20 April 2024, 09:01
By Furniture News Oct 14, 2016

Brussels to attract the international marketplace

This year’s edition of Brussels Furniture Fair will be held from 6-9th November at Brussels Expo, with more innovation and new features and exhibitors. Show director Lieven Van den Heede gives Furniture News a taster of the upcoming event ...

What can visitors expect from this year’s show?

First of all, we have a brand new concept for our Dutch hall, Holland à la Carte. It will be more open, very stylish and contemporary. Seven years after the start of this concept, we felt it was necessary to give it a thorough update. After all, Brussels is the professional fair for the Netherlands. 

Furthermore, like every year, the decoration of the fair is linked to the campaign image of the year. This year, every language we work with – English, French, Dutch and German – has its own image. Before the fair, you only see the image for your language, but at the fair they all come together. The segmentation is very clear and helps the visitor navigate the fair efficiently.

How will the show differ from last year’s?
The exhibitors will take centre stage. We always try to compose an offer that fits as many buyers as possible, which isn’t always easy when you cater for that many nationalities. But we have some very interesting new names, also for the UK.

Who is expected to attend?
Every year, we see the number of visitors from Belgium decrease, but the international visitors are growing rapidly. This evolution is normal – like everywhere, a lot of smaller shops have disappeared in Belgium, so we cannot expect more visitors. More than 60% of the visitors come from abroad, who are often from influential stores with a lot of buying power. For the exhibitors, this is very positive.

Who are some of your top exhibitors, and new names for this year?
In terms of exhibitors that could be interesting for UK buyers, I think of Egoitaliano, Max Divani, HTL, Himolla, Polipol, Recor and Rom for sofas. In furniture we have names like Nolte, Rauch, Wiemann, Richmond, MTE Theuns and Karel Mintjens. For the bedroom, the UK has some very important manufacturers, and the demands of the market are more specific. But one could take a look at exhibitors like Veldeman Bedding, the Revor Group, Serta or Napco Beds.

The most important new names are Calligaris, Willi Schillig, Nardi Interni, Orme, Skovby and Aleal. And of course Tetrad, from the UK.

Can you report on any rising trends?
We see an evolution towards more contemporary furniture, and also individual items rather than complete sets. That said, we still have a lot of exhibitors offering more classical furniture. The second trend is an important one for both manufacturers and buyers. Consumers want personalised interiors, and no longer accept the choices made by the manufacturers. They want to decide for themselves.

What is the goal for this year’s show?
To keep up with the visitor numbers from last year, which were around 20,000. And to present the best possible offer fit for the shops.

What is the show’s strategy moving forward?
We know most our exhibitors very well, and have a personal connection with them. We’re not an anonymous organisation selling square meters, but we have a constant dialogue. Through them, we know what happens in the sector and we will always try to create the show people expect from us. Basically, that means a cosy fair where business is done in a relaxed way.

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