DE&E gets "China Ready" with Director of Design, Mary Ann Lum Stergiou


DE&E’s Director of Design, Mary Ann Lum-Stergiou offers her styling insights on what DE&E are doing to get – “China ready”. 

Tourism Australia notes that in 2015, China was Australia’s second largest inbound market for visitor arrivals and the largest market for total expenditure and visitor nights. Visitors from China generates $8.3 billion in total expenditure in 2015. The Tourism 2020 Strategy estimates that China has the potential to be worth up to $13 billion in total expenditure by 2020.

Our northern neighbours are flocking to Australia in droves – and we LOVE IT! So what are we here at DE&E doing from an event styling perspective to get “China ready”?

Director of Design at DE&E, Mary Ann Lum-Stergiou, concurs that getting the right balance can be tricky as our Chinese Clients are usually here for only 3-4 days, and may only visit one state, but seek an immersive Australian experience. At DE&E we are mindful that when creating events for our Chinese clients we provide the ultimate tactile experience. Australia offers a sensory and aromatic experience like nowhere else on earth and it’s important to note that our visitors are keen to explore out-of-the-box event styling and suggestions.

Decorative Empire magazine asked Mary Ann, when styling a traditional Chinese event what are her styling tips: 


  • Use red coloured birds or wallows, it’s a lucky sign to see or hear songbirds.
  • Bamboo is an important elements of Chinese culture, they are a symbol of strength.
  • In China, fish, particularly goldfish are considered a symbol of luck in several ways and are often used as a sign of wealth or abundance.
  • The Lotus, Plum Blossom, Chrysanthemum, Peony, Hydrangea, Orchid and the Lily have deep Chinese cultural significance…so use them!
  • Chinese Lanterns are a means of artistic expression, both in terms of functionality, design and decoration.
  • Use the following colours: blue, gold, green or red.



  • Place chopsticks in a bowl of rice as it signifies death.
  • Use odd numbers, they are considered unlucky.
  • Don’t give gifts such as umbrellas or clocks.
  • Use white or yellow flowers.
  • Use black or white.


DE&E have an extensive team of stylists, designers, custom builders and signwriters who can ensure your next event, exhibition or activation is a success.

Contact us today to find out more.