May Design Series: Smoke circles

10 Jun, 15

Editor Philippa Turrell says despite better kbb representation MDS needs to move forward

Returning with a new look, this year, the May Design Series saw the installation of an illuminated tunnel – which is clearly de rigeur for a London interiors show, nowadays. But gone was the colourful, exhibition identifying markers and defining spaces of its previous two events (certainly in the bathroom and kitchen sector of the exhibition, anyway). Instead the kitchens and bathrooms element of the show saw a return to a more orderly (dare I say more kbb-like?) appearance, but happily far more populated floorplan. In fact, the kitchen and bathroom sector saw double the amount of brands exhibiting, as opposed to 2104. The bathroom and kitchen sector may possibly have been in a smaller space, as opposed to last year when the entire show was thinly spread across North and South halls, but regardless, there seemed to be more to see.

Our verdict last year, was in a bid to fill the voluminous halls, the show lost out on some of its curation and it answered our call for an improved edit. There were some great product launches from the likes of Samsung with its Chef’s Collection of appliances, BCT tieing up with Ted Baker for ceramic tiles and Virtual World’s introducing walk-through software, which only a few year’s ago you would expect to see only on The Gadget Show.

But and it’s a big but…The May Design Series still makes itself difficult to like for the bathroom and kitchen industry. Although the general consensus seems to be that it was an improvement on last year, (to be honest it would have struggled not to have been), there were still shrugs from some exhibitors and visitors about a lack of footfall throughout the bathroom and kitchen hall. However, that’s not to say disappointment reigned throughout, as the likes of Roman and British Ceramic Tile reported a good level of interest in their products. In fact, it can probably be summed up best by group managing director of Pura Bathrooms Group, a debutante at the show: “Although visitor footfall was lower than we anticipated, we secured a number of significant leads and opportunities we would have otherwise missed had we not been there.”

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To be fair to the May Design Series, it isn’t a bathroom and kitchen show, it is an interiors show and comparing it to the likes of kbbBirmingham is similar to comparing apples and oranges. But this event genuinely seems to be the Marmite of the bathroom and kitchen show calendar. Its recipe just doesn’t yet seem to be to everyone’s liking. Last year the verdict was the show was still finding its feet and identity, and this year it could be argued that it lacks a little of its own, individual flavour. Or could it simply be all just a matter of taste?

For more on the show see the June issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.