The Retail Design Expo held at Olympia on 9th & 10th March was billed by the event organisers as “the must-attend event for retailers, designers, marketers, visual merchandisers, architects and shopfitters” and I have to say that I intend to agree with them. Historically the show was targeted solely at retail business technology and held little of interest to us fluffy interior design types, but in 2014 the show was opened up to incorporate retail design and digital signage, and with it a bunch of pioneering and optimistic exhibitors from these fields. Since 2015 the show has doubled in size and this year the design and digital signage sectors (which launched this year) occupied their own floor under the impressive ornate steel canopy of Kensington OIympia.
Cursing myself for having missed some of the keynote speakers – particularly since the write ups and testimonials from visitors commented on the wealth of insight shared (mental note for next year!) it was still a valuable day shared with colleagues from across our business; Rob (Project & Logistics Manager), Richard (Design Manager) and Anna (Account Manager). I can’t help feeling that this show will soon surpass Euroshop as the most relevant, accessible and time-efficient show for our sector – and with it occurring on annual basis it’s going to be occupying a regular slot in the diaries of the retail design sector’s movers, shakers and influencers – as well as giving us all a chance to keep on top of the latest innovations and catch up with our friends and peers across the sector.
Particular highlights for me included learning about Renolit Armorouren on Stand G24 – a really robust PVC film capable of being thermoformed or flat laminated to provide superior impact protection but also versatility in use and application – as well as achieving a fabulous finish, also speaking to the clever guys at Advance LED Lighting Solutions (Stand H61) about their great plug & play retrofit LED solution for grocery chiller systems. Additionally, CDUK (Stand E30) who are the UK distributors of Corian solid surface materials were showing a really neat surface-embedded wireless smartphone charging solution – I couldn’t help thinking that marrying this type of technology with surface materials may also potentially provide some really exciting flexible digital display opportunities in the future….
It was also a really good opportunity to introduce our most recent Account Management recruit, Anna, to some of the great innovations in our sector, regular supply partners (and potentially new!) and catch up with some of our clients who were also taking advantage of having a broad cross section of the retail design industry all under one roof for a couple of days!
Next year the show has been moved to the slightly later slot of 8/9th May – save the date!