Veneer is a many-facetted enhancement material.“Feel the real wood” was the slogan for this year’s event jointly hosted by the Initiative Furnier + Natur e.V. (IFN), the German Timber Trade Federation. A diversity of veneered objects was displayed on a tailor-made exhibition area and experts provided information on current developments and trends within the framework of a forum and a “come together”. Alexandra Kiefer, Chairwoman of Initiative Furnier + Natur e.V., summed up after the four-day trade fair: “Despite the financial crisis the veneer branch is presenting its products with self-confidence. The sector is on the lookout for future solutions for everyone via the platform provided by our association.”
New target groups are discovering veneer Architects, designers, interior decorators, joiners as well as representatives from the furniture and timber trading sectors satisfied themselves of the creative and technical advantages of the material. Speakers from home and abroad reported on the possibilities and prospects for veneer; always at the centre of the discussion: current and future consumer behaviour. According to speaker Olof von Gagern the growing flock of consumers known as LOHAS (Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability) with their stringent demands on elegance, modern design, naturalness and sustainability is the ideal target group for veneer as an individual, ecologically sound and unique surface material. Dr. Dagmar Krapf raised the question of the effects of veneer and wood on our sense of well-being. Her observations focused on the unique perception of the material via the human senses: sight, touch, hearing, smell. Karla Kallauch from Deutsche Werkstätten Hellerau demonstrated fine examples of veneers as balanced and particularly harmonious combinations for use in interior decoration.
A wider spectrum of application thanks to new technology The talk given by Benno Mehlich from HGM Türen on the second day of the convention on the application of veneer for high-quality doors was received with enthusiasm by the trade fair audience. Eugen Gerl, too, from Bulthaup Küchen paid tribute to the increasing use of veneer in kitchens in combination with other materials. Reinhold Röhr delivered a positive judgement on the new trends in core materials for veneer, expressing optimism that panel products would be free of formaldehyde by 2050. Core materials of beech and coast fir wood or poplar offer an ecologically valuable base for veneer. Additionally, Mr. Röhr forecast positive opportunities for the high-quality material thanks to the development of such transparent substances as acrylic or glass. Such materials – totally up-to-date – finished with veneer opened unlimited innovative design possibilities. ”On the whole a happy development which improves the image of veneer as a sustainable natural product”, resumed the Managing Director of Initiative Furnier + Natur e.V., Lutgart Behets-Oschmann.
A special exhibition with creative potential The subject matter of the European Veneer Convention was mirrored by the accompanying special exhibition. The diversity of the exhibits was a convincing testimony to the high-tech qualities and steadily growing uses of this real wood material: from beautifully formed standard lamps and filigree hanging lamps in modern design or retro look to ergonomically shaped lounge chairs. Professionals could view and explore by touch the various steps in veneer production on a specially prepared oak boule. The trade fair visitor could also have a go at the “sampling tables” carrying out creative experiments with veneers from various woods and creating individual patterned surfaces. An unusual highlight were the exclusive haute-couture veneer dresses devised by three fashion design students from the Bielefeld University of Applied Sciences. Perfectly turned out, the models exercised a magical attraction on the guests at the IFN Lounge Party. The veneer dresses provided a great point of interest for the professional trade fair visitors, too. Here was veneer displayed as an authentic, resource-saving material, which nowadays can be processed with unimaginable perfection.