As the largest garden lifestyle trade fair in the world, spoga+gafa occupies itself with the new products of the green industry year after year. The focus here is on fresh ideas and pioneering garden lifestyle solutions. Where for over sixty years the DIY stores, garden centres, barbecue retailers and furniture markets from all over the world have been buying their seasonal products, there is – due to the pandemic – a yawning emptiness in the fourteen halls that are normally filled to the brim with gardens.Themes like garden work, closeness to nature or sustainability particularly gain significance in times like these. More than ever, the outdoors serves as a place of refuge. And instead of annual holidays, people are investing in beautifying their gardens, terraces and balconies. The worldwide pandemic is causing the garden industry to boom. And so trends and innovations are finding their way into people’s own outdoor spaces in these times too. The offer ranges from comfortable outdoor furniture, to smart garden appliances, through to fully-equipped outdoor kitchens – a glance at the current garden lifestyle trends and themes.
Open-air living-room: The garden as a cosy place of retreat
Garden work has turned to the future: After sowing seeds, growth and blossoms follow. This confidence can help styling one’s life especially today. As a place of creation and regeneration, the garden is therefore playing an ever-increasingly important role – whether for the gardeners and plants, togetherness or for recreation and taking a break from the home office and home schooling. The pandemic has accelerated a trend that was already on the advance beforehand, namely turning the outdoor area into a “green living-room”. The borders between indoors and out are merging and the furniture items for both areas hardly differ from each other. Sweeping and unusually low sofas, armchairs and daybeds are taking the terrace by storm. Freely combinable lounge furniture offers plenty of space outdoors for getting together and can be expanded in a modular way. Extendable tables, benches and chairs with a higher sitting position enable relaxed dining in the open air. And the home office can also be relocated outdoors today thanks to comfortable and weatherproof home furniture.
“Green living”: Nature as a source of inspiration
The desire for a healthy, close-to-nature lifestyle has not just grown since the Corona outbreak. Plants promote health and create an environment for well-being. Gardening and growing one’s own herbs and vegetables are in vogue. Raised flowerbeds, mini greenhouses and plant shelves are becoming increasingly popular in both the outdoor and indoor gardening sector. Naturalness is also the motto of many items of garden furniture and accessories for the current season. As authentic materials, natural wood, rattan or linen convey a closeness to nature as well as muted and natural shades. This spans through to the processing. For example, for teak furniture almost the entire tree trunk is used to lend chairs or tables a natural look. Plastic plant pots made in a rugged natural stone design or fibreglass rain tanks and sunshade stands in wooden optic also convey a natural touch.
Go Green: The garden is becoming more sustainable
Today, many people use “green” products to express a more conscious lifestyle. The sustainable garden is thus a key theme of spoga+gafa. Because more and more companies from the industry are placing importance on sustainability for their new products. For example, the manufacturers of outdoor furniture or plant pots are increasingly producing new models from recycled materials. Old wood from huts or boats and recycled plastic from oceans and households are being used as well as textile and organic residual materials. The collections are called “Green Basics”, “Greenline” or “Go Green” and as such their names already make reference to their “green” production based on these material-saving concepts. More and more recycled products are themselves also 100 percent recyclable to ensure a closed material cycle. The demand is growing because in the course of the climate discussion a more conscious way of living has developed into an ongoing trend.
Less is more: New lightness in design
The times are heavy enough, so it is nice to be able to take things a little more lightly in the garden. A lot of outdoor furniture is becoming streamlined, airy and more filigree. Less opulence, instead the design is determined by its no-frill appearance – not as reduced austerity, but indeed as nonchalant elegance. Bright blue, red and orange, but also many fresh, pastel shades underline the light outdoor design language. Rocking chairs, padded hammocks and hanging chairs or Hollywood swings are bringing both momentum and deceleration to the terrace and balcony. Round, lounge elements that create curvy seating landscapes are also getting things moving. Multifunctional items of furniture, the backs, arms and sitting areas of which can be easily adjusted or repositioned, are similarly flexible. They combine materials like aluminium, teak, ceramic and waterproof outdoor fabrics with ease. New sunshades in a wide selection of colours and materials also invite the consumers to mix and match.
Smart gardening: digital features make gardening easier
The current digitalisation thrust due to the Corona pandemic is boosting the online trade of the green industry. Digital solutions have been an important driving force for garden appliances for some time. In the meantime, robotic lawn mowers and automatic irrigation systems make up part of the standard equipment of many hobby gardeners. High-quality models are enhanced today with smart features that save even more time and energy. For example, the self-cleaning process of the appliances can be programmed via an app. Furthermore, mowing and irrigating lawns is optimised by sensors that measure the temperature and moisture of the ground. A networked control ensures an efficient water and electricity consumption. On the topic of electricity: Many garden appliances are equipped with high-performance battery packs and can be recharged via solar modules. This hinders both piles of cables as well as new battery packs for dimmable LEDs on sunshades.
Casual dining: Outdoor kitchens are being enhanced
In times when travel is restricted, cooking in the open air conveys a feeling of freedom and vacation. Moreover, mealtimes are moments of getting-together. Casual dining is the keyword here today, when it comes down to designing the outdoor cooking and eating space as cosily as possible. Weatherproof outdoor kitchens are the solution here, which depending on the space available and the respective demands, can be individually customised. New elements are added every year so that they are on a par with the equipment found in the fitted kitchens indoors. This also applies for the furnishing of the open-air dining room. New extendable tables in particularly stable quality can be adjusted to suit the number of guests and combined with side tables or serving trolleys. The manufacturers are encountering the increased level of urbanisation with narrow tables and loungers for smaller surfaces on the roof terrace or balcony.
Consistent comeback: Design classics and retro look
Things that are good stay and come round again. This can be seen among others in the diverse remakes of design classics for the garden. The comeback of furniture and accessories of past epochs is thus also ongoing in the current season. Whereby the customary appearance of the re-editions is combined with the comfort and quality of today’s materials. Weatherproof lengths of material or light frames turn the newly produced classics into flexible furniture for indoors and out. The present-day look of many new models is reminiscent of former times. Armchairs and sofas with handwoven rope, organically shaped tables and chairs or sunbeds in bright colours make the designs of the 50s to the 70s spring to mind. At the time, the arched shapes and bright colours symbolised a new era and hope – a design approach that couldn’t be more contemporary.
The next spoga+gafa will take place again – in a new freshness and with even more garden – from 19 to 21 June 2022 at the Cologne fairgrounds.