* Multi-sensuality for surfaces
* “Fully” (equipped) furniture: with lighting, sound and comfort suspension
* Changing colour and surfaces stimulates furniture and living environments

With 1,561 companies from 57 countries exhibiting at interzum, Cologne didn’t only host all the market’s leading brands – there were also plenty of smaller, highly innovative companies in attendance. Nowhere but interzum attracts so many market and trend leaders to present their innovations in furniture production, interior design and materials, making interzum the meeting place for the industry’s decision-makers. Our homes will start breathing sensuality with truffled wood, cool cement-look walls that come in a roll, suspended doors, wall veneers infused with the aroma of coffee and faux rust doors.

Authentic stays on trend
There’s no substitute for the real thing. Affirming this truth and turning pieces of wood into unmistakable and unique items sometimes means digging deep into the creative box of tricks. Mehling & Wiesmann’s truffled beechwood veneers, for instance, cannot be produced in large quantities because the process is invariably long and arduous, involving a variety of different fungal treatments, to produce the pronounced grain with its intentional discolourations for an almost marbled, absolutely unique quality. Customisable products are also of interest here, as in the automobile industry, playing an increasingly important role not only for surfaces but also for the actual furniture systems. The Hox (woodbox) drawer system, for instance, is a hybrid box with fronts affixed with a clip, and lateral elements which can be selected from a variety of materials and styles, some of which can be exclusively reserved.

Multi-sensuality for surfaces
Manufacturers and furniture designers are currently under the spell of materials which possess a particularly enhanced sensual quality. And surfaces are no longer simply customisable, but also anti-bacterial, smudge-resistant, semi-transparent and haptically – as desired – particularly smooth or rough, show traces of cladding and casting holes (stoneslikestones), gleam in matt and glossy shimmering ornamentation (Schattdekor), have sound-proofing properties or look exactly like glass, only more stable (polymere glass laminate RAUVISIO crystal slim by Rehau). And the next generation of surfaces even comes with fragrances: decorative slats and acoustic panels are created by compressing coffee beans, vanilla pods, lavender or hay flowers, giving rooms their own individual atmosphere (Organoid).

“Fully” (equipped) furniture”: with lighting-sound and comfort suspension
Lighting is yet another element for the multi-sensory appointing of rooms and furniture currently of interest to suppliers and designers. As an integral design feature in furniture, it provides them with another dimension. The popular contrast effect of black and white is particularly effective for lighting furniture, a version of which is available in Gera’s current line in lighted shelve designs in black-brown anodised aluminium. Thanks to the versatility of LEDs, the furnishing industry can now avail of surprisingly versatile system solutions, for case furniture in particular, but also for more general room lighting. The modular LED system Loox (Häfele), with its wide range of different fitted lighting and lights for the underside of furniture, switches, control systems and interfaces with sound systems, provides lots of nw options for the unrestricted integration of lighting in different areas and colours. Technical features are becoming integral to furniture, regardless of whether it is in the living room or bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. These also include clever connection systems like the invisible horizontal connector Roto (Effegi Brevetti) and the self-clamping, invisible shelf-support Divario P-18 (Lamello), innovative, mechanical solutions like the Wall-Away Chelan functional fitting (Kintec Solution) to be positioned near the wall which functions without visible scissor mechanism and the Cube stand-assist mechanism from Innotec Motion.

Changing colour and surfaces stimulates furniture and living environments
“Of course, wooden surfaces and a wood-based feel still dominate the high-end case furniture and kitchen furniture segments but we are seeing a greater acceptance of colour play in terms of creative “Mix and Match” options”, says colour expert Dr Hildegard Kalthegener on the influence of surface trends on furniture design. Switching up the surface on a large piece of furniture or between the furniture and the wall creates a new dynamism for the private living sphere. Limed oak is paired with a deep, sober grey with a blueish tone, or Italian walnut with a subtle, smoky light blue. Cool turquoise tones with aquamarine, petrol and opal are also popular, particularly trendy when paired with warm woods for a complimentary contrast.” Dr Kalthegener also noticed honey-coloured woods with black-and-white accents and clever graphics at interzum (at Schattdecor, for instance), where she sees the black-and-white look with alternating matt and glossy surface as the perfect complement to the currently popular nuances between copper and iron oxide. “In summary, four days at interzum showed me that in addition to bordeaux, cyclamen and lime, smoky blue and cool aquamarine turquoise are becoming established contrast colours for honey-coloured woods.”
Surfaces and materials represent exclusivity in smooth looks.
Overall, interzum confirmed the noticeable trend in furniture design that exclusivity is no longer so much defined by shape but rather by the particular quality of the material used. We are seeing extremely smooth as well as deliberately rough and highly structured surfaces for furniture, surfaces defined by their very essence, by their uninterrupted surfaces. Also representing this clean look of exclusive furniture design were handle-free open and shutting systems which allow drawers, cupboards and even sliding doors (Komandor) to be opened elegantly and easily, thanks to easy running and shock absorber systems as well as mechanical or electronic opening assists (like Nova Pro Scala by Grass and Blum’s Tip-On-Blumotion). Manufacturers like Resopal and Niemann (with crystal glass surface technology Zero Edge) emphasise a virtually seamless appearance.

And SpaStyling with its large format, easy-to-install product system for bathroom floors, walls and washstands (Resopal), demonstrates, if it wasn’t already clear, how dynamically the industry is advancing into other market areas.” Anyone more closely involved in the broad field of the supplier industry who speaks to the exhibitors at interzum has certainly got to wonder at the enormous capacity for innovation to be found here”, says Arne Petersen, Vice President of Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse. “Many of the so-called suppliers are not only increasingly positioning themselves as more application-orientated and presenting their products as design concepts; they are also branching out into whole new spaces, the current example being the bathroom. imm cologne’s sanitation area can also expect to experience interesting additions from this perspective in the future”, says Petersen.

Koelnmesse – No.1 in Furniture: Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of furnishing, living and lifestyle. At the trade fair hub of Cologne, leading international fair imm cologne as well as the trade fair formats of LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, interzum and Kind + Jugend rank among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the upholstered and case furniture segment, the kitchen industry, the office furniture sector and outdoor living as well as the innovations of the furniture supply industry. Over the last few years, Koelnmesse has specifically added international fairs in the most important fast-expanding markets to its portfolio. These include Rooms Moscow/Moscow International Furniture Show, the China International Kitchen and Bathroom Expo (CIKB) in Shanghai and furniPRO Asia in Singapore.