Dec 16 2019

Future Interiors special event: "Flexible usage starts in the mind"

"Future Interiors – designed in Germany" is a trend exhibition in the context of the Home theme world at imm cologne 2020. Here, the profile for furnishings from Germany should be intensified. Product examples from the stool to the fitted kitchen should demonstrate, among other things, the quality, but also the multifunctionality and show the relevance of German furniture brands. We spoke with Katrin de Louw, founder of Trendfilter and exhibition curator, about the premiere of the imm cologne special event in January.

Can you describe the concept of the special exhibition to us in two sentences?

The "Future Interiors- designed in Germany" special event describes the strengths of German designs in the context of societal mega-trends, in the process showing a selection of current product highlights in an inspiring atmosphere. 

Which target group(s) do you wish to reach with the Future Interiors exhibition? 

The goal is to internationally intensify the profile for furnishings from Germany and to address foreign visitors: furniture trade, project furnishers, interior designers. At the same time, German visitors will become conscious of what differentiates us from other countries. 

The trend exhibition in the restructured Home theme world demonstrates the broad bandwidth of German interiors brands and their core competences in the area of sustainability. © Trendfilter; Koelnmesse

How has the field of product sponsors been composed?

In addition to the major design leaders, the visitor will find products from German companies that will surprise them in their manner of representation and type.

Are all exhibited products at imm cologne 2020 new products?

Many are new products, but not all. And here we already arrive at the first point: in Germany, we think of furnishings as long-lived and sustainable. 

What distinguishes products "designed in Germany" – if this can be said at all?

For our analysis, five aspects were determined that play a special role for German design: Multifunctionality, Ecological Materials, Universal Design, Long-Living Quality and Sustained Colours. 

Is there additional information for visitors?

All five themes are explained in several languages on the wall elements, clarifying the strengths of German designs in furnishing to visitors, and why these five aspects are pioneering –  and one thing above all, sustainable!

Why must furniture be multifunctional in future?

In order to extend the service life of an item of furniture as long as possible, flexible use is necessary, allowing it to accompany me throughout my life with changing needs. The scarcity of living space in the urban context also leads to us searching more intensely for multiple functions as a solution for long-lived furnishing.

The theme of colours must also be considered in the search for holistic and environmentally-friendly interiors solutions. With

Isn't this more of a topic for carpenters? What series products will we see in the Future Interiors exhibition?

Flexible usage begins in the mind and can, for example, go into series production with clever functional fittings. In the area we first see an initially rather unprepossessing, small sofa from the Bali company, which then surprises with its versatility. However, we also question strictly one-sided usage rituals following the motto: to what extent is a dining room table still a dining room table, or perhaps also something else, for example, a worktable or a table for family games? 

How do you assess current developments?

Multifunctionality represents real added value for buyers and will increase in importance in the context of societal change. 

Do you show the entire bandwidth of furniture for people from 0 – 99 years of age or do you specifically limit yourself in this theme area to products for older people?

Universal Design means unlimited usage for everyone, and that's how we transport this in the exhibition. Here, of course, one or the other feature is a more important component of Universal Design for the older generation. Ponsel, for example, presents a sofa in a refreshing young design, which can surprise in terms of its function. 

Do you see a change in acceptance for furniture that has been developed under the aspect of Universal Design?

No, on the contrary: I believe that Universal Design needs to reinvent itself and attractively provide products for the older generation that are in keeping with the times. In addition to the downaging taking place in our society, older generations are also more mobile and are active online. While fashion is not relevant for this target group, zeitgeist and design very much are. 

The trend exhibition in the restructured Home theme world demonstrates the broad bandwidth of German interiors brands and their core competences in the area of sustainability. © Trendfilter; Koelnmesse

Is Universal Design a growth market, and if yes, how might this development impact the furniture industry?

In the context of demographic change, Universal Design is a large growth market, but it will in future be important to develop attractive products that are sexy today and will still function tomorrow. 

What do you understand under Long-Living Quality?

Furniture produced in Germany demonstrates an enormously high standard - from the material through fittings and additional functions to processing. The life span of furniture produced in Germany is leading worldwide. 

How do you document this ambition in the exhibition?

We show an open-plan kitchen of the Decker company, which is inserted into a living scenario, as room functions increasingly flow into one another. This is an example of furniture that can function for 30 years despite daily use, and often finds a new use afterwards, in the garden allotment or in the basement. 

How important will the theme of sustainability become for purchasing furniture?

The theme of sustainability is increasing in importance worldwide, because we are all sitting on the same planet. Basic needs of course have priority for human beings, but those who treat themselves to furnishings are increasingly looking at environmental aspects.

The trend exhibition in the restructured Home theme world demonstrates the broad bandwidth of German interiors brands and their core competences in the area of sustainability. © Trendfilter; Koelnmesse

Can innovations in sustainable materials thus be observed and, if so, what will we see in the exhibition?

Materiality will increase in importance in coming years. The German manufacturers, as well as consumers, are once again trusting more in real wood products, especially in solid wood. The focus is thereby on the regional procurement of wood. We are thus seeing domestic types of wood. 

Will the theme of sustainability be incorporated in future when it comes to purchasing decisions involving furniture? And how can manufacturers and the trade communicate sustainability?

Even now, we can very clearly see in other markets that the consumer is prepared to spend more money for sustainability, for example, in the food industry. Organic and fair trade are acquiring market shares and tempt consumers to spend a large amount of additional money each year. We don't purchase furniture so often, and it is the responsibility of all of us to transport the added value of ecological and sustainable products. 

With Colornetwork, you have defined a "Sustained Colour", or a sustainable colour, with the name "be rooted". How do you deploy a darker colour like "be rooted" at the special event?

"be rooted" is the basis for the colour concept, which is why it is dark. However, dark atmospheres are also increasing in significance. At the special event, it also lends the furniture a luxurious and emotional touch in terms of presentation, because we guide the eye with light. 

Innovations from German furniture manufacturers will be shown on around 150 square metres: the special event at the centre of hall 10.2 is curated and linked with an attractive interior design by the trend expert and interior designer Katrin de Louw (Trendfilter). © Trendfilter; Koelnmesse

Why is the Sustained Colour sustainable?

The COLORNETWORK® is celebrating its world premiere at imm cologne 2020. The network of well-known companies, first founded in 2019, has made it its task to speak about sustainable colours, the Sustained Colour. A committee of experts chooses such a long-lived, timeless and combinable colour each year, which is then provided to manufacturers for their product development as samples. 

A 'Sustained Colour' is found in the zeitgeist of the coming decade, adapts repeatedly to new furnishing ideas and does not push itself into the foreground, but instead accompanies the ideas of the interior designers and furnishers. A "Sustained Colour" provides manufacturers, furnishers and consumers with the certainty that one has invested correctly, and that many suitable furnishing solutions are available in the trade.

At the "Future Interiors" special event, the COLORNETWORK presents the "Sustained Colour No. 1" with the name "be rooted" for the first time. This contemporary shade of earthy brown provides the colour concept of the special event.

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