There were thousands of new products on show at the recent IMM international furniture fair in Cologne. They included very special and extravagant objects and a few that were so experimental, they will never go on sale to the public.
But much of what was on display will end up in stores around the world. Here’s a look at what could be in a furniture shop near you very soon:
> Comfy furniture with velvet covers. This is definitely one of the more cosy trends on the list. “Lovers’ Paradise” is the name borne by a sofa with its own roof from Signet. Its designer, Gerald Klimke, has described it as “madness” and “a curious mishap”.
But the sofa was not the only example of its kind at IMM. There were many examples of colourful sofas made with soft materials.
> Dining benches instead of separate chairs. Comfortable dining chairs have been a trend for some time. “But a new trend is combining kitchen furniture with living room furniture,” says Kirk Mangels from the AMK trade association of German kitchen manufacturers.
At first the look consisted of combining armchairs with dining tables, but right now the focus is on a German speciality, the bench seat where two or even three people sit side by side at a table.
> The rediscovery of the house bar. The IMM has seen a steady flow of cupboards with either a hidden or open bar over the years. “It’s an item of luxury furniture. It’s not really needed in the home,” says designer Christian Haas. “But it’s still a great piece of furniture to celebrate a good drink with.”
> Solid wooden tables. The dining table has taken another step in the direction of being the heart of the family home. This has come in the form of solid wooden tabletops instead of synthetic tops or glass. Many of the designs on show at IMM looked as if they had come straight from the forest and had natural edges.
> Side tables. The trend towards side tables – and having many small tables in a room – is not entirely new. But it takes a few years before a trend really makes itself felt and breaks out into the wider market.
Many of the designers at IMM showed off their creative sides in side tables. A clear trend at the fair was for very thin base frames.
> Green is a trend colour. Last year saw many new pieces of furniture in green and this year the trend is set to continue.
That’s partly because the colour company Pantone has declared “Greenery”, a grass-green shade, as colour of the year. Green was on show in all its many shades at the fair.
Ursula Geismann from Germany’s Association of the Furniture Industry says it’s an expression of a desire for nature.
“Our city dwellers have a need to wander and breathe air deeply.”
> Small-scale furniture. Many urban dwellers around the world can only afford small apartments to live in. That has led to a growth in the market for small furniture. Trend analyst Frank A. Reinhardt even speaks about the development “of an entirely new category of furniture”.
“Much of the demand is driven by online sales. It’s easier to send a small chair by post.”
> The homely look. Country-style furniture and home accessories in the form of deer’s antlers and cuckoo clocks may not be to everyone’s taste. They fell into disrepute several years ago but they never really disappeared in Germany.
“For some people, it gets like an obsession,” says Geismann. – dpa