The last time we met, your hair was pink, is it still pink?
Rucar: Yes! And surprisingly, many people ask me advices to know how to get this color. It is quite simple once you dare to do it!
That must mean something - and it's not for nothing that your theory is: the colours are coming back.
Rucar: Yes! After the pandemic and quite a depressing mood between the Ukrainian war, energy shortage and the rise of all the current expenses. People still want to dream. Disneyland Paris has registered records, the number of passports is rising and the colors are coming back! People do not want to be depressed! They want to -still- enjoy life, even if it is sometimes quite hard for everybody.
As a trend researcher, what key trends do you see in garden design?
Rucar: It is paradoxical between very enjoyable products, and timeless ones. On the one hand, consumers want to enjoy their garden sometimes with vivid colors for pots, sun shades, cushions and lights, but on the other hand, long-lasting products are very important with timeless design and materials. So to sum things up, lets say that the market has to provide a joyful experience with ready-to-use products, and a more sustainable range for outdoor furniture, structures and materials. And generally speaking, all the signals reveal that the market is facing a need for better quality products, especially for the furniture, lights, garden toys and fabric.
After Corona, we noticed that many people are again placing more value on their own garden. Will this trend continue?
Rucar: Yes, from now on, lots of inhabitants have understood (because they faced it!) the importance of having their own safe private eden. It is socially speaking, a very big change to understand for our market. The garden is not an accessory, we collectively have understood that it brings us a safe space to face some difficult times. It can be for mental health, leisure or just to relax. It can be in a lush green jungle or in a very graphic mineral garden.
Our main theme this year is Social Gardens - places of encounter. What is your opinion on this? Are we in line with the trend?
The theme has so many meanings and it is very interesting because the garden industry is not only dedicated to the retail, DIY and garden centers but also for the landscape contractors for exemple. Urban architects are asked to build parks and green spaces to enable people to meet, to have a rest and even to work. In the garden, people take time! In different countries, the outdoor space has different functions. For example, in the UK, you often find something at the back of the garden and a very nice and tidy lawn in the middle. The back of the garden is more and more used as a second terrace with a gazebo or a firepit to meet the neighbors or family. In the eastern european countries, the garden is often full of toys for the kids, not only for the family but also for friends and the neighbourhood. In the northern countries of Europe, the garden can be very disturbing (for Americans for exemples) beaucose sometimes there are no fences! No limits between your space and the one of the closest houses. The way they share space and even facilities can be a great example for all of us!
Let's look at the next five years. What do you see?
The answer has to be adapted for each country and even for each area, but if we make a comparison between markets, something very interesting emerges: We have seen very strong and overly normalised business models over the years, but now young entrepreneurs, artists, craftsmen with a high level of study and a desperate need to find meaning for their professional life by doing something that is important for nature and people and linked to strong values are coming in. They build new models, they start flower farms, concept shops, solar-powered tools, slow living. It's very difficult to describe because they are numerous, they are not organised in associations or organisations, they are just many, many individuals building very small and local empires. Suppliers have started to reach out to them with online wholesalers and I think that will increasingly be the future.
How much are you looking forward to coming to spoga+gafa in cologne?
I am very excited to come to each edition for many years now! It is THE place where you can have an overview of quite all the products in a few days! Who else can do that! For me it is very exhaustive because there is so much information to gather! Our team takes more than 1000 pictures a day to build our report, it is just amazing. There is no website in the world where you can see all this diversity, so even if the nights are short, the trip is definitely worth it!