Indesign’s Editor at Large, Mandi Keighran files this report from Imm Cologne, noting new design directions and the latest releases
23 January, 2013
IMM Cologne, the annual furniture fair held at Koelnmesse in January, is going through something of a resurgence. While the European market has been experiencing a crisis over the past few years, things are beginning to look up – at least in some parts of Europe. Germany is one area of Europe where things are looking brighter, and this means good news for IMM Cologne.
Bell Table – Sebastian Herkner
This year, the fair attracted 142,000 visitors from 137 countries through the halls of Koelnmesse. The exhibition was made even more attractive to exhibitors and visitors alike with the biennial kitchen exhibition, LivingKitchens, making its second appearance at IMM.
Lean On Desk – Conde House
The renewed success of IMM can be partly attributed to the organisers’ understanding of the trade fair as evolving. With information so readily available now, trade fairs need to engage people with more than new products.
Bench B – Konstantin Grcic
Titled ’Pure’, Hall 11 was once again the highlight of the exhibition as the home to high-end international brands. Pure Village, in Hall 3, provided a space for emerging avant-garde brands to showcase their offerings. The organisers extended the concept this year with the addition of Pure Editions, a platform for creative brands – including Vitra, Flötotto, and Böwer – to showcase their products in conceptual installations.
Ready Made Curtain – Bouroullec Brothers
Pure Textiles was another new addition to IMM. A quarter of hall 3.2 was given over to top textile brands, including Kinnasand, Nya Nordiska, and Zimmer + Rohde. More innovation in textile was seen over at Design Post, where Kvadrat launchded the ’Ready Made Curtain’ by the Bouroullec brothers – the result of extensive research into domestic curtains.
FK12 – Ferdinand Kramer
ADD System – Werner Aisslinger
Given how close we are to Milan, there were a surprising number of new product launches at IMM this year. Highlights of the exhibition included the FK12 collection from German brand e15, which showcased new editions of classic designs from Modernist icon Ferdinand Kramer (including some chairs upholstered in colourful plaid – apparently a favourite of Kramer’s); the gorgeously detailed ceramic ’Container’ lamp by Benjamin Hubert for Ligne Roset; the intelligent new ’ADD’ system furniture by Werner Aisslinger for Flötotto; the evocative ’Splinter’ collection by prolific Japanese designers, Nendo, for Conde House; Konstantin Grcic’s ’Bench B’ for BD Barcelona; and the ’Oki’ side tables by EOOS for Walter Knoll.
Container Lamp – Benjamin Hubert
Splinter Collection – Nendo
Of course, there was also a plethora of familiar products in new finishes and colourways. Highlights included the new outdoor version of Naoto Fukasawa’s ’Papilio’ chair for B&B Italia in a woven polyethylene that imbues the chair with a new lightness; and the stunning colours of Zeitraum’s ’3.1’ chairs – the first time the German brand has presented its timber furniture in colour.
Papilio Outdoor – Naoto Fukasawa
At LivingKitchen 2013, the trends were clear and not overly surprising – open-plan kitchens; greater comfort for users through intelligent and flexible kitchen furniture; new materials – including a decisive move toward timbers; and, of course, resource efficiency. The stand-out stands here were Gaggenau and Häcker. Miele showcased Generation 6000 – the brand’s biggest product launch to date, with over 200 new products and two design lines – PureLine and ContourLine.
Das Haus 2013
This year, Das Haus – a conceptual visualisation of a home – was designed by guest of honour, Italian designer Luca Nichetto. Located in the middle of the Pure Village hall, the 180m2 platform is an open stage for the guest of honour. Nichetto used the opportunity to explore the notion of nature in the modern home.
Beams Chair – Tsuo-Ning Hu and Yu-Chih Chang
’L’ étagère en bois’ – Lucien Gumy
[D3] – the competition for young designers – was perhaps not as strong as in previous years, although there were several clear stand-outs. The 2013 winner was Lucien Gumy with ’L’ étagère en bois’ – a solid timber shelving unit that requires no screws or nails. The ’Beams’ chair by Tsuo-Ning Hu and Yu-Chih Chang was beautifully resolved, and the ’And A And Be And Not’ screen attracted a lot of interest.
Based on the strength of this year’s IMM, it will be interesting to see how the organisers continue to develop the concept and engage visitors for 2014.
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