3 questions to: Steve Shrimpton (Bean Bag Crazy)

Steve Shrimpton founded Bean Bag Crazy in England together with his son Joe. They design and produce bean bags.

How did you come up with the idea for Bean Bag Crazy?
Ususally I sell cushions. I am the managing director of JTS Cushions in England and one day me and my son had the idea for a reinvention of the bean bag. Our B-Bags are extremely comfortable and durable at the same time, and they come in lots of fresh colours. They can be used by everybody, indoors and outdoors.

Why did you choose the garden unique area for your exhibition?
We are already successfully selling the B-Bags in England and we now want to expand into the continental market. I visited the spoga+gafa in 2012 and the garden unique area here made a huge impression on me with its great design pieces. I thought, we have a unique product, so garden unique is just the right thing for us.

Do you offer any other products besides the B-bags?
The B-Bags come in eleven colours and three different sizes: mini, mighty and monster. Besides that we also have a quilted version and a prehistoric one with fur on it. There is also a table that doubles as storage and a seat box for your feet.

Further Information: beanbagcrazy.co.uk and gardenunique.de

3 questions to: Petra Maison (GardenGirl)

The Swedish company GardenGirl creates functional clothing for girls and women working in the garden. The pieces have a feminine and pretty look and more important, they are comfortable to wear. Petra Maison is the designer and founder of GardenGirl. At the spoga+gafa 2013 she presented the latest collection.

Petra Maison, how did the idea of GardenGirl come into being?
As a child, I spent a lot of time in the garden of my English grandmother. She taught me a lot and my fascination for flowers, plants and gardening was born. Later in life, when I started working in my own garden, I found out that there are no practical and comfortable gardening-clothes for women at all. The working-trousers my husband gave me, that were supposed to be made for females, were too large, stiff and ugly. We then decided that we could make a clothing line that is distinctively better fitted for women than anything else on the market for working garments. We then founded GardenGirl together with Douglas and Mira Wedenberg.

What is so special about the GardenGirl clothing lines?
Right now there is the classic collection, the retro collection and the pro collection. In the classic collection you find stylish dungarees, trousers and tops that are made especially comfortable and have stretching parts for working while squatting and crouching. The retro collection concentrates on light and colourful items, like the Tall Wellington boots, with 30% less weight than the usual rubber boots. The pro collection is designed especially for women who work outside a lot. Vest and trousers are made from extra durable materials and have details that are useful and pretty alike.

We try to design our gears as functional and clever as possible; there are removable kneepads, strengthened pockets in the legs for sharp tools, and lots of possibilities to put away your garden accessories. Our gloves have specially designed fingertips so that you can even operate your smartphone without taking them off!

What other gardening products do you offer?
There is for example the Toolbelt Bucket with pockets on the outside that can also be used as a sitting device; we have a range of garden tools with unique designs like the ladies saw, garden scissors and cutter and we now offer scented after-work hand crème. In future we will continue to develop great gardening-products that hopefully help and inspire women to enjoy their working time in the garden.

Further Information: gardengirl.eu

3 questions to: Stephanie Mangold-Gencel

Troas is a producer and exporter of natural stones from Turkey. Their product range includes ornamental stones, erratic boulders and granite setts. The stones are being shipped all over the world. The ornamental stones are being used mostly for exterior decoration, but can also be used for interiors. Stephanie Mangold-Gencel is working in distribution since 2006.

Troas offers a wide range of natural stones. Where do you get the stones from?
The stones are broken down in Turkish stone pits. Then they are tumbled in a barrel where they get their round form. Depending on the type of stone this process can take four to twenty hours.

Who are your customers?
We ship to any company which will buy a whole container – around 25 tons. Right now we are selling to 45 countries all over the world. Our customers are mostly natural stone dealers but also hardware stores and landscape gardeners.

How many different kinds of stone do you sell?
We have an assortment of 41 different types of pebbles and broken down ornamental stones. There are all kinds of colors available, from white to grey, green and red tones and also black.

Further information: troas.com.tr

3 questions to: Rick Mulligan

In Germany interior architect Rick Mulligan is well known from his TV appearances giving advice and suggestions for home improvements. He sees his role as being the interface between high-quality craftsmen, and his clients’ individual wishes. As an architect, he facilitates the design and installation of a high quality home interior, and advises the client from the initial design of the house, through to the garden layout.

Mr. Mulligan: increasingly, outside areas are coming to resemble the living room with comfortable sofas, armchairs and carpets. But the fact is that in our part of the world, the outdoor temperatures are not often warm enough to sit outside. What do you think?
People are simply happy to be outside as much as they can and be close to nature; it combines the feeling of freedom with relaxation. Now we can use the warmth from infrared light to extend the duration of outdoor comfort; in the past our time outside in the fresh air was usually limited to summer. Added to that, in the past few years we have had wonderful spring and autumn weather; we should take maximum advantage of this bonus.

What are the main considerations when planning outdoor areas?
It is important that outdoor and indoor areas should harmonise with each other; if possible, the architectural interior concept should extend to the outdoor area. In addition, the general design should blend with its surroundings. Cast iron grills or miniature Japanese Zen-style gardens don’t go very well with an urban environment. Of course, the materials used must be able to withstand all kinds of weather. For example, there is now a new kind of material consisting of pressed wood grains that is ideal for outdoor use. Modern outdoor fabrics are absolutely brilliant and no longer hard as nails, as used to be the case. I even use these fabrics indoors, because they undergo no solar degradation.

Which colours and what kind of products are currently in demand?
Mulligan: I
n my opinion outdoor colours should not be too bold. When all is said and done, the aim is to relax and enjoy the green of nature about us. I think subdued, natural colours in the Hampton style are best; a good deck chair symbolises all that is best in outdoor furniture, and is comfortable even without any upholstery. By contrast, expansive sofas are ideal where you want to be seated for an extended period, for example in a food service environment.

Further information: rickmulligan.de