12.–16.01.2025 #immcologne

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Blurring boundaries

Modular furniture for a new freedom in home living

Changes in lifestyles are blurring the lines between home and work, indoors and outdoors, and between functionality and a flair for life. Multifunctional and modular furniture creates a modern interior aesthetic that removes fixed boundaries. We take a look at the global trend for boundary-free living.

Multifunctional and modular furniture in trend 2021

Tomorrow’s living spaces are open and modular

Many people see an open transition between the kitchen and the other areas of the home as the epitome of modern home living. Expansive one-room apartments and the blurring of indoor and outdoor areas are further indications that the requirements that we place on the use of our homes are changing. At the same time, a new need is emerging to restore a degree of privacy, at least temporarily, with flexible boundaries – for instance, to separate the home office or shared spaces. Adaptable furniture systems or room dividers provide solutions for a new form of application-based modularity. But despite all this functionality, there is a growing demand for an overarching language of form in this furniture that fosters a coherent interior aesthetic.

The furniture industry is in the process of reinventing itself. The new requirements for an interior that blurs boundaries call for the development of a new generation of furniture based on innovative materials, new joining techniques and modular ideas. There will be a significant increase in demand for furniture that structures spaces and can be used flexibly.

Claire Steinbrück
Director of imm cologne

Room dividers and furniture systems create a new feel for home living

Open architecture

Boundary-free floor plans and an open arrangement of space define the layouts of modern homes. Built-in cupboards provide storage and free the rooms from an excess of different items of furniture, creating an uncluttered atmosphere that exudes well-being. Standalone furniture positioned freely in the space lends this openness a minimal touch of structure and gives the eye something to fix on. The upholstered furniture system Curt by Ambivalenz , for example, consists of rectangular cuboids that can be adapted into an armchair, a conventional sofa or an expansive sectional sofa thanks to a patented connection system. Rugs, floor coverings and sliding room dividers offer further quick and flexible ways to define areas of the home.

Outdoor living

The boundaries between indoors and outdoors are blurring. Whether they take the form of floor-to-ceiling windows and a barrier-free transition to the terrace or a small urban balcony, high-quality furniture concepts suitable for both areas are gaining ground. They combine the functionality of outdoor furniture with the aesthetic of the interior. Modern water-repellent surfaces are scarcely distinguishable visually or haptically from conventional fabrics, and a concrete table blends seamlessly into the living room. One successful example of this is the robust New Wave rug by kymo, which looks every bit as stylish on the balcony as it does in the kitchen or the bathroom. The Noa daybed by Auping is effortlessly easy to move from the terrace into the living room thanks to its wheels.

Living in the loft

Hardly any piece of furniture is better suited to the openness of a loft apartment than a floor-hugging sofa. Deep, comfy upholstered furniture that can be positioned anywhere in the room makes the perfect centrepiece in these airy living spaces with high ceilings. The organic design of the Bongo Bay series by brühl and the Jalis21 sofa collection by COR convey precisely this feel for life. Combined with an open-concept kitchen, the dining table is the second linchpin of social life, whether this is with family or friends. The Richard Herre Collection by e15 is inspired by the New Objectivity and offers a design that suits modern industrial lofts perfectly, both functionally and aesthetically.

The modular home office

Furnishing a multifunctional living and working space is always a question of perspective: Should the work furniture be integrated into the living area, or should the living furniture provide options for working? Today manufacturers offer solutions for both needs with elegant designs that transcend the conventional boundaries. Take the Leadchair by Walter Knoll , for instance, which also works brilliantly outside a familiar office aesthetic with its warm colours and large selection of fabric options. On the other side of the coin, the S 5000 Retreat by Thonet , a furniture system with a high back panel and an integrated table and power socket, creates a distraction-free place for work projects or periods of concentration. Concepts like these make compromises a thing of the past when it comes to furnishing the home office. Concepts like these make compromises a thing of the past when it comes to furnishing the home office.

Based on an elegant and minimalist design, the Curt upholstered furniture system impresses with a patented connection system that enables the simple cuboids to be assembled into numerous different shapes (photo: Ambivalenz). Find out more about the upholstered furniture system Curt by Ambivalenz..

This daybed combines the Scandinavian aesthetic with modern functionality. Thanks to its integrated wheels, it can be moved quickly from the covered terrace into the living room (photo: Auping).
Find out more about the Noa daybed by Auping .

More than ever before, the dining table is the epicentre for social interaction in modern interior concepts. Inspired by the New Objectivity, the Richard Herre Collection is the ideal solution for airy industrial lofts (photo: e15). Find out more about the Richard Herre Collection by e15 ..

Thanks to its modular principle, this item of furniture can serve as the flexible base for a large number of work requirements and is ideally suited as a place to retire for concentrated work (photo: Thonet). Find out more about the S 5000 Retreat by Thonet .

Instead of fixed demarcations, the present day calls for flexible interior concepts that would have been inconceivable in the past. Manufacturers are responding to the changes in everyday needs with innovative developments that satisfy the desire for freedom. This trend clearly reveals one thing: Home living is increasingly an expression of individuality and social interaction.

Do you want to transcend boundaries? Discover other furniture systems, room dividers and modular sofas that are moving the boundaries in interior design as we know it on the ambista network.

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