As trained designer, I have been to a lot of design shows in the past and even exhibited at some with my own design work.This evening I headed to the 10th Made Brighton show and it was the first time that I attended this event too.
Each year, before the event officially opens, there is a private viewing were you can get into the event early to get the best choice of things as well as enjoy a far less crowded event with the joys of free drinks. I still can’t believe it but the team behind Made Brighton gave me access to the Private Viewing event!
I have been to Brighton Corn Exchange before yet when I arrived there is still the buzz of excitement as you walk into an incredible Indian themed building. As I arrived the doors started to open so I was lucky that while there was a queue it moved really quickly.
It is a shame though that the initial feeling of excitement and buzz was stopped with a rather silly queuing system once inside – you had to walk in and if you tried to walk into the venue or to get into the queue of people waiting for drinks you were just directed away to a hidden queue. This was a bit weird and just caused more confusion than anything and minutes later was ignored by everyone. I think there was just basically someone trying from the Brighton Dome team that seemed to be on a power trip of wanting to direct people for the sake of making himself feel better than keep order. This was though I will mention the only small thing that was bad about the whole experience so you can imagine how the rest of the show was if it was just a moment of confusion that is by far the worst thing!
Now I don’t drink at events so I normally have very little choice when it comes to drinks. Most of the time it will be a range of alcohol and orange yet when I requested something non-alcoholic I was offered 4 different options – a first for me at events like this. While the complimentary drinks won’t be about the rest of the event, it was so great that they had clearly thought about everyone going. I must say that the feeling of strolling around stalls with a beautiful glass of juice still made me feel so wonderful and corks were constantly popping around the venue the rest of the evening – one even hit my friend at one point!
While I have been to the Corn Exchange for fairs and events before, I barely recognised it! You walked past a curtain and if it wasn’t for the beautiful and unique mirrored windows above I wouldn’t have realised where I was if blind folded into the venue. The whole place was stuffed to the brim with stalls that many vendors had to share to fit them all in.
I will admit that some of the things were out of my price range – I don’t have £1,900 to spend on a chandelier nor £1,800 on a piece of glass artwork but there were so many things at different prices that there really is something for everyone and an incredible experience as I swept through so many stalls finding more and more things that I wanted.
One of the biggest things that shocked me was just how incredible everything was – I have been to design shows before and none have ever had as many things, even in shows 4, 5 and 6 times as big, as this show did. The creativity of the designs that you were surrounded by is amazing; it is an environment that many young designers struggle to find and yet here was the perfect place.
This for me has definitely been the best fair that I have come across in Brighton in my 2 and a half years but is also high up on the design fairs that I have attended. I have been disappointed with other craft fairs in and around Brighton before – there were some good items but you’d have to search for them; at Made Brighton every stall was impressive and beautiful. Even after going around all the stalls twice, I struggled to find a stall that was rubbish, tacty or poorly designed; the team at Made Brighton have really been clever with their selection of exhibitors. It may have gone un-noticed to others but Made Brighton’s clever planning of which stalls went were meant that you never saw similar styles down the same aisle and this just added to the creativity that you felt as you walked through the venue. Even with lots of businesses there, you never felt like you saw something twice – every stall seemed to have its own take, style on even simple things like a scarfs played felt and looked drastically different from stall to stall. Based in the heart of Brighton for only the next three days, this is for me a must as you will find plenty of Christmas presents or inspiration.
All in all this was an incredible event and I really can’t wait until the next one now to see what incredible designers I will get to meet. This is not a craft fair – this is a design fair and so expect some of the best bespoke design work locally.
I loved this celebration of design and to be able to go on the Private Viewing event meant that it was just a limited number of people there. I was warned by many exhibitors there just how busy the weekend is so if you do plan to go, try to head there early or try to visit on Friday if you have the chance.
The Good: location, exhibitors, and layout
The Bad: queue system and possibly how crowded it might get
The Ugly: my bank balance…
Overall score: 5/5
Have you been to Made Brighton? Will you be going this weekend? What are you looking forward to see the most? What is your favourite design or craft fair?