A Deep Dive on Design: What We Learned at Denfair 2016

We share our experiences and takeaways from Melbourne's premier design event.

Pioneering designs from around the world. Furniture to bring sophistication to any setting. Industry leaders from every discipline of aesthetics converging on Melbourne to share art, ideas and inspiration. We could only be talking about Denfair 2016.

Denfair 2016 - James Richardson Furniture

If you couldn’t make the event, don’t feel too bad. Our team spent the full three days showcasing our new range from Ton and Miniforms, and we’re going to fill you in on the entire experience. If you take one thing away from this writeup, it will be that Denfair is the destination for anyone with an eye for design.

Let’s dive in.

Day 1

We knew going into Denfair that drawing attention with so much around to catch the eye would be a tall order. From the moment we stepped foot inside the convention hall, it was obvious that was an understatement.

Denfair 2016 exhibition
Photo credit: Denfair

Luckily, we were ready.

In preparation for the event, we reached out to our good friend and industry giant Daniel Dalla Riva to spearhead the design of our display. What Daniel crafted was incredible.

James Richardson Denfair Display

Daniel’s design was our home away from home for the three days. It was a conversation piece, and it resonated exceptionally with the design-attentive Denfair attendees. But above all else, our display performed one vital role: setting the backdrop for the stars of the show, our new furniture offerings from Ton and Minforms. Visitors to our booth came for the unique display, and stayed for the inimitable furniture.

Our entire team were swept up in one fascinating conversation after another as people flowed through our display – there’s really nothing that compares to the enthusiasm and expertise of each and every person in attendance at Denfair.


To wind down after a whirlwind first day, our team attended the awards show that evening. Fittingly, the panel of judges were seated in a familiar favourite from our showrooms, the Nolita range from Pedrali.

Pedrali Chairs at Denfair 2016

There’s nothing we like better than seeing exceptional designs getting the recognition they deserve.

And of course, you can’t get the country’s best designers in one place without throwing a spectacular after party. We capped it all off relaxing for a few drinks with our friends and incredibly talented peers from Red Design Group.

Red Design Group with James Richardson Furniture Denfair 2016


Day 2


After a deep sleep for our entire team, we were up bright and early and ready to get back into it for day two. We brought our A-team along, including our regional managers from interstate – after all, innovation shouldn’t be restricted to one location.

James Richardson team at Denfair 2016

As we chatted more and more with both industry experts and commercial customers, there’s one theme that recurred throughout the second day: people are tired of a business feel in the commercial space. There’s one thing that all of the most innovative designs of 2016 have in common – they make you feel at home, no matter where you are. This take on commercial elegance was particularly strong among the home-grown designers, and there’s nothing better than seeing Australian designers leading the world on a new aesthetic trend.

Denfair 2016 day two

This “homey” trend in furniture design was the core takeaway we heard from most Denfair attendees. As a result, our new Leaf range from Ton caught a lot of eyes throughout day two from designers and decorators alike.

Day 3

There was a distinct atmosphere on day three as an energy built up that seemed to exceed the previous two days. Maybe because everyone could sense the end was near. In such a unique environment of like-minded people, nobody wanted that to happen.

The day started with a humbling nod from the event’s organisers, as they showcased our display in their promotions on Instagram. Again, a huge thanks to Daniel Dalla Riva for his hard work and creativity – we couldn’t be more proud to work with him.

With that shout-out setting the tone for the day, our team pulled out all the stops to give each and every person who stopped by our booth a memorable experience. We talked design. We talked European influences. We talked Australian innovation. We talked furniture.

Conversations at Denfair 2016

Day three was supposed to be about closing out a fantastic event, but the sentiment we heard most was how much anticipation was in the air for next year’s exhibition. Denfair is unmatched as Australia’s hub for design-focused thinking.

Have we managed to convey the exhilaration of Denfair? The creativity? The community? If we have, we know we’ll see you there in 2017. We’re looking forward to it.

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