Interview with Katrin de Louw

"Furniture should be thought across rooms"

Not only since Corona has living been under scrutiny. Katrin de Louw observes current developments in the field of furnishing and furniture design with her agency Trendfilter. A conversation about Tiny Spaces, co-living and other new demands on the living environment.

Mar 10 2021

Ms de Louw, home office and homeschooling have expanded the functions of the flat. On the other hand, with rising rental costs, the need for planning small flats is growing. Where do you see possible solutions for this need?  

The multifunctionality of furniture and furnishings on the one hand, and individualisation through optimised interior construction on the other, require a rethink on the part of the industry and also the trade. Furniture should be thought of, designed and sold across rooms, so that, for example, wardrobe and coat rack can become one in the Tiny Space. Solutions for storage space also need to be optimised, for example integrated into the sofa or table. 

Urbanisation and gentrification, but also the ageing of society are processes that have a direct influence on housing. Where do you currently see forward-looking approaches for living together in limited, age- and function-appropriate spaces. 

I think it's a social issue in particular: the Corona pandemic has shown that we have to stick together. Many are lonely. Forward-thinking neighbourhoods are home to a community that includes all the essential utilities. At the same time, it offers "3rd Places" where people meet, have fun, perhaps grow vegetables together, keep animals or cook, barbecue and be in nature together. 

Demographic change makes such shared and intergenerational ideas of residential communities, which can also extend to whole neighbourhoods, extremely important. Of course, this has enormous consequences for one's own place of retreat and for the way I settle in.

Special

The Corona pandemic requires special hygiene measures for the facility. What innovations and current developments do you see for this, especially in surfaces? 

The pandemic has caused sales of antibacterial materials to skyrocket, even though they are not effective against Corona. Of course, this is primarily about hygiene. But new antiviral products have also come onto the market, for example as wood materials or textiles. 

Mostly, these are additional coatings of existing products that can reduce or even destroy the viruses within a certain time. We expect a few more innovations here in the coming months.  

How do you basically assess the pandemic as a driver for innovation in the field of materials and design? 

Corona has indeed abruptly slowed down or even accelerated many things. It has not stopped globalisation - on the contrary, we have noticed that what happens in the world concerns us all. But nevertheless, it has acted like a "pause button" here. In the area of digitalisation and new work, on the other hand, the pandemic has made a breathtaking pace possible. 

The accompanying development would otherwise have taken many more years. And there are new trends, such as the "Sporty Home" for our fitness in our own four walls. Such trends have only really come into being now, but have already reached their zenith with Corona. Because many are also looking forward to going to the gym or the swimming pool again after the pandemic. 

In 2020, you launched the Colornetwork as a planning tool for interior, design and architecture. What is behind the network and what are its goals? 

We think colour is as sustainable as it is long-lasting and promote lasting values as well as sustainable aspects in interior design and furniture. On the one hand, we organise a colour network across many products and manufacturers. On the other hand, we make the products transparent for customers and planners throughout the entire cycle, with a downloadable "Sustainability Statement" for each product.

Glass decor in the Sustained Color 2021

Every year, Colornetwork looks for a "Sustained Colour" that stands out for its zeitgeist, durability and ease of combination. Which colour have you chosen for 2021 and why? 

Our "Sustained Color" No. 5 is "feel jade!": a light shade of jade that has a positive, emotional effect on the room and the viewer. Jade is a worldwide symbol of beauty and nature, but also of healing powers. This gentle natural colour creates a calming and positive atmosphere in the room without being obtrusive. 

At the same time, it appears fresh and modern with light woods and black metal, and noble and valuable with dark wood and golden accents. The colour - like all our Sustained Colors - can be planned in an extremely versatile way and reinvents itself again and again. 

Katrin de Louw is the owner of the company “Trendfilter – Designzukunft für Möbel und Materialien” and is an expert on furnishing trends in the German-speaking countries. She has been advising companies in the fields of design, product development, marketing and sales for more than 20 years. In addition to the trend forum “servicepoint A30” in the heart of the German furniture industry in East Westphalia, she has also been responsible for “Colornetwork: Design with Care!” since 2020.

Author: Broekman+Partner

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