EN Awards Winner: Penny Horner

Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn
At the recent Naidex National show at The NEC, you would have seen Penny Horner’s kitchen table on one of the stands. Yes really. Following discussions with client UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), Horner was looking for the ideal accompaniment to round off the stand. Eventually the answer was plucked from her own home, with Horner having her own piece of furniture brought to the stand. It’s the not the first time that a personal piece of furniture has been used for a client. Horner has also used the family sofa. “That time we were without the sofa for about two weeks. My husband isn’t always very pleased,” she said. It’s that level and dedication of service which makes it no surprise that Horner won the Exhibition News Best Client Support award held at Excel London in April. ‘The EN award was a huge honour. It takes pride of place at home,” said Horner. To trace the history of the firm, you need to go back nearly half a century. In 1966 Penny’s father, Peter Banks, a furniture designer and manufacturer, pioneered one of the first ranges of ‘Perspex’ furniture ever designed and produced in the UK. The range was quickly picked up by major retailers such as Harrods and Liberty - its name was Penny Banks. Peter Banks became a highly successful award-winning furniture designer. His first commission into exhibition design came in the late 1970s, when he was approached to design an exhibition stand system and complimentary furniture for the London Designer Collections. This later became London Fashion Week. Peter Banks played a key part in the launch of the show – designing, producing and installing bespoke elements for the event. Horner joined her father in the early 1990s. Her training in graphic design brought a new element to the business by combining two and three dimensional design approaches to develop promotional ideas and to bring brands to life. Since Peter’s retirement in 2000, Penny has been the figurehead of the company, based in Cambridgeshire. Horner saw off competition in her category from GES, Showplans, Aztec, N200 and JMT Indisplay. Horner was thrilled with her award and had this to say about her win: “The Exhibition News Awards have become the pinnacle of excellence in our industry. I feel hugely honoured to have received this prestigious award. At Penny Banks, great customer service and attention to detail are the hallmark of our offer, so it makes me particularly proud to have collected an award in recognition of this.” She is looking to increase business for her company, both in the UK and internationally, which includes work on Reed Gift Australia which has four shows annually. “We have invested heavily in a purpose-built factory and storage property in St Ives. “With a staff of 30 we have managed to weather the worst of the UK’s downturn and emerge in very good shape, not only growing in the UK but at the same time opening up new business opportunities in Australia.”  The Penny Banks team was also named as finalists in the Best Feature Area for their Trend Bar design at i2i’s Autumn Fair 2013. In the UK, the firm has a contract with i2i to produce and design feature areas. The firm does between 60 and 90 per cent of all feature areas at i2i shows. “This summer is shaping up to be the biggest summer we have ever had,” said Horner. Main clients include River Street Events for its Good Food Shows, work with Clarion and IMG’s Taste of London. Last year the firm designed the VIP area at the high-end food show in Regent’s Park and corporate hospitality chalets, which had an Alice in Wonderland theme. On the events side, the firm works extensively across major golf tournaments. It has been at the Scottish Open for 10 years, and will make its third appearance at The Open, which this year is at the Royal Liverpool course in July. “We will be working on the corporate hospitality facility, and bar features,” said Horner.The firm will be supplying the Graduate Fashion Week which runs until 3 June at the Truman Brewery in London, and also work on the pop-up shops at this year’s Wimbledon tennis championships. Penny Banks will provide the main entrance, registration area, bar, press office and seminar space. “Initially we were seen very much as a furniture hire contractor. We are now known as a stylist,” Horner said. Whether it’s the sense of style or lengths gone to help a client, the firm is clearly a worthy winner for its work in the exhibition industry.  This was first published in the June issue of EN. Any comments? Email Annie Byrne
Twitter Facebook Google+ LinkedIn

Related Stories

AEV publishes Size and Scale Index of Events

The Size and Scale Index of Events (SASiE) has published its latest report analysing the data collected over 2015 from the participating venues and organisers.

SMG Europe appointed operator of AECC

Aberdeen City Council has appointed venue operator SMG Europe to manage the existing Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) ahead of the move to its new purpose-built home in 2019.

QEII adds £100m to economy, finds report

The QEII Centre generated £218m of gross UK expenditure in 2015/16, creating a GVA (Gross Value Added) of £100m, according to a new economic impact study.

Elsewhere on EN

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has signed a three-year research partnership deal with London based insight specialists, Explori.
Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

On 30 June, local pensioners were invited to a morning of live entertainment and high tea put on by Media10, with a fundraising initiative supporting charity War Child and a rare Spitfire performance.
Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

A new multi million pound, state-of-the-art entertainment arena, and conference and exhibition centre is set for the North East, as plans by Gateshead Council push forward.

Poken by GES

Most read Stories

Building emerald cities

Building emerald cities

From Malaria to Blenheim, through to UBM, Jane Risby-Rose – the 20-year story of her yellow brick road industry journey.
Come to Confex and be inspired

Come to Confex and be inspired

The exhibition and events industry is all about the power of face-to-face, the art of exhibiting and networking with old friends and new, which is why EN would like to personally invite you to attend International Confex to learn more.
5 top marketing tips from AEO Forums 2016

5 top marketing tips from AEO Forums 2016

Looking to the future and learning from the past at AEO Forums 2016.

Latest News

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI and Explori sign three-year partnership

UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, has signed a three-year research partnership deal with London based insight specialists, Explori.
Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

Media 10 summer party gives back to the community

On 30 June, local pensioners were invited to a morning of live entertainment and high tea put on by Media10, with a fundraising initiative supporting charity War Child and a rare Spitfire performance.
Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

Major new event campus coming to Newcastle Gateshead

A new multi million pound, state-of-the-art entertainment arena, and conference and exhibition centre is set for the North East, as plans by Gateshead Council push forward.

Latest Galleries

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

East of England Arena and Events Centre open day

Following a refurbishment, rebrand and £4.4m investment, the East of England Arena and Events centre opened to event professionals on 21 June to explains developments at the venue and provide an insight into future plans. Guests were also treated to a once in a lifetime experience in various classic cars and more unusual vehicles.
London Dungeon Lates

London Dungeon Lates

The London Dungeons has launched a unique nighttime experience with the theme of the seven deadly sins. The adults only tour includes seven themed food offerings and a range of themed drinks.
This Morning Live

This Morning Live

Tens of thousands of fans descended on the NEC on 18-21 May for This Morning Live, to see talent from ITVs award-winning daytime programme arrive in style.

Latest Opinions

In any event...

In any event...

In his regular column, David Chalmers, Cvent ’s senior marketing director – Europe, speculates on the fate of the large trade show.
Ticking all the boxes

Ticking all the boxes

Paul Edwards, operations director at deckle edge, examines the minefield that is health and safety.
Getting social

Getting social

Michael Gietzen, MD of Identity Group, runs through the social media marketing tools available to event profs.