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Focus Doubles Its Size in '99

December 31, 1999

London — In only its second year, Focus, held in London from 23-26 September, doubled in size, and established itself as the U.K.'s leading exhibition for the top end of the interior design industry. The international exhibition was conceived as an opportunity for companies based in the Chelsea Harbour Design Centre in London to launch their autumn and winter collections to the trade from the their showrooms. This year, however, the 70 Chelsea-based exhibitors were joined by another 50 companies who exhibited in the Focus Pavilion+ situated in front of the Design Centre. The show drew interior designers, architects and specifiers as well as the general public. But while the number of exhibitors increased, attendance was down from 12,000 visitors a year to 10,000 this year. The reason for this, according to Focus organizers, is that last year the show was six days and this year, only four. In that regard, show officials claimed an increase in attendance by 25 percent a day. By most accounts, exhibitors seemed pleased with the show. "In many respects," said Isle Mill Sales Manager Ross Dempster, "Focus is an unusual and different show, very theatrical. And the latest expansion has made it the No. 1 event. "As we do not have a London showroom, shows like Focus give us more exposure locally as well as attracting interest from overseas. We had visitors this week from the rest of Europe, countries such as Germany, Norway, Sweden and Spain, as well as from the U.S.A," said Dempster. There were some complaints about the show, including its lack of good public transport and the timing of the exhibition, which was held from Thursday to Sunday. Philip Edwards, Managing Director of Academy Fabrics led calls for the four-day show to be held from Sunday to Wednesday, with Sunday being the public day. "This is the first time we have ever had to exhibit at a trade fair on a Saturday. This is an unwelcome European influence," he said. Next year Chelsea Harbour exhibitors and visitors can expect more bang for their trade-show buck as Focus will coincide with the long-running trade show, Decorex.

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