The Australian International Furniture Fair ended last week. Over 6,300 buyers from Australia and overseas were present to glimpse the next wave of trends and order products from Australia’s leading furniture manufacturers and wholesalers.

The three day show at the Sydney Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour is the first furniture Trade Fair on the 2009 Asia Pacific calendar. Australia’s next generation designers were present at The Edge Design and Innovation Showcase, while the fair provided a backdrop of the latest furniture and furnishings launching in Australia this year. 2009 also saw the return of the Hotel and Hospitality showcase.

According to Marie Kinsella, Managing Director, Australian Exhibitions & Conferences , the number of visitors and new exhibitors at the 2009 Fair have shown that the furniture, decoration and design industries in Australia are stronger than ever. Several of this year’s 250 exhibitors were new. The fair featured exhibitors such as Diane Bergeron Interiors, Cafe Ideas and Sunlounges Online for the first time. Exhibitors such as La Maison, Hermon + Hermon and Perfect Pieces also featured in the fair.

Featuring over 30 designers competing across Student, Commercial and Concept categories, 2009 also saw the introduction of the new Green Award category.

The winner for the Student category was Jacob Wong from Lidcombe Tafe with Table and Seats, a compact product made from GVA White Birch Plywood, foam and fabric. Kristian Aus took the Commercial award with his versatile Metal Petal Table Lamp, made from powder coated steel. Luke Leenders received the Concept Award for his Stack-It-Stool, a modern and environmentally efficient stool constructed from salvaged off-cuts. Green Award winner Wilma van Boxtel’s Zeopod 0.1 was acclaimed for its use as a new biodegradable material, and its potential to be developed into further biodegradable products.

This year’s International Industry Seminar Series welcomed international expert Jennifer Castoldi, founder of Trendease, the Paris-based online design and style publication. Jennifer’s talk on Global Trends and Future Furnishings gave visitors a glimpse of the furnishings, lighting, textures and colours that will influence furniture and interior design in 2009 and beyond.

Taking place over three days, the Seminar Series also welcomed Michelle Adams, creator of New York textile label Rubie Green. Australian experts included Meryl Hare – Principle of Hare + Klein Interior Design; Bree Leech – Founder of Texture and Mary-Anne Kyriakou – Director of Meinhardt Light Art.

Co-located with the Australian International Furniture Fair was the interiors fair, Decoration + Design Sydney, the country’s premier exhibition of soft furnishing and interior products.

Decoration + Design Sydney also featured Eco-Luxury, challenging six acclaimed architects and designers to furnish small rooms as luxury microcosms - using sustainable products.