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Susan Dickenson

Frankfurt's Collectione 2007 is heavy on casual for big volume buyers

Shades of gray, cubist forms and synthetic weaves were well represented in the Outdoor Living section at Messe Frankfurt's Collectione Spring + Summer show. The German trade show is designed to give large volume buyers a chance to place bulk orders and view trends for European lifestyle products that won't hit store shelves until spring and summer of 2008.

Pieter Hoogenhout, a sales manager for trendsetting outdoor furniture and accessories manufacturer Haans, explained Collectione's importance in the European consumer trade fair cycle. "Whereas Tendence is more about quick delivery, Collectione is more focused on organized retail and volume buying."

Haans, based in The Netherlands, unveiled new selections in its line of synthetic weave furniture, including molded open-weave lounge chairs effectively overlit in the showroom to emphasize the random beauty of the shadow patterns cast underneath. Upholstery and umbrella fabrics were decorated in palettes of black, white and gray, with occasional blues and greens. Buyers were intrigued by the company's Marimekko-cushioned funnel-shaped swivel chairs and smooth wax candle tea sets cast from the company's ceramic tea service molds.

Hoogenhout said Haans also shows at Ambiente, Tendence and Spoga and added, "Traditionally, around the last week of August and first week of September a buyer could visit in one trip three of Europe's biggest shows: Spoga, Maison & Objet and Tendence."

A reorganization of Messe Frankfurt's 2008 trade fair calendar, however, may challenge that lineup. According to Nicolette Naumann, Messe Frankfurt's group vice president, next year's Collectione will take place July 4–8, simultaneously with Tendence Autumn + Winter, The Design Annual and Taste It!, a gourmet and cooking event. "Collectively branded as 'Frankfurt 4 All Seasons,' the new trade show will cover all market segments, all sales and distribution formats, and will feature an array of designer and mainstream products for all four seasons," Naumann said.

Kurt Schlieper, General Manager for Europe's Barbecue Industry Association Grillverband (BIAG), thinks the move is a good one. "We welcome Messe Frankfurt's new concept for 2008 and hope that holding Collectione and Tendence parallel to two other events will come up to exhibitors' expectations," he said.

Hoogenhout said Collectione is also continuing to live up to its claim of presenting trends and looks that will be hot a year from now. "We are very pleased that we decided to come to Frankfurt this year. The idea of Collectione as a high-grade fair for bulk buyers has carved out a place for itself on the market," he said.

First-time exhibitors in the Outdoor Living category included Jobek, Bavarian hammock manufacturers; the Netherlands' Spilt & Zonen, suppliers of rattan and teak furniture since 1946; and Hamburg's Moebel-in-Stahl, debuting "Wall Fire," a flat panel of blackened metal that can be attached to the wall for an immediate, bio-fuels burning fireplace.

Other key German exhibitors included Munchener Boulevard Mobel (MBM), which opened its first North American showroom in Miami's Design District last year, and Sievert A.G. of Hamburg, showing its bamboo furniture and cubist woven Clause Set for outdoor seating.

Globe water fountains by German supplier Exotica Cor Mulder GmbH reflect the company's garden accessories and topiaries at Collectione 2007. (www.cormulder.com)

Simpac Weaves of New Delhi, India, adds interest to its red and blue outdoor fabric with stripes of orange and black, shown in the Outdoor Living section at Messe Frankfurt's Collectione show for high volume buyers. (simpacweaves@gmail.com)



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