ONE hundred and fifty dealers and a footfall of 8000-10,000: targets set for Antiques for Everyone’s inaugural event in London are ambitious.
AfE London: Art Antiques Interiors Fair, as it is officially known, is the new sister fair of the long-established triennial event held in Birmingham’s NEC. It was unveiled by organisers Clarion Events last September.
Previous AfE events have followed a familiar formula, including a price point advertised as spanning £20 to £50,000. But AfE London is going bigger right off the bat, featuring a nearly life-sized white porcelain statue of China’s Chairman Mao Tse- Tung for £500,000.
The statue, brought by Paul Harris Asian Arts, is one of only two ever made and is dated October 1967. It is at the top end of the price range at the fair, but its inclusion suggests that visitors can expect to see a wider range of ticket prices here than they would in Birmingham.
Running from January 13-15, the event is timed to fill a spot in the calendar left by the close of Birmingham’s National Fair, which was run by Clarion until 2012. It is not the first London event organised as a sister fair by Clarion, however: one ran in Earls Court.
The latest fair has taken a different approach to previous incarnations, setting up in ExCeL London in the hope of drawing in an untapped market made up of East London buyers.
This centre is in London Docklands and plays host to other events such as the London Boat Show and Grand Designs Live. “Taking place in East London’s largest exhibition space, the fair will offer the opportunity to reach a new audience,” says fair director Mary Claire Boyd.
Although at the time of going to press the total number of exhibitors is unconfirmed, numbers are expected to reach 120 by the time of opening.
Porcelain specialist Philip Carroll, a regular exhibitor at the fairs, called the launch “terrific news”, adding: “If this new venture is anywhere near as successful as AfE at the NEC it will give the business a huge boost.”
Familiar features include the two-section divide into room set displays and smaller stands. A panel of celebrity speakers is also lined up such as BBC Antiques Roadshow’s Judith Miller and Mark Hill as well as Susie Rumbold, president of the British Institute of Interior Design (BIID).
Exhibitors at the fair include Story Antique Clocks (Yorkshire), Modern and Contemporary specialist Granta Fine Art (Cambridge), 20th century furniture and decorative art specialist Ground One Six (London), the sewing tool specialist Thimble Society (Portobello Road) and Art Deco, furniture and sculpture specialist Jeroen Markies (East Sussex).