Raj Nandan, Publisher and CEO of Indesign Media Group, talks about the birth, evolution and success of Saturday in Design.
5 September, 2012
The idea of taking a trade show out of the confines of an exhibition hall and into showrooms and venues across the city – which is the principle drive behind Saturday in Design – really began in New York about 30 years ago.
From New York, the concept has travelled around the globe in various formats. Raj Nandan, Publisher and CEO of Indesign Media Group notes, however, that “nothing was actually effectively orchestrated or produced”.
“Companies make significant investments in their showroom spaces and so in 2003, we decided that instead of them having to go to a trade hall and rebuild their entire culture and energy, that we would, through our resources as a media house, bring the audience – the architects, designers and design lovers – to them,” Nandan explains.
“The founding concept of Saturday in Design is to entertain somebody in your own house, with your own culture, on your own premises.
“It is far more enjoyable, realistic and cost effective and we’ve learned over the years that our audience of architects, designers and developers prefer to come and visit the brands to really learn more about their business in their own showrooms, in their own spaces, rather than go to a convention centre, where all of a brand’s personality or culture is wiped away.”
The proof is in the numbers. The first Saturday in Design, which launched in Sydney 10 years ago, received an enthusiastic response of some 3,000 targeted visitors. This was followed promptly one year on in Melbourne with a visitorship of 5,000. Today, each event averages 9,000 to 10,000 visitors in Australia and it has become a highly anticipated date to watch on both the local and international design calendar.
Last year, Indesign made its most significant move yet when it brought the concept of Saturday in Design to Singapore. Once again, success was proven in the numbers: the inaugural event in May 2011 attracted 31 exhibitors and close to 3,000 visitors.
The second edition of Saturday in Design Singapore will be held on 6 October 2012 and Nandan says he is anticipating an even stronger crowd. “The event is already recognised in Asia. We’re only in our second edition, but already we have overseas companies using Saturday in Design as a platform to launch in this region. We’ve also got the strength of our media here – Indesignlive.asia, Cubes, Indesign, Habitus and Habitusliving.com – and the support of industry partners including the DesignSingapore Council, the red dot design museum, the Singapore Institute of Architects, and the International Federation of Interior Architects/Designers.”
While the concept of the event centres on showrooms in and around the city, smaller companies and ones further away are also able to participate in curated boutique spaces. This year in Singapore, this will be the red dot design museum.
Importantly, Saturday In Design banks its success on its creative collaborations with exhibitors and the design community via tailored programmes such as The Project.
The Project not only activates the creativity of the big design firms, but also effectively engages and supports local design talent, which is a prime part of the content of Saturday in Design.
The event has also evolved in a span of 10 years, and it’s not just in the application of new technologies or the growing resources of Indesign’s digital, print and experiential marketing platforms.
Nandan explains: “People have learnt how to present themselves, their company and their products. It’s not about buses and flags and decals and bags. It’s about networking, socialising and exchanging ideas – it’s about interfacing.
What is worth noting, says Nandan, is that how people are representing their brands and their companies now compared to 10 years ago at the event is significantly different.
“Saturday in Design is an aggregation of the effort of many different people. It’s how they interpret themselves that has been the fundamental evolution.”
Even as the excitement surrounding the Singapore edition mounts, plans are already underway to bring the event to Hong Kong as part of the company’s growing expansion in Asia.
The second edition of Saturday in Design Singapore will be held on 6 October 2012.
For more information, regular event updates and to register, go to saturdayindesign.com.sg
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