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Spoga+gafa, Maison & Objet and Glee showcase outdoor living abroad

September was the month of the windy City for many in the casual industry, as manufacturers, designers, retailers and buyers flocked to Chicago's Merchandise Mart for the International Casual Furniture & Accessories Market. But across the pond, three international markets were abuzz, showcasing the newest trends, exploring the blurring lines between outdoor and indoor and helping businesses look toward the future.

SPOGA+GAFA SEPT. 2-4 IN COLOGNE, GERMANY
     Germany's garden trade fair drew 36,300 visitors from 103 countries, with 58% coming from outside Germany. The exhibition center's 235,700 square feet featured 1,975 suppliers from 56 countries, up from last year's 1,787 suppliers.
     "In terms of the number of suppliers and visitors attending the fair, spoga+gafa remains very stable," said Katharina C. Hamma, chief operating officer of Koelnmesse GmbH, which organizes the fair.
     The show's "garden unique design contest" boasted 283 entrants. The juried competition invited entrants to present designs interpreting the theme "Dining Outdoors," the objective being "to design furniture and objects that create the perfect open-air culinary experience."
     Award winners included Reto Togni for his outdoor kitchen, "Canorta;" Marco Gottardi for his table and chair set "LINEA;" and Manfred Makedonski for his "bottle cooler" and "bottle stand."
     A 2013 trend report released by spoga+gafa in advance of the fair highlighted "airy webbed furniture, with pieces that are elegantly formed and have fine structural lines that create a fascinating play of light and shadow."

MAISON & OBJET SEPT. 7-11 IN PARIS
     As interior styles transition outdoors, all-weather textiles reflecting the look of interior fabrics and outdoor rugs and lamps complete the outdoor room. This trend was in full force at Maison & Objet, which features an Outdoor_Indoor exhibition on hall 8.
     Maison & Objet Outdoor_Indoor reflects "an art of living trend towards bringing interior design outdoors." Exhibitors this year included Emu, Fermob, Royal Botania, Sifas and Vondom, among many other major players in the international outdoor market.
     This year, outdoor products extended to other areas of Maison & Objet beyond hall 8, including the projects section on hall 7 and the Côté Déco Actuel area of hall 5B. A wide range of outdoor companies showcased their products in these exhibitions, including TUUCI and Gloster.
     The show included three trend labs exploring current design themes - Minimum by Elizabeth Leriche, which emphasized a minimalist approach with clean lines and negative space; Elements by Francois Bernard, highlighting abstract designs inspired by the elements of earth, wind, fire and air; and Yes Future! by Vincent Grégoire, celebrating innovation and the world of tomorrow.
     September's show drew 70,916 visitors, down slightly from 71,406 visitors in September 2011, and included 3,250 home décor brands. U.S. attendance was up slightly from 1,712 in September 2011 to 1,743 this year.

GLEE SEPT. 17-19 IN BIRMINGHAM, UK
     The U.K.'s annual garden retail show drew about 600 exhibitors in September from various sectors in the garden and leisure industry, including landscape and garden design, nursery and planteria, home, gift and clothing; catering and specialty food and pet care.
     An estimated 10,000 visitors from more than a dozen countries attended the show.
     The show kicked off its first day with a Garden Industry Question Time seminar on social media and community engagement.
     "Social media is an excellent channel for both promotional messages and customer feedback," said David Stewart of Dobbies Garden Centres. "For us it's as much about building people's long-term interest in gardening as growing direct sales."
     Glee debuted several features at this year's show, including a Shop Window section featuring products selected by industry experts and retailers as the fair's most innovative.

The Outdoor_
The Outdoor_Indoor exhibition hall 8 featured prominent companies such as Vondom, whose marketing manager Michelle Poon said traffi c was strong.
This outdoor cacoon on display in the Outdoor_ Indoor section embodies the trend of bright colors and modern design.
This outdoor
Top: A hands-
Top: A hands-on area in the Grill Park section showcased the latest barbecue products from companies such as Weber.
Right: These ontrend chairs by Kettler feature a sleek modern form and stylish mesh seats.
These ontrend chairs
Glee showcases
drawing
Glee showcases the latest innovations in the garden and leisure sector, drawing an esitmated 10,000 trade visitors to its halls.

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