HIX2023: Reflections! 3 is a magic number

Furniture Fusion take a look back on a truly memorable event and the people that made it great. Now back at work following HIX2023 in London’s Business Design Centre, Furniture Fusion have had a chance to reflect on the impressive project they delivered – something that they had been working on for several months, but that originated from the same event last year.

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Furniture Fusion take a look back on a truly memorable event and the people that made it great

As HIX2022 drew to a close, FF began thinking about how to approach the event in 2023. The show had been good, and they had exhibited new items including armchairs, dining chairs and some low stools. However, the team felt like they had not told a story, hadn’t given their furniture or indeed company a voice over the course of the two days. They packed up on the Friday and that was it – they were gone.

Their MD Sam Samuels was keen to extend the buzz of a show, pre- and post -event, and decided they’d do things differently for 2023.

At the time FF were in the middle of working on a large bespoke project and had spent almost every week over the past 5 months on Teams calls and site meetings, working with the designer on the details of everything that they would be installing. Looking back, Furniture Fusion felt it was a fantastic way to work. At each meeting they could feel things taking shape and coming to life from the original sketches months before. The team discussed where each piece would be positioned on site and met at the factory to test the strength and comfort of the items.

The creative and collaborative process that emerged highlighted that Furniture Fusion were producing something unique and reinforced that this was the way they loved to work. Sam reflected on all the designers he had worked with since joining the industry in 1996 and since founding Furniture Fusion in 2001. He was meeting creative people all day every day, people who had generally studied design or undertaken design training.  These were people who were passionate about wanting to create something from nothing, and as the years rolled by, he noticed that due to project limitations, designers were not designing perhaps as much as they would like to.

Furniture Fusion wanted to capture the essence of this project, showcase the experience, and talk about it some more. The UK has produced the most incredible artists, designers, musicians, and architects – being creative is something that we do well. The plan was to speak to 3 different design studios that were very different in size, from a large architectural practice working out of 5 cities to a boutique design studio, and an inspiring design team that fit perfectly in between. These design studios were then invited to design or curate a small area on the stand, representing a key space in a hotel.

The concepts could be as commercial or non-commercial as they liked. The aim was to shine a light on the collaborative process, sharing hints and glimpses behind the scenes in the build up to the show, before unveiling the products at HIX2023 and sharing images, interviews, and more details after the event. After running their ideas past their website design team, Furniture Fusion’s vision really started to take shape, built around the campaign concept of ‘3 is a magic number’.

Of course, when FF challenged the designers to create something special, this also challenged the team to realise their designs. Some concepts never made it off the sketch pad due to time and budgetary restraints. They had never worked on a project where there was no budget, and it was important that these items were created for prices that would work if they were produced commercially.

To their delight, Sam and his team were able to produce almost everything here in the UK – allowing them to stay close to the items as they’re being made, to ensure that the design translates successfully to a finished product and of course has a positive impact on the carbon footprint of the piece.

Each of the three studios opted to use some kind of sustainable or recyclable material, whether it be fabric, board made from agricultural waste or plastic made from industrial tubes and acoustic panel waste. At FF they understand and support the drive to use these innovative materials wherever possible, but sometimes project budgets just don’t allow for it.

3D Reid for Furniture Fusion at HIX 2023

As the team installed the stand on the day before the event, it became clear it was going to be something special. Each of the studios really thought about how their space could be used, and chose colours, fabrics and finishes that work perfectly against the backdrop of their plinth. They also looked great as a trio – each space with its own identity and style but complementing the others to create something really beautiful as a whole.

Bell & Swift for Furniture Fusion at HIX 2023

Without launching into an Oscars acceptance-style speech at this point, everyone at Furniture Fusion would like to say a big thank you to lots of people for their input into the project – the designers 3DReid, Bell & Swift and Studio du Feu, suppliers including Sunbury, Panaz, Gilly Nicolson, Counter Production, Dastardly Line, Forming Reality and Floor Story, and Graphical House for their campaign graphics, animation and website design.

Studio du Feu for Furniture Fusion at HIX 2023

There’s so much to be excited about in this industry and this project highlighted the depth of talent and creativity throughout the UK. It’s been a really rewarding experience for FF. They have loved the challenge of producing items from scratch and working so closely with the creative teams. Furniture Fusion hope that the campaign will encourage more designers to approach them with projects that require bespoke furniture, giving them further opportunity to curate, collaborate and create.

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About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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