With the inaugural FRONT trade show now over, the buzz in the industry seems unanimous – it’s a model that works and needs to be applied again.

“The pitch for FRONT was about getting the right audience, and that is exactly what we’ve seen,” says John McClure, national decorative and marketing manager at Gunnersen.

“I’ve been to trade shows from Frankfurt to New York to New Zealand, and I haven’t been to a trade show that’s been as well-focused,” adds Troy Creighton, sales and business development manager at Stormtech.

The fact that FRONT has been so successful is certainly no fluke. According to Indesign Media CEO and founder Raj Nandan, “The FRONT model works by facilitating conversation and discussion and encouraging this approach of ‘let’s sit down and you can show me what you’ve got’”.

“Half the solution is knowing what the problem is, and the other half is sitting down and working out what to do with it and where to go from there,” he adds.

“We’ve actually met a lot of end decision-makers that we would not normally contact, which has been interesting,” says Tony Power, director of Harbour City Air Conditioning.

“It’s definitely a worthwhile client-base,” adds Siobhan Titlestad, marketing manager Pacific region at Polyflor.

“From how many guests we thought were coming, we were really lucky to have even more turn up, and really good high-quality firms. Big firms, but also a number of small firms too.”

The format of FRONT brought together different brands with something to say – the common denominator being innovation and design.

“Foremost was our focus on caring about who you actually met before the event and nurturing the relationship-building process,” says Nandan.

“The level of care and involvement that we’ve invested into helping people tell their story is remarkable.

“Having created a number of things that have facilitated relationships, I’ve seen people mature and watched small companies evolve into large companies. It’s a scientific fact that everything evolves that things tend to have a cycle, and we’re seeing this with the design ecosystem and the decision-making process.

“FRONT addressed the same ecosystem that architects and designers have to work in, which includes commercial real estate, the people who facilitate and act as a catalyst within the space area, and ultimately the end user, who is now more vocal and has more knowledge than ever before about what they want their environments to achieve.

“FRONT was all about having active participants from both a knowledge point of view and participant point of view.”