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Nov 21, 2019

Spotlight: Meet Sian Cullingworth From Decorex Africa

Sian Cullingworth is no stranger to the world of design innovation. She currently manages the Lifestyle, Design and Retail exhibition portfolio at Reed Exhibitions South Africa including the renowned Decorex shows which happen in some of SA’s bustling cities each year. As the Portfolio Exhibition Director for Decorex, Sian shares a wealth of design expertise and we’re excited to hear what she has to say about the latest trends to keep a look out for in 2020.

We chatted to Sian about her involvement in Decorex and what exciting projects are lined up for the seasons ahead…

How would you describe your personal style?

When it comes to my home and personal taste – I love minimalistic but homely. Natural colour palettes mixed with white and beige with accents of soft colours. I am obsessed with proteas and they feature in small details all around my home. I always keep up to date with trends but feel it comes down to personal touch – choosing things you love that make your home, home.

What qualities define your brand and business?

We are people-focused, what makes our brands successful is the relationships we have with our clients and visitors. It is so important to listen to the industry and understand what clients want our of a marketing platform – we need to constantly evolve as the environment changes around us.

100% Lounge - Haldane Martin at 100% Design South African 2019

100% Lounge – Haldane Martin at 100% Design South African 2019

What sets your brand apart in the industry at the moment?

With a rich 27-year history, Decorex Africa still remains at the forefront of both local and international trends. Our Creative Director, Anita Bloom, compiles and presents the Creative Strategy and Trend Report setting up our vision for the up-and-coming year. It dictates the theme, colour trends, design trends as well as the curated feature areas that will be showcased at all 3 exhibitions within the year. Our exhibitors are also handpicked to ensure we display only the finest emerging and established brands. We also have a dedicated trade programme that includes trade-focussed days which encourages exhibitors to network and establish business relations with the continent’s top buyers.

What is the most recent purchase you’ve made for your home?

We have just refurnished our living area – I love our couches I purchased from Coricraft about 5 years ago and decided to reupholster them, I chose a beautiful charcoal grey fabric from Hertex and lighter grey scatters. We then chose a Chenille Paintbrush Rug from Mr Price with accents of grey and charcoal to tie the room together.

What one design element, trend or furniture item can you not live without?

I would definitely say my indoor plants – they add that element of nature indoors and have come with so many benefits! Both the fiddle-leaf fig and large-leafed delicious monster plants have been at the forefront of indoor plant trends taking the interior world by storm over the past few years and now we moving into 2020 with some new gorgeous plants in the spotlight such as the olive tree, banana trees, long-leaf fig as well as cacti and succulents.

Stephen Falcke at Decorex JHB 2019

What design influence has had the greatest influence on your work and business?

Stephen Falcke hands down. He has not only been a patron of Decorex Africa for 26 years but is also a world-renowned interior designer – and continues to leave in awe with many of creations, which is not an easy feat. His creations are as bold and interesting as his personality and has spent a lifetime creating some truly incredible spaces. As a brand, we strive to deliver inspiration to our visitors by creating spaces and installations that our visitors can immerse themselves in.

What has been one of the most challenging projects you have worked on?

I think it’s the current change in Decorex Africa & 100% Design. We have relaunched the Decorex Brand and have gone back to basics to ensure we deliver quality and the very best in Design South Africa has to offer. We have also moved 100% Design into the main hall at Gallagher Estate and have introduced new sectors – with this comes it’s own challenges to ensure that new clients maintain the high design quality and aesthetic of the show. It is very exciting and we believe it is the best move for the portfolio – however, we need to ensure we deliver on our values!

Contemporay Organic – One One Design at Decorex

How would you describe the design industry in South Africa at present?

I believe 2020 will be the year of the decorative explosion in the design sector. After years of enjoying styles such as the industrial and Nordic/Scandinavian way of life, the time has come to unite these tending styles within a space to achieve an eclectic designs full of personality. We no longer have to choose one style we love – the different design styles can coexist in a single space or can be used in different rooms creating multiple environments.

What trends do you think we should keep an eye on in upcoming seasons?

The New Nordic, Design New Nordic departs from Scandinavian minimalism, with its stark black-and-white interiors that represent order and harmony, and embraces a cosier, more nuanced aesthetic. Clean, pared-down features still prevail, but look for softer tones, tactile surfaces, natural materials and textured rugs and fabrics; and Contemporary Organic which is more nature-focused, with a luxurious twist. We’re moving away from sleek materials and sharp architectural lines as ultra-modern design adopts softer, more texturally rich touches: furniture with sensual forms, timber with an irregular grain. The effect is relaxing and grounding – a counterpoint to the highly charged, technology-driven world we live in.

Task Interiors at Decorex JHB

What exciting projects do you have planned within the next year?

We are launching the Design Experience Live Conference which will address the changes that are disrupting the business world in the design industry. We will be inviting some of the best minds to give their views on what is needed in this changing landscape. In 2020 we will see some favourite installations likes the Mobelli Furniture + Living Trend House – Urban Living by Design. This popular installation will take visitors, room by room, through an on-trend urban home setting that subtly reflects the show’s theme, ‘Lifestyle by Design’.

Stephen Falcke at Decorex JHB 2019

Decorex Creative Director, Anita Bloom, will work with Mobelli to create a captivating home space that reflects the Durban lifestyle it will also see the introduction of two exciting new features namely: Insta-Interiors and the 2020 Trend Installation. Insta-Interiors an exciting new feature will be a decorative explosion for visitors to immerse themselves into one of the 2020 décor trends hitting the Africa shores. Picture a room setting showcasing the New Nordic, Afro/ Tribal Meets European Mix, Modern Chinoiserieor, Contemporary Organic or the Neon Trend. The 2020 Trend Installation will highlight Anita Blooms top 10 trends in situ. Visitors will be able to conceptualize and identify the various trends as they peruse through the aisle’s ad take in all the show has to offer.

Mobelli at Decorex JHB 2019

Diarise those dates now!

· Decorex Durban 2020, from 19-22 March 2020 at Durban Exhibition Centre

· Decorex Cape Town 2020 from 30 April to 3 May 2020 at Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC)

· Decorex Joburg 2020, from 6-10 August 2020 at Gallagher Convention Centre

Xperience luXury at Decorex JHB 2019

For more visit Decorex Africa.


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