This year, the Frankfurt consumer goods fairs not only offered a premiere by combining them on one date – also new were numerous trend articles presented in the exhibition halls.
New and unexpected and at the same time familiar, the trade fair trio of Ambiente, Christmasworld and Creativeworld presented itself under the heading "Home of Consumer Goods" this year. This also describes the trends that are shaping consumer goods design in the current season. The style agency bora.herke.palmisano has identified three developments that are noticeable in the industry. Annetta Palmisano presented them at the fair.
The first trend focuses on the surprising. For example, art can be created from old paper shopping bags and the wall is used as an alternative to the Christmas tree. The shapes are extravagant, bizarrely surreal or futuristic. Traditional and modern technologies are used in equal amounts, such as flowers from the 3-D printer, for which recycled materials were used. Products interact with their surroundings, for example by playing with light and shadow, colour effects or transparency. Christmas ornaments feature shimmering, pearlescent surfaces.
Opposites play a role in this trend: durable materials such as stone and marble form the antipole to today's fast-moving times. Easy-to-use multifunctional furniture adapts quickly to new circumstances. The user is encouraged to participate in the design process. Graphic motifs and tiles are an omnipresent design theme.
Currently, there is hardly a trend without a return to nature. So here too, the natural and holistic approach is in the foreground. A world without waste is the goal. Old coffee mugs are turned into lamps, urban waste is transformed into biomaterial and shaped into furniture using 3-D-printing. Wood is preserved in its natural form, for example in a chair that appears to have grown naturally. At Christmasworld, attention is drawn to the short life cycle of Christmas trees – a reusable zero-waste model may be an alternative. The same goes for tree decorations: the glass can be melted down and turned into new decorations.
Avoid or reuse plastic
This trend is also reflected at the exhibitors' booths. There are some concepts especially on reuse and waste avoidance. The Alfi and Thermos brands have long been active in this area, offering insulated containers for on-the-go use. This makes to-go cups and other disposable tableware obsolete. Customers can find inspiration for what can be transported with the containers on social media. The accessories are also designed to be stand out in terms of sustainability: in the future, a filter made of biomaterial or ceramic will replace the model made of virgin plastic. Green and pastel shades dominate the colours this season.
Kleine Wolke also wants to stand out with sustainability. The bathroom specialists presented their Eco collection at Ambiente. Here you will find accessories designed with recycled glass and shower rugs made entirely of recycled plastic. "One rug is equivalent to about 34 PET bottles," explains Anne Zeffler from the press department. Packaging has been reduced and is eliminated completely for some products. "Value is particularly important to our customers when it comes to bathroom furnishings," says Zeffler. Because that's also a sustainability factor, she says: "It's better to invest once in a product that you'll get something out of for a long time than to buy it several times."
The Gala Group takes a similar view. The group, which emerged from the medium-sized company Gala based in Wörnitz, focuses on dried natural materials instead of plastic and would like to present itself on the market next year with, among other things, lampshades, planters and decorations made from banana leaves – these would otherwise be disposed as a waste product.
The topic also made its way to Creativeworld. In its Nature line, manufacturer Kreul uses recycled plastic and recycled glass for paint pots. In addition, the ingredients have been revised. This has resulted in a water-based craft glue, for example. Kreul Nature markers can be refilled several times. In addition, the company donates part of the proceeds to charity.
Sustainability is also increasingly coming into focus at Christmasworld, for example at the lighting manufacturer Konstsmide. For instance, the company is now offering solar-powered lights with a memory function for the first time. In addition to Christmas decorations such as LED sceneries, water lanterns or wooden arch lights, the focus is on a new product range for outdoor lounge lights – with a design that greatly reduces plastic.