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In the garden with: Stefan Lohrberg (spoga+gafa)

Stefan Lohrberg – Photo: Koelnmesse

In April 2016 Stefan Lohrberg took over the project management of the international garden trade fair spoga+gafa – with around 2,000 exhibitors from 50 countries one of the largest trade fairs at the Cologne location.Previous to that he held an executive position as a consultant at a communications and marketing agency serving national and international customers, among others from the industry, consumer goods and leisure sector in the brand, event and project development section. Lohrberg is married and has one daughter and lives in the Cologne suburbs.

 

Mr Lohrberg, for the past year everything in your professional life has revolved around the theme garden. What does your own garden look like?

Lohrberg: We have a classic detached house garden. There is plenty of greenery and plants as is customary and of course a big barbecue too. We love being outdoors and enjoy doing to the work like cutting the hedges etc. ourselves. For me it is a nice source of relaxation. I also enjoy working with wood in the garden designing furniture. One piece that I am particularly proud of is a solid piece of lounge furniture that I made for our terrace. I inherited my interest in wood from my father, who was also always building things out of wood. I also made a special rabbit hutch myself for our garden some time ago. For a while this was displayed in several pet shops as an example of an “exemplary integrated species-appropriate” small animal hutch. Because as well as offering plenty of room and underground passageways it also partly allows the use as garden furniture. So, when the trade fair management proves to be rather challenging, I have a small escape. Incidentally, I was also asked about my hobbies during my interview at Koelnmesse. I think it went down well that I was able to prove that I am actually interested in the themes the garden, bbqs and furniture.

 

How do you think the garden market will develop over the coming years? Which themes will gain more significance? Back to nature or more high-tech?

Lohrberg: It will probably be both themes that become more important for us humans in future. The garden is a place of retreat for many people, where they can relax and switch off. This is particularly the case when the area is full of life and nature. Particularly now when the global situation is so turbulent, the personal environment and greenery around the house is gaining significance. On the other hand, many gardens are being equipped with more and more technology. The most important keywords at the moment are smart gardening and battery technology. The themes may not be new, but in these sections there are rapid developments at the moment and many innovations. In the smart garden more and more gardening tools are taking over the work autonomously, they are often linked up with each other or their owners via apps and reliably notify the owner when the flowerbeds have to be irrigated or the pool cover has to be opened. One couldn’t have even imagined this a few years ago. And in the battery technology section, wireless devices are becoming more and more efficient compared to petrol powered machines. Furthermore, they are becoming even more lightweight, quiet, emission-free and odorless thanks to the new drives. We are dedicating two own themed platforms to these two important themes for the consumers and the green industry at the coming spoga+gafa.

Themed platforms: Battery Technology and Smart Gardening – Graphics: Koelnmesse

Can you also already reveal which other new products the visitors can look forward to at this year’s spoga+gafa?

Lohrberg: There are also going to be various different theme and demonstration islands across the whole trade fair this year. These are designed to provide real added value for the visitors and exhibitors. For example, here one will be able to get impulses and ideas for one’s own POS. A further interesting section that we are offering a special presentation platform for this year is the outdoor kitchen. Also, our furniture-exhibitors will have the opportunity to use new and eye-catching secondary placements. In addition to the buyers who come from all over the globe we want to address a very wide audience this year with our supporting programme for spoga+gafa: from florists, to gardeners and landscape designers, through to architects. Furthermore, it is my aim to make the atmosphere at the trade fair more “emotional”. That initially sounds a bit strange, because spoga+gafa is a pure trade fair. But it is very important in the B2B section too that there is a pleasant atmosphere, in which one enjoys informing oneself about products and trends, holding discussions and meeting up with one’s business partners. Ultimately it is also the human factor that plays the decisive role here. Things are happening at spoga+gafa, I promise.

 

Further information: spogagafa.com

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