Orgatec, Cologne’s biennial office furniture trade fair takes place later this month. Jamie Mitchell asks the show’s new director, Katharina Hamma, what visitors can expect – and asks if the biennial office furniture show is still one of the best venues for launching new products.

JM: What can visitors expect from this year's show? Is there anything new or different from the last ORGATEC?

KH: This year ORGATEC is presenting an even more comprehensive and at the same time highly international range. We are particularly delighted this year to welcome numerous renowned returning companies and first-time exhibitors from all sectors at ORGATEC.

This year's event focuses particularly on the requirements of modern working environments. As a result, the fair is indispensable for all those companies wishing to position themselves as attractive employers.

The discussion platform covering all the current themes in the modern office working environment is the ORGATEC Trend Forum, which his year features Top-ranking experts from industry, interior design, architecture, planning and consulting which, along with user companies, will be discussing the current trends and presenting examples from the modern office and working environment.

For the first time there will be two series of lectures: International Best Practice will focus attention particularly on exemplarily designed offices in other countries on various continents, while at Modern Working Concepts, will focus on global trends in the working world.

JM: ORGATEC has traditionally been a launch pad for new products - are you expecting as many new product launches this year?

KH: Absolutely. Because ORGATEC is the most important global meeting place for the participating sectors, the fair offers the perfect opportunity for launching new products.

We know that particularly for that reason some of the first-time exhibitors have, for example, decided to participate at ORGATEC 2012 in order to present a global product launch here. Even at this stage, the companies are also using our new products online database service to publicise new products and innovations in a media-effective way.

JM: Why is ORGATEC such an important show - what makes it unique?

KH: ORGATEC can look back on a long history. As far back as 1953 the leading international fair for modern office and facility brought together almost all the key players from the participating sectors in Cologne.

Another key advantage of the event is its integrated approach. That means ORGATEC presents all the sectors necessary for the equipping of offices and facilities - starting with furnishings and moving right through to lighting, flooring and acoustics up to the professional integration of media and conference technology in furniture, space and architecture.

We must also give special mention to the strong theme orientation at the fair. This is because current trends and best-practice examples are the focal point of the event. The high internationality is also one of the event's USPs: around 60 per cent of exhibitors and around half the visitors come to Cologne from abroad. The fair attracts planners, decision-makers from user companies as well as the specialist office trade. As a result, the exhibitors here reach exactly those people who design offices and facilities all over the world or are responsible in these areas. Vice versa the visitors in Cologne can obtain compact information about the worldwide range of office and facility design.

JM: Have you seen exhibitor numbers/visitor numbers dwindle due to the recession?

Actually several companies, especially those from Southern Europe, have taken their decision to participate at this year's ORGATEC somewhat later than usual. Additionally some manufacturers disappeared from the market. At the end of the day, we are now experiencing very high levels of participation at the fair. Almost all the international market-leaders have now firmly committed to ORGATEC and thus once again underlined the relevance of this world-leading fair for the industry. The exhibitor figures are thus at the same high level as for the previous event in 2010.

In this connection, the visitors can once again look forward to a comprehensive and exciting overview of the worldwide innovations and new products, so that we are not expecting a decline in the visitor figures either. In this context we have once again extended our communication measures for visitors.

Don't forget to pick up a copy of our October's FX magazine where we select some of the products to look out for at Orgatec.