Furniture industry on the up again

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The Independent Online

The imm Cologne, Germany's biggest interior design fair and the first big furniture event of the year, has wrapped up and given a first few directions towards where the industry is going -- namely upwards, according to insiders.

(Relaxnews) -

The imm Cologne, Germany's biggest interior design fair and the first big furniture event of the year, has wrapped up and given a first few directions towards where the industry is going - namely upwards, according to insiders.

German news organization Deutsche Welle reports that the mood during the event was "cautious but hopeful."

Gerald Boese, head of Cologne's convention center, kept his utterings imm-specific, saying that "the international furniture fair IMM Cologne is one of the few consumer goods conventions in the world that has been able to buck the trend and stay stable."

But Euronews reports that "in Cologne, the organisers of the annual international furniture exhibition believe there are tangible signs their industry is on the up again."

However, the recession's implications are what is coining furniture right now: a correspondent for Wallpaper magazine writes that a "shift in consciousness resulting from the economic downturn and environmental awareness was very much in evidence."

And he explains: "Apart from references to ‘eco' issues and a few examples of blatant green-washing, there was a distinct lack of gimmicks and a general feeling of a return to simplicity and tradition.

"Giant knitted objects abounded as did examples of other handcrafts such as well-made wooden furniture and decoratively stitched coverings."

The same tendency was already observed at two of the world's biggest interior design fairs last year, the Saloni in Milan and Maison & Objet in Paris. Organizers of the latter event told Relaxnews pre-show that this season's trends hint towards more traditional design, eco-awareness and a back-to-basics approach, due to the "ageing of the population but also the economic crisis and the wish to go back to basics."

Providing a "refuge from the not very enjoyable reality," according to the organizers of the Saloni in Milan, materials such as wood and even plants are used in all their shapes and interpretations to make for a cozy feel at home.

"In economically weak times people, indeed think more on their own four walls," Dirk-Uwe Klaas, head of the German furniture industry, told Euronews. "You think less about holidays. [...] The budget for furnishings and accessories rises in difficult times."

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