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26 – 29 April, CTICC, Cape Town

A bedroom inspired by a bird’s first memory; a lounge-design with the mood of a ‘50s  detective novel; designer bookshelves promoting literacy and Man Caves cause célèbre. The imaginative concepts planned for Decorex Cape Town 2012 is why this décor and design exhibition is still leading-edge fourteen years later.

Plascon is the main sponsor and M-Net is the media partner of the four-day exhibition taking place from 26 to 29 April at the CTICC. Visitors will be impressed with the many curated trend installations, creative collaborations with a charity-angle and cutting-edge concept stands.

“This year we celebrate the design status of Cape Town and the extraordinary creative energy of our local talent,” says Cairey Baxter-Bruce, General Manager of Decorex SA.

The positive energy sparked by original thinking contributes to unique – and very real – show experiences. “In the era of the mass-produced, the digital and the virtual, real experiences are treasured,” says Baxter-Bruce. “The real thing is what we covet right now, explaining the return of old-school styles, craftsmanship and artisanal creation. Nature also continues to inspire a  ‘down-to-earth’ mindset.”

The mood of the moment inspired the 2012 show theme ‘Real’. According to Sian Steyn, marketing manager the focus on ‘getting real’ reflects the shift towards the original, the rare and the bespoke rather than being dictated to by short-lived fads.

“A ‘back-to-basics’ non-trend movement is fast gaining momentum, fuelled on by global natural disasters as well as political and economic uncertainties,” she says. This urges designers to apply their their imagination to age-old ways of doing things – creating unique solutions to 21st century realities,” she reckons.

Promising to leave his mark on this year’s event is Porky Hefer, one of the country’s most awarded creative people. Hefer will bring his lateral thinking to the Plascon Colour Forecast 2012 trend installation. He will also speak at Conversations on Architecture, the Caesarstone-sponsored seminar for architects and design professionals hosted on April 26th, the exhibition’s opening day.     

“We are delighted to have designers of Hefer’s stature at the show,” says Baxter-Bruce. “His creative collection Animal Farm trail-blazed, the co-lab concept and explored what can be achieved when people work together with a common goal. Visitors will also be thrilled by his concept-stand ‘Memories’, a palette from the Plascon 2012 Colour Forecast, depicting a bird’s memory of his first bedroom/nest.

Other collaborative Plascon 2012 Colour Forecast drawcards include a stand themed ‘Origins’ by furniture designer/cabinet-maker James Mudge. Here the artisanal buzz words will be about tenons, dovetails and half-laps, rather than the proverbial ‘new black’. Mudge, who grew up in his father’s woodworking studio, is known for his contemporary solid wood furniture and tree hugging tables made for La Motte’s restaurant. Eco-warrior Aidan Bennetts, known for his sophisticated green products, takes his design cue from 1950s detective novels to portray the darker, moody and mysterious colours in the Plascon palette.

At the Contemporary Country Fabric Trend Installation another collaboration expresses the yearning of urbanites to bring the rural spirit to their hard-edged city dwellings. Weaving together this fusion of country and city, Laurence Brick Creative Direction (LBCD) leaves no room for the beige and the bland. Curators Laurence Brick, Timna Russell, trends forecaster and product developer in the textiles and home décor industry, and Cathy O’Clery, expert on interior and contemporary design, put the real ‘platteland’ look in urban context with knitted upholstery, raw linen and natural wood.

“If this is your year of being the model consumer and a caring citizen – your timing is perfect”,   says Nika Smit, senior project manager of Decorex’s special projects.  Doing good through design is a way to give back and benefit charitable causes.  “We are especially excited about the charity-driven design projects involving our visitors as well.

A shining example of the trend towards do-good design is the M-Net Cares Café and Decorex Reading Corner at the show. Visitors are urged to bring their second hand children’s books and be part of this remarkable initiative. This partnership between M-Net Cares, Decorex Cape Town, Salvocorp (the official distributor of Staron by Samsung), as well as local designers and businesses support the M-Net Naledi Children’s Literacy Project, a programme that encourages a love of reading in primary school children. Aidan Bennetts, Katie Thompson of ReCreate, Joe Paine and Goet will design bespoke children’s bookshelves, using literacy as their cue.  The M-Net Cares Café will also be offering decor inspiration with its interior design tapping in on the typography trend. All the furniture, including a  curved counter, four bookshelves, letter bar stools, tables and chairs by Eclipse and Samsung televisions will be donated to a Naledi library supported by M-Net Cares.

Tying in trends, celebrity and charity, the Operation Man Cave design initiative cleverly combines do-good design with men’s fantasies of having their own metro-sexual or macho space. Four Cape-based personalities, each representing their charity of choice will team up with Cape-based designers to build their ultimate ‘Man Cave’.  Expect names like Bob Skinstad and his brother Dan, Aidan Bennets and soccer plater, Ryan Botha. Visitors can donate money to their favourite man cave and stand a chance to win big prizes by voting.  The star and designer duo with the highest amount raised wins bragging rights as well as an additional R10 000 towards their charity, courtesy of Decorex SA.

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