Cologne: 09.–12.05.2023 #interzum

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interzum @home: Trend Stage

18 Mar 2021

Katrin de Louw

Katrin de Louw

Katrin de Louw is curating the Trend Stage for the new digital platform interzum @home with her agency, Trendfilter. The Trend Stage provides more than just an overview of the globally most important issues for tomorrow’s interior design. It also sheds light on aspects relevant to manufacturing for the industry. We spoke with Katrin de Louw about the focus topics for the programme and the new requirements for furniture and interior design in the coronavirus era.

Ms de Louw, you are curating the programme of talks for the Trend Stage. What pioneering ideas and developments will the programme focus on in particular?

We’re delighted to be able to start on 4 May with the winners of this year’s interzum award . That will be followed by a diverse programme covering a wide range of topics and offering something for everyone. Themes such as digitalisation, sustainability, the social change triggered by megatrends and international design trends will play an important role, but new practice-oriented products for manufacturers and interior designers will also feature prominently. We will shed light on global colour and materials trends from both the scientific standpoint of trend research and the perspective of application in practice.

interzum 2019

Trends in Surfaces & Wood Design by Katrin de Louw at interzum 2019

What other future issues will the Trend Stage cover?

The latest environmentally friendly products for furniture and interiors will play an important part in the programme: Recycled coatings, vegan wood-based materials and the prospects for recycling wood-based materials and furniture – the keyword here is cradle to cradle. We will present applications for generative design, or computer-generated design. In addition, we will outline ideas for how furniture manufacturers can generate added value from the hybrid commercialisation of their products, for instance by offering furniture rentals. But we will also address the new expectations within the furniture retail trade for manufacturers. All this will be accompanied by talks on practical applications, such as smart furniture as a form of social design and visions of tomorrow’s interior design from acclaimed international design studios.

Antibacterial and antiviral surfaces are currently playing an important role.

How will you address the current situation of the coronavirus pandemic?

Among other things, my own talk will examine the general changes that the coronavirus outbreak has triggered in interiors and furniture design. Antibacterial and antiviral surfaces are currently playing an important role. In most cases, this involves giving existing products an additional coating that can reduce the viruses for a specified amount of time or even eliminate them. We expect to see some new developments here in the coming months.

How do you see the pandemic as a driver of innovation in materials and design?

It’s true that the coronavirus outbreak has put a sudden brake on many things, but it has also speeded things up. It hasn’t stopped globalisation – on the contrary, we have seen that what happens in the world concerns all of us. But it still has been as if someone pressed the pause button. In the field of digitalisation and New Work by contrast, the pandemic has made a breathtaking speed possible. The developments it has enabled would have otherwise taken many years. And then there are new trends such as the growth of sport at home. Trends like these are only just emerging, but they have already reached their zenith with the pandemic because many people are looking forward to going back to the gym or the swimming pool when it is over.

ZOW 2020

Tiny Spaces by Katrin de Louw at ZOW 2020

The home office and home schooling have expanded the functions of the home. On the other hand, the need to plan small homes is growing due to rising housing costs. What solutions do you see for this need?

Incorporating multifunctionality into furniture and interior design on the one hand and individualisation by optimising interior construction on the other requires both the industry and the retail trade to rethink their approaches fundamentally. Furniture should be conceived, designed and sold to function across a range of rooms so that the wardrobe and the coat stand, for instance, can be combined in one object in a tiny space. Storage solutions also need to be improved, for example, by integrating them into the sofa or the table.

Multifunctionality and individualisation requires both the industry and the retail trade to rethink their approaches fundamentally.

Urbanisation and gentrification, but also the ageing of society are processes that are having a direct impact on home living. What pioneering approaches are you currently seeing for living together in limited, age-friendly and functionally optimised spaces?

I think this is first and foremost a social issue: The coronavirus pandemic has shown that we have to stick together. Many people are lonely. In pioneering urban neighbourhoods, you can find a community that includes all the key forms of provision. At the same time, it provides “third places” where people can meet up, have fun, perhaps grow vegetables together, rear animals or cook collectively, barbecue and spend time in nature. Demographic changes mean that these kinds of collective and cross-generational ideas for living communities that are able to extend across entire urban neighbourhoods are taking on an extremely important role. This naturally has an enormous impact on individuals’ personal space and how they furnish their homes.

Exciting talks are still wanted for the interzum @home Trend Stage. Please send your proposed topics as soon as possible to Katrin de Louw with interzum @home Trend Stage in the subject line.