We headed over to Paris on the Friday evening in the hope that we would be reasonably refreshed for Saturday and Sunday. After some fun with the taxi driver who didn't know where our hotel was, promptly got lost, proceeded to charge us €20 and then looked expectantly for a tip, further fun was had by us then discovering he'd dropped us off at the wrong hotel. We then waited for a shuttle to take us to the correct hotel, which upon arriving at appeared as though it was about to close up for the night. The room was compact and clean. I have to express some reservations over the receptionist's assurance that it was indeed a "non-smoking" room as the cigarette burns on the furniture and the bathroom sink insisted otherwise.
However, that being said we slept like the dead! We woke on Saturday and experienced exactly what a €4.80 breakfast can buy. This was the only option by the way.....
Again, some fun was had trying to figure out the bus system to the Parc du Exposition centre but we got there around 9am and happily made our way along with the throngs of others...
WOW was my initial reaction! To an interior designer - this is honestly a little bit of heaven for sure! THANK HEAVENS hubby agreed to tag along... was my second reaction as this exhibition is simply enormous and the poor man really did me proud acting as my wee pack horse while I was gathering all sorts of info. There are 8 halls which all make the London ExCel Centre feel like a tiny elevator....although I confess that after touring 6 of them, I was seriously losing the will to live.
I'd gone to this expo with the intent of sourcing new and interesting suppliers and manufacturers - basically I was looking for anything that I'd not seen or heard of before. ....Living in London, I am lucky enough to be exposed to new and upcoming trends as they come along. But, having recently been fortunate enough to be able to do internships at 3 top interior design companies, I discovered that my sourcing database had a few weak areas and I was aiming to top this up. In this current job market, as a recent design graduate, one can not afford to not be as knowledge as possible about anything design related.
Now, strictly speaking, you are not allowed to take photo's inside the exhibition, but I soon discovered that if you asked nicely, most exhibitor's did not mind. In fact, I think I was only refused once, which was fine.
This is a taste of what I along with 1000's of others experienced, please excuse the photo quality - I'm an enthusiastic amateur:
I truly had the most fun! I managed to catchup with a friend from college for lunch at a lovely place which name escapes me right now, but there was a piano playing nearby, which was soothing to a weary soul.
There were a few disappointments, which me being me I feel should be aired. The first being that it is sadly apparent that ethics is a dirty word among some suppliers. I made a point of asking each supplier (leather / wood / textile etc) where their product was sourced and then manufactured. One Dutch leather supplier (of rabbit, fox, hides etc) replied "Who cares! It's beautiful!" I'm not a fur person myself, but I'm in the industry where I should be aware of where to source such things. Should I one day have a client who wishes to have a silver rabbit throw across their bed....well, I plan to be as informed as possible in order to advise and hopefully make the best ethical decision possible. Such attitudes as above just make me feel sad. I only hope that more suppliers feel the need to be responsible suppliers. You can only be responsible if you are informed.
The second disappointment was the shocking number of wood (furniture, decorations, etc) suppliers that when asked if the wood was FSC certified, they replied, "What does this mean?" or "No, it is too hard..." or gasp!! "What is the point?".
For those of you wondering, FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council and is an international, non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC’s 10 Principles of Forest Stewardship is the first step if the planet is to regain control over how wood is farmed and then distributed, it is critical that designers and manufacturers really think about where the wood actually comes from.
It was founded in 1993 in response to public concern about deforestation and demand for a trustworthy wood-labelling scheme. There are national working groups more than 50 countries including the UK. FSC UK is a registered charity. It is supported by NGOs including WWF, Greenpeace and the Woodland Trust.
OK, that's enough of me ranting....onwards and upwards I say.
It was with a (slightly reluctant) sigh of relief when hubby called time and advised that we really had to head back to the airport.
So, now I'm back in London and my feet are on their way to recovery...and I'm working on sorting through all my newly acquired info into various categories. I will do my best to share various items that I think might be of interest.