Ben Morgan gets started at imm cologne – an ’exhibition suburb’.
January 18th, 2011
imm cologne is widely recognised as one of the biggest design fairs in the world. It is also touted as the fair that sets out the interior design trends of the year ahead.
After arriving in Cologne and getting over the jetlag I quickly realised that imm is recognised outside of design, hearing people on the street talking about the event – and this year is set to be the biggest yet, with the inclusion of the LivingKitchen exhibition featuring 1200 global brands.
So it was with a real sense of anticipation that I headed to the first day of imm cologne, where the world’s biggest brands and latest designs are on show for the next 6 days.
Koelnmesse is the home of imm cologne, just a short trip from the centre of town and alongside the Rhine. Today is press preview day and the place is buzzing already.
If you’ve never been to Koelnmesse then the best way for me to describe it is not as an ‘exhibition centre’ but as an ‘exhibition suburb’. There are 11 halls, full of everything from lower-end flat-pack-style furniture to the world’s biggest brands in high-end furniture, lighting, kitchens and textiles.
Day 1, however, I focused on getting to know the [D3] Design Talents and the [D3] Contest.
[D3] brings together the best of young design from around the globe, to showcase their designs and gain valuable exposure among manufacturers, distributors, media and specifiers.
I found the designs and designers incredibly polished and professional, and with the energy that only comes from emerging design.
There are some great lighting designs this year, including playful, colourful floor lamps and pendants made of wood and painted aluminium by a couple of Swedish designers called Glimpt of South Africa.
While Tafelstukken followed the overall trend towards using natural materials in new ways with a series of porcelain lights combining bowls and display tables with lamps.
Another standout was the ‘Light Forest’ system by Ontwerpduo, with ‘piping’ delivering the infrastructure and form to the lights suspended from the ceiling.
Then there was the ‘Moody’ lounge by Hanna Emelie Ernsting – she kindly and enthusiastically demonstrated how this works – which aims to reflect the mood of the user, allowing them to curl up in its oversized cover, or arrange it neatly depending on their mood.
And for those women out there (you know who you are) who’ve ever spent more than 20 minutes looking for something in your handbag, you can now have that experience with your whole wardrobe with Anne Lorenz’s ‘Home Traveller’ storage unit – essentially an oversized handbag.
In a way, the [D3] Contest exhibition resembled a mad scientist’s laboratory, with many of the designers ‘splicing’ product DNA into new hybrids, while letting individual materials stand alone – porcelain with wood, steel with rubber, glass and aluminium.
Aside from the [D3] Contest, I also got around to see the rest of Pure Village, where there are some amazing designs on show.
I spent some time getting to know one new brand in particular, FURNISM from Denmark, whose products include beautiful dining settings made from bamboo, natural latex and recycled timber from demolished Chinese buildings, as well as lampshades (designed by Pepe Heykoop) made in India by disadvantaged women.
FURNISM makes Social Design feel quite achievable and seriously good looking.
I could go on forever, talking about the other amazing things from [D3], and the countless beautiful designs that are a part of Pure Village, but I fear I will run out of space.
I had a sneak peek today of the ‘Pure’ hall, where the biggest brands have some seriously impressive stands, including Poltrona Frau, ClassiCon, Minotti, Kartell… the list goes on. But this will wait until tomorrow!
One hall down and a lot more to go!
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