As well as a wealth of exhibitors and attractive displays, this year’s Interiors UK benefited from a number of special features designed to add value to the visitor experience and attract a wider buyer demographic.

Nina Campbell, one of the world's most respected and influential interior designers, dressed the show entrances, as well as her own ‘house’ and ‘shop’ in Hall 3. Each space was carefully styled to adopt key aspects of the show’s theme for this year – modern retailing – interpreting them with a vintage twist. Aiding Nina was leading stylist Diana Civil, who created the entrances last year.

Designersblock returned, to present new products from some of the world’s emerging design talent within its own department store installation, complete with its own entrance with shop windows, and an in-store cafe.

The New Design Britain Awards, one of the most important competitions in the UK for young design talent, went to the following innovators: Christiana Ionescu for her Vanity Table; Helen Dugdale for Paper Knotwood; Daniel Schofield in the furniture category, for Shifty; Sian O’Doherty for Perceived perceptions; and Cristiana Ionescu again, for The Three Bears.

Designers Shaun Clarkson and Paul Brewster, inspired by their eclectic emporium based in London’s Shoreditch, created a Pitfield-style pop-up shop in Hall 4, which consisted of a unique shop, cafe and exhibition. Another highlight was the Out of the Dark stand. This pioneering charity and social enterprise trains, educates and employs young people by taking old furniture and teaching them how to recycle, restore and revamp it.

In collaboration with leading industry figures, the seminar programme covered issues in retail, design, trends, lighting, sustainability and technology. Speakers such as Nina Campbell, and Ryan Ross and Sarah Shepherd from Stylus proved popular – as did regular Furniture News contributor Hannah Malein.

The Contract Trail began at the Contract Lounge in Hall 1, which was designed by award-winning hospitality designer Matt Rawlinson, founder of Raw Design, and featured a Contract Showcase featuring a hand-picked collection of the pre-qualified contract products available at the show. From here, the trail helped contract buyers find high volume products as well as bespoke pieces.

The Fabric Pavilion in Hall 1, created by designer-turned-retailer Shaun Clarkson, again offered a beautiful, tactile environment that put exquisite, innovative and inspirational fabrics to the fore. Visitors browsed a library of fabric books, and relaxed in the Champagne Bar at the heart of the pavilion.

This year, Interiors UK teamed up with Birmingham City University (BCU), Global Color Research and digital wallcovering brand Tektura, and invited innovative students from the Birmingham Institute of Art & Design to explore 2013/14 trend predictions from Mix Publications.? The partnership – now in its sixth year – has resulted in over 500 students engaging with interiors industry experts.

Working closely with business support specialist Interiors & Lifestyle Futures, BCU collaborated with regionally-based designers and manufacturers to develop a range of thought-provoking outcomes for each trend which used the students’ work to demonstrate how trends can be applied – from original design thinking through to the end product.

Next year’s event will take place between 19th-22nd January.