Come and grow – the spoga+gafa blog » Articles by: Roland Moers

3 Questions to: Sonja Dümmen (Dümmen GmbH)

The Rheinberg-based company Dümmen Group is consistently expanding its sustainability strategy. In future they will supply fair trade poinsettias under the Red Fox brand to their international pot plant producers. Thus Dümmen will answer the widely shared desire for an ethical, transparent production chain. Sonja Dümmen is Head of Marketing at Dümmen GmbH and is managing the Fairtrade project.

Mrs. Dümmen, what are the reasons why the Dümmen Group will soon be selling poinsettias from your farm Red Fox Ethiopia as a Fairtrade product?
Dümmen: The Fairtrade Mark renders visible our way of working and what we represent. It records monitored working conditions and a responsible approach to plant protection and the environment. What is most important, however, is that it provides support for the people locally in Ethiopia. With Fairtrade we have the opportunity to invest 10% of the turnover directly on the ground for the benefit of the people there. The consumers who make a conscious decision to buy here support this initiative by purchasing Fairtrade products.

How can we visualise the certification process? What are the challenges?
Dümmen: All partners in the chain have to be certified, starting with the parent plant production site in Ethiopia, which is inspected by an independent certification organisation. Other links in the chain also have to be certified, however, such as the production plant in Rheinberg and the producers in Europe that raise the poinsettia cuttings. Since we run the production chain centrally, from cultivation to the finished young plant, this is entirely feasible. We only have to create transparency for third parties, which naturally always entails administrative work.

What specific advantages do you see for retailers, nurseries and last but not least for customers?
Dümmen: The advantages for the retail trade are quite clear and are to be found in the transparency of the supply chain. It can always trace Fairtrade products back to their origin and rely on the fact that reliable, inspected suppliers are behind the product. The consumer can buy responsibly and help people in Africa by buying Fairtrade. Transparency is important here too. The customer sees where the cutting comes from, but also who has raised the product to its finished state in Germany or Europe. The customer is also informed about the advantages for our partner businesses: ten percent of the revenue from the cut-tings is for the workers locally in the country of origin to use as they see fit for social purposes. The monitored production conditions create transparency and guarantee a fair process.

Further information:

Koelnmesse 3.0

Koelnmesse is planning to make major investments in the future of its exhibition grounds and trade fair program until 2030. The Supervisory Board and the Shareholders’ Meeting chaired by Cologne Mayor Jürgen Roters have given the green light for the first phase of the master plan, which is titled “Koelnmesse 3.0.”

The committees commissioned the Koelnmesse management to implement the first phase of the plan between 2015 and 2020. This phase, which involves the maintenance of existing buildings and the construction of new ones, will require an investment volume of 204 million Euro, which the company will finance through its own economic strength and the capital market. The plan calls for investments of about 600 million Euro until 2030.

Koelnmesse 3.0 comprises a series of measures:

  • Modernization and maintenance measures focusing on the southern section of the exhibition grounds.
  • The construction of Hall 1plus, with a gross exhibition area of just under 10,000 m², will enable the restructuring of the exhibition grounds during uninterrupted trade fair operations. As a result, even during the construction phase exhibitors and visitors will have 284,000 m² of high-quality exhibition space at their disposal, even if parts of individual halls are temporarily closed.
  • Improvement of the traffic and parking space situation. This will include the construction of new parking garage capacities to compensate for the elimination of parking areas by the development projects planned for Cologne districts on the right bank of the Rhine.
  • Measures to enhance the attractiveness of the halls and their surroundings, such as plantings, lighting, and façade design, as well as improved signage for the parking areas.
  • Improvement of the facilities that provide the trade fair participants with digital marketing opportunities.
  • A new central entrance terminal for the Southern Halls that will modernize the Congress Centers West and East and serve as a connection with the adjacent halls.

3 questions to: Dustin Jessen (“Beta Chair”)

With his “Beta Chair” Dustin Jessen took first prize of this year’s Design contest „unique youngstar“ at the international garden trade fair spoga+gafa. Additionally he won the audience award.

Jessen (28) studied Industrial Design at Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and the Design Academy in Eindhoven. 2014 he finished his master’s degree of Design Products at the Royal College of Art in London. Afterwards he came back to Germany to set up the office „Hermes/Jessen Industrial Design“ – in cooperation with the Designer Philipp Hermes.

Mister Jessen, congratulations to your “double success”. Could you please explain in a few words what is special about your chair?
Jessen: To me it is very interesting that so many visitors of the spoga+gafa said their first impression was that “Beta” must be manufactured of plastics. But it is completely made of aluminium. I think it is surprising how precise aluminium sheets can be formed to organic shapes. At second sight “Beta” surprises with his comfort and lightness (2.8 kg).

The Chair combines many technical innovations. But for laypeople they are not easily recognizable. Are you surprised that still your chair took first place of the audience award?
Jessen: Winning the audience award was a true surprise to me. Of course, I take the opportunity to thank everybody who gave his vote for the “Beta”. The technical innovations are indeed rather hidden. But that is exactly how it was meant to be. At the end of the day an outdoor chair has to be convincing as a whole. It has to deliver the comfort, handling and quality that its appearance is promising.

What are your plans for the future? Will the prototype go into production? After winning the spoga+gafa contest did you get any offerings by interested producers?
Jessen: The feedback at the spoga+gafa was continuously positive and very encouraging. In my opinion “Beta” needs a little bit more development. I could establish contact with several producers. Hopefully in the next months one of these will become a courageous partner who will help me developing “Beta” to series maturity.

Further information:


Furniture and Design Trends 2014

Vintage is in and touches every part of our lives at the moment. So for the ultimative vintage style, just head outside! In the course of the trend towards sustainability and vintage products, teak is returning to the scene – and not just as recycled material. In the coming season teak is being given a very modern reinterpretation, the design delivers exciting and in some cases extravagant results. The porch swing is also having a revival. In the 1950s, it was THE must-have item: It brought a bit of Hollywood glamour to every garden and the exotic designs made people dream of the faraway holiday destinations.

At spoga+gafa 2013 the leading garden furniture companies presented the trends for 2014.

BBQ Trends 2014

Whether stylish or old school, gas or charcoal, portable or on wheels – there’s the right model for every BBQ fan together with plenty of attractive accessories. The selection goes from pizza stones, to chicken roasting baskets, through to vegetable pans. At spoga+gafa 2013 the leading companies for grills and BBQ innovations presented their latest developments.