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Interiors Industry 4.0

The start-ups developing furniture trends

Rented sofas, cardboard chairs or personalised shelving: More than just sources of unusual ideas, start-ups are winning over customers. When it comes to furniture trends, customer orientation, efficiency and sustainability, many start-ups are direction setters that deserve to be taken seriously. It’s time to take a look at the fresh business ideas in the industry.

The start-up ROOM IN A BOX - cardboard beds and shelves.

The start-up ROOM IN A BOX sets furniture trends with cardboard beds and shelves. (Photo: ROOM IN A BOX)

Furniture trend 1: renting, not buying

“Why buy furniture when I can rent it?” This question is a natural one for growing numbers of young people. Many of them follow a flexible, minimalist lifestyle that has no place for modular sofas and other commitments. They move frequently and change their style even more frequently. Yet at the same time, they want to live sustainably. All this makes rented furniture on a subscription plan that lasts two years at a maximum an ideal choice.

Berlin furniture start-up Lyght Living was founded in 2018 with the aim of renting stylish furniture by renowned brands to young people at affordable prices. FLC Furniture Leasing successfully took over the start-up in 2020 – along with its customer base, which is primarily formed of millennials. You can find out exactly how furniture rentals work and which other companies offer this service in this article.

Furniture trend 2: individuality, not mass-produced

The generation born around the turn of the millennium thinks differently. They are extremely trend-conscious, yet they want to be unique. Whether they opt for DIY, second hand or limited editions, they painstakingly trawl flea markets and online stores and marketplaces to find pieces that allow them to furnish their homes in their own personal style. And quite a few of them are turning to DIY tutorials to create their own shelves, sofas and more besides.

Furniture start-ups such as MYCS and Pickawood have developed this pursuit of individuality into a business model with self-designed furniture. Customers can tailor their furniture to suit their personal tastes with the aid of modular systems and online configurators. Fabrics, colours, materials, dimensions, functions – millions of possible combinations guarantee individuality that is clearly visible.

The idea is also interesting from a commercial perspective: The furniture is generally produced by partner companies. This means that the start-ups can cut back on high acquisition costs for equipment as well as saving on their wage bill. The modular systems guarantee affordable prices while maintaining a high quality – and the short delivery times that are so important to young people.

These three start-ups have successfully established themselves on the market:

Der Showroom of Mycs in Berlin

Der Showroom of Mycs in Berlin. (Photo: Mycs)

MYCS, founded in Berlin in 2014, now has eight showrooms in three countries, a virtual furniture showcase and, above all, an endless supply of design ideas. Its range of furniture includes shelves, cupboards, cabinets, tables and chairs, all the way through to sofas. Almost everything from the rear wall and shelf feet to the upholstery can be custom-designed. One-off pieces guaranteed.

Start-up Pickawood manufactures individual sustainable shelves

Start-up Pickawood manufactures individual sustainable shelves. (Photo: Pickawood)

Hamburg start-up Pickawood shows just what is possible with modern technology: Its measuring service for made-to-measure cupboards, shelves and tables even works online thanks to innovative 3D technology. This is a major plus in the coronavirus era – and a big bonus for digital natives in any case. What’s more, the furniture is not just timelessly elegant; it is also made from wood from sustainably managed forests.

An individual sideboard of furniture start-up form.bar

An individual sideboard of furniture start-up form.bar. (Photo: form.bar)

Saarbrücken start-up Okinlab goes a step further. Its online store form.bar allows customers to customise beds, shelves, tables or sideboards to their needs. Even the shape of the furniture can be adapted to improve its ergonomics, make it fit in tight nooks and crannies, and create stunning effects. A patent has already been filed for the innovative, award-winning technology.

Furniture trend 3: cardboard, not wood

Those who move house often can sometimes find themselves with nothing to sit on but a moving box. ROOM IN A BOX turns cardboard furniture into a lasting solution. Fully committed to sustainability, the company works with a material that others use only for transport. The corrugated cardboard is 70 per cent recycled, easily disposable and 100 per cent reusable – unlike conventional furniture. In addition, the cardboard beds and shelves can be individually designed. Easy to transport, they save lots of space when moving. It’s no surprise that the company’s products are appearing in growing numbers of young people’s homes.

Munich start-up WYE has turned the upcycling trend into a business idea: The founders have developed their own construction material, Neolign®. It consists of up to 83 per cent wood shavings. The sheets produced from this material are completely fed back into the product cycle at the end of their life as furniture. This means that not a single tree is felled to produce the colourful, minimalist stools, benches and tables.

Corrugated board bed by furniture star-tup Roominabox

The furniture start-up Roominabox makes sustainable and durable furniture from cardboard, such as this bed. (Photo: ROOM IN A BOX)

Furniture start-ups are the direction setters for the future

Start-ups are an integral part of the company landscape – after all, every business once started out small. And what seems completely natural today was very often an innovation at first and had to establish itself on the market. Take fitted kitchens for example: They were developed in the late 1920s by Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. Then aged almost 30, the architect was inspired by the kitchens in railway dining cars. Known as the Frankfurt kitchen, her idea was a welcome, space-saving solution, especially in increasingly crowded cities. The first fitted kitchen produced in series production was presented in 1950 – at the Kölner Möbelmesse furniture show in Cologne, to be precise.

Speaking of which, find out what imm cologne 2021 has lined up for you and take a peek at the furniture trends that will be unveiled at the Interior Business Event.

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