showUP for a reason

Roving reporter Denre Bruins writes: Once again I was the lucky person to be dispatched to the Netherlands to review showUP, the contemporary home and gift exhibition inspired by Dutch and Scandinavian design.

I’ve been going to showUP now for several years and am pleased to say it’s a very new experience every time. The organisers try to surprise you with slightly different layouts, freshly designed, pleasant sitting areas and contemporary works of art on display around the show. To me it doesn’t feel like work but a nice day out, a feeling shared with many of the visitors I spoke to.

Like every edition I look for GOSH gifts (green, organic, sustainable and/or handmade) and sometimes remarkable items which are out of the ordinary. For example, what do you get when you take a student, 2 cans of beer and a remote control? The guys from Pockies came up with the answer: You get the invention of the first boxer shorts with pockets. Where else do you leave the remote control when your hands are full?

While I was still in the party mood (but you’ll be glad to know not walking around in my boxers), I couldn’t help myself running in to Ida van Esch, the CEO of Candy Converters, which makes biodegradable confetti. The confetti is made from potato starch and slightly sweetened with sucralose, meaning you can even eat it (it’s gluten free and suitable for vegetarians). The price is very competitive and it’s much better for the environment than your usual confetti.

Just like the dreaded plastic straws, a recurring issue for which I have seen many solutions, but none as good as Joe’s Heroes, which are 100% biodegradable and environmentally friendly drinking straws. Made of bamboo, wheat and sugarcane, these are a great alternative to the plastified (paper) straws.

A company that I’ve been fan of for years is Studio ROOF so I was glad to revisit them at showUP, the only event where I personally get to see them exhibiting. All creations are exclusively made from recycled materials and printed with natural inks that cause minimal or no harm to the environment. New this year from them are masks, the perfect accessory if you’re into cool and artistic things that are a bit different.

Also different are the fabulous slippers from Give a Pom, which are inspired by the tsarouchi, typically known nowadays as part of the traditional uniform worn by the Evzones of the Greek Presidential Guard. I know for a fact my girlfriend has her beady eye on these! However, if you are more into modern and minimalistic style, the handbags and accessories from Austrian designer, Papier Langackerhäusl, will be right up your street. All the stylish-looking items are made from flexible, sewable, concrete-fortified paper, created by Daniel Hrach.

Going forward in my search of GOSH gifts, I ran in to Foekje Fleur. A gift company called GoodtoGive gave her the opportunity to work on Bubble Buddy; a project that does not just recycle plastic waste, but also prevents future waste. Bubble Buddy is a tool that promotes the use of bar soap. It can be used as a soap dish that dries a bar of soap quickly but also has a very cool grating shield. The grating shield can be used to make soap flakes that easily dissolve in soap suds for all kinds of cleaning and grooming purposes. No need for plastic soap bottles any longer.

However, if you do have some plastic bottles left over, Kind Bag, a start-up from London turns them in to super-cool, eco-friendly shopping bags. Each bag weights 50 gr, holds up to 20kg and is made out of six plastic bottles. Kind Bag is looking to recycle over 2 million bottles in its first year of trading.

The Store was a bit harder to find this year and well hidden behind a “forest” of bamboo. This year’s theme was “our garden”, and it had a variety of products suitable for modern garden centres and gift shops.

Although I ran out of time and missed some of my old friends at the show, to me and everyone else I spoke to, showUP was again a successful event. It was also good to see and hear that more British exhibitors and visitors are finding their way to the exhibition. New this year was contemporary home and gift company Wild + Wolf, which just redesigned their branding, and I’d also like to congratulate the Men’s Society with their new distribution deal for the Benelux with Prospectt.

For those who always wanted to go and visit showUP, the next event will take place on August 30 – 31 2020 in the Brabanthallen in Den Bosch. The nearest airport is Eindhoven and there are daily flights going to and from Edinburgh, London and Manchester. Den Bosch is approximate 20 miles from Eindhoven.

For more information visit the showUP website