A guide to the UK furniture exhibition circuit

Posted in UK on Thursday, 03 January 2013. Print

The furniture industry event calendar has become increasingly diverse in recent years, as suppliers and event companies seek the best return for their marketing budgets. There are many fairs vying for the trade’s attention, so it is all the more important that international visitors examine their needs thoroughly before committing to attending.

A guide to the UK furniture exhibition circuit

Here’s a run-down of the key fairs in 2013. Interiors UK (NEC, Birmingham, 20th-23rd January) remains the largest and most representative trade interiors event in the UK. Principally retailer-focused, Interiors UK (formerly ‘The Furniture Show’) boasts a great many special features. This year’s edition promises over 500 exhibitors.

Spring Fair International (NEC, Birmingham, 3rd-7th February) is an even larger event, but is devoted to a wider spectrum of products – from giftware and stationery to toys and jewellery. It boasts a solid home interiors and accessories/furnishings section.

Just one year old, Home (Earls Court 2, London, 13-15th January) takes place alongside the Top Drawer show, and covers similar areas to Spring Fair, albeit with a far more concentrated offering.

Other shows in the first half of the year include: the AIS furniture show (Cranmore Park Exhibition Centre, Solihull, 20th-22nd January), a small event organised by and featuring the preferred suppliers to the UK’s principal furniture buying group, which takes place concurrently with – and a short distance down the road from – Interiors UK;

Long Point (based in various showrooms across Long Eaton, near Nottingham, from 13-15th May and from 16-19th September), which takes place twice a year and hinges on the high-end upholstery made in the area; and the design-focused Clerkenwell Design Week, (held in showrooms across Clerkenwell, London, 21-23rd May).

2013 sees the launch of the May Design Series (ExCeL, London, 19th-21st May), a similarly architecturally- and interior design-oriented event that includes kbb London, the ARC Show, DX, and the new Interiors LDN show.

Moving into the second half of the year, and returning to the furniture trade focus, the Manchester Furniture Show (Manchester Central, 14-17th July) is the UK’s second largest gathering of furniture suppliers, and features many of the UK industry’s biggest suppliers.

September is a busy month for international trade events, and the UK is no exception. It kicks off with Spring Fair’s smaller sister event, Autumn Fair International (NEC, Birmingham, 1st-4th September), then moves on to the busy London Design Festival (at various venues across London, 14th-22nd September), which ties in with: 100% Design (Earls Court, London, 18th-21st September), the UK’s biggest design trade event; the up-and-coming Tent London (Old Truman Brewery, London, 19th-22nd September); and the upmarket Decorex International (adjacent to Kensington Palace, London, 22nd-25th September).

The Bed Show (Telford International Centre, 24-25th September) is the UK’s largest gathering of bed industry suppliers, and is fast becoming one of the industry’s most popular fixtures.

Also taking place in September is Glee (Birmingham NEC, 15-17th September), the largest garden industry event which features a handful of furniture providers – those interested in garden furniture should also check out SOLEX (Birmingham NEC, 8-10th July).

In October – although it’s not within the UK – there’s Ireland’s Furniture & Home Accessories Fair (RDS, Dublin, 6-8th October).

Of course, these are just some of the highlights – there is a host of agent-led exhibitions and supplier at-home shows taking place throughout the year. Furniture News magazine features previews and reviews of the majority of these events – just visit the website to find out more.

Tags: Fair


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