Representatives from the international furnishing show imm cologne, which takes place January 16-22 in Cologne, Germany, preview the following themes for the 2012 show:
Modern individuals no longer ask themselves what belongs in their living room, but rather what they want to do in the space defined by that name. The “either-or” model of old is being replaced by an emphatic “both-and” approach. Anything goes, and people are using their homes to let their multifaceted personalities run free.
These days, furnishing a home means breaking down the old, traditional boundaries, putting the television in the kitchen area, turning the dining table in the live-in kitchen into a communication centre complete with plush dining chairs and putting the bathtub in the bedroom. Old furniture is being combined with new, winter barbecues are a viable proposition and, at a stretch, the hallway can be turned into a disco. This freedom within one’s own four walls allows for a huge amount of identity and creative autonomy.
Trends such as naturalness prevail. Regardless of what materials they use, manufacturers across the board are endeavouring to create models that blend in harmoniously with the interior ambiance and capture a little of nature’s flair for consumers’ own four walls. Especially when it comes to wood, the imitations are getting noticeably closer to the original in terms of colouring and texture. Light oaks in particular, as well as oak variants with an attractive grain in general, look set to be making an appearance at many booths in January. When it comes to colour, various nuances of white and black continue to be popular, green and turquoise shades are also widespread. And many manufacturers are still playing with interesting mixes, i.e. wood in combination with expressive unicolour shades.
Individuality is another very important theme – regardless of whether it concerns a living room suite or a shelf. The consumer wants furniture that satisfies his needs – preferably 100 percent. Manufacturers have become extremely good at catering to this demand and are developing models that offer a wide variety of alternatives. This applies both to the colours and the characteristics of the products. Rather like a fitted kitchen, what the consumer ends up with is a genuine one-off, even though the furniture is mass-produced.
Sustainability is also becoming an ever more prevalent theme. Many companies are seeking certification for their production processes. Manufacturers are also keen to use materials and components produced in an ecologically compatible way – and are equally keen to communicate these endeavours. Whereas materials were once used without hesitation, people are now attaching a great deal of importance to their origin. Many manufacturers are even making furniture out of recycled materials.
When it comes to design, a straightforward aesthetic vocabulary continues to prevail – frills and flourishes were yesterday. Rounded and romantic forms tend to be the exception. Clear lines are the order of the day. The product presentations are characterised by a similar clarity: an increasing number of manufacturers are counting on a concrete brand profile, which they hope to raise awareness of amongst visitors, trading partners and consumers through their appearance at the imm cologne. This is a totally new development in the furniture industry: in the past, only a handful of manufacturers pursued a consistent strategy designed to establish a distinct brand profile.
On the whole, modern furniture has to fulfil many functions. That’s why it is getting smaller again, because all sorts of different things can be done with it. Sofas, for instance, should be easy to adjust so that bigger seating surfaces can be created. Desks only need a small workspace because the technical equipment is getting smaller and display cabinets can be narrow because the LED lighting doesn’t take up any space. Poufs that can be carried around the home are flexible seating options that fit in anywhere. Tables can be extended in next to no time when friends come for dinner, and flatscreen TVs can be made to disappear into the sideboard at the push of a button.