Despite this only being the second year of the May Design Series, the exhibition has already seen a marked increase in both the number of attendees and exhibitors. As expected, there were many great, exciting new products on display. Here are some of the best of them…
Grestec specialises in tiles of all sorts, but it is their porcelain range that has stood out from the rest of the pack. One of Grestec’s most impressive porcelain tiles is the gargantuan stoneware XXL range, with a surface area measuring 1500 x 3000 mm and a micro-thickness of 6mm. The other outstanding piece was their Middle Eastern/Mediterranean-themed Amiens collection.
Anyone looking for an original rug need not search for long with Bazaar Velvet’s designs. Bazaar Velvet also went for a Middle Eastern/Indian theme, which is convenient as many of their rugs are handwoven in India.
Integrated lighting has been around for quite some time, but had some issues with heat and painting. Enigma have rectified this problem by making the plaster encasing of the lights paintable and heat-resistant. One of the best minimalist designs of the exhibition.
Tyson Lighting have been crafting bespoke lighting fixtures for over 50 years, and their Star Wars-inspired X-Wing light stole the show at this year’s Series.
Tom Raffield is an award-winning designer of handmade furniture and lighting. Raffield uses sustainable timber to create some rather intricate pieces of work, and could even be seen crafting some wooden light sculptures at the Series this year. Raffield’s works will also be appearing at the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS’s) Chelsea Flower Show this year.
Whilst a real, working light switch made from chocolate would be impressive, a nice, edible gift for the Series’ guests is probably safer and far more realistic.
Crystal is often seen as something that is rather traditional and grandiose (e.g. chandeliers). However, The Telegraph‘s display of glass works from the likes of Waterford and Baccarat has proved that crystal furnishings can be entirely contemporary. The copper and crystal lamp was one of the many impressive objects on show.
Those looking for a vintage fridge need look no further than the Vintage Fridge Company’s works. The Vintage Fridge Company renovates pre-refrigeration ice boxes to modern standards. The ones on display at the Excel Centre over the course of the Series were imported from South America and refurbished in the UK.
The lighting at this year’s May Design Series was of particularly high standard, and Sharon Marston left almost everyone looking at her creations stunned. Marston was given one of the first lighting exhibitions at the Victoria & Albert (V&A) Museum, and her displays here show us why.
Clare Wright, founder of Zenith Art, works in a variety of mediums, including paint, Swarovski crystal, liquid glass and metal. Her 3D pieces are vibrant, colourful and full of energy.
Deirdre Dyson is another specialist rug- and carpet-maker, although her stand showed us that she has quite the eye for unusual shapes and the use of shadow. Her collection this year was based around seashore themes.
Wallpaper has seen a resurgence in recent years, and the Beasties’ nature & Robert Burns-inspired designs prove that plastering walls with paper is not as tacky or kitsch as many might think.
Of course, there were many useful talks and workshops at the May Design Series 2014, with both interior and exterior design getting a space to help others learn and explore more about the world of architecture and design (and the relationship between the two). Attendees were even treated to an in-depth look into Birmingham New Street Station’s structure. One thing is for sure: whether you are new or an old hand in the world of interior design (or even a hobbyist/enthusiast), the May Design Series is now a must-attend event.