Furniture to grow with


Interview with Thomas Hibert (Brussels Furniture Fair Marketing Manager)

Early November 2023 we participated in the Furniture Fair Brussels for the first time. With 86 years in the game, the Furniture Fair is a noteworthy institute in the world of affordable B2B design. Marketing & Communication manager, Thomas Hibert, stopped by our little radio studio and shared some of his stories with us. 
As an organisation we want to grow with the industry
With 14 years of experience in working for the Furniture Fair, Thomas knows what he’s talking about, but stays forever humble. “As an organisation, we want to grow with the industry”, he says. 
In over a decade of managing the fair, Thomas has witnessed a few changes. One of the biggest evolutions has occurred (and is growing) during the past few years. “Our organisation is proud of the beautiful booths that are built for our tradeshow every single edition. Companies create wonderful concepts, almost like little apartments, but in the past these concepts would be broken down and discarded, just as quickly as they were put up, one could ask: how ecological is all of this? This question has become top of mind for our exhibitors as well. We’ve noticed a significant evolution in the search for more sustainable ways of building booths and furniture design”. 
Thomas continues: “Companies are investing in more sustainable designs. Focus and research shift to products and booths that are modular and made of reusable or reused elements. Ecologic motivations are becoming more important, and personally, I hope this trend will be one that grows and is here to stay”. 
It’s our ambition to connect reality to dreams. Discoveries, creativity, feeling good, that's what we want to connect to an economic reality.
“People come to the Furniture Fair with commercial objectives, of course, but also to feel inspired, be surprised, to dream of what is possible”, Thomas embarks. “As an organisation we want to grow and, yes, be part of the economic reality we live in, but also give birth to dreams. Our fair unites people with genuine love for furniture. We’d like to create a space for our visitors and exhibitors in which they can discover, feel surprised. We believe that involving young people, young designers, is an essential part of shaping this vision.”

How does Thomas see the ideal Brussels Furniture Fair? "A trade show with more and more love for furniture", Thomas smiles. "And from this love everything grows: new ideas, new design, young creatives who feel drawn to the industry".
We believe in the power of combining the optimism of young creatives with the strength & knowhow of traditional companies
"When people think about furniture, they often think about just a chair or bench or table, but design is so much more than ‘just a chair’. It’s a play of lines, curves; the choice of the right materials, it can be so beautiful”, Thomas shares. “We see that a lot of traditional furniture companies are modernising when it comes to their designs. They join forces with design studios to create more specialised collections. These collaborations are a dream we as an organisation hold dear, that we see turning into reality".
Furniture Fair Brussels
The power of our industry lies in the household, our homes. Homeliness ensures that we can be there for one another. It gives us a foundation to come home to. Furniture forms the skeleton of our homes
Thomas’ vision of and for the design industry is one that reaches far and deep and speaks volumes of his character. “The power of our industry lies in the household, our homes”, Thomas shares. “I’m sure I’m not the only one who believes that family remains the cornerstone of our society and that homeliness ensures that we can be there for one another. It gives us a foundation to – quite literally – come home to. Furniture forms the skeleton of our homes, our families”, Thomas poetically speaks. 
“I love design, but I also love warmth. In my own home I mix design with warmth. You have to feel at home in the design you choose. The furniture in which you sit, in which you share moments with your children, that you grow up in as newlyweds; without realising it, this furniture is always present, I believe that’s the core of our furniture industry”. Moving words… 
Furniture Fair Brussels
Risk. Passion. Staying dynamic.
We had to fish for Thomas’ advice to young people. It’s short, but maybe not that simple: “Work on yourself and stay open to criticism”. 
“As people and as a society, we can only progress if we can work together, but also if we can accept criticism. Criticism needs to be constructive, so we can engage in conversation and work on ourselves. This may be my biggest life lesson”, Thomas smiles. 
When asked what older, more experienced generations can learn from young people Thomas answers: “A great deal, truly, a great deal. But to bring some things together, I’d say: risk, passion and staying dynamic”. Three key words that can take us a long way!
Thank you for sharing, dear Thomas!