As international bedroom event Bridge prepares to return for its second year, Cabinet Maker’s Leanne Kirtley got in touch with organisers Mark Tunstall and Maud Laine to find out more.
The UK is fortunate to be home to a great many well-established shows. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for more well-organised and thoughtfully curated events. This was proved to the UK bed industry last year when the first ever Bridge event took place in September 2015. It may have been a relatively compact show, with just five companies exhibiting including Dormeo Octaspring, with its revolutionary memory foam spring technology, and Belgian manufacturer Velda, but visitors were so encouraged by what they saw that there was never any doubt in anyone’s mind that Bridge would be returning in 2016.
Thanks to the efforts of its organising duo, made up of furniture designer Mark Tunstall and sales person Maud Laine, both with international experience as furniture show exhibitors and visitors, as well as 30 years’ experience, this year’s Bridge event looks set to build even higher on the foundations put down last year.
Mark tells us: “Our intentions are the same as last year – to offer buyers and ultimately consumers a wider choice including world class manufactures from across Europe, helping to stimulate a competitive and progressive furniture market. We are currently a small event but with serious ambition to develop with last year’s show being our first step forward.”
Four out of last year’s five exhibitors are scheduled to return to the show, including Kaydian and GCL Bedrooms, with one company only unable to return due to taking a break from show appearances in 2016.
Following the outcome of the EU Referendum in June, Maud and Mark were disappointed to learn that two international companies felt they had no choice but to cancel their appearances at Bridge. However, joining the four returning exhibitors at Bridge this year will be two new participants from mainland Europe; Spanish sofa business Mayor Tapizados and Italian mattress manufacturer Alessanderx Group, which includes the Magniflex and Relaxan brands.
Mayor Tapizados is a family run business based in Yecla, Murica, and plans to showcase its recently created sofa bed collection at the show, while Alessanderx Group currently exports to over 90 countries, boasting a billion customers. Both are sure to be valuable additions to the show’s format, offering visitors a chance to see product ranges they will not see at many other UK showcases.
Maud comments: “Mark and I are pleased to confirm that Alessanderx Group and Mayor Tapizados will be joining the exhibitors list. Allessanderx Group will be presenting its latest mattress innovation and who knows, we may get a visit from their ambassador Martin Castogiovanni, Italy rugby front row player.
“Meanwhile, Mayor has secured a 35m2 stand in the Glass room, which will feature a ‘shop display window’ mock up. Mayor is already present in the UK with sofas and therefore have all processes in place to secure a reliable and professional supply to the UK retailers, with their sofa bed collection.”
“I don’t think we can avoid talking about the result of the referendum, especially from our ‘international’ event viewpoint. We are confident however, that trade will settle down and that the UK, with a growing portfolio of exceptional furniture manufacturing companies, will further develop into a nation focused on good quality and design and we believe that awareness of, and competing with, the best in Europe is fundamental to this.”
Last year, when searching for an impressive and meaningful backdrop to such a curated event, Bridge organisers were able to secure a first choice location in the Ironbridge museum. The perfect setting for visitors to explore while learning about the latest innovations in the UK bedroom market, the Ironbridge museum will be opening three separate areas to accommodate this year’s Bridge event, including the Covered Bays Reception, Glass Rooms and The Engine Room.
As Maud tells us: “We believe the innovative venue and personal, intimate atmosphere of the show make for a successful but relaxing visit for the buyers. For our second edition, Mark and I are concentrating our efforts on giving Bridge and its exhibitors a wider exposure within social media for a few months already to promote each exhibitors’ products and company, and reminding everyone of the show of course. As well as ensuring the practicality of getting to the show and its warmth/personal approach surpass last year.
“We are delighted the exhibitors have decided to use Bridge as their launch platform for new ranges/product type, and bringing innovation to the UK market.”
When & Where
The show opening will take place from 3pm-7pm on Monday 19 September, and will be open from 9am-7pm on Tuesday 20 September and 9am-5pm on Wednesday 21 September. To register for free entry to the show, visit the event website. If travelling to the show by car, follow satnav directions to TF8 7DQ and follow the branded Bridge banners to the free event carpark.