During the general FEMB assembly held last October in Cologne the Austrian "Fachverband der Holzindustrie" got elected as new FEMB member representing the country of Austria. With this addition the number of European countries represented by FEMB rose to ten. All major economies of Europe are now represented by the European Office Furniture Federation FEMB.
More information under www.moebel.at.
Based on a forecast process with over 100 experts, the scenario describes the work and living environment of office and knowledge workers in the year 2025.
The focus is put on changes of a highly networked, spatial and temporally flexible work organization that follows individual life contexts, and thus, enhances innovative capacity, efficiency and effectiveness whilst it also expresses itself in a modified design of the office environment.
In September 2012, the office furniture division of Trä- och Möbelföretagen (TMF) joined the Fédération Européenne du Mobilier de Bureau (FEMB). TMF represents the wood processing sector and furniture industry in Sweden with its 800 members. Per-Arne Andersson, CEO of Kinnarps AB, will ensure an active cooperation between Sweden and the other European associations.
Even before the official admission of the Scandinavian association, Swedish representatives were regularly integrated into the work of the special committees of the European umbrella association. “We are delighted that we can now follow this cooperation in an official capacity,” commented current FEMB President Henning Figge when asked about the recent move. He considers Scandinavia an important partner, particularly with regards to establishing norms and developing sustainability certificates. However, the expansion of the FEMB to the north is only intended to be the first step. As Figge already announced on taking over the presidency at the beginning of the year, the executive committee of the European manufacturer association is also seeking to expand its membership to include Eastern European states.At the ORGATEC fair, the FEMB is exhibiting with its current members – the national associations of Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, the United Kingdom and Turkey – at a joint booth with representatives of the German office furniture industry, bso, in hall 8, booth C041.
"By publishing and regularly updating these statistics, the FEMB European umbrella association is aiming to make a contribution to transparency and orientation in the European office furniture industry, to benefit our members, customers and the interested public" explains Henning Figge, current President of the FEMB. The British consultant firm JSA Consultancy Services was commissioned the task to compile the "TOP 100". The statistics were largely based on company data published in multiple sources combined with additional information provided voluntarily by some manufacturers. The statistics are published in the statistics section of this website and can also be downloaded as PDF file there.
The temperature in a sunny Chicago on Monday soared to a withering 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius), which encouraged the hoards of first day visitors to Neocon to stay inside the air conditioned Merchandise Mart, rather than venture outside. Although few would admit it, there had been some advance trepidation as to whether this Neocon would generate the excitement of shows gone by. The Merchandise Mart owners denied rumours that the show did not have a long term future by publishing the show dates for each of the next ten years. Pre-announced product launches were rather thin on the ground. An economy which could be stronger, and the uncertainty of an election year combined to cause concern. In the event, there were plenty of visitors genuinely interested in the products displayed and in the companies displaying them, as well as planning on having a good time.
Exhibitors' responses to the current market conditions differed, but few of the many new products launched were the result of the massive investment in design, development and tooling we have seen in previous years. Instead, following what has been seen in Europe over the past few years, there were many examples of mainstream office furniture companies venturing into soft seating, attracted no doubt by lower development costs and faster times to market. What was termed “collaboration” technology was also exploited by Haworth, Steelcase, Teknion, Izzy+, KI, Tuohy, Vitra, and many others, all of whom showed furniture and devices which allowed people to contribute to, and share the results of, collaborative work, invariably grouped around large display screens. European design continues to be strongly influential in the US market, not only with an ever increasing number products being commissioned from named designers from the UK and Italy and Germany, but also in the styling of US designed products. Task seating lines are ever sharper and slimmer in appearance, and that trend can also be seen to a lesser extent, with executive seating. Height adjustable workstations, common in many countries in Europe, were for the first time to be seen everywhere in the permanent showrooms of the larger manufacturers, rather than just on the exhibition booths on the temporary floors. Breakout furniture, including soft seating and high backed upholstery products, previously seen here only from European companies such as Vitra, was very much in evidence in the showrooms of most of the manufacturers, even those never before involved in upholstered products. The high backed seating units, with claims to good acoustic properties, were often combined with low tables and large display screens for shared inputs to presentations and discussions.
As for colours, unlike the organic browns and greys seen at this year's Milan Fair, Neocon was bright and bold with orange, reds, greens and still whites everywhere. By far the most popular fabric for occasional seating was felt, plain and patterned, and in every colour of the rainbow. It's environmental and acoustic properties were being promoted, but there must be some concern as to how hardwearing it will prove to be.
Apart from being able to witness the industry's finest putting on the best of presentations imaginable, it's not difficult to see why Neocon is still clearly very popular, attracting many thousands of visitors. Chicago is one of the very great cities of the world - and after a day trekking around showrooms, those attendees with enough stamina can enjoy its attractions to the full, taking in some of its thousands of bars and restaurants, sampling every type of music, including of course world class blues, and basking in its stunning architecture, enhanced by the river and lake. Let's hope the rumours of the show's demise prove to have been nothing more than just rumours, and that we can continue returning for many years to come.
Copyright by www.jsacs.com
I am delighted to welcome you to today's press conference, all the more so as this today, in the fortieth year of the Fédération Européenne du Mobilier de Bureau's existence is probably a premiere.
Since it was founded in 1972, although the umbrella organization of the European office furniture manufacturers has been occasionally present at ORGATEC with projects, the focal point of activities has so far mainly been the exchange of information between the national member associations. The fact that I am speaking to you today as the representative of the European office furniture industry is therefore also an indication of a new self-understanding between the manufacturers and their national trade associations. Some time ago, borne out of the conviction that Europe had to grow closer together, they revived their previously slumbering umbrella association. As varied as the economic trend in Europe currently is, and as significant the cultural differences may sometimes appear, we are, after all, an economic region with similar challenges and predominantly identical self-understanding.
Therefore, around two years ago under the presidency of Michele Falcone, from the Italian furniture association ASSUFICIO (FederalegnoArredo), we began to extend the activities of the FEMB. In this context the FEMB is increasingly becoming a joint mouthpiece for the European office furniture sector. This firstly includes of course the gathering and publication of statistical data. Due to the fact that not all the regional associations are currently systematically gathering economic data and in many EU countries no national office furniture association exists, we are still dependent on the Eurostat publications. Here, however, we have only received data for 2010, nevertheless I would like to quote you some figures:
With an increase of 1.0 per cent, sales of office furniture and office seating changed in 2010 on average only slightly across all 27 EU countries. The statistical average is however based on very different individual trends: while Poland reported an increase of 30.1 per cent in office furniture production, the Spanish manufacturers closed with a minus of 13.3 per cent, the UK with - 2.4 per cent, Italy with +4.6 per cent.
At 1.5 per cent, European consumption increased in 2010 slightly less than the production side. With a surplus of 35 per cent, the foreign trade balance was nevertheless clearly in the black. Overall, however, the European market is in many areas still a single market for the office furniture sector.
This will not change so quickly – and nevertheless it is important to take a joint look beyond one‘s own horizon. This will also help to reduce many barriers still in existence within Europe, because despite all the freedom of movement for employees and goods, the national borders in this single market are often less pervious than we would like. That is why the FEMB's Technical Committee is dedicated to the development of joint European and international standards. The current focal point is the major field of environmental and sustainability certifications. Currently we have a large number of different, in some cases, competing requirements for individual aspects of ecologically responsible measures. That is more than confusing for all concerned. The aim of the FEMB initiative is therefore to inject more transparency into what are in some cases competing certifications and to develop a really comprehensive European quality symbol for sustainable office furniture.
We are seeking to conclude this ambitious project, which we have already been working on for some time, in the course of the next two years. Before we hand over the baton to our British colleagues in 2014, we also want to open up the FEMB to further members. Currently the national trade associations from Belgium, Germany, France, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey are gathered under the joint umbrella of the FEMB. In addition, individual representatives of other European countries are now already active on the specialist committees. We would like to offer them the opportunity of regular participation.
First of all however we have our sights set on this year's ORGATEC. There is a clear indication that in addition to the German manufacturers, a large number of European and international exhibitors have confirmed their participation at the fair. Hendrik Hund has described the challenges facing employers and the resulting consequences for office work place design. With national focal points, these apply to the entire European region. To that extent the presence at the fair is also an opportunity for mutual inspiration.
To this end, the members of the FEMB will this year for the first time have a joint meeting point on the bso and FEMB joint stand in Hall 8. We would also like to very warmly invite you to this event. In addition, I would already like to draw your attention to the fact that the FEMB is organizing a “European Evening” on the second day of the fair, Wednesday, 28th October. You are also warmly invited to this event along with other interested guests.
I would now like to thank you for your kind attention and am looking forward to further dialogue.