showUP after Corona

Roving reporter Denre Bruins writes: After two years of absence from the show because of the Corona pandemic I was finally able to visit showUP again this September. This time the show took place in the Brabanthallen in Den Bosch. Considering how hot it can get at the “Expo Greater Amsterdam” in Vijfhuizen this by far was the best location for this time of year.

With daily flights from Edinburgh, London and Manchester to Eindhoven airport (from there it’s only a 45-minute bus ride), the show is well accessible from the UK and a must-visit event for British buyers.

A different location and therefore a different layout, but still nice quirky places to sit down and enjoy some food and drinks while soaking up the atmosphere and talk business. As in previous years I ran into “old friends” and made plenty of new ones.

Near to the entrance, a bit tucked away, was “STORE STORE”, a free After School Club open to young people (15+) in London and Rotterdam. Participants learn with practicing artists and designers to develop their own products, learn practical skills and build portfolios in art, design and architecture. Products designed and prototyped in the After School Club are sold with royalties going to the participants.

From this very worthy initiative I found myself brightened by the holy light at the “Dutch Nuns”; a funky designed out-door light shade that looks like a nun’s Cornette. The unique shape can be installed around a wooden pole in different ways and directions. Once attached, the light shade lights up your garden in a very playful way.

Bedazzled from all the beautiful objects I had seen, I decided to sit outside for a bit to enjoy the sun. Two Japanese guys came and sat next to me, each wearing a name tag with the word ZOO on it. Curious as I was, I decided to ask the guys what a Japanese ZOO was doing at showUP.

As it turned out, ZOO had something to do with their Polish business but one of the guys was the head-designer of Subu, a Japanese supplier of “Unexpected winter sandals”. Sandals that you can slip on and go out with, even during the cold months. Could this become the latest hype in shoe wear? It certainly feels comfy.

showUP is mainly known for its gifts and home interior design, but just at the right time I bumped into Johnny Cashew where I was treated to some lovely salty roasted cashew nuts. They had multiple flavours, but I preferred these. Whilst I was enjoying the lovely nuts, I had a short lecture on cashew nuts and why the average nut leaves such a high CO2 footprint.

At least 90% of the cashew nuts grown in Africa are shipped to India where they are peeled and from there shipped to Europe. This takes local jobs away and adds an extra 7.500 miles to their journey. Not to mention that up to 30% get broken and are thrown away. By keeping things local, Johnny Cashew created 600 jobs (75% women) and all nuts come from 500 fairtrade certified farmers in Tanzania. The broken nuts also go in the package, but I can assure you that those taste just as well, just like the giant cashew nut we found in our package.

Don’t believe my word for it, Lidl has also recognised the value in this great product and are selling it as part of their “way to go” range.

From Africa to Mexico where I found FE Quartz, who own a mine there and are the creators of what looks like a salt lamp, but in fact is a natural crystal selenite lamp. These handmade, functional lights with a timeless design show the beauty of the materials. The LED light inside is easy to replace and comes with a dimmer to adjust the light to your mood.  They come in three different sizes, but since these are handmade, they are all unique, even in weight.

Of course, there was a lot more to see and listen to. For example, the trend seminars and other speakers throughout the day. Once again it was a successful event and I look forward to the next showUP on 29-30 January 2023. The extra good news is that it doesn’t clash with Spring Fair this year, so book your tickets (and hotel?) early to showUP at the “Expo Greater Amsterdam”

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