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The move, with a makeover from top designers and standfitters to create an opulent environment, is part of organisers Clarion Events’ five-year plan to position themselves at the top of the market.

Their radical strategy comes just months after their successful £45m management buyout from the new owners of the Earls Court and Olympia Group.

Clarion’s plans include combining top dealers in all disciplines with other luxury goods to create an enticing retail experience at the summer fair. Other innovations include fashion shows to attract new customers.

In short Clarion are abandoning the traditional antiques fair format and recognising the move towards a lifestyle formula.

While they maintain the plans are designed to create a fair which reflects London’s premier position in the international art market, far more important is a desire to respond to a changing market at antiques fairs. The plan to cut the number of stands to about 200 ties in with the need for fewer but more responsive events for exhibitors. It is also a tacit admission that the present Olympias are losing ground in their present format.

Although the Summer Olympia – the venue’s flagship fair – will see dramatic changes, the Spring and Winter events will not.

Discussing their new strategy, Clarion’s antiques fairs director Dan Gorton says: “The mixture between art and design must also include luxury goods in order to reflect today’s ultimate lifestyle. Extending the summer fair’s scope will increase its appeal to an affluent, international and new audience by satisfying all aspects of their tastes and lifestyles.”

Last year Mr Gorton announced his intention to leave the antiques sector of Clarion once a replacement had been found. The buyout and new strategy appear to have rejuvenated his interest in the sector and he intimated to ATG last week that he will remain at the helm for the foreseeable future.