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  • James Treble

Back From Denfair 2017


Excited! That's what I'm like. To have such a beautiful display of Design Trends and Innovation here in Australia, really makes me proud. Denfair is Australia’s leading destination for contemporary design + art, and it just concluded in Melbourne. In its third year, Denfair's display was large and the quality on display was of high standard. [exhibitor's list here].

From furniture to decor, from tiles to rugs, from leather to fabrics this fair offered a boutique selection of world and Australian design. With two out of three days exclusively opened to industry people, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to talk to many exhibitors about product, the Australian market and trends. I also enjoyed the opportunity to see again some products I have already admired two months ago at the 2017 Milan Design Week; mostly however, and I enjoyed seeing such a strong display of quality Australian Design.

While the design of most products' is right on-trend others dare go beyond and push aesthetic boundaries, like the stylised series of MAP's coffee tables, in bold citrus colours.

The bronze creations of Studio Henry Wilson assert their clever functionality through a strong sculptural identity. These are pieces you want to add to your art collection, I definitely am.

Mark Tuckey was on show with his mostly recycled-timber pieces. I enjoyed discussing with him and seeing up close and personal his winning design stools, I love them, this time in the rich 'scorched' version, hand-torched one by one.

Bonnie and Neil in collaboration with Byzantine Design launched their new range of vibrant patterns for vinyl rugs and tiles. Their exciting colours and strong brushstrokes carry a heritage feel and are certain to enliven every home.

An Australian brand to follow closely is Ferrier & Co, makers of a small but refined range of chairs, tables, shelving and the simple but outstanding signature stool, a finalist in last year's awards.

Denfair Awards for 2017 [full list here] were given to the Best Small Stand, the Best Large Stand and the Best in Gallery in the Art section. Also were awarded the Best Emerging Design, Best in Product and Best Australian Designer. But I'd like to especially mention the outstanding treatment of leather by Shibori who won the Denfair Award for Most Innovative Textile; the passion and energy shown on their stand was contagious.

Strong was of course the presence of established brands like Designer Rugs, Fanuli, Kartell, Zuster and Great Dane just to mention a few. SMEG was also there reasserting its presence on the Australian market with the outstanding design and quality of its latest Linear Collection.

Not last, on Denfair's calendar were also interesting talks, offering insight, opinions and expertise by local and international leaders in Design, Marketing and Trends. Especially popular was the talk on Value Vs Trends, discussing the affordability of Design and its positive and negative impact on market's perceptions.