“All good things must come to an end”, they say.

Decorex International 2013 is now over. The prestigious fair for luxury design was much-anticipated partly for its new location by Kensington Palace and the Orangery but also because each year the plethora of beautiful stands and new collections reach new, higher peaks of excellence and one wonders how they will be sustained or even surpassed the following year. But despite the challenges, the organisers and traders pulled it off.

It was after his visit on Sunday that A-Gent of Style decided to feature his highlights of the fair. Since it was an after-thought and his approach was not calculated, the best way to get started and edit some of the mighty sights was to check the photos taken on the day which had made an impact and somehow stirred emotions.
So what you are going to see here is a random mix of ‘new kids on the block’ and ‘old hands’ with new approaches as A-Gent of Style navigated his way through this Aladdin’s cave of Design. Needless to say that some of the products made it to A-Gent‘s Christmas gift list.

First and foremost, the eagerly awaited Feature Entrance by Kit Kemp did not disappoint and was a definite show highlight. The ravishing large ‘bedroom’ was everything you would expect from the Firmdale Hotels owner and designer: bright, colourful, bold, highly patterned and quirky with unusual artisanal and textural fabrics. All the elements that have made Kit Kemp’s successful signature style were present. A cheerful start.

Next door, Danish Tapet Café‘s beautifully serene and elegant stand was stylishly staged with all of their fabrics and wallpapers, some of which shaped as fabulous screens or giant fans and looked like a feature taken out of one of the leading design magazines. The Harlequin wallpaper even stretched from the top of one wall all the way down to covering the floor! Daring.

The World of Interiors‘s stand was too very eye-catching. A ravishing Pierre Frey wallpaper Alexandrie,a luxurious jungle evoking tropical islands with apricot and teal leaves in a misty grey background from a document dating back to Napoleon III, sat above a striking navy and white chevron wallpaper up to dado rail. The chic beechwood Temple House sofa  upholstered in a striking blue horsehair is by decorator Virginia White. Eclectic glamour at its best.

What fun to see not far from it the whole stand of House of Hackney transformed into some Madeleine Castaing-like Empire boudoir enveloped in both their idiosyncratic Palmeral fabric and wallpaper in Day Green or Midnight Green; nothing was spared: the walls, the sofa, the chairs, the cushions, the screens, the lampshades and even the outfits of the hostesses got the treatment. More is definitely more at House of Hackney.

To my great surprise, I bumped  into Regina Heinz by pure coincidence at her stand whose strikingly beautiful and original clay tiles I covered in a post a few weeks ago. The delightful ceramist told me that her husband had lately come across online an article about her work written by a ‘bloggist’. A-Gent of Style had to come clean. What were the odds! In-clay-dible!

I loved the colour scheme and Art-Deco feel of one of Balineum bathrooms’ that featured a smart marble pedestal washstand, dark green ceramic tiles up to dado rail  and a glorious gold leaves wallpaper with two-toned green creeping foliage above. This aperçu in a corner took me back somehow to the Art Deco bathroom  of a Central Park penthouse designed by Jed Johnson that I loved so much with its dark green Pewabic tiles.

I then went to the Press Lounge, an oasis of tranquility away from the effervescence, to drop my bags, catch up with my social media and recharge my batteries. As I walked in, I was pleasantly surprised to see the striking Constructivist wallpaper Mountains in Sunrise by MissPrint whose stand I had just visited after its geometric pattern stopped me in my tracks. What a statement!

Replenished, I proceeded and saw the House & Garden‘s stand, deliciously charming and calming; the off-white and blue wallpaper with birds perched on blossoming trees was enchanting and the striking, flower-shaped wall sconces in bronze, nickel and copper were an unexpected and judicious addition to the stand.

First on A-Gent‘s wish list was this elegant and sensual chair seen at the Nicholas Haslam stand. There isn’t a thing I didn’t like about it and I thought it ticked all the boxes: bleached oak, burnished, antiqued reddish-brown leather, brass nailing, bronze sabots (round at the front but square at the back) and sensuous curves around the lower back already make this creation a modern classic and the perfect addition to any study. WANT.

I wasn’t particularly looking for marble this time but as I walked past Romagno Marmi‘s stand, I spotted from the corner of my eye this stunning Missoni-looking sample inlaid with marble, onyx and quartz that I think would look incredible in a bathroom, perhaps simply on one focal wall or just encasing a shower room. It turned out this piece is called ‘Inlay Missoni’. Que bello!

I mentioned earlier ‘sensuous’ and ‘Art Deco’, two attributes that describe perfectly well Amy Somerville’s Talay three-seater sofa. Its tailoring is wonderful and its seductive and sophisticated silhouette memorable from every angle are very inviting. Another item to be added to my wish list.

Liz Downing of Blithfield fabrics had kept me wondering about the look of their stand for a few weeks and I didn’t quite know what to expect since most of their fabrics are feminine, floral and softly coloured but lately some of their designs have taken a different turn and are either geometric, bolder and more colourful. The outcome was staggeringly chic: the stand looked like un apartement designed by an ensemblier like Jacques Adnet in Paris circa 1940s or 1950s with high ceilings, valuable pieces of furniture, rugs and art. The tall wall panels upholstered in Saltaire linen fabric in taupe and grey hues were the show-stopper and had a great impact. Victoria Stainow‘s new pieces from her bespoke furniture and lighting collection inspired by mid-20th C French designs (as well as paintings by Michael Canney and Roy Turner Durrant, all in the same palette) blended extremely well with the rest and made this stand one of A-Gent‘s favourites. Ravissant!

I then found at the Craig Jenkins Designs stand the perfect companion for the chair I had previously seen at Nicholas Haslam which would sit perfectly well on a desk in a study: a slim table lamp with a ribbed sandstone base and a disc-shaped swivel top and stand in a rustic bronze finish. Another smart, modern, vintage-looking product. Another ‘WANT’!

I am glad I found the stamina to carry on to the two tents by the Orangery. There, at the very back of the second tent, I discovered the joyful and adorable wallpapers by Juliet Travers which depict wildlife animals such as zebras, flamingos, guinea fowls, leopards or antelopes in typical scenes. How unusual and refreshing!

Sharing the stand with friend Juliet Travers was another new comer, Alice Peto, an artist whose collection of ceramic homeware depicting flamingos, parakeets, penguins and guinea fowls in wondrous hues of pinks, greys, blues and greens is the perfect complement to Travers’s wildlife paper hangings. A marriage made in heaven. WANT again (I have my eyes on a green flamingo mug).

Galerie Smith by interior decorator Ian Smith was a complete surprise and a very pleasant one, I hasten to add. His impeccably chic stand was very eye-catching: not only does it sound French but it also looked like it had been taken straight out of Paris’s Carré Rive Gauche, the trendy area in St-Germain-des-Près regrouping esteemed antique dealers and art galleries. Ian’s own designs are mostly influenced by 20th C design and are beautifully crafted. The varied range of products (sofas, armchairs, sideboards, lamps, vases, mirrors etc) were brilliantly curated into a cohesive whole. Top marks.

This piece by French lighting designer Art et Floritude  gave me a few palpitations and reminded me I have always wanted to install a project with a similar piece. I am a stickler for structural room partitions in any shape, material or form and this creation would fit the bill. This lighting piece called ‘Galets’ (French for pebbles) is made of organic shapes constructed in metal and painted here in gold and white that glow elegantly and look like they are floating in the air. Fantastic.

From the distance, Julian Chichester‘s sideboard took my fancy primarily because of its unusual trapezium shape. When I looked closely, I realised that it was enveloped in vellum and that the front doors were bronzed. Their subtle and attractive fish-scale pattern is a very smart addition.

And last but not least, the pièce de résistance according to A-Gent of Style – self-proclaimed inveterate admirer of mid-20th C design: Bert Frank.
This ‘new kid on the block’ took my breath away despite being tucked away in the furthest spot possible. The serene and elegant white background was the perfect foil to display designer Robbie Llewellyn’s new lighting products. Influenced too by 20th C design, his handsome and masculine lights (pendants, wall lights, floor lamps and desk lamps) are thoroughly British with a modern twist and available in a choice of hand-finished honest materials such as chrome or brass that are built to last. A fantastic alliance of aesthetics and functionality.

This list is not exhaustive and there are many other stands and items that inspired A-Gent of Style or were engaging on one level or another. As London’s Design Week 2013 is drawing to a close, A-Gent feels exalted by the sheer brilliance of this year’s festivals, collection launches, seminars and inspiring exchange of ideas. Until the next time, there is PAD, A-Gent‘s all-time favourite design fair, to look forward to on Berkeley Square in October but before we know it, it will be time for Christmas – and A-Gent of Style already has an expanding Christmas gift list.


  • Your pick of the lights were my highlights too – the Bert Frank collection in particular. What is it about brass that is so solid, comforting and reassuring? Maybe the industrial association but it is also so elegant too. And I missed the Craig Jenkins lamp – another lovely classic/modern piece. Thanks for sharing!

    September 27, 2013
    • fabricebana

      Great minds think alike! There was so much to look at it was quite overwhelming and OTT too often. And so much contemporary products. Lapada today will be a completely different ballgame!! And PAD in a couple of weeks will be heaven on earth! Thx for your comments xFx

      September 29, 2013
  • You missed us!! What a pity… Did you see KOKET at the Orangery? It was our first time exhibiting at Decorex! have a look…

    October 1, 2013
    • fabricebana

      Sorry I missed you, there was so much to look at, quite overwhelming; Your website and blog look great. Out of interest, how did you come across my blog?

      October 1, 2013
      • I was looking for blog posts on Decorex London 2013 🙂 Just for market research purposes, to understand what the bloggers loved the most at this show.

        October 1, 2013
  • simone

    Fabrice it is always such a pleasure to follow your journey through Decorex, you definitely picked some of my favourites. Wasn’t it great to have colour back this year!!
    Simone x

    October 21, 2013
    • fabricebana

      Thank you so much Simone, that’s ever so kind of you. Great minds think alike. The UK need to embrace more colour and pattern as seen in so many US design mags. More is more!!!! Hopefully catch up soon? I hope you’ve had a bit of a rest after the madness of Decorex! Fabrice x

      October 21, 2013

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