May Design Series (taking place from 18-20th May at London ExCeL) will feature a strong seminar programme, set over two stages and featuring industry thought leaders from the retail and contract sectors.

One stage will be dedicated to interior spaces, the other to lighting. Approaching all aspects of the industry - from business, retail and customer service, to the latest trends, designs and e-commerce - the speakers will share valuable insight with the retailers, interior designers, architects and lighting specialists in attendance.

Acclaimed Danish designer Johannes Torpe, founder of Johannes Torpe Studios and creative director of Bang & Olufsen, will deliver a keynote speech which will deliberate  ‘the entertainment’ behind retail design, and how re-evaluating the customer experience can create beautiful, immersive spaces. 

Tim Mutton, founder and CEO of Blacksheep, will provide advice on how to bring a brand to life. His award-winning design agency has ‘the experience’ at its core, showing how design can create the ultimate customer experience – from first impression through to repeat visit.

For retailers, Philip Hanford at Campaign and Chris Sanderson at Future Laboratory will speak together about their current project with Selfridges London.

A first for May Design Series is a Retail Roundtable presented by The Furnishing Report, bringing together some of the most influential names in the business for in-depth interactive discussions. Five retail leaders acting as table hosts will sit down with 50 retailers to look at the day-to-day fundamentals that matter most, from property expansion to product selection. The findings will then be presented live on stage in a dedicated Conversation Series session open to visitors.

Serving the contract market, Craig Knight, director, IDR, will ponder expensive design statements. Some of the best design decisions are made by the people who use the space – at this session Craig will provide insights into the spaces that work, informed by his unique fusion of psychology, management and design. Andrew Budgen, director, Spacelab will walk attendees through projects he has worked on with Virgin Money and Leo Burnett that fuse impressive interior spaces whilst getting to the heart of a company’s values to better work together.

Pippa Nissen, Nissen Richard Studio, will explain from the eyes of an architect and theatre designer the key to unlocking a space's drama and excitement in order for its inhabitants to come alive. With an impressive portfolio of architecture, theatre and exhibition work, Pippa brings elements of each of these fields together to create attractive, dynamic and unforgettable spaces.

Also joining the series is Robert White, consultant on architecture business strategy to some of the biggest firms including  Zaha Hadid, Richard Rogers and OMA. Proficient in both winning and negotiating work, Robert's will be a key seminar to attend for business advice and development.

Interior Architect of the Year Simon Jordan from Jump Studios will talk through the idiosyncrasies of how to bring a brand to life through interior design – how branding can permeate every aspect of interior space, and how to distil the quantities of brand and make them come alive in a desired space.

New for this year, Lighting will play host to the Designers with Light Forum. Across the three-day show visitors will be treated to a free-to-attend expert seminar session to better equip them with the innovation and tools behind lighting design across the retail and contract market. Highlights will include Eoin Billings from Billings Jackson Design, who will dissect the designer’s role in redefining light.

Joost Hereman, Foster + Partner and Farhad Rahim, ChapmanDBSP will join to discuss hospitality lighting and its blend with architecture. The ME hotel in London, designed by Foster + Partner, which boasts an integrated approach to both the fixtures and furnishings making up the fabric of the building.

John Bullock, jb-ld, will tackle residential lighting design, where it has become obvious that there is an underlying matrix of rules and guidelines that inform every project. Here John will dissect his ‘rules of three’ for visitors to the sessions. Also joining the programme are Kevin Grant, Lighting Alliance and Sam Woodward, lighting control at Havells Sylvania, who will both explain how to use light to attract and influence movement of people, provide information and create visually stimulating destinations and memorable places where people want to spend time.

May Design Series 2014 will amass close to 400 exhibitors in five distinct sectors, from Furniture, Decor, Lighting [including Arc], Kitchens & Bathrooms to DX. The Furniture Show at May Design Series, new for 2014, will welcome a preview of what is to come in 2015 – organiser UBM Live Built Environment's plan is to present a destination for new products covering every interior space. Visit the website to register for a complimentary pass.