HI Design Europe 2017 attended by Ailsa Macgregor

HI Design Europe was based in Split, Croatia this year and it was the first time it was being held as purely HI Design Europe as opposed to HI Design EMEA. It was the second time it had been held in the Le Meridien Lav, Split and I can see why! The location was fantastic, as soon as you arrived in the hotel lobby you were welcomed by the blue glistening sea and the beautiful old Split town in the far distance. I believe HI Design’s location is vital as the surroundings really do influence or affect your mood. Working in an event in a warm inviting environment breaks down the formal barriers and people automatically feel at ease; thus creating the perfect environment to network in.

The opening evening was situated along the sea front of the hotel. There were introduction speeches from the HI Design team and the hotel manager, followed by a tasty buffet and drinks. By this point the sun has started to set, creating a fascinating back drop, and a perfect way to kick start the trip.

The day was fully packed with supplier meeting, but as per last year’s well-planned schedule they were interspersed with presentations. The talks were each very unique and hosted by influential people tailored for both buyers and suppliers.

I was able to meet a variety of suppliers over the two days compromising of fabric, mosaic, furniture + lighting companies. Mostly suppliers I’d never met before, but also the odd friendly face. The first day was very productive, having been lucky enough to have all my meeting spaces filled with eleven different suppliers.

As a “reward” for making it through the day we were taken into the old town in Spilt, where we visited the Diocletian Palace. Diocletian Palace is now a fortified town and represents one of the best-preserved ancient complexes. Our dinner was hosted in the substructure of the Roman emperor palace. Down at this level it was cool and away from the crowds, yet full of life. It was a beautiful location for a fine Roman banquette.

The final day commenced with a full day of presentations and supplier meetings. To end the day there was a ‘Buyers’ only meeting hosted on the hotels terrace. It was a very beneficial part of the trip as it produced lots of opportunity to meet other designers and hoteliers. I met some great people here, but as always there’s never enough time to meet everyone.

As soon as the clock struck 6pm you could see people gradually walking out of the terrace. We all knew where they were heading … who could resist that blue sea on a scorcher of a day? The sea that evening was like a sea of networkers, tanners + swimmers – multi-tasking at its best!

The evening finale was held in the hotel where we had again great food and music, and we danced the night away.

In all it was a great trip away, well organised, productive, inspiring and refreshing. I would highly recommend buyers and suppliers attending. I’m looking forward to next year already.

To find out more about HI Design Europe visit www.hidesigneurope.com