Founded in1961, Egger the wood based material manufacturer based in St Johann in Tirol, Austria, has today 17 state-of-the-art plants in seven countries with 6,500 employees, producing particleboard, MDF, OSB and other products.

Though focusing its activities in Europe, supplying export markets from Asia to Oceania to America is also part of Egger’s strategy.

The company’s logistics take advantage of all available means of transportation – trucks, rail and ships – to secure its material supply. Key raw material, wood, never has to travel more that 250 kilometres to be processed in one of the company’s plants.

Klaus Monhoff, head of d├ęcor management at Egger, works with his team on the decor and surface trends of tomorrow. They also allow excursions into other industries to inspire them.

For example, they derive trends from the automobile, textile and fashion industries and transfer them to the world of furniture and interior design.

"Time and time again," said Mr Monhoff, "we successfully set trends in the furniture industry.

"The pivot and focal point is always the Eggerzum in-house exhibition held annually in several plants, where we present current design and decor trends to our customers. It often forms the basis for design ideas of new furniture programmes.

"At the same time, we receive important feedback which in turn forms the basis for future decor developments."

Mr Monhoff explains that to stress the importance of surfaces the company follows its guiding principle ‘Authentic – Design goes Natural’ and offers a large selection of perfectly coordinated surfaces that not only make their decors appear authentic and natural but also give them a unique character.

He continues: "Our design efforts are confirmed by internationally renowned design awards – the iF design award and the red dot award – which we have received for ZOOM, our internationally recognised collection for trade, architects and fabricators.

"Our ZOOM collection was also honoured with the Austrian National Marketing Prize and nominated for the Design Award of the Federal Republic of Germany," explains Mr Monhoff.

At ZOW 2012 in Bad Salzuflen, Germany, in February, Egger presented its related decor innovations. Here the focus was on the application of decors with a natural appearance. To account for more sophisticated design possibilities, Egger has grouped its decors into four decor and colour concepts.

"For one thing, our motto ‘Design goes natural 2’ highlights a development which does not focus on authentic wood types but instead favours a combination of sophisticated possibilities. For another thing, unis [neutral, natural or intensive colours] continue gaining importance," said Mr Monhoff.

In developing the decors, special emphasis was placed in order to achieve a variety of design possibilities.

"We took the various possibilities of modern furniture design into account, whereby the proportion of unis and wood can vary."

Not only the decors themselves define the trend towards naturalness, but also their application.

"Various combination options, such as uni colours with authentic types of wood, support a wide variety of design versions," said Mr Monhoff.

"This means a cabinet door can either appear rustic, with a high proportion of woodgrain decors, or strikingly elegant with an emphasis on unit colours."

Oak decors fall under the woodgrain decor concept and remain highly popular and are considered a decor evergreen. Egger expanded its range at ZOW which included Barrique Oak Light, a natural oak with a few knots and natural hues and darker variations in Thermo Oak Brown and Feldberg Oak Brown.

Egger also returned to Domotex in Hanover at the start of 2012 following a four-year absence.

The latest developments in premium laminate flooring and innovative flooring solutions were present under the heading Living Steps.

Cork+technology was presented in a new flooring category, which combines the advantages of laminate and cork flooring in one product.

There have been significant developments in the technical characteristics and production technologies of classic laminate flooring over the last few years.

With its newly revised Grand Canyon surface texture, Egger presented laminate flooring which the company said had a previously unheard of perceptible depth. These developments were introduced in the new Floorline collection.

Based on growth in the applications for continuous pressure laminates, Egger has recently invested in a new continuous laminate press at its Gifhorn plant in Lower Saxony.

The new line commissioned at the beginning of 2012 has significantly increased the plant’s production capacity by 20% and has created 20 new jobs.

Just as in 2007, Egger has taken another step in the extension of the Gifhorn plant by investing in the new lamination line and peripheral equipment.

This has increased the annual production capacity in Gifhorn by 4.5 million m2 to around 27 million m2.

A new warehouse with 1,900m2 of floor space is also being built in order to meet rising customer requirements in terms of logistics.

"With the new laminate press we are improving our flexibility in order to better meet market requirements," explains Monika Wiora, plant management sales, Gifhorn.

Currently there are 220 people working at the Gifhorn plant with production seven days a week.