for broken, weathered materials. This is a theme that may perhaps break through into the superyacht market.
“We are seeing a general trend in design at the moment whereby Millennials want their materials to be soft, broken, weathered or naturally patinated,” explained Matt Buckley, senior vice president of sales at Moore & Giles, the luxury leather specialists. “The finishes aren’t the clean kind of polishes that we’re used to. I like to say it’s instant personality on an article of leather or fabric.”
This movement towards ageing was also evident on the Jan Kath designed Erased Heritage rug collection by Front, which uses scorching to create the completed look. The wool and silk burns away at different rates and what is left is Persian style rug with a uniquely modern ageing effect caused by the bold silk colouration.
‘The Future of Craft’ may seem like a contradictory statement, however, it accurately represented a number of the different artisanal directions that were on show. In a seminar entitled ‘Artisanship in the new industrial revolution’, author Lucy Johnston defended the creative role of modern techniques such as 3D printing for producing feats of interior design as equally reputable as those that embrace traditional techniques. As is well documented, the use of 3D printing is forecast to explode on to the superyacht scene; the realm of interior design is just one more area that it is set to revolutionise.
By contrast the ‘Making Luxury’ instalments scattered throughout Decorex highlighted how the spirit of the craftsman is still alive and well. Nic Webb showcased a number of his hand carved wooden pieces and gave live creative demonstrations; Volta invited passers by into a virtual reality tour of their painted ceilings; De Gournay had master painters hand applying designs to wallpaper; and The Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company showcased the traditional and modern ways to design weaves. All encapsulated ‘The Future of Craft.’
Self’s Reborn Collection and Naomi Paul’s Simple Shade British Wool Collection stood out from the crowd and both exuded a distinctive superyacht appeal. “The premise [of Reborn] is all about personalisation and making things your own, items that fit your own needs,” explained Kevin Self. “The Reborn range – launched at Decorex 2015 – consists of 1950s’ chairs and 1960s/70s’ desks. The idea is to take something that is old and dated and apply modern techniques – we call it hybrid furniture. The piano lacquer we use is extremely versatile with regards to colour as well as being very durable.” The durability makes the collection marine viable and the adaptation of something old will allow owners to bring elements of their past - or of their home - on board. Of his first year at Decorex Self said, “It’s all very new and exciting for me. It’s been brilliant for footfall and so interesting to meet and talk to people about ideas. I’ve also made some good contacts.”
Naomi Paul’s collection was commissioned by Prince Charles for his campaign to raise awareness for the use of wool in interior design and only uses wool sourced from the Shetland and Arran Islands. Paul explained that wool is naturally resistant to fire, water and UV, and beyond its practicality the style of the range may also interest the Asian superyacht market. Paul also added that “Decorex has had a much better vibe this year, it feels fresher and there is a lot more contemporary design. It’s been fantastic for me.”
Interior luminary Russell Sage, described by Decorex as being “as talented as he is eccentric”, designed this years champagne lounge. Sage was helped in his design by his long-time collaborators, exhibitor and ‘Making Luxury’ exponent, The Gainsborough Silk Weaving Company. Together they recreated and celebrated British craftsmanship and architecture and the crowd enjoyed the dual pleasures of art and champagne.
Decorex will return in 2016 for its 39th year.