Garden Goes Balcony

Design the balcony of your dreams for the world‘s leading garden trade fair!

€14,000prize pool

Design the balcony of your dreams for the world‘s leading garden trade fair!


garden unique is the new premium segment of spoga+gafa, the world’s leading trade fair for the garden sector. The trade fair takes place once a year in late summer, in Cologne. The dates for this year are sheduled for the 4th to 6th September.

As a new component, garden unique is taking place for the first time in 2011 and will be attracting attention from the sector. It sees itself as a platform and presenter of high-end design products for the garden, with a focus on furniture. And with its very own exhibition hall concept and design, as well as hosting numerous exclusive events and initiatives, the garden unique sector will become a real highlight of the fair.

Only premium prodcuts and brands will be exhibited in the garden unique exhibition hall. Coming from all over the world, like the products themeselves, architects, planners, garden designers, buyers of high-level garden furniture and contractor experts will come to see high-end products.

Aims for this contest

Benefits for garden unique
The  sensational ideas of this contest should attract as much attention as possible for garden
unique and the exhibitors in this new premium segment of spoga gafa. The presentation and exhibition of the contest results will be the highlight of the trade fair.

Benefits for the creatives
Participants in the contest not only have the chance to win the community prize but three jury prizes will also be awarded. The winners selected by the jury will be given the opportunity to have their design built as a 3-D model, which will then be exhibited in the garden unique area. They will also be able to personally present their design to an audience of specialists. The other ideas selected by the jury and community will also be displayed in a special exhibition in the garden unique area. What makes this contest special is that manufacturers can purchase ideas and designs from the contest so your designs actually stand a chance of being turned into a reality.

Topic of the task
This contest focuses on a subject with immense creative and economic potential: the balcony. This outside area is increasingly gaining in importance in urban areas, for city dwellers on the search for their own garden, for outdoor space, for nature. The balcony is a traditional architectural element between indoor and outdoor life. It can make a significant contribution to one’s quality of living. There are millions of balconies all over the world, private as well as hotel, all serving different purposes from mini garden or to presitigious and peaceful havens.

garden unique wishes to inspire and give different perspectives of how the balcony, as an expression of one’s own nature and style of living, could look and how it could be used today.

Task Definition

Develop a design concept for your dream balcony with new furniture ideas!

Choose one of the balconies from the example houses and design it how you have always imagined the perfect balcony to be: cozy, stylish, functional. At the focus of this task should be furniture that distinguishes the perfect balcony. Present your balcony furniture in harmony with the building, the balcony and where applicable, its plants and flowers.

Show what your furniture is used for and what it can do: is your balcony the perfect place for a sunset with friends or perhaps a Sunday brunch? Is it the perfect oasis in the city or an extraordinary work environment? Does it offer protection from the sun on hot summer days? Or can it be used for sleeping on under starry skies?

Target Group

1. Furniture exhibitors
The first target group for your balcony and furniture designs are the garden unique exhibitors with their international premium garden furniture brands. They will be impressed and inspired by your ideas. Ideally, to such an extent that they choose to buy them, and possibly even produce them.

2. Furniture buyers
Consumers for your product idea are residents of sophisticated city apartments with balconies all over the world: in Cologne, Frankfurt, Berlin, Cape Town, Barcelona, San Francisco, Bangkok, Peking, Sydney, Wellington ...

3. Designer
Professional designer who are specialized in landscape-, garden- and architecture.


In keeping with the position of garden unique, the premium exhibitors and the exemplary location in Cologne’s Zollhafen harbor on the River Rhine,  your furniture designs should be high-end, in both the design and the quality – so don’t spare on high-quality materials. At the same time, however, minimalism can also have extrodinary class.

Mandatory requirements

  • Design your furniture for one of the example balconies.
  • There are no restrictions whatsoever concerning the design or materials of your furniture.
  • The jury prize winners have the opportunity to personally present their designs to a specialist audience in the garden unique exhibition hall.
  • For the possible realization of your idea as a 3D model, the following formats are required: dxf. dwg. stl.
  • Further community and jury favorites can also be exhibited in the garden unique area.

Useful Links:
Wohnen im Zollhafen (Living at the port of entry)

Download material

Click on the following links to download working material and additional information related to the project.


Show older comments (3)

Since the materials are in German, I would like to know if I can submit an idea that is fully in English... thanks!

Of course, no worries about that! Are you ok with the measurements?

yes. i'm fine with measurements, i think. however, i went to the website and saw the rendering/animation and it is very nice. i will probably have to recreate it to show off my furniture..

is it mandatory to use one of the three balcons provided? they are quite narrow .

yes, please use one of the three balconies.

What is the high of the ceiling?

But you can with any CAD whatsever software rescale the photos according to the given dimensions.

Yeah, it's clear. I meant the distance from the floor to the ceiling. I see you are an archticet. Maybe you could tell me the standard height of rooms in Germany? Thanks in advance!

Hi guys,

ceiling height is 2,90 m.

I have been working on an outdoor lounge chair for months, now I have to finish it!

best way to look up these given websites in the briefing there you can see detailed pictures of the flats
* * Wohnen im Zollhafen

It's funny , there are three ideas with almost identically shaped chaize-longues ... :) And it isnt even a comfortable shape for a chaize longue !

Can you provide a basic sketchup model of the balconies? There doesn't appear to be enough info to model the balcony, doors, etc. from the the flat plan views provided.

Hi Way77, the windows and doors etc. are identified in the cross section docs, you can see it best in the doc stacked_story. Are you ok with that information?

Hi Frieda, It doesn't show the height of the windows and for the non architects, it's hard to discern the windows from the walls. Perhaps you could supply a front view of the balcony from the outside looking in. Still... a simple sketchup model of each balcony would be great.

Only one idea can be submitted per individual or do you accept more? (With the condition that only one of them can get a prize, of course)

Hi blazedavid, each community member can submit up to three ideas - and of course you can win a prize with each single one. Looking forward to seeing your designs!

Dear all,

we prolonged the submission deadline by one week. To compensate for the longer runtime garden unique increases the community prize money by 1.500€! That's a fair deal, so let's get down once more and design the balcony of your dreams.

Looking forward to one more week with your great designs!

Could you not also increase the number of input ideas? For example, from 3 to 5 ideas.

It means that submission deadline is 15-Jun?

Yes, exactly. The submission deadline is updated as well now.

oh cool so i find abit time to enhance my work like the community want to. Thx!

In one of the photos on this page, there appear to be some cables running from floor-to-ceiling outside the glass guardrail at the edge of the balcony. Can you explain what the purpose of those is?

Thank you.

i think its the sun shading devices which have to have some sort of construction.

Hi, would it be okay if i didn't render the whole balcony but just focus in the product itself ?

Hi JayJay, it's always best to see the furniture in the special setting, but if you're too swamped go ahead with the furniture only. Cheers, Frieda

Hello... is there any problem if I send my project as a drawing? made by hand i mean? thanks

Hi pedrofaia, sure, you can submit drawings if there express your idea properly. But remember: for the possible realization of your idea as a 3D model, the following formats are required: dxf. dwg. stl. Cheers Frieda

hi Frieda! thanks for the aware of that and im not sending any 3D right now because im having problems with my computer :/ that's why im hasking if its possible submit drawings :)

Thanks Cheers

Pedro Faia

theres soooo much good stuff in this contest, the clients are very lucky indeed. :)

Dear all,

just wanted to let you know that the Jury members will put their heads together by the end of this week to decide which ideas will be presented as 3D models at the fair. We're hoping to have the results by the beginnng of next week and I'll of course let you know asap.

Also, thanks everybody for participating, it was a pleasure to guide this contest. The high quality of the ideas and the great comments you helped each other with made this a fun journey!