Katrin de Louw

Designed in Germany

Long-lasting, sustainable, multifunctional and universal: The qualities of German design are the focus of the special exhibition “Future Interiors – designed in Germany” at imm cologne 2020. Color, incidentally, also plays a role.
by Jasmin Jouhar | 1/6/2020

What defines German design? This is certainly a pertinent question at a time when the furniture and interior design industry is thoroughly globalized, in which prominent designers are hired by companies the world over and trends on social media defy any confinement. “The aim is to raise the profile of German-made furniture internationally,” says Katrin de Louw, a trend expert and interior architect who is curating and designing the special exhibition “Future Interiors – designed in Germany” at imm cologne 2020. Across a total of 150 square meters in the center of Hall 10.2, this trend exhibition forms part of the thematic world of “Home” and will present the entire breadth of German furniture brands by means of new and seasoned products from selected manufacturers. imm cologne initiated the exhibition with the aim of appealing to “foreign visitors: furniture traders, project outfitters and interior designers,” de Louw explains. “At the same time, we also want to familiarize German visitors with what differentiates us from other countries.” The show incorporates manufacturers and brands like Bali, Hartmann Möbelwerke, Hey-Sign, Himolla Polstermöbel, Kare Design, Koinor Polstermöbel, Venjakob and Wimmer Wohnkollektion.

“The special exhibition outlines the strengths of German design in the context of the social megatrends,” says Katrin de Louw, who also manages the agency Trendfilter in Bünde in central Germany. “Future Interiors – designed in Germany” is intended as a platform for the German furniture and fit-out industry and to raise its profile. De Louw breaks the show down into five thematic areas that she believes are particularly characteristic of German design: Universal Design, Ecological Materials, Sustained Colors, Multifunctional, and Long-Living Quality. One core issue is sustainability, which the trend expert believes is one of the key core competences of German companies. The issue features in all five thematic areas of the special exhibition, for example when it comes to high standards in product quality, which give a furniture item longevity and thus make it truly sustainable. “With regard to longevity, furniture produced in Germany is the global leader,” says Katrin de Louw.

The sustainability of color is something visitors to “Future Interiors – designed in Germany” can also discover in the area of “Sustained Colors”. This includes the first presentation of Colornetwork, a collaboration between renowned furniture industry corporations that evolved in 2019. On behalf of the network, a panel of experts will choose a sustainable – meaning a long-lasting, timeless, easily combinable – color each year that will then be made available to manufacturers as a template for their product development. For 2020 the experts have chosen “Sustained Color No. 1: be rooted”, an earthy brown tone that also forms the basis for the color concept of the special exhibition. “be rooted” is quite dark and is therefore obviously associated with warmth and nature. It is compatible with virtually all types of stone and wood. The special exhibition also shows how well the tone goes with copper and pastel colors, black metal and brass, or even aqua colors and modern accent shades. “Sustained Color is true to the mood of the coming decade,” says Katrin de Louw. “It consistently fits with new furniture ideas and, rather than taking center-stage, simply accompanies the ideas of the interior designers and outfitters.”