Warsaw Home & Contract is a welcome opportunity for architects and interior designers to re-establish business relationships, establish new ones and discover the latest ideas generated by Poland’s burgeoning design community.
After the blow to business inflicted by the pandemic – and the kibosh lockdowns put on social interaction – it’s not surprising design professionals are eager to reconnect. In a post-Covid world, the value of trade fairs is more evident than ever. Fairs allow architects and interior designers to see new products in the flesh and industry professionals to reconnect with valued contacts, make new ones and strike business deals.
The fair’s theme this year – ‘Reunion’ – couldn’t be more apt. ‘Our reunion is a chance to build on lasting relationships based on a synergic exchange of ideas and experience’
A fair’s location is key to its success. Warsaw Home & Contract, held in the Polish city’s Ptak Warsaw Expo venue, is no exception. Design professionals from all over Western and Eastern Europe, and beyond, converge and network at this geographically convenient spot.
To put Warsaw Home & Contract’s commercial muscle into context, Warsaw is Central Europe’s number-one financial hub: its GDP in 2019 was estimated at €94bn ($105bn), making it one of the wealthiest regions in the EU.
What’s more, Poland’s strong furniture-manufacturing tradition makes Warsaw a natural choice to host a design event on this scale. Occupying more space this year – 145,000sq m – it is one of Europe’s biggest design fairs and the largest in Central Eastern Europe. This fifth edition of Warsaw Home & Contract will be held from 27 to 30 October. Five hundred exhibitors will participate and 30,000 visitors have signed up to attend so far.
The event traditionally brings together architects, interior designers, specialists in real estate, catering and hospitality and design enthusiasts from all walks of life. Ptak Warsaw Expo will present five themed shows, spotlighting new ideas in a wide range of product categories. These are Warsaw Home Furniture (furniture and design); Warsaw Home Textile; Warsaw Home Light; Warsaw Home Kitchen, and Warsaw Home Build (for exhibitors in the fields of construction, interior design and sanitaryware).
The pandemic put Warsaw Home & Contract temporarily on hold, but this year sees its much-anticipated return. Crucially, all steps have been taken to ensure the event is covid-secure, with new layouts, entrances and exits and an expanded car park.
Visitors can expect an enticing programme of additional events. One of these, the exhibition IDEAS, curated by Kasia Ptak, CEO of Warsaw Home & Contract and Warsaw Design Week, will showcase innovative concepts dreamt up by up-and-coming architects and designers. This also gives them the opportunity to forge business relationships and advance their careers.
Another event, the Poland Design Festival, promotes home-grown design, affords Polish designers global exposure and is a major draw for international architects and interior designers on the look-out for original products unique to the region.
That said, international brands will have a strong presence, too. In 2019, 30 per cent of exhibitors at Warsaw Home & Contract were foreign brands.
Those hungering for stimulating conversations about the state of design today can head to Design Forum – a programme of talks, lectures, presentations and workshops, whose speakers number journalists, architects and designers from all over the world. Marcus Fairs, founder of online magazine Dezeen, and designers Karim Rashid, Christophe Pillet, Stefan Diez and Richard Hutten are some of the panellists and speakers who took part in the last Warsaw Home & Contract edition in 2019.
The fair’s theme this year – ‘Reunion’ – couldn’t be more apt. ‘Our reunion is a chance to build on lasting relationships based on a synergic exchange of ideas and experience,’ says Marcin Szczelina, artistic director of Warsaw Home & Contract 2021. ‘It’s a return to conversations, questions and answers – to exchanging words and images, to communication based on a search for the best solutions. Having gained experience from recent events, we want to prove that, although time stood still for a while, it wasn’t wasted. We could reflect on the values we’ve lost and appreciate the power of interacting with other human beings.’
Indeed none of us can forget the limitations the pandemic placed on human contact when conducting business. Warsaw Home & Contract is a welcome opportunity for architects and interior designers to re-establish business relationships, establish new ones and discover the latest ideas generated by Poland’s burgeoning design community.