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So the beginning on Major Practical project started with a trip to the NEC to Interiors. The exhibition was as disappointing as it is most other years that I have been, but I was prepared for this and set my expectations low. I found two or three things that either interested me, or sprung another idea into my head. One of these more interesting things was a material that looked like stone or concrete, but was actually foam, and therefore very soft. It was amazing stuff, as it was firm and squashy, but maintained a sharp edge. The company had formed whole chairs from this material and they looked fantastic and were very comfy.

I saw a lot of hideous things, mainly brown ‘leather’ sofas with wood effect arms, and a guy selling Teak benches for £60. There was a space called ‘Designers Block’ which had some really nice products in it, a guy making sculptures with folded cardboard, and a company with a tasteful contemporary take on the Windsor chair. The object that took most of out time was a bench made from solid oak boards. We probably spent 15 minutes trying to calculate the quantity of oak, and a rough price and concluded it was the most inappropriate waste of a good section of a 250 year old oak tree. It was really annoying to see such great wood so inefficiently used.

We worked out this would have cost around £1800 in oak alone.

All in all the day was not the inspiring kick start to the next unit that I would have liked, but it was a start at lest. I have my eyes on Stockholm on the 9-13th Feb, it looks brilliant.

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