Based on what we saw at the recent international Interior Design Show in Toronto, it’s fair to say that our forecast of 2022 work-from-home office furniture and décortrends published at the beginning of this year was pretty spot-on.
Consequently, not a lot that we observed during the show caught us off-guard. Well, OK, there was at least one thing that took us by surprise—and that was the sheer number of people who stopped by at the Phil Zen Design exhibit booth to try out the chairs we had on display and to ask questions.
Oh, wow, did they ask questions
I lost count of how many people I talked to during the show, but I do know that I was talking so much that it took me five hours to eat one small sandwich for lunch on opening day. Normally, a sandwich that size is gone in about five bites, so I must have averaged a bite an hour [as a dieting strategy, I’m sure there are better ways to lose weight!].
Active sitting was the topic I and my booth team provided the most education about during the show. I’m reasonably sure the booth placards we posted that read “Sitting Can be Healthy” had a hand in nudging interest in that direction.
The most frequently asked question we fielded throughout the four-day event was, “Is this [kneeling chair] comfortable?”
The most frequently expressed reaction of the people who asked the most frequently asked questions was, “OMG! Yes! It IS comfortable! Unbelievable!”
Our biggest attention-grabbers
During the show, we turned our booth spotlights on a variety of cool products for making work-at-home offices more comfortable, productive, and holistically balanced.
Based on visitor reactions, our two most-admired designs were the Ekstrem and Gravity Balans chairs. The Ekstrem manages to combine all of 2022’s trends. Its unique shape made guests eager to try it out—and once they did they couldn’t get over its surprising comfort and playful geometries.
Meanwhile, the Gravity Balans—with its functional and versatile design—stirred an incredible amount of curiosity as to what this chair has to offer. The reactions on the faces of those who sat down on it and then leaned back into zero gravity were absolutely priceless.
A real showstopper was the Varier brand with its focus on healthy active sitting. But also grabbing attention and captivating the crowds were the Salli saddle chairs, Direction Desk standing desks, and Shadelight’s smart lamp.
A fair share of attention went as well to Varier’s Variable Balans and Thatsit Balans. It appeared that—before taking either of these seats for a test drive—few of our guests knew chairs permitting them to sit in the kneeling position even existed.
The best compliment paid to our booth over and over was that it was the most engaging exhibit of the entire show—and not just because people could stop by, plunk themselves down into our chairs, and take a load off their feet for a while. They genuinely liked and were impressed by what we had going on.
From my exhibitor’s notepad
My overall impression of the Interior Design Show was that it was every bit as amazing an experience as it has always been—even after its two-year pause while the pandemic ran its course.
First, there was excitement aplenty as the doors reopened. You could almost feel the craving among the attendees to again roam the exhibit hall’s aisles. The eagerness to see all the exciting new products and to interact with the sales teams staffing each booth was powerful.
Second, with the end of lockdowns, people are ready for bold and surprising. They want organic shapes, playful, and comfortable. Where possible, they’re looking to the past, to the time before Covid and even long before that, for vintage styling.
And third, sustainable is no longer a buzz word. It’s an established reality that numerous brands have now fully embraced and grafted into their DNA
All in all, we had a blast at IDS. It was a great opportunity to connect with our customers and get to know many new ones.
We’re right now giving strong consideration to coming back again next year. Of course, if we do that, we’ve got to figure out how to create a booth that will surprise and engage our audience again, but in a new way to offer even greater value and more interactive experiences for everyone who stops by.If you’d like to see not only the products we exhibited at IDS but also everything else in the carefully curated Phil Zen Design catalog,please click here and enjoy!.