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November has come and gone and with it the 61st remarkable edition of Italy’s internationally recognised hospitality exhibition, SIA Guest. Officially partnered with the Society of British Interior Design (SBID), the exhibition once again offered a hub for top-tier manufacturers, service providers and designers, both Italian and foreign, operating in the hospitality market.

SIA Guest, organized by Rimini Fiera S.P.A. at the Rimini Expo Centre fair ground in Italy, took place on 26-29 November 2011 and focused on business and excellence in innovation, attracting 600 exhibiting firms and more than 37,000 professional trade visitors from 30 different countries. A stand was provided for the Society in the TREND hall to promote its hard work towards better standards in the industry, and the benefits of membership for international manufacturers and designers. Fittingly, SIA Trend is a new hall in which a business area and cultural exhibition are combined, under the banner of experimentation for hotels and collective venues.

The Society took this opportunity to officially announce that it will be hosting the SBID International Design Awards wp-content/2012 at SIA Guest next year, with a focus on contract interior design. The competition will be open from December.

A hand-picked delegation of SBID’s top interior designers and architects was invited to attend the exhibition, meet the best international manufacturers on a one-to-one basis and participate in broader networking events, with a complementary 5-star hotel stay at i-Suite.

The British delegation was impressed by the unique mix of innovation and trends showcased: alongside the products of leading firms in the sectors of contract furnishings (china, glassware, silverware, table linens, bed linens), interdeco’ (fabrics, flooring, carpets and interior décor accessories), food service equipment, technology and illumination, safety, bathroom, wellness and fitness.

The 60,000m² of exhibit space offered a series of special displays, workshops, demos and conferences which completed the agenda. Exhibitors were given a chance to meet a qualified, select public thanks to b2b meetings and new formats that attracted buyers from major markets. The setting made for stimulating and fruitful encounters between supply and demand.

With a unique mix of innovation, trends, atmosphere, and conferences, the hospitality trade show is a not-to-be missed annual date for hospitality sector professionals – book early or become an SBID member to join the free annual delegation.

The Society of British Interior Design and the Building Research Establishment (BRE) announced the launch of the first stage of its Environmental Strategy that puts the green agenda at the heart of architecture and interior design at the recent Sustainability Conference held by the Society.

The new joint research project is the key element of the Environmental Strategy, and will provide the link between sustainable buildings and organisational and economic performance. The aim is to assess each aspect of ‘bottom line’ sustainability, where interior design provides value and long-term savings in building refurbishment or new-build fit-out.

Nicholas C Thompson, senior partner, Cole Thompson Anders architects, who chairs the Sustainability Sub-Committee for the Society of British Interior Design, said: “There’s little in the way of case study evidence specifically relating organisational performance to good sustainable design. During the research we’ll assess case studies from the Society’s members to see how the sustainability of interior design and fit-out in the UK can be improved.”

Vanessa Brady, Chairman of the Society of British Interior Design added: “However this isn’t just a knowledge-sharing exercise. We realise the opportunity to exemplify and promote the role of design professionals in sustainable regeneration helps the environment and sustain resources. There are clear value-driven benefits for all areas of bottom line sustainability: social well-being, environmental regulations and economic profitability.”

The research project, the first of its kind between the BRE and the interior design sector, was launched by Thompson at the Sustainability Conference, held at the Building Centre, London. The conference was attended by world leaders on sustainability, architecture and interior design – including the John Alker, Head of Advocacy, UK Green Building Council and Thomas Vecchione, Principal at Gensler NY.

Jon Mussett, Head of Building Design Consultancy, BRE, highlighted that the key objectives for this research are:

1. To improve the sustainability of interior architecture, design and fit-out
2. To lead by example
3. To create a universal toolkit or organisational performance matrix for professionals that can be used to assess the impact sustainable designs have on productivity, well being and economic behaviour, as well as building performance

The Society’s Environmental Strategy is based on ‘The Big Idea’ which was identified by Thompson in a collaborative project with Orion Innovations for the East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA). The second stage of this project is being taken forward by E C Harris and the BRE on behalf of the EDMA. This phase of the Environmental Strategy will be conducted over the next six months, with an ultimate aim to create a professional toolkit for the Society’s members.

Having worked with the rest of the team for one year researching the basis of The Society and what it will look like once fully formed, we have created, nurtured and developed a model that fits the threats and opportunities of both young and older designers, those existing and those still in training, those with and those without a degree (see www.thesocietyofbritishinteriordesign.org) in design to ensure this organisation is not simply ‘a club’ but a destination.  During the seed process the board members have grown into ‘a family’ motivating this not-for-profit entity to reach its goal.

The Freedom of Information  Act  

The Society of British Interior Design will disclose correspondence surrounding the application and incorporation of the Society. 

Transparency                                                                                                                                                                                                  Minutes of all Board Meetings are available to our Members on the website in the Members section.

At the final Board Meeting of the year last week the final phase of the planning and strategy was revealed and approved for the year ahead, the papers are now written, agreements in place, and we are now open for business.

Last night I attended the ISES Christmas Party (International Special Events Party) well it was innovative to say the least, I was handed oranges throughout the night from ladies dressed like Nell Gwynn (not being a person who really likes parties unless I’m organising them) I actually loved it. But tomorrow night’s event I am really looking forward to!

Arriving at SIA is in itself an experience; I travelled to it at 8.30am in a people carrier with the European Council of Hotel Management Association who were heading to SIA to firstly host their own Board Meeting before visiting the show. En-route we held an inspiring impromptu conference and we put Europe right, a creative group of real people, proactive and fun as well as the united European voice for hotel owners and managers. I found the conversation and vision spot-on they collectively understand exactly what a hotel must deliver to be a success. As designers we must consult and include that knowledge within our decision making process. As architects and designers we should reflect on the experience the consumer has throughout the entire process of the hotel experience. I mean right back to the beginning from making the reservation to leaving the hotel with our luggage after paying the bill. Much of what is involved throughout that entire experience is `feeling` it is the emotion not the function the consumer experiences which remains.

 I stayed at the Grand Hotel a magnificent celestial hotel of yesteryear, with everything that entails. The evening turndown service left a bookmark on my pillow, as a single occupant these little touches are an endorsement of the personal service, then I read the quote: “But where am I? I feel as if I am nowhere. If death is like this … this is not going to be nice. Everything gone, the people, the trees, the birds in the air, the wine, forget it” Fellini.  Well now am I very happy to sleep in this big empty room with that last thought in my head? Design of an interior is more than just the furniture, the budget and the cleanliness although they are what the consumer purchases with their left brain thinking, their right-side thinking will keep them returning for the `soft` non tangible items a skilled designer provides. 

 The show was packed with the good and the great from Europe, and the opening ceremony was the usual wonderful ceremony in a way that only Italy can present, Regalia, more military uniforms and colours than I knew existed, with various shaped hats and gold braiding to demonstrate rank and importance, this was further embellished with a chest of medals and ribbons glistening on the proud chests of every rank and file who waited patiently for the arrival of the Minister of Tourism to endorse the importance of this annual event. The exhibition hall was built in 2001 and designed by German architects GMP of Hamburg and it is the most spectacular architecture and design for a conference centre I have seen throughout Europe. I love this venue, it is also the most inspiring show full of amazing manufacturers from all over Italy and with the true flair and desire to create and design, it is in the bones of almost every Italian to be creative in the simple things, from the way they dress, to the way they interact as a family unit to the respect for their elders and the manners and dress of every citizen, I do love Italy, and the world loves Italy, the show was brimming with boutique hotel owners looking out for designers for their projects, manufacturers looking for designers to specify their new collections and the Managers of hotel chains looking for new trends and colour as well as keeping their eye on the general market. Vanessa Brady Chairman of The Society was invited ad the special guest of AIpi the Italian counterpart organisation of Italy, Carlo Beltramelli is the new Board Director of the European Council of Interior Architects, the collective Country members who reach the highest level of competence are strenuously scrutinised to ensure the quality and reputation of the organisation founded in 1962 is retained. The Society of British Interior Design was elected as a full member after a presentation given by the Chairman Vanessa Brady in Helsinki in September. Mr Beltramelli introduced Brady at the opening ceremony. The show will have approximately 40,000 visitors over four days and is spread throughout ten halls.

 The Society of British Interior Design took a small delegation from across the Country.

Simon Bell of Archial Group PLC an international architectural practice that  has 17 UK offices and 7 more worldwide. Simon a member of  The Society of British Interior Design and  is currently the lead architect working on the remodelling of Harrogate International Centre (HIC). This £45 million pound multi-phased project is due to start on site next year and the practice has developed the designs over the last 3 years. Simon said `What an impressive exhibition and what an impressive venue!  I will definitely return and I will inform our seventeen offices throughout the UK about it. I am grateful to The Society for inviting me to join its delegation.`

Johnny Grey a kitchen designer with studios in New York, San Francisco and the UK also attended and said `the exhibitors are friendly and displays sophisticated and stylish. I found more well designed and quality products here in my three day visit than I expected, I am really impressed, having joined The Society of British Interior Design I was invited to attend SIA, I had not heard of this show in Britain before, I cant believe its been going for 59 years, Ill definitely return`

Was this show a success in such a bad economic climate? I have to say this was the best trade show I have been too in years, Italy has many amazing shows and we will be collaborating with SIA throughout the year ahead to make next year in collaboration with the show organisers, project managers and their Press Office the most successful show of all time.

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