EuroShop 2014, The World’s Leading Retail Trade Fair, will be the ideal platform for retailers, designers, shopfitters and stand builders to obtain a comprehensive overview of new possibilities for creating special ambiances in their brick-and-mortar stores to counter the increasing E-commerce competitors. A trend towards individuality in shop design and a desire to surprise customers again and again stimulate the innovations when it comes to shopfitting and stand construction materials. Be it paintable genuine metal, veneer made from banana trees, photo-luminescent granulate or bendable and rollable plywood – nothing seems impossible. “One clear trend of recent years continues today and is steadily growing stronger: the continuous increase in available materials,” states the “Materialreport 2013/14,” the annual materials update issued by the German agency Raumprobe.

To be held from February 16 – 20, 2014 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany, EuroShop’s segments EuroConcept and EuroExpo in Halls 5 and 10 to 15 will provide an extensive overview of the entire materials spectrum. Products on exhibit will be an optical and tactile enjoyment, often with additional functional benefits such as resource conservation.

Genuine materials and nature-identical surfaces

“We see two trends right now in the retail segment: one toward natural materials and another toward individualized designs. That’s why we expect an abundance of natural and substantial materials – rustic wood, for example, but also stone or concrete. Furthermore, the most convincing materials will be the ones that have some distinct feature allowing the creation of a customized appearance,” commented Klaus Monhoff, Director for Design and Décor Management at Egger Group. “We do justice to these trends by employing, among other things, new digital-print motives mostly highlighting material characteristics and natural features. The same applies for acoustic boards in warm unicolor tones and wood, as well as compact boards with indentions on the surface.”

“Materials should be extraordinary, trendy, durable and at the same time low-maintenance and multifunctional,” stated Nina Freund from the company Freund – Material für Ideen. This company was a highlight at the last staging of EuroShop with its “Wonderwall,” a vertical green space. Now, the company even uses moss labyrinths as acoustic ceiling sails. “Our product line contains a variety of natural materials, starting with the three different moss walls to leather, wood and cork walls and all the way to milled-out panels and water walls,” added Nina Freund. Kreos, a distributor specializing in innovative board and surface materials for high-end interior design applications, also offers moss boards – in eleven colors. New in the Kreos product range is organic composite board with hay, barley, autumn foliage and other surfaces. “The nature theme is a huge trend,” agreed David Segger, responsible for sales and marketing at Kreos. Nicole Lepper, member of the Management Board at Moysig Retail Design, explained the development toward “real” materials: “A longing for authenticity is growing as a counterbalance to our technology-dominated era and the artificial world of the Internet.” Among those authentic materials are (scrap) wood, metal, stone and leather. Based on its database records, the Raumprobe agency determined this year’s top ten most-requested material categories: wood (20%), plastics (19%), textiles (12%), coating and metal (11% each), glass (8%), concrete (6%), stone (5%) and ceramics (3%) as well as sandwich structures and paper (2% each).

Four major trends in Europe

The carpet fiber brand Antron, which is part of the Invista corporation, conducts regular trend studies surveying both floor coverings and home furnishings. They identified four major trends in Europe for 2014/15: “Natural Minimalism” includes natural materials, clear, reduced forms, fine structures and surfaces, soft, powdery colors and the blue palette of indigo; “Global Patchwork” describes the fusion of distinct cultural influences including ethnic, Native American and African styles, the modern interpretation of tradition, the mix of décors, materials, crafts and industrial manufacturing, as well as colorful, gleaming nuances; “Sense of Touch” includes 3D-effects, optical illusions, multi-layered and generally multifarious structures, materials with peaks and valleys, as well as geometrical patterns and shapes. The dominant colors are black, grey and white - a splash of neon delivers the contrast; “Recreate Century” signifies the resurgence of historical elements. Antiques are central, as is opulence in the form of flamboyant patterns, for example. The tone is set by high-gloss, metallic surfaces and silver, gold and copper hues.

Combining two or more trends in one product is popular. With “Lava” and “Volcano”, Homapal just launched high-gloss décors reminiscent of boiling metal. The amorphous structures, which are transferred to anodized aluminum surfaces through a special embossment process, create atmosphere – especially when combined with light (another trend topic). “Combining tried and tested materials with innovations also results in wonderful contrasts and illustrates society’s multifaceted nature. Our natural materials work great in conjunction with widely used construction elements such as concrete and glass. It is en vogue to play with contrasts and allow combinations of contradictory styles,” pointed out Nina Freund. Karl Schwitzke, Managing Partner of Schwitzke & Partner, added: “Viewing habits can also be broken by, installing traditional floor coverings on the ceiling or by using the same parquet for floor, wall and ceiling.”

Using materials as language

EuroShop 2014 will not just present a multitude of options and recent developments. The exhibiting planners, shopfitters and stand builders support retailers in finding the right materials for their needs. “What do you want to express? Materials should be used as language, underscoring the company philosophy,” said Karl Schwitzke, pointing out the importance of understanding the connotations of materials and colors, which may be vastly different internationally, and of purposefully choosing or avoiding them. Over the course of several years, Kraiss – stores – shops – systems has developed a database with over 3,200 items offering psychological insights. Retailers can refer to this system to get information about the ideal materials, surfaces, shapes and colors that perfectly reflect their store’s image.

Sustainability – an important issue

Even though sustainability varies in importance in different regions, it is a hot topic worldwide and will play a significant role at EuroShop 2014. Key words are deployment of renewable resources and recyclates, avoiding substances harmful to humans and the environment and better resource efficiency. This is a balancing act for many exhibitors. “The issue turns out to be quite complex once you start seriously pursuing it,” remarked Karl Schwitzke. It drives up prices. “But spending more money is out of the question for most retailers.” Hannes Bäuerle, owner of Raumprobe, added: “Sustainability is yet not given the appropriate importance. There’s still enormous potential.”

For further information on visiting or exhibiting at EuroShop 2014, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2920, Chicago, IL 60601. Telephone: (312) 781-5180; Fax: (312) 781-5188; E-mail: info@mdna.com; Visit our web site http://www.mdna.com; Subscribe to our blog at http://blog.mdna.com; Follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/Retail_MDNA

Source: Messe Düsseldorf North America

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