Interessengemeinschaft Leichtbau e.V. (igeL)
Interessengemeinschaft Leichtbau e.V. (igeL)
Geobenstraße 4-10
32052 Herford
Tel. +49 (0) 5221 126537
Fax. +49 (0) 5221 1265537
Date 02 / 2011
Client Interessengemeinschaft Leichtbau e.V. (igeL)
Category Presse-Information
Key ilne1103


igeL press conference on 18 Jan 2011
Statement Klaus W. Goecke from GoeckeDesign

The lightness of design The return to an old design maxim: form follows function. In recent years furniture design has often been limited to new colours, woods or decorative finishes, with seemingly no desire to achieve more utility, functionality or value for money.

As a result, individual products in the furniture industry are becoming increasingly alike with less and less scope for individuality. Where differences do exist, they are mostly restricted to the use of beech heartwood, walnut or oak in solid and partially solid wood products. In addition, all furniture is white with shades varying from cool to warm. This socialisation of design needs to be reinvigorated with new materials, new functions and sustainability.

The picture I have just painted doesn’t just hold true in living areas; a similar situation applies to bedroom furniture, which does occasionally show more surface techniques being used but otherwise exhibits few notable innovations, for all the quantity of products on offer. Even kitchen furniture, which is generally considered an innovation leader in the cabinet furniture industry as a whole, often consists of very similar products. This does not, however, invalidate the excellent technical standard of German fitted kitchens. This criticism, like the products on offer to consumers, is directed at the marketing gimmicks of retailers, who are always coming up with new anniversaries and anniversary special offers instead of giving space to innovative products.

The supplier industry, which has often been a source of innovation for the furniture industry, has opened up innovative new areas by picking up on established ideas. Lightweight construction panels are already an established technology in touring caravans and boat-building. Only when competent supplier companies with different specialisations combine their efforts will it be possible to manufacture new, individual furniture models on an industrial scale.

What new possibilities will be created by this new product mix, for example in living areas? Nowadays, the focus in living rooms is on units to store TV, audio, hi-fi and entertainment systems. In rented accommodation there is the problem of wiring and the all-too-familiar cable spaghetti. The static properties of lightweight construction elements allow them to cover larger areas without the problems associated with particle board and also have enough space inside to accommodate cables, lighting and power supplies. Horizontal modular elements of different widths not only create a whole new look but also provide scope for new functions. Panel sections can even be freely mounted to give access to storage space while taking up minimum space.

90% of American housewives have walk-in wardrobes, while 90% of German housewives dream of owning one. Lightweight construction technology can transform a 2.5-metre-wide wardrobe into a 4-metre-wide panorama of the contents, with an “open sesame” effect. It not only enables pioneering innovation but also a way of making those German housewives we mentioned happy. No extra space is required, so the new wardrobe can be installed in a regular-sized bedroom.

German fitted kitchens are internationally renowned as some of the most technically advanced cabinet furniture in the world, but still, naturally, have potential for improvement. Innovations on the kitchen front include wall cabinets up to 3 metres wide with a door that opens in a single motion without getting in the way. The whole width of the cabinet interior is visible and accessible at once.

That’s what we call lightness in furniture design.

New technical solutions make apparently difficult design problems easier and open up new design possibilities. Priority is once again given to function in areas where we thought the possibilities were exhausted. Designing with lightweight construction panels permits the integration of fittings, the use of light, the bridging of large distances without curvature, and the incorporation of different material thicknesses, allowing us to reinvent the use of proportions. Equipped with all these possibilities, we are finding new design ideas and approaches in familiar problem areas. Lightweight design makes light work of difficult products – a new approach to success.

Further messages