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Natural living:
Future materials for architecture and design

Troldtekt - holistic solutions for interior constructions
Interior construction: Requirements for sustainability and fire protection require integrated solutions such as acoustic panels made of cement-bonded wood wool without chemical additives. Photo: Troldtekt

Who says, that stones and concrete are the only construction materials that can be used for homes and that, generally speaking, furniture have to be made from wood or conventional plastic? We will take a look at the possible construction materials for sustainable architecture, interior design and interior design of tomorrow.

Green Design: More than just a marketing trend

„Sustainability“ is a frequently discussed topic. But there is more to this buzzword than just a marketing trend. Sustainability starts with the first sketch of a product and continues through the entire process of product development. Most important in terms of sustainability is the possibility to use the product and its components beyond its expiry date. An efficient design enables the economical usage of materials and energy as well as reasonable logistics and a production that allows recycling.

Half-timbered houses are a great example for sustainable design. Photo: H.D.Volz/
Half-timbered houses are a great example for sustainable design. Photo: H.D.Volz/

The idea of sustainable products is not new, it just became more relevant due to rising energy costs and the shortage of resources. Decades ago people already used materials that are considered sustainable products nowadays. A traditional half-timbered house for example is mainly made of „green“ materials such as wood and clay. Modern buildings use this old-school principle again and are build of wood and are insulated with cellulose materials such as scrap paper. This way yesterday’s newspaper caters for a cozy and warm home in the wintertime.

Half-timbered houses are a great example for sustainable design. Photo: H.D.Volz/
Half-timbered houses are a great example for sustainable design. Photo: H.D.Volz/

More and more one can find furniture made of old pallets and wooden cases: After thousands of kilometers on the road they are of no use any more for transportation and would usually be thrown away. When cleverly refurbished and combined they make new seating furniture, tables or even wardrobes.

Old pallets can be turned into comfy furniture. Photo: PetraBork/
Old pallets can be turned into comfy furniture. Photo: PetraBork/

Amongst materials for patios a new sort of Wood-Plastic-Composites (WPC) became popular. WPC products such as floorboards and wall cladding are made of sawdust, which is waste from industrial furniture production, and high-quality plastics.

WPC, a product made of sawdust and plastics. Due to its characteristics it has become an environmentally friendly alternative to tropical wood. photo: SG/
WPC, a product made of sawdust and plastics. Due to its characteristics it has become an environmentally friendly alternative to tropical wood. photo: SG/

Due to its great durability WPC products became a competitive environmentally friendly alternative for tropical wood. Once WPC products are worn out they can be recycled and new WPC products can be build out of the recycled material. In the end they can also be used as a source of energy through burning since they are made of up to 90 percent wood.

Nowadays we can find many sustainable and at the same time high-quality products for daily use, which enable a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through conscious consumption.


About the author:

Serkan of Casando
Serkan of Casando

Serkan is author for the online magazine casando. It is his priority to make topics about home and garden as interesting and readable as possible. Originally a journalist for printed media he manages to deliver relevant information for his online audience as well since he is very experienced with digital media. For him it is very important that a living and workspace is cozy. Therefore his favorite material is wood.

Final report: trade fair duo imm cologne and LivingKitchen 2013 attracts 142,000 visitors from 137 countries

After seven intense days, the imm cologne closed its doors on Sunday with good to very good results. 1,250 companies from more than 50 countries showcased the latest trends for the coming year and – including estimates for the last day of the fair – attracted 142,000 visitors to Cologne.

This year, there was a 13 percent rise in the internationality of the visitor structure – a significant increase. The international furnishing fair was able to report particularly positive growth in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia that are so important for the sector. “This result is a great signal for the imm cologne and confirmation of a performance befitting a leading international fair,” said a visibly satisfied Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse. “With this trade fair duo, we have written the next chapter in the success story of the imm cologne and LivingKitchen. Cologne is the absolute focal point of the furniture and kitchen industry – especially when it comes to business,” continues the trade fair corporation’s chief executive officer.

Dirk-Uwe Klaas, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie), came to a similarly positive conclusion: “The imm cologne 2013 was an outstanding trade fair – the German furniture industry is more than satisfied. Despite the wintery weather, visitors flocked to the exhibition centre in droves. We are delighted to report numerous new contacts and customers as well as a pleasing amount of ordering activity. The marked increase in the number of foreign trade visitors is another important component for the fair’s enduring and sustainable success.”

Luca Nichetto’s “Das Haus” at the imm cologne 2013 creates a view of the greenery

Foto: Andreas Körner, Koelnmesse

Following London design team Doshi Levien’s successful launch of the new design event at the imm cologne 2012, the trade fair has nominated designer Luca Nichetto as its Guest of Honour for “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage 2013”. In his design, the Venetian focuses on solutions that are intended to enable occupants to live in direct contact with the plant world.

Pure Village and its huge product mix provides the perfect setting for new trends

One area of imm cologne that stands for inspiration en masse is the Pure Village. Its architecture is what makes it so special: it has an open structure like that of a piazza. Although its exhibitors concentrate on just a few products, they are presented as if they were in an art gallery. The result is a living symphony of brands and product that invites visitors to explore. In the run-up to imm cologne, a number of Pure Village exhibitors have spoken about what they intend to exhibit in January.

For imm cologne Thonet has interesting new products on offer including the “580” chair by Claudio Bellini, the “130” chair and “1130/1131” table by Naoto Fukasawa and the “7000” shelf system by f/p design. The Frankenberg-based company sees “natural materials” and “sustainability” as the current top trends.

Finite Elements’ launch of its Mirror 62 sound mirror is certain to be a highlight during the week-long trade fair. The topic of “sound integration” runs right through the product range of the Brilon-based company, for example its “Hohrizontal 51” sound shelf augmented by the “Solo 51” shelf system or “Hohrizontal 51 Plus”, the long version of the brilliant iPod dock with additional subwoofer output. Bernd Brockhoff, Managing Director of Finite Elements, sees the integration of music in furniture as a future trend in the industry, with plenty of potential still untapped.

Design fireworks for the New Year: imm cologne and the city are going to make some noise

(Photo: Koelnmesse GmbH)
300 designer brands, a fifth of them from Italy, meet their business partners at the imm cologne fair. These range from interior designers to architects as well as a critical trade audience from all over the world. Here in Cologne cameras are as important as order books, as tomorrow’s trends are discussed and today’s winning trends are decided. Italy, the design nation with its leading lifestyle brands, is once again present in full force at the imm cologne. More than 60 Italian exhibitors, including top brands such as B&B Italia, Cassina, Poltrona Frau and Capellini, Cierre, Desalto, Driade, Kartell, Living Divani, MDF Italia, Poliform and Porro will present their ranges and innovations at the fair in January.

Home life trends 2011: What stays? What‘s coming?

photo: Warendorfer Küchen.
photo: Warendorfer Küchen.

It‘s been called “homing“ for years: that magical word, that complete residential concept. Nature, genuineness and heartfelt cordiality are the order of the day, something you instinctively know from your own conception of the pastoral idyll. And for this, there are cosy sofas, fireplace-heated rooms, plush carpets, silky pillows, walls of natural stone, mineral bathtubs, solid wood dressers.

Of course, natural materials like wood, glass, stone have become readily available, along with a colour palette in nature‘s spectrum. People are becoming more sensitive to – and sensible with – the resources of this world. Even with furniture, they are paying closer attention to the material and its origins. They are paying heed to the volume of raw materials, and their recyclability. It‘s worth noting here that discussion of the “cradle to cradle“ approach is beginning. “Cradle to cradle“ aims at a virtually one hundred percent recovery of all components, and opposes their disposal on the rubbish heap, or their incineration, or their recycling into far inferior components. Increasingly, raw materials are being re-used. Some European furniture manufacturers are already pursuing this prudent approach today.

At imm cologne 2011 and LivingKitchen, roughly 110,000 furniture pieces and even more furnishings are on display. Nearly 30 percent of these are completely new innovations. Given all the diversity, there will always be furniture and furnishings that enjoy particularly strong demand.

Designer’s Voice: Harald Gründl about design trends, a fast pace and greenwashing

Harald Gründl (EOOS)
Harald Gründl (EOOS), member of the imm cologne Trendboard. (Foto: Koelnmesse)

Born in 1967 in Vienna, Austria, Harald Gründl studied industrial design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna and holds a PhD in philosophy. In 1995 he set up the design agency EOOS together with Martin Bergmann and Gernot Bohmann. EOOS has become a leading studio for furniture design, brand spaces and design research with clients including Alessi, Armani, Bulthaup, Dedon, Duravit, Matteo Grassi, Walter Knoll and Zumtobel.

Harald Gründl, member of the imm cologne Trendboard, has chaired the Institute of Design Research Vienna since 2008 and is a partner at EOOS design, where he heads the studio‘s research activities.

What was the most interesting thing about the imm cologne Trendboard Workshop for you?
I found it very interesting to see that there are a lot of similarities in the way the various members of the Trendboard perceive the design sector, and that we’d all noticed similar phenomena. Meeting new people is always the most interesting thing!

The Trend Book shows what’s happening in design right now and what motivates the people who make use of this design offering. In your opinion, where are the strongest influences on product and interior design coming from?
As far as I’m concerned, the sustainability debate is the most important influence on design right now. How can we react to this development intelligently, and how does that affect the trends of the future? We discussed this aspect in relation to all four Interior Trends and were able to identify the different ways it’s manifesting itself.

Designer’s Voice: Patricia Urquiola about innovation, sustainability and interior design trends

Patricia Urquiola, member of the imm cologne Trendboard. (photo: Koelnmesse)
Patricia Urquiola, member of the imm cologne Trend Board. (photo: Koelnmesse)

Patricia Urquiola is a member of the imm cologne Trend Board and was born in Oviedo, Spain and now lives and works in Milan. She attended the faculty of architecture at Madrid Polytechnic and Milan Polytechnic, from which she graduated in 1989 having completed her thesis with Achille Castiglioni.

In 2001 she opened her own studio, working on product design, architecture, installations and concept creation. In 2006 Koelnmesse invited Patricia Urquiola to build one of the ideal houses for imm cologne. Urquiola‘s clients include, among others, Agape, Alessi, Artelano, Axor, B&B Italia, Bisazza, BMW, Bosa, De Padova, Driade, Salvatore Ferragamo, Flos, Foscarini, Kartell, Kvadrat, MDF Italia, Molteni, Moroso and Panasonic.

During the imm cologne’s Trendboard workshop, you didn’t just name four of the most influential tendencies in interior design right now, you discussed other trends in the design scene as well. How much of it do you think is really important?
I think there is a new trend regarding the idea of what is innovative. Innovation was always primarily connected with the idea of industrial progress, i.e. with a more traditional idea. More and more, however, the term innovation is coming to be associated with values like sustainability and with what people really see as innovative – for instance if something is surprisingly intelligent or opens up new usage possibilities. People are paying more attention to how something is done and why it is done. More importance is being attached to the concept.

imm cologne 2011 is the biggest upholstered furniture show in the world: Comfort shows new innovations and upholstered furniture trends

Curious about the new sofa fashions, dinner sofas, wellness armchairs or ultra-flexible seating ensembles? Then you can’t afford to miss the imm cologne! From 18 to 23 January 2011, visitors to the international furniture fair can enjoy the biggest upholstered furniture show in the world on the grounds of koelnmesse exhibition centre. Approx. one third of the total exhibition space will be occupied by the Comfort segment, where international sofa producers will be showing their latest seating creations. No fewer than four halls have been dedicated to this section of the imm cologne: 2.1, 3.1, 6 and 10.2.

Karl Sommermeyer, executive partner at upholstered furniture makers Himolla (Taufkirchen), on the importance of the annual presentation: “The Cologne fair is the biggest furniture fair in the world – and we will do whatever we can to make sure it stays that way. The standards set in 2010 give us every reason to believe 2011 will be just as good!”