Cologne: 16.–18.06.2024 #spogagafa

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Interview with Thorsten Hochscherf from designwerk

More efficiency and variety in outdoor furniture

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Thorsten Hochscherf is Product Manager for the designwerk and Cotta brands. We talk to him about responsible behaviour, his topics for this year's spoga+gafa and trends in the outdoor furniture industry.

Countless combinations can be created with the individual basic elements of the "Puzzle" sofa. © designwerk AG

„Puzzle“ Sofa from designwerk (Image: designwerk AG)

Philosophy of short distances

Dear Thorsten Hochscherf, could you give us a few examples of how you implement this year's top theme of spoga+gafa "Responsible Gardens" in your company?

We pursue a clear philosophy at designwerk: "From Europe – for Europe!" Our production takes place in the heart of Europe and we currently supply more than two dozen European countries. On top of this, we source nearly all our materials from Europe to guarantee our ecological and high-quality standards. Short delivery routes for materials and finished furniture mean our company ensures shorter waiting times and less resource consumption. We guarantee efficient procurement through optimised ordering processes.

What does this mean for the products themselves?

Our furniture models with extendable model ranges offer a huge variety of possible combinations. Our products are additionally equipped with removable upholstery, which not only simplifies the cleaning, but also promotes its durability.

„Central Park“ Sofa from designwerk (Bild: designwerk AG)

The "Central Park" sofa programme combines cosiness with water-resistant outdoor fabrics. © designwerk AG

Fast response to market needs

How do you balance the warehouse stocks so that you can guarantee on the one hand fast delivery times for the outdoor furniture and avoid overproduction and storage costs on the other – especially in a market segment that is characterised by high customer expectations?

In comparison to our competitors in the outdoor section, our collection has a huge advantage, because all models can be ordered separately without long lead-times and planning and can be delivered to our partners together with parts of the indoor collection. Full containers from overseas are no longer needed here. This not only saves resources and transport costs, but allows our partners to react to the needs of the market faster and more efficiently.

Challenges for manufacturer

Which current challenges do you foresee for the outdoor furniture industry?

One of the biggest challenges lies in procuring innovative materials like frames, foams and upholstery and fulfilling the highest quality standards, which withstand diverse weather conditions. Our products are designed from the very beginning so that they satisfy the demands of different climate zones – whether in rainy locations like Aalborg, Denmark or in a sunny region like Valencia in Spain.

„Puzzle“ Sofa from designwerk (Image: designwerk AG)

The modular "Puzzle" outdoor sofa adapts to any living situation. © designwerk AG

Indoor quality for outdoors

What will you be presenting at spoga+gafa in June?

We are going to present our still "young" brand, designwerk, to a wider trade audience – beyond that we firmly believe in the potential of the product category garden or outdoor furniture and would like to further develop this.

How do you proceed here and what are you expecting from this year's trade fair?

We make sure that all legal prerequisites are fulfilled so we can sell our products throughout Europe. Regarding the selection of our materials, we research, test and analyse them extensively, always with the aim of creating timeless and stylish outdoor furniture that is not only different to conventional outdoor furniture in terms of its appearance and feel, but which also satisfies our high quality demands. Our models are modern and comfortable, comparable with classic indoor furniture. This means our customers can use their garden or their terrace as extended living space and relocate the living room outdoors in the summer. We are sure that we will convince the trade visitors at spoga+gafa with our collection and can inspire them with this new dimension of outdoor lifestyle.

Thorsten Hochscherf, Product Manager at designwerk (Image: designwerk AG)

Thorsten Hochscherf is Product Manager at designwerk. © designwerk AG