Roving reporter Denre Bruins writes: As a regular contributor to the Gifts & Greetings Review it might not come as a surprise that I was once again dispatched to the Netherlands to review showUP, the contemporary home and gift exhibition inspired by Dutch and Scandinavian design.
I was supposed to go for two days, but French air traffic control decided differently. My flight was cancelled and fortunately I managed to rebook for the Sunday evening. I was very happy I made it to the exhibition and could get in a full day there, even though two would have been better. Although the show keeps growing, showUP can still be fairly conveniently visited in a day, giving me enough time to look at the many beautiful products on display.
showUP always is a bit of a fun surprise; besides quality products you never know what to expect. This year we had a different entrance, slightly different layout, exotic food stalls scattered around the halls and much more to help make retailers and other buyers have an enjoyable visit to the show. Due to my shorter than expected visit, this time I was a man on a mission and was not going to be distracted from that. Since (plastic) waste is a constantly growing problem, I was looking for beautiful ‘GOSH’ products (Green, Organic, Sustainable or Handmade), of which there were many to find thanks to showUP exhibitor’s strong credentials in these areas.
With this in mind my first stop was the UPcycle // ZERO waste section and it came a bit as a surprise to me that the first exhibitor I spoke to happened to be a British reader of the Gifts & Greetings Review. It’s a small world, as they say! Matt from “Last Straw” was there to promote their reusable and portable telescopic straw with keychain case. Already for sale at some large retailers in the UK, he has now managed to impress the Dutch with this clever design. Another great initiative I found in this sector on the show is Zooi (Mess), a 100% Dutch home accessory brand, that makes beautiful candle holders, coasters, lamp shades and more from waste.
Recycling plastic has always been a bit of a grey area for me. I can’t help thinking that this gives plastics a second chance to end up in nature. However, Pou-Belle designs might just have persuaded me that upcycling plastic is a good thing. The Amsterdam based artist makes art and illustrations from plastic bags she finds on the street. After lots of experiments she discovered ironed plastic bags are a high-quality kind of material that you can even mix colours with up to a certain level. She doesn’t use any paint or pencils but only cuts and irons pieces of plastic.
Another exhibitor, Liv Interior, makes sustainable living joyful, offering contemporary products that are designed for modern living and crafted in traditional techniques to ensure the survival of the cultural heritage passed from one generation to the next. I loved their beautiful rugs made of recycled cotton and PET, and a range of home textiles made of organic cotton.
In the startUP section I was intrigued by the words “This is not just a belt”. To me it looked exactly like a really nice belt, so wondering what else it might be, I went over to find out. As it turns out, the belt is made of tanned vegetable Italian leather, without chromium. I learned that most leather is treated with chromium, which is extremely harmful to the environment, so that definitely ticket the ‘sustainable’ box that was central to my mission. La Boucle (the maker of the belt) also partner with the NGO WeForest, meaning that for every belt sold a tree is planted. The belts come in different colours and with seven years warranty, a nice gift for any (wo)man.
There were many other great products with a story and if you have not been before, I really recommend making time available to visit the next edition of showUP in February. Alternatively, you can always stay home and buy bulk from China!
To find out more about showUP visit https://showup.nl/en