Faced with a small living space? Fret not, with multifunctional furniture


By AGENCY

This sofa from Artifort has a shelf on the back, making it good for more than just sitting on. Photos: dpa

Sometimes, a sofa is more than just a sofa. And a chair can be more than a chair. At this year’s IMM trade fair in Cologne, Germany, designers were really thinking outside the box about what furniture can do.

Living spaces are becoming smaller, which leads to an increased demand for multifunctional furniture. And interior designers are jumping on this trend with furniture that is not only functional, but also chic.

One example is the new Liv sofa system by Rolf Benz. The back and armrests are also shelves for books or accessories. And a version of the Cila Go chair by Arper not only offers storage space in the footwell but can be converted into a mini office thanks to a small swivelling table.The back and armrests of the Liv sofa system by Rolf Benz are also shelves for books or accessories.The back and armrests of the Liv sofa system by Rolf Benz are also shelves for books or accessories.

“Multifunctional furniture can be quickly used in other rooms, for example, when visitors come, ” says Frank A. Reinhardt, a trend analyst for the IMM. He cites the example of the footstool, like Artifort’s version with a band for carrying it.

Sometimes furniture can disappear completely: The Floating Office hangs from ropes on the ceiling, and rolls up at the touch of a button when it’s no longer needed. Naber, meanwhile, has designed a faucet that can be tilted and lowered down into the sink so you can use the sink as counter space by putting a board over it.

Durability is also a key theme contributing to the functionality of furniture right now.

The Floating Office hangs from ropes on the ceiling, and rolls up at the touch of a button when it's no longer needed.The Floating Office hangs from ropes on the ceiling, and rolls up at the touch of a button when it's no longer needed.

“In the furniture sector, the question is no longer how high quality a piece of furniture is, but how durable it is, ” designer Luca Nicetto said at the presentation of his new sofa for Rolf Benz.

Sustainability is a major issue in the furniture industry as consumers are ever more concerned about the environment.

Of course, quality has a direct effect on durability, which is why many companies are increasingly emphasising the quality of their furniture. But it is also a matter of using recycled and recyclable materials. One example of this is a new mattress from the Euro Comfort Group that is made from old plastic bottles.Freifrau’s swing seat, originally intended for the home, is now also available for the garden.Freifrau’s swing seat, originally intended for the home, is now also available for the garden.

These trends also apply to garden furniture. More and more high-quality chic outdoor furniture is being made, and many classic living room furnishers have started to produce garden furniture as well.

Many brands do this in order to be able to offer devoted customers a complete range for indoors and outdoors, Christoph Kahleyss says. Kahleyss is the designer for Freifrau, whose swing seat, originally intended for the home, is now also available for hanging under a big tree in the garden. – dpa

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