A recent media briefing of Decorex Cape Town, led by curator Bielle Bellingham, has unleashed many of the trends that will shape the spaces we occupy over 2023 and beyond – causing design students to sit up and take notice, writes Vanessa Rogers of TextBOX Conceptual. Info as supplied:

Those in the market for a design job will have had their inspiration cut out for them as they browsed the more than 250 exhibits and attended the stimulating talks endorsed by Decorex Africa. This, of course, is Africa’s leading decor and design platform – occupying the Cape Town International Convention Centre from June 22 to 25 and the Sandton Convention Centre from August 3 to 6 August this year [2023].

Nature shines through

One of the most uplifting things to emerge from this year’s Decorex Africa exhibitor team has been the way in which nature has shone through in both their use of colour, and their choice of texture. A case in point was certainly the stand of iconic magazine brand House & Leisure, with its soft golden lighting, touches of greenery, and colours, materials and shapes in a living-room setting that mimic the stones, shadows, and sense of calm you’d hope to find in the most soothing of gardens.

Ripple effect

The use of 3D technology assists architects in everything from visualisation, presentation and marketing, to planning, construction and client rapport. On stepping into the enclosed stand of leading architectural firm SAOTA, visitors encountered soft-flowing white material strips hanging from the ceiling to form a new-age photographic projector. Here, you could browse the magnificent buildings SAOTA has conceptualised – based in far-flung locations such Lagos, Los Angeles, St Tropez, Sydney, and Dubai – while each image was brought to life by air movement stirring the material.

Take a load off

When grabbing a little refreshment – say a coffee and bagel – nothing was considered more appealing then pulling up a chair at the funky Design Hatch stand. Here, an elegantly curved table and a host of colourful and cleverly constructed seating designs, invited you to get up close and personal with several of the exhibits. I found myself seated, rather comfortably I may add, on a wire box filled with the ends of sturdily curled up print magazines. On the wall, a collection of posters reminded passersby to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” – in a nod to the current trend towards refurbishing existing furnishings, before opting for something unnecessarily new.

Layer your lighting

Gone are the days of harsh industrial illumination in offices and homes, which contribute to the eyestrain of countless hours behind a screen. At the Eight Degrees South stand, you’ll have noticed the generous wicker shapes and staggered heights of the floor lamps and overhead hanging lampshades – all intended to create a warm summer glow for tired eyes, whilst making a typically African statement.  Rechargeable bulbs can, of course, be installed in each fitting to add a sustainable touch to these power-challenged times.

No stone unturned

Just one of many astute pointers shared by Bielle during the media briefing, was the importance of the room-sized stands. These allow visitors to imagine how a couch, Victorian bathtub, or even wall fitting could potentially occupy their own personal four walls at home. Better than the overwhelming size and plethora of options in a factory-level showroom, is the ability of this decor and design exhibition to encourage the neat selection of items; and for guests to interact with any kind of product – such as stone-clad surfaces of all kinds, flowing fabric textures, and the way a chair feels when you eventually sink into it.

So, as you return to your screens all buoyed up to apply for the latest in design jobs, we trust that the inspiration gleaned from Decorex Cape Town – from its natural take on life, its layered lighting, its textural elements, and its reminders to be sustainable, to its curves, arches, colour confidence, and statements in stone – will set you up for a more than rewarding career in the broader design niche.

Style trends: Plascon and Superbalist at Decorex Africa – Cape Town 2023 at the CTICC- Cape Town International Convention Centre. Supplied.
Energy and creativity: Hatching style at Decorex Africa 2023 – Cape Town at the CTICC – Cape Town International Convention Centre.

✳ Sponsored content. Images supplied.