Trend-spotting at spoga+gafa
Thomas Russell -- Casual Living, August 27, 2012
COLOGNE, Germany - Casual, cool lounge creations, easy chairs with delicate latticework and outdoor furniture that has an indoor feeling are all becoming increasingly popular. Customers seeking barbecues, garden equipment and garden care products want individuality, sustainability and comfort. These and other outdoor trends for the next season will be presented Sept. 2-4 by around 1,700 suppliers at spoga+gafa in Cologne.
Younger consumers in particular are looking to "chill out" and relax outdoors - but things have to be chic. So for the 2013 season, manufacturers are presenting casual, cool lounge sofas and playful creations which invite people to just "hang out." Furniture boasts quality materials and elegant designs without giving the effect of being too formal.
Outdoor cushions and modular seating systems are particularly practical as they have been designed to be easily rearranged, again and again.
An easy and relaxed atmosphere can also be created on a balcony or terrace by airy webbed furniture, with pieces that are elegantly formed and have fine structural lines that create a fascinating play of light and shadow. There are a number of different types of these filigree pieces - from furniture made of parquetry or having rungs to pieces with textile webbing or metallic latticework. In the course of all this, one classic style in particular is enjoying a renaissance - the spaghetti chair. New materials are opening up fresh design possibilities for manufacturers helping to drive this trend.
The trend color for next season will be blue. It fits in with the popular Nordic maritime style and it creates an atmosphere of peace and freedom. Instead of lapsing into wanderlust, settle into blue furniture and accessories and have wonderful dreams of distant beaches. Blue is at its best advantage in combination with white or beige and brown tones - colors which continue to be essential for the outdoor sector.
Accessories and decorative items in bright colors are perfect stylish accents for rounding out the fresh and happy summertime atmosphere.
For an indoor feeling
The boundaries between indoor and outdoor are becoming more and more blurred. This trend has now reached an exciting apex. These days there is outdoor furniture made in typical indoor forms - rocking chairs for example - and products such as outdoor furniture cover materials that have a look and feel that makes them indistinguishable from interior textiles or leather. By adding carpeting, lamps and small furniture items, a complete living space can be created. A consumer doesn't even have to go without pictures outside, as weatherproof outdoor paintings are all the rage.
The tendency to make one's own yard as chic as the living room is now reaching into the area of garden facilities. For next season manufacturers will be offering stylish garden houses, rainwater tanks that have the look of expensive stonework and free-standing water tap that looks like a granite stele.
Barbecuing for every taste
Even when it comes to barbecues, conventional models just aren't very popular anymore. Consumers want individualized barbecues tailored to their specifications. To meet the demand, manufacturers will be presenting models in bright colors such as pink, green and red - and even in the colors of various football, handball and ice hockey teams for die-hard fans. At the same time, barbecues offer an increasing number of possibilities for preparing a more diverse menu. For that special taste there are even briquettes made from grapevines. In addition, the trend is for having a complete grill center, that fulfils all of one's culinary desires. There are also built-in barbecues that are designed to suit the style of the garden. For the ease and comfort of consumers that enjoy grilling on the beach or in the park, a brand new idea has emerged - a bicycle trailer that can be converted into a barbecue in the twinkling of an eye.
In order to make the outdoor fun last as late into the night as possible, outside lighting decoration is making a stronger showing. The lighting of water features continues to be the strongest trend, along with weatherproof lamps that catch the eye with their extravagant, sculptural forms. Accent lighting and LED strips can be used for many applications - in a swimming pool or garden pond and as a spotlight on small waterfalls and outdoor walls.
Even when the weather has left something to be desired this season, the garden is still the favorite place for Germans to spend their time. That's where 41% of the population prefer to make themselves comfortable in the summertime according to the results of a recent online survey by Ipsos Observer done on behalf of Quelle.
What is especially interesting is the fact that in order to enjoy their own bit of green space, Germans are willing to give up a few things. 52.5% said that during the warmer months they would be willing to give up television in favor of spending time in their garden, and almost 42% would even give up their sofa. These are ideal prerequisites for doing good business in the outdoor sector.
For more information, visit www.spogagafa.com.