In-Person and Refreshing: Recapping the Fall 2020 HPMKT Experience
The High Point Fall 2020 Market was the first major interior design trade show to take place since the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world on its head. The High Point Markets are arguably the most important and influential events within the industry, and this year’s event, from Oct. 13-21 this year, was a primer on how similar events can pull off a large-scale, highly popular event with great success. As evidenced by the talent represented on the Design Manager panel, top interior designers did not shy away from Market, and all of the industry pros we had the pleasure to speak with thoroughly enjoyed the HPMKT experience.
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The High Point Market Authority made every effort to ensure the health and safety of participants, and to limit any potential scenarios where contagion could be a risk. As many of us have now become accustomed, any person who entered a building or shuttle provided by the event had to wear a mask for the duration of their time indoors. Capacity was limited to 50 percent, per North Carolina’s COVID-19 guidelines for public buildings. To take safety measures a step further, organizers extended the event from its typical five-day schedule to ten days, divided into three phases. Buyers and industry guests were assigned to one of two geographic regions based on where they are headquartered, and were scheduled as separate pods making social distancing a top priority.
“This year's Market was definitely very quiet – but our team was still able to get a lot accomplished. We were able to get in and out of showrooms efficiently, and it was refreshing to not feel rushed so that we could focus even more on all of the important details!”
Leighanne LaMarre of Leighanne LaMarre Interiors
Vendors encouraged visitors to make appointments to visit their showrooms, and many of them chose to make it their standard protocol.
“As designers we were appreciative of the effort and attention to detail that exhibitors put into safely showcasing and displaying their product lines in spite of lower attendance. The Market Association went above and beyond to keep everyone protected from COVID. As attendees, we never felt at risk.”
Marta Mitchell of Marta Michell Interior Design
Additionally, HPMKT staff were regularly screened for COVID symptoms, and rigorous cleaning was done periodically throughout each day.
Success Despite Limitations
The High Point Fall 2020 Market was a great success, as far as everyone we spoke to was concerned. It was particularly important for the industry in a year in which vendors have had close to zero opportunity to interact with their buyers face to face, or to get brand exposure and expand their client base. HPMKT was also crucial this year as the demand for home furnishings is at an all time high.
Neil MacKenzie, Director of Marketing at Universal Furniture (a High Point staple) reports that there was not only a strong showing of repeat vendors, but many new ones as well. The Universal Showroom saw 50-60 percent of its typical visitor volume. In the same article, Todd Nabors, Customer Relations Manager for Thayer Coggin, says they filled enough orders to work at full capacity at least through the end of the year.
Design Preview From the Industry’s Top Talent
We have previously shared our projections on how COVID-19 could impact interior design trends, and the HPMKT Fall 2020 was the industry’s first opportunity to see the actual shifts taking hold.
Some insights from industry veterans:
“I would say that the bohemian vibe is strong this year – casual, relaxed and cozy. Trends that I noticed include [area] rugs, I noticed that the "faded look" is in as is the return of deep jewel tones in fabrics for upholstery. Metal finishes are still hot. The gold has been toned down quite a bit. I love that it's not the harsh, brassy tone that we saw last year. In artwork, I saw a lot of Bauhaus designs as well as a lot of blush and petal pink tones. For pillows and throws... texture, texture, texture!
Angie Rockenbaugh of Interior Motives
Evidence that living by the 15 Free the Designer Keys unlocks creative potential, a topic she spoke on as a Design Manager’s HPMKT panelist:
"Things feel more like home and less like the perfect manicured museum that we sought out years ago in contemporary work. We are seeing more curves in the furniture across the board. Softer edges, volumes in furniture pieces and organic patterns and textures in textiles with warmer tones and less of the cooler greys. Of course, greenery is still really in. And we see planters and pedestals throughout the show where we can showcase special objects, collections or memories. Metal finishes don’t have to match and it's become an artform to balance the mixture of them; warm brass finishes, dark oiled bronze, chrome and less of the previously trendy rose gold."
Ivonne Ronderos of Dkor Interiors
The satisfaction of both vendors and buyers in their Fall Market experience bodes well for the return of Spring’s iteration of the paramount interior design trade show.
“Although Market was a little different this year, we were so grateful to be able to attend and meet with our vendors. High Point Market Authority did a fabulous job making the event safe, and the pace this year was actually welcoming. We were able to spend more time seeing product, having bigger conversations with our reps, and taking our time to be inspired. We will definitely be attending next Spring if it is possible.” Bria Hammel of Bria Hammel Interiors
High Point Market Spring 2021 is currently scheduled for April 17-21, assuming they will resume the typical five-day format. Registration for the event will open in January. Of course, the Design Manager team is planning to be there, so be sure to stop by to say hello! To watch the full panel discussion we hosted at the Fall’s HPMKT detailing 15 strategies to #FreetheDesigner, visit our Youtube channel, where you can find hundreds of videos about Design Manager and the industry at large.