Fair Play – The Second Episode

One of our most awaited talks during Design Collective 2020, Fair Play brought together spokespersons from some of the most renowned and established design fairs. The design obsessed and those related to the A+D industry were dying to know whether they could pencil in the dates for their beloved NeoCon, Clerkenwell, Design London, and INDEX. And what they could expect from these shows…


In our previous conversation on the Cosentino platform last May, we talked about the state of trade fairs. The conversation was grim, but the outlook optimistic. In this continuation of our talk, we wonder how our beloved design fairs have evolved to become an extended source of support for the A&D community.

We are all looking towards the first fairs that will ‘reopen’ – all eyes will be on them to see how they perform, and what we can take from that, how we can improve upon, and learn from what did not work. Moving forward, there is also a bigger game at play. A transformation that may have arisen from the ashes of a pandemic, and one that we are eager to discuss today. The future of the all encompassing trade show.

Here are the experts:

Above from left: Lindsey Martin, Director of Marketing, NeoCon; Katie McBride, Commercial Director, INDEX; Malon Cera-Marle, Commercial Director, Media 10 Design Division, Clerkenwell Design Week and Design London

Clip 1: What’s happening with design fairs around the world?

As a result of the pandemic, many of us have had to rethink our game plan and readjust. Trade shows took the biggest hit in that they have been almost entirely brick and mortar entities that now have had to either improvise, or postpone/cancel, or both. This may quite possibly have led to an entirely new event, a morphed and even improved version of the trade show.

Clip 2: Taking a more holistic, 360 degree approach

Trade fairs are taking a more 360 degree approach to the traditional one week model (and of course the duration of the build up to it). This approach allows the show to remain somewhat engaged with their clients, members, and potential visitors throughout the year.

Clip 3: Going the extra mile – additional offerings for partners and clients

Mentorship and guidance for the fair’s partners – as individual design platforms, what services and help can design fairs provide for their current and potential clientele.

Clip 4: A trade fair Utopia

What would that look like? And should we be optimistic about the  future of design trade shows? Are they coming to their natural end and/or morphing into a different format?

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