Not the Ideal Home Show

At last - an exhibition for people who are interested in design, not DIY. James Sherwood gets excited at the prospect of `Mode'

In theory interior design is the new religion. Magazines are full of it. TV is saturated with home makeover programmes. Our gods are Handy Andy and Carol Smilie. We are indoctrinated into the cult of MDF, rag- rolling and "creative" tiling.

In reality, of course, all we are being introduced to is lowest common denominator design and nothing epitomises this more than the Ideal Home Exhibition, visited by the huddled masses of Daily Mail readers keen to do it themselves. Disciples of interior design are ill-served by this attempt by the industry to meet and greet its public.

But that's all about to change. Next month's "Mode: The Contemporary Home Show" is a showcase of young contemporary design and it's what every style-conscious young homeowner has been waiting for. It is the brainchild of Islington Business Design Centre exhibition director Dianne Willcocks. "Interior design is basically stuff that makes your life better," says Willcocks. "There is no platform for our young designers and there is no bridge for them to reach out to the consumers. Mode hopes to fill that gap."

The organisers are concentrating on specialists as opposed to design juggernauts like Ikea and MFI. It will cover all bases - from bespoke hand-crafted furniture to flooring - but the aim will be to persuade people to be selective. "People are more aware of their interiors," says Willcocks. "They want solutions. But Mode isn't going to hand it to them on a plate with room sets. We are individuals. We have individual taste. We won't be giving them a fait accompli. Mode is more about introducing new ideas."

The Mode directors rigorously edited down the pick of design school graduates to exhibit alongside established names like SKK lighting, The Design Workshop and Goldfinger Furniture. Furniture designer Ben Barnard graduated in 1998 and is one of the chosen few young designers. "This is the first showcase of its kind," says Barnard. "I have invested a lot of time and money in my stand because Mode is specifically for my end of the market: bespoke one-off pieces. It is a lifeline to the public and they are ultimately the people we want to look at our work. A lot of people are unaware of bespoke."

Mode has taken the idea of a design showcase further with the Architecture Lounge, an area in which leading architects will gather to give on-the- spot consultations. "We want to encourage people to discuss domestic projects with an architect and see that it isn't necessarily wildly expensive or ambitious," says Willcocks. "There are endless possibilities."

Toni Rodgers, editor of Elle Decoration, was invited to put together the Elle Decoration Trend Gallery. The space, designed by Fusion Glass, is a collection of new products and concepts in interior design edited by Rodgers. She has identified "tailored hedonism" as a key interiors trend. "As the nation becomes cash-rich and time-poor, home life becomes a comfort pit," says Rodgers. This is a theme underlining Mode: a yearning for something unique. It is also full-on modern - there is nothing retrospective or nostalgic about the work on show.

"I think Mode has been clever in acknowledging a national shift in interiors and we're not going to see a U-turn on that interest," says Rodgers. "It will only get stronger."

Diana Vreeland, doyenne US Vogue editor, used to tell her fashion stylists, "Give them what they never knew they wanted." This could be the unofficial mission statement of Mode. Though Dianne Willcocks will demur from saying Mode is an exercise in educating public taste, there is an element of informing us about contemporary design. Nought-To-Now is a visual biography of Britain's interior design gurus Ron Arad, Nigel Coates, Dan Pearson and Michael Marriott. Curated by Lynda Relph Knight, editor of Design Week, the exhibition is a collection of key pieces, works-in-progress, note books and inspirational objects charting the creative process behind each designer's work. "Nought-to-Now is a way of making the designers accessible," says Willcocks. "We don't want to demystify them but we do want people to see the thought process behind iconic Nineties design."

The cynical will say that Mode has found its perfect home among the aspirational, design-hungry citizens of London's Islington. But it's going to attract a much broader audience, drawn from the new generation of design-wise urbanites who would never go to the Ideal Home Exhibition.

Mode may champion elite modern design but the bottom line for all exhibitors is accessibility. Every item on show must be available to buy. There is nothing more frustrating than admiring a prototype piece of furniture and then being told it is not viable for the designer to produce the piece. "Everything must be available for purchase," says Dianne Willcocks. "You have to be able to have it" - and you couldn't choose a better catch-phrase for Nineties consumers than that.

"Mode: The Contemporary Home Show" takes place at the Business Design Centre, Islington, London N1 between 3-6 June. Opening hours are 10am- 6pm, 10am-5pm on Sunday. Admission: pounds 10. Telephone booking: 0121 767 4595.

Clockwise from top left:

Pods, pounds 125, by the Unnatural Light Co (tel: 0171 928 8488).

Fintan Gallagher was deputy head of lighting at the Royal Opera House: his partner Dominique Fuglistaller is a sculptor. Together, they design installation-style lighting "with the emphasis on colour and movement," explains Gallagher. The pair specialises in site-specific installation pieces and commissions.

Illuminated woven wire panels, pounds 290 per sq m, by Oyl (tel: 01363 83792).

Oyl is a collaboration between Royal College of Art-trained Neil Musson and Lois Mutton. They specialise in woven wire panels for interiors incorporating low voltage light diodes. "We're coming from a more sculptural discipline than strict interior design," says Musson. For Mode, OYL is introducing painted oil- cloth canvas floor coverings, "working on the principle of displaying art on the floor as opposed to your walls".

Scent screen barrier, pounds 1,200, by Joe Design (tel: 0171 732 8190).

Key notes from Joe Design include organic forms combining diverse materials like powder-coated steel and wood. Julian Orlando Escott, the man behind the company, is showing at Mode with rug designer Lorraine Stathams Loop House.

Japanese-inspired coffee table, pounds 1,600, made to order by Fusion Glass (tel: 0171 738 5888).

Fusion specialises in architectural glass design and bespoke glass furniture for private commissions. For Mode, the company is designing the Elle Decoration Trend Gallery.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

    Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

    Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

    £96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

    Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

    £32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

    Day In a Page

    Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

    Isis hostage crisis

    The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
    Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

    The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

    Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

    Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
    Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

    Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

    This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
    Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

    Cabbage is king again

    Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
    11 best winter skin treats

    Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

    Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
    Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

    Paul Scholes column

    The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
    Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

    Frank Warren's Ringside

    No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
    Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

    The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

    Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

    Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
    Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
    Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

    Comedians share stories of depression

    The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
    Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

    Has The Archers lost the plot?

    A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
    English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

    14 office buildings added to protected lists

    Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

    Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee