Especially in our towns and cities, life is increasingly taking place in the open air. With mild temperatures extending into late autumn, balconies and terraces are being used as green havens, places to relax with family and friends or to cook and eat.
Cafes and restaurants offer their customers comfortable outdoor areas, and every little patch of grass is turned into a BBQ and chillout zone. The urban trend for indoor living in the outdoors has consequences – not only for living habits but also for furniture and furnishings.
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This development is clearly apparent in the outdoor segment. For example, the last spoga+gafa in Cologne picked up on the global trend by focusing on city gardening. The international garden trade fair not only turned its spotlight on balcony plants but above all on products for open-air urban living. In addition to numerous pieces of furniture and accessories for styling “green living rooms”, its showcase also featured new solutions for outdoor lighting or entire outdoor kitchens.
At the same time, objects previously reserved for the garden are migrating in the opposite direction – into the home. Living walls and mini greenhouses are making it possible to plant herbs and vegetables indoors. Tables and benches designed for terraces no longer have the appearance of garden furniture, so they also look great in dining rooms.
Outdoor armchairs and sofas are also finding their way indoors, while rugs and upholstery are making life in the open air more comfortable. New, highly durable textiles for outdoor use are now just as comfortable as indoor fabrics, and they can also withstand extreme weather phenomena. Today, there are even soft, deep-pile rugs to add the finishing touch to outdoor living space design.
The increasing disintegration of the divide between the indoors and outdoors, and the associated interactions in terms of design, will also be demonstrated at the upcoming imm cologne. First and foremost, the Spanish creative duo from MUT Design will present a visionary living concept in which the inside of the house is turned to face the outside.
The “Das Haus” installation at the Interior Business Event will put forward the idea of a hybrid space, which opens up the home, not only to nature but also to communal living. In doing so, it also highlights the need for an environment that is as close to nature as possible – a desire that is steadily growing, especially among city dwellers.
The manufacturers participating in “Das Haus” and other imm cologne exhibitors are embracing this trend, too. Many pieces of furniture and accessories are now being designed for use in indoor and outdoor spaces. With compact dimensions and multifunctional design, new objects for the home can be used flexibly, even in small spaces like balconies or roof terraces.
There are even many new products for open-air cooking, bathing and showering. At the same time, these developments are contributing towards an increasing blurring of the boundaries between living areas. Outdoors is the new indoors and vice versa, with flexible, individual and multifunctional product solutions becoming ever more important.