By Emma Holmqvist Deacon

It’s hard to believe that London’s Retail Design Expo (9-10 March) has just closed the doors to only its second edition. Having doubled in size since last year’s inaugural event, it feels like a much more established affair. Some 250 exhibitors gathered in west London’s Olympia exhibition halls this time to showcase the latest innovations and inspirations across retail design, marketing, visual merchandising and shop-fitting. Serving as more than a tradeshow, an army of respected speakers had been brought in to share retail and branding insights as well as offering practical advice. Over 75 sessions were held over the two-day duration of the fair. Speakers included Kate Shepherd, director of strategy and insight at Checkland Kindleysides; Guy Smith, head of design at Arcadia; and James Barnett, Selfridges’s windows production manager.

Here, a handful of trends and product news:

Stylo
Stylo
Stylo’s escapist proposition

According to creative printing specialist Stylo, the ruling trends in its chosen field are funfairs, sea life and selfies. In line with this particular trio of influences, the UK company’s booth featured 3D versions of jellyfish, carousel ponies and a cartoon-y selfie display. Perhaps we’ll get to see similarly uplifting creations in the coming months within the store environments of Stylo’s clients, which currently include Muji, Jack Wills, LK Bennett, Harvey Nichols and Original Penguin.

Unibox's 25/25 unit
Unibox's 25/25 unit
Unibox’s latest launch – the 25/25 display unit

Manchester based retail display innovator Unibox has added a new product to its growing offer – a modular shelving system called 25/25. The neat unit is constructed using a 25mm box-section aluminium profile and an accompanying array of angled and perpendicular connectors. The system can be assembled to form various display variants, and there are different finishes and colors to choose from.


The Silk Forest
The Silk Forest
Back to nature with The Silk Forest

A touch of fairytale surrealism prevailed at bespoke greenery prop-maker The Silk Forest’s showcase, in which one wall had been smothered in real moss, green and pink of hue and still moist to the touch. Demonstrating the company’s artful ways with paper, the adjacent wall featured a vigorous growth of marshmallow-pink and white paper flowers. The Silk Forest, which is based in Leicestershire, counts Polo Ralph Lauren, Arcadia Group, Dorothy Perkins and Harrods to its roster of clients.

3D printing solutions take precedence at Noble Bespoke

3D printing is taking hold in retail. Retail packaging and display specialist Noble Bespoke presented examples of what can be achieved quickly with a 3D printer, such as a jewelry display tree with an intricate network of braches and twigs.

Flexi Bright – Invisua’s latest lighting innovation
Dutch lighting supplier Invisua’s latest innovation is a flexible system particularly suitable for window displays. Once fitted into their groves, the pliable LED tapes can be tuned remotely to emit different types of illumination.