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
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.
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
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
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.