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And in an indepth interview with the Antiques Trade Gazette, last week, he disclosed that he has already decided there will be no 20th Century Art and Design Fair at Olympia next June.

The National Hall, which housed this year’s design fair, will be closed during 2001 and Mr Morris intends to assimilate the design fair into the adjoining June Fine Art and Antiques Fair, the longest running and most successful of all his portfolio.

The three design fairs have proved by far the most problematic of Olympia events but Mr Morris has no regrets about delving into this area.

While admitting the difficulty of getting together enough specialist dealers and stock for a 20th century fair in this country, he said: “We did the 20th century fair for all the right reasons and we must not be scolded. It was brave, and we must be experimental. We got it wrong but we were professional.”

The chief executive is still keen to nurture this field and declared his fairs must “reflect society in its tastes and buying habits; appeal to the new rich. The trade must wake up.”

Mr Morris considered the three Olympia Fine Art and Antiques Fairs as the jewel in the crown of the halls’ exhibitions programme when he bought the company, and although he might tweak here and there he is happy that the three are each progressing with their own identity – although agreeing that the June fixture is the most important.

“Change will not be radical, it will be gradual,” he said, “but there will be change.”

Will there be a fourth Olympia fair? No plans at present but “never say never”, said Mr Morris. Then, more tantalisingly, he revealed he would consider spreading the Olympia format out of London and is currently exploring the potential of an Olympia-type fair overseas.

In addition to Olympia, Mr Morris reaffirmed his complete commitment to The Great Antiques Fair at Earls Court. “It is different to Olympia, more accessible,” he said, but feels the attendance must be swelled.

As head of Clarion Events, Mr Morris will reveal his manifesto to coincide with the Spring Olympia
at the end of next February. Meanwhile, his own favourite fairs? “I love Maastricht and Basel Contemporary,” he confided without too much hesitation.