If people want to see what living spaces look like beyond stylish home stories, they can take a look at www.theselby.com or www.stylespion.de. They can even browse online photos of staged real estate objects on the market. The furniture shown by Jean, Mariko and Ms Mueller all have one thing in common: The couch is the weak point. This year’s imm cologne international furnishing show has the perfect remedy. From 19-25 January 2009, manufacturers of upholstered furniture from every continent will show their latest sofas, functional couches, divans, chairs, armchairs, three-piece suites, living landscapes and sleeper sofas in Cologne.
What the show has to offer
The entire spectrum of upholstered furniture, from affordable starter sofas to elegant designer products, will be on display at the “imm comfort” show in halls 5, 6 and 10. Dirk-Walter Frommholz, Chairman of the Board of the German Association of the Upholstered Furniture Industry (VdDP), described this year’s show: “No other international trade show provides such an extensive overview of the latest trends, services and sales concepts in the international upholstered furniture industry. This leading event places the right priority on the upholstered furniture segment – after all, 34% of the available space is dedicated to it.”
Jeroen Sanders, Dutch industry innovator and owner of Leolux, also appreciates the imm cologne. His perspective: “Regardless of what people think about other furniture shows – Cologne is still the most important trade fair for brands which strive to establish themselves in the European market. The international presentations and professionalism of the exhibitors help players to make sound decisions and measure themselves against other suppliers.”
When it comes to the economic situation of the German upholstered furniture industry, Dirk-Walter Frommholz doesn’t mince his words: “The situation is still very tense,” said the insider. German upholstered furniture companies marked a decline in sales of 7.2% from January to May 2008 alone. This is due in part to intense pressure from low-wage countries. “Manufacturers of upholstered furniture in Germany need to capture new markets and lead in exports in order to remain competitive in future,” urged Frommholz.
Only German producers who have established themselves as unique and creative niche manufacturers have a chance. German upholstered furniture manufacturers will show their creativity once again in January 2009. They will show the latest trend in environmentally friendly products with natural, untreated aniline leather upholstery – in extra thick or water buffalo leather in the top-grade segment. The companies will also express their ecological commitments to make their products marketable.
Innovative upholstery collections for the “silver generation”, sparkling accessories and celebrity testimonials will also bring a breath of fresh air to furniture retail – not to mention the new developments in Germany’s unique, world-renowned functional furniture and upholstery systems.
Only people who attend this year’s imm cologne and the other design events will experience the hottest international trends in couches. A couple of trends visitors can expect: Visibly cosy, cuddly couches will be on display in the Rhineland city along with rough, imperfect and completely natural looking surfaces, asymmetrical designs, recyclable upholstery materials, textile couches ranging from lavender and purple to blue-violet, subtle poetic accents in the design and/or surface material, elegant notes of silver and gold, high-contrast combinations of bold colours with black and white, rediscovered beadwork, strong individual items and objects which could even be considered artwork.
If the furniture industry listens to any suggestions from the upholstered furniture industry, nothing should stay in the way of Ms Mueller’s and Mariko’s dream couch this season.