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Design Scene Main / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005 / 2004 / 2003 / 2002 / 2001 / 2000 / 1999
THE INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2002, Cologne

“Despite the overall difficult economic situation, the INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR has once again fully lived up to its reputation as the leading fair for furniture and furnishings.” This was how Dirk- Uwe Klaas, chief executive of the Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie e.V. (Association of German Furniture Industry) summed up this year’s fair.

Over the course of seven days, 1,459 suppliers from 46 countries displayed the entire spectrum of products and services. Everything from top-class designer furniture to traditional home interiors was on show. With 67 per cent of exhibitors coming from outside Germany, the INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2002 once again demonstrated that is undisputedly the global forum of the furniture and furnishings sector. The international nature of the event was also reflected in the significantly higher numbers of foreign visitors. In particular, the number of visitors from countries belonging to the EU was up significantly (+ 4 per cent). Altogether, the number of visitors from outside Europe was up by 26 per cent on the figure for 2001. Particularly noteworthy were the increases in visitor numbers from China, India, Israel, Japan, North America, South Korea and Taiwan.

In contrast, the number of visitors from Germany was down. An initial evaluation of the visitor survey suggests that fewer visitors per company attended the fair than was the case last year, although decision- makers, owners, managing directors and specialised buyers were well represented. This development reflects the current economic situation in the domestic furniture industry, which is struggling to cope with particularly high costs.

Altogether, 120,000 visitors from 105 countries attended the INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2002. As expected, the number of visitors was slightly down on 2001 (121,995 visitors).

The INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR was mostly characterized by good business results. The exhibitors unanimously emphasised the quality and decision-making credentials of the visitors as well as their interest in acquiring information. In contrast to the rather subdued expectations prior to the fair, the majority of the exhibitors also showed themselves to be satisfied with the level of ordering activity. The signals coming out of the INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR suggest that 2002 could represent the beginning of a recovery for both the trade and industry.

Design was the main focus of the INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR this year. The theme ran throughout the entire trade fair in the form of the “Red Route” design programme. Visitors were consistently surprised as they passed the various design stations and the individual interpretations of design and living themes. The Red Route was presented by famous German and international designers as well as by up-and-coming designers. The INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR’S demands with regard to design —particularly in relation to international design — were also reflected in the exhibitors’ presentations.

The most important design and trend signals coming out of this year’s INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR are:

Democratisation of design“ — design belongs to everyone Furniture is showing a bolder approach to light and colour The trend towards greater multifunctionality in furniture is continuing.

Transparency remains a major theme. Satinized glass is in — whether as the front of a cupboard or a tabletop. Movement towards clear formal language. Clearer contours for furniture. Living in comfort is important for most consumers. The customer can vary and rearrange his or her furniture according to mood and feeling. Increased identification with one’s own four walls. The INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR 2003 Cologne will be launched with a new name and an eye-catching and appealing presentation. The change of name from INTERNATIONAL FURNITURE FAIR to imm cologne will create an independent brand and underline its function as global pilot fair — as the international furniture fair.
 
 
Copyright © 2008 David Shearer