Every two years the European furniture industry gathers in Cologne to see and discuss the latest trends and developments in furniture and interiors. Well that's what they say anyway. It is also very much a networking event and the British organise their own parties and traditionally finish the evening off at Papa Joe's to get the real industry news! The Orgatec exhibition has grown over the years from a local German office furniture show to a truly international interior design Mecca and therefore two members of our design team, Cigdem and Deborah set off to Germany to get inspired.
Design Mecca or not, The Orgatec in Köln may be an international show but lacks the exquisite detail that the Furniture Fair in Milan has to offer. We also expected to be able to pay by credit card wherever we went but hey, we are flexible! We were impressed by the shear size of the place though and we had an amazing time!
The things that inspired us as designers were mainly the involvement of Biophilia in stand designs and also the use of wood in products within their context. They showed that it is possible to integrate Biophilic Design in office environments because it really does make a difference in your health, efficiency, motivation, creativity and overall mood.
Wood finish used in legs (chair & table) and work tops were very popular and clever in how it was implemented. Different shades and grains were considered to suit its context. A wood finish always gives a calm feeling. Greenery, plants, trees were freaking everywhere, we fell in love! The one we remember most is the pomegranate tree at the Actiu stand. The stand designers also used a lot of relatively inexpensive raw materials in an innovative way i.e. painting of sterling board/chip board, cardboard tubes and also exhibited unfinished metal.
The shift from corporate workplace “desking and task seating” to much softer timber pieces enhances a different way of working. On the office furniture side many of the big players relied on their classics and didn’t bring anything fresh to the table. Don’t take this the wrong way, we LOVE the majority of these classics but thought they needed to up their game a bit. Our industry dinosaurs Sam and Vincent, who joined us for a day felt exactly the same, but also pointed out that there were a lot of sit-stand desking on display, even on design brand's stands, hoping that this would now finally mean a breakthrough into the mainstream market.
Acoustics was another big focus at Orgatec. This was very smartly integrated in decorative office ornaments, ceiling rafts, desk screens, pods and even lighting. We also loved the curtains! The ones made of interesting materials – chainmail, rubber, etc – a very cool way of bringing a domestic feel to the workplace whilst still being practical way to divide spaces.
The general hospitality was excellent and we had an awesome time. It’s about so much more than just finding new products. We felt the stand design and networking side to be just as inspiring and very much look forward to Orgatec 2018!