Cologne: 20.–23.05.2025 #interzum

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2023’s interior design trends: the sustainability megatrend

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Sustainability is a global megatrend that's increasingly shaping our way of life. When it comes to homes and interior design, the main focus is on creating healthy and resource-efficient surroundings. Eco-friendly materials and components are therefore high on the agenda for suppliers to the furniture industry and interior construction sector. They are having an increasing influence on current design trends. The growing desire for closed material loops and a circular economy is also leading to new concepts in the interior design industry.

Environmentally friendly BE.YOND chipboard made from bio-based adhesives from SWISS KRONO in interior design. © SWISS KRONO Group

The changing world of interior design

Against this backdrop, flexibility is key. In view of housing shortages and the growing trend towards individualisation, furnishings that can be adapted to the available space and different situations are more in demand than ever. They form the basis for long-term – and therefore sustainable – solutions.

For example, new multifunctional or modular furniture and furniture systems can be used when space is at a premium. These space-saving, practical concepts meet both functional needs and the desire for a place that feels like home. With innovative materials and digital processes such as 3D printing, product design can now be customised even within a product range. This has the potential to assist with the development of alternative formats. In this way, the demand for more sustainability provides an opportunity for creativity and new solutions.

REVEGO pocket system - Blum's solution for concealing kitchen units or entire living areas, awarded the Red Dot Award 2022. © Blum GmbH

REVEGO pocket system - Blum's solution for concealing kitchen units or entire living areas, awarded the Red Dot Award 2022. © Blum GmbH

Circular thinking

Companies in the furniture supply industry are having to contend with raw material shortages more and more often. As a consequence, they are rethinking today’s material streams and recycling processes, and working to optimise the use and lifespan of resources. Among other solutions, they are increasingly turning to circular processes or renewable resources. For example, recycled or bio-based materials are now serious alternatives to plastic in the production of furniture and its components.

Furniture fittings, for example, are now produced using plastic waste recovered from the ocean, recycled fishing nets or wood fibre. Thanks to innovative injection moulding technology, even castors, wheels or furniture glides can be made from renewable raw materials.

Natural wood

Materials like wood play a special role in current interior design trends because of their natural appearance. The structures, shapes and colours found in natural wood define many new collections of decorative finishes and surfaces. And that’s not all: this natural building material can also address issues such as CO2 emissions in the residential sector, the lack of living space and the desire for individual and healthy furnishings.

As a renewable, carbon-neutral material, wood plays a major role especially in lightweight design and furniture construction. Today, manufacturers of chipboard work with sustainable wood mixtures and formaldehyde-free glues, contributing towards healthy indoor air. New lightweight boards that can be shaped as required are being developed to provide particularly lightweight and thus resource-efficient components for furniture and interior construction applications. One alternative to conventional furniture that’s as surprising as it is innovative is a veneer that automatically takes the shape of a chair or table.

Equester Cup by Furnipart (design: Kamper Form): Cradle-to-Cradle certified handle collection for furniture. © Furnipart A/S

Equester Cup by Furnipart (design: Kamper Form): Cradle-to-Cradle certified handle collection for furniture. © Furnipart A/S

Products designed for health

The demand for healthy and hygienic living and working environments has been growing – not least since the outbreak of the pandemic. Easy-clean furniture finishes such as novel surface materials with antibacterial properties help with infection prevention.

Innovative synthetic coverings for upholstered furniture are dirtresistant. They can be cleaned without leaving any residue and withstand treatment with disinfectants.

Handleless furniture fronts can be quickly and thoroughly cleaned. In these designs, push-to-open mechanisms make opening and closing flaps, doors and pull-outs easier. Recently introduced electromechanical opening systems are especially convenient to use. Lighting can also play an active role in health protection: UV LEDs can sterilize surfaces when the light is shone directly onto them.

Shaping the change together

“Shaping the change” in the world of interior design is the mission of the upcoming interzum. With its new central theme of neo-ecology, this year’s international industry event will focus on sustainability. Key issues for the future, such as resource efficiency, health and the circular economy, will be given even greater prominence in order to drive the conversation forward together with exhibitors. After all, the growing need to increase environmental protection and climate action will continue to change the way we live and work.