interzum: Trend toward natural look

When it comes to what tomorrow’s furniture will look like, the latest developments originating from decor paper, melamine and finish foil producers as well as laminate manufacturers play a crucial role – nowhere else are so many trend studies developed and market research analyses conducted. It is therefore all the more gratifying that, every two years, interzum is privileged to welcome all the market leaders from this vital segment to Cologne as exhibitors. Just a few months after the event, many of the products on show at the trade fair are already enhancing the goods displayed in the world’s furniture stores. Nor can any other fair boast such a high number of companies whose work revolves around the natural raw material wood.

In recognition of their importance, interzum dedicates two halls to these major materials segments: Hall 5.1, entitled “Nature & Interior”, contains all kinds of natural materials, from wood to veneer and parquet all the way to materials for interior finishing. The “Form & Decoration” segment in Hall 6 presents finishing  materials like paper and laminates as well as the means and tools needed to manufacture them and showcases everything from composite materials to pigments and wood-based materials.

Naturalness is one of the major keywords at interzum 2011. Schattdecor, for instance, describes melamine coating in combination with synchronous embossing on the press plates as one of the most important developments of recent years: as well as their familiar visual quality, melamine surfaces are now being given a haptic surface texture as well – making products with wood and stone effects look even more authentic. Besides a wealth of new decors, the Thansau-based company will also be showing some new and astonishing texture effects for the surfaces of its Smartfoil and Postfoil finishes and promises visitors a “decor experience in a new dimension”.

interzum: Trend toward natural lookBausch Decor and BauschLinnemann of the Surteco Group also see the increasing diversity of surface finishes as a decisive development. Whether it’s  synchronous textures or design elements with matt/gloss effects that are used contrary to the decor: the highlight of both companies will be a joint development by the name of “Haptic”, which equips finish foils not just with a visual effect but now also with a tactile surface as well. “Haptic” is available with uniform haptics and an almost unlimited choice of decors in laminate and wrapping qualities as “Tecofoil” finish foils for a wide range of applications.

With its booth at interzum, Impress wants to take its customers on an exciting journey through the latest style worlds. When it comes to the development of its  collection, one of the Aschaffenburg-based company’s main aims is to create well-coordinated texture and colour worlds so as to provide the customer both with inspiration and the material combinations he requires for his individual needs. Impress has already come up with a few surprises this spring, with the convincing saw-cut look of “Santana Oak” and the vivacious “Fabric Ash” decor as an amuse guele. For Cologne, the Bavarian company says it is preparing an “aesthetically pleasing, highly interesting and versatile ‘menu’ of decors.” Head of decor management Daniele Merla: “Impress has advanced enormously since its last appearance at interzum, as we’ve already been demonstrating at various smaller trade fairs. We’re very much looking forward to appearing on interzum’s international stage and showcasing our competitiveness and creativity.”

interzum: Trend toward natural lookOne of interzum’s best-known returnees is undoubtedly Austrian wood-based materials producer Egger. Under the motto “Think without limits”, the global player will be showing a wealth of new products and services, including – how could it be otherwise – decor highlights for the furniture industry. One special eye-catcher will be the “Egger Truck”, which is setting off on a European roadshow. “We’re looking forward to our return to the Cologne trade fair – after all, we haven’t been at interzum since 1993,” says Ulrich Bühler, responsible for marketing and sales in Egger’s group management. The wood-based materials manufacturer has been following interzum’s development carefully in recent years and very much approves of the fair’s increasingly international character. In the end, the decisive factor that clinched its decision to return was the visitor structure. It was important for the full-range supplier with various distribution channels to present itself not just to the industry but to architects and specialist suppliers as well.

Pfleiderer is also counting on new, trendy decors and finishes for its appearance at interzum. Its “BalanceBoard” looks set to attract the most attention. This totally
new type of board replaces up to 35 percent of the wood conventionally used with rapidly renewable raw materials and is therefore up to 30 percent lighter than
comparable particle boards – without any drawbacks in terms of processing or product characteristics. At interzum, the Neumarkt-based company will be presenting “BalanceBoard” in a wide variety of different thicknesses, optimally adapted to the needs of the furniture industry and interior finishing sector. The company is thus not just presenting a new generation of materials but setting new standards in terms of sustainability as well. “Pfleiderer is presenting an innovative and sustainable face to its customers. We expect one of the strongest interzum fairs ever, because the huge success of LivingKitchen is rubbing off on interzum as well,” says a confident Michael Wolff, Chairman of the Board of Pfleiderer AG’s Business Center Western Europe.

Sustainability will also play a key role in the trade fair appearance of PEFC, the biggest institution of its kind for guaranteeing and marketing sustainable forest
management via an independent certification system. Wood and wood products with the PEFC label verifiably originates from ecologically, economically and socially sustainable forestry. Whilst PEFC does not manufacture any products itself, labelling products whose (wood) raw materials come from sustainably managed forests makes an active contribution to the naturalness of the certified products. At interzum, PEFC Germany will be providing up-to-the-minute information on all aspects pertaining to sustainability in the woodworking and wood processing industry. An important factor, for the demand for ecological production methods is meanwhile firmly anchored in the minds of modern consumers.

One company that is already PEFC and FSC certified is veneer manufacturer Schorn & Groh from Karlsruhe. The most interesting new development from the wood specialists is “foldable veneer”. The company is also celebrating its 50th anniversary and aims to demonstrate why the name Schorn & Groh has stood for value and sustainability since 1961. The veneer producer offers its customers all over the world premium wood in a wealth of variants from a single source: from trimmed timber and raw veneers to fixed widths and fleece-backed veneers. At this year’s interzum too, the Schorn & Groh booth will be tempting visitors with a bar offering delicious non-alcoholic drinks. “We’re looking forward to welcoming lots of visitors and prospective customers. As in previous years, Schorn & Groh sees interzum 2011 as a special platform for expanding contacts and exchanging information,” says Axel Groh, managing director of Schorn & Groh GmbH.

For Dekodur from Hirschhorn, ecology in all matters and the manufacturing of carbon-neutral high-pressure laminates that contain no formaldehyde or phenol whatsoever are the two most important trends in the laminate segment. In keeping with the importance of interzum as the world’s leading fair for the industry, Dekodur has also announced it will be presenting many interesting developments and even global firsts for the HPL segment. “We want to use our presence at the fair to make new contacts and welcome prospective customers from all over the world. In addition, increasing awareness of the brand is another of our priorities,” says managing director of Dekodur Volkmar André.

Kurt Lautenschlager GmbH is another company that is looking back on half a century of corporate history this year. The exclusive distribution partner for the major solid surface materials manufacturers also supplies its customers with a wide range of laminates and unusual veneers. In Cologne, the company will mainly be focusing on the product portfolios of solid surface materials brands Avonite Surfaces, Swanstone and Lyric.

Rohol has two extremely promising products in store for interzum visitors: its new “Free-Ply” plywood, which emits less formaldehyde than solid wood, as well as the “PUR Line” of high-grade veneers. The latter combines pure nature, pure individuality and pure naturalness with all the decorative characteristics of the respective type of wood – all in the form of a high-grade veneer. But the Austrians also have plenty to offer when it comes to the current trend for “saw-cut” finishes. The “Rohol saw-cut veneers” will be the firm’s third focal point at the trade fair and will be presented in a multitude of variants that enhance the visual experience of real wood with natural haptic effects. “One of the new product lines Rohol presented at a trade fair last year wasn’t just identified as a trend for 2011 by the German Design Council, it actually became one as well. We are expecting the same kind of success with the product innovations we’ll be showing at interzum, which are all about naturalness,” says Anton Stöckl, managing partner at Rohol.

Anybody in search of premium sawn beech timber will find what he’s looking for at the Pollmeier booth. The material is sourced from sustainably managed and nature-friendly German forests. Of all the different types of wood, beech is a genuine chameleon – as demonstrated by a “Wood Stain Palette Wall” at the Creuzburg company’s booth, where visitors will be able to discover the manifold design possibilities for themselves. “As market leader for sawn beech timber, we supply more than 1,500 customers in more than 70 different countries. interzum gives us an opportunity to talk to many of our customers in person again. That’s something we’re particularly looking forward to. And of course we hope to be welcoming lots of prospective customers to our booth as well,” says Jan Hassan, head of marketing and PR. Pollmeier’s premium sawn beech timber, parallel-edged, excellently dried to a moisture content of just 7 – 9 percent, lightly steamed and conditioned and available in twelve application-based grades, will be the focal point of its trade fair presentation.

Real wood is also the focal point at American Softwoods, the umbrella organisation of the two major American softwood trade associations Softwood Export Council and Southern Forest Products Association. For American Softwoods, interzum is the ideal platform for providing information and finding new applications for the various woods – not just in Germany but – thanks to the international visitor structure – all over the world as well. The booth will provide detailed information about the various types of wood and present vivid examples of the products it can be used for.

Profiled solid wood mouldings are the traditional core business of Austrian firm Kolar from Brunn. In addition, the wood specialists also produce carved mouldings for exclusive furniture, wooden trellises and vent grilles as well as handrails. So as to preserve the naturalness of the raw material as authentically as possible, the Central European company has been using nothing but premium quality solid wood, partly with oiled finishes, since it was founded in 1928. Its interzum presentation will focus on the three new design materials “Duoplex with Alpi veneer”, “Duoforte 3D milled” and “Stepwood”.

But where would this wonderful raw material be without the right varnish? A lot has been happening in this segment in recent years too, such as the switch from solvent-based to water-based varnish systems. One company with special expertise in hydro-lacquers is 3H-Lacke from Hiddenhausen. The most interesting new product in this area is probably a varnish formula that uses renewable raw materials. Another totally new development: a multi-material varnish system that means e.g. aluminium and wood can be finished with one and the same varnish. And the specialists have yet another highlight in store for visitors: patterns with “flip-flop effects”. But they won’t be neglecting the practical side of things either: the company will also be presenting a hydro varnish that not only provides high coverage but promises excellent chemical and mechanical resistance as well. It can be used both as a UV-hardened or 2-component varnish, depending on the furniture component to be treated.

Germany’s major wood product wholesalers also include Holz-Schnettler Soest from North Rhine-Westphalia. To cater to the individuality trend that is sweeping interior decoration, the company has stepped up its production of highly decorative woods to the point of one-off customisations. At interzum, Holz-Schnettler Soest will be showing a fantastic selection from the solid wood and veneer segments that covers the entire colour spectrum and all the many nuances of wood. The company has completely revised its trade fair booth and designed it like a tour through its product catalogue and warehouse. On top of that, the booth is twice as big as before, partly because it also features the “Woodstar” subsidiary with which the specialists aim to reposition themselves in the veneer business.

For Furwa Furnierkanten, the focus is on solid wood rather than synthetic materials. The Walkertshofen firm claims to be the longest-standing manufacturer of
continuous veneer edgebandings for the industrial production of real wood furniture. In order to demonstrate the broad spectrum of applications, Furwa will be
featuring eye-catchers from “alien” areas: real wood mobile phone shells based on three-dimensionally moulded wood, handbags made of wood and cedar insoles with an antibacterial effect. For Furwa, interzum is the most important trade fair of all and internationally and globally indispensable.

Somebody else with an excellent knowledge of wood is master carpenter W. Hank from Newel, who will be presenting his new collection of solid wood doors in Cologne.

Visitors can look forward to an assortment that includes everything from reproduction country-style doors adapted to individual customer requirements all the way to a high-tech door featuring the new “No-Ha” system, which integrates the handle and magnetic lock into a single compartment. Doors equipped with “No-Ha” can be opened and closed without a visible handle – and without any major effort. Hank also produces one-off furniture of course, ranging from kitchens all the way to beds.

No other trade fair in the world features such a broad spectrum of exhibits for the furniture production and interior finishing industries. An event that is already causing a sensation and should be a permanent entry in any diary: interzum 2011.

SOURCE: interzum

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.