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“Lightness is gaining significance”: An interview with Jürgen Schuster (

Jürgen Schuster ©

As the operator of the online portal Garten & Freizeit, Jürgen Schuster is an acknowledged expert within the green industry. At the coming spoga+gafa, he will be one of the jury members of the Trend Show at the international garden trade fair. We talked to him about new developments in furniture design and the retail trade as well as his own outdoor area.

Jürgen Schuster, you are a member of the jury of this year’s Trend Show at spoga+gafa. Which basic trends do you observe with regards to outdoor design?

The trend of the past years towards more cosiness in the garden is ongoing. Hence, the theme Lounge continues to be of great importance, alongside materials that are reminiscent of indoor areas or which are implemented there – for instance HPL, ceramics or textiles. More lightness and filigree forms in the material mix are also becoming of increased significance. Function is frequently demanded, but is often also overestimated.


Exhibitor space for garden furniture ©

Which current developments do you see in the (online) trade?

The differentiation of the line-ups and the trend towards own brands are especially challenging the medium-sized bricks and mortar dealers and established (specialised) suppliers. Specifically in connection with declining frequencies. Generally, we are expecting more concentration and specialisation in the future, because the customer expectations in terms of diversity and availability are particularly posing high logistical challenges. Which traditional sales and cost structures can only satisfy to a limited degree. Where one succeeds in achieving a high-grade product presentation, the online trade can increasingly take over the role of the specialised trade.


How have you designed your own outdoor area?

(Almost) all product ranges are found at my home – from the classic seating area, to the lounge, sunbeds, a bench, sunshade, hammock, grill and a brazier, through to plant pots. At the moment we are mainly using “modern” forms made of the materials stainless steel, HPL, textiles in white or light colours.


Exhibitor space for garden furniture ©

What do you expect with regards to outdoor design for the future?

I think that the consumer’s demand for diversity and individuality will be ongoing and at the same they want to live outdoors cosily and comfortably. The latter is very significant especially for the typical “secondary outfitter”. Ergonomic shapes, comfortable cushions and “natural” haptics are booming and this will remain so. It is going to be exciting to see if this can be achieved with a more regional production coupled with the corresponding shorter and more flexible procurement and distribution options.


Jürgen Schuster is the Executive Director of HS Fachmarkts Vertriebs-GmbH, which among others operates the online portal Garten & Freizeit. The portal is one of the leading German specialised dealers for high-quality garden and leisure furniture. As a member of the jury for the Trend Show at the coming spoga+gafa.


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