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10 Next-Gen Product Ideas To Look Forward To At IMM Cologne’s Pure Talents Contest 2019

Tiles made of paper, tabletops from waste timber and lamps with salt batteries are amongst the products selected for the Pure Talents Contest exhibition at IMM Cologne 2019 in January. 

10 Next-Gen Product Ideas To Look Forward To At IMM Cologne’s Pure Talents Contest 2019

Photo credit: Rongjie Yang; Koelnmesse

Tiles made of paper, tabletops from waste timber and lamps with salt batteries are amongst the next generation products ideas that will be exhibited at IMM Cologne’s Pure Talents Contest 2019 in January. 

The Pure Talents Contest is the trade fair’s tradition dedicated to designers who are still studying or have recently completed their education. The Pure Talents Contest 2019 received a total of 926 submissions from 69 countries. 

The contest’s esteemed jury, comprising designer Rianne Makkink of Studio Makkink & Bey, Chief Curator of Helsinki Design Museum Suvi Saloniemi, designers Sebastian Herkner and Cristian Zuzunaga,  journalist Johannes Hünig of IDEAT magazine and Managing Director of Minimum Einrichten GmbH Wilfried Lembert conferred in Cologne in October to narrow down the submissions to 26 nominated products. 

“I think that the result is a good combination of very beautiful, saleable objects and designs that make you think,” said Saloniemi of the shortlisted products. The jury acknowledged the sustainability concepts of many designs and the combination of familiar and new, as yet unconsidered materials. 

A total of 20 designs from the shortlist will be exhibited at IMM Cologne’s Pure Talents Contest Exhibition in hall 3.1 from 14 to 20 January 2019 while the remaining six designs will be curated in a stand-alone LivingKitchen competition, which focuses on kitchen accessories, appliances and concepts. There will be four prizes up for grabs.  

This year’s Pure Talents Contest reflects the new generation of designers’ engagement with issues relating to the use of resources and materials recycling, as Lembert points out: “… [I]t is not about designing something that’s cutting edge and special, but rather something that’s simply well made and useful. That way, it lasts. The trend is moving away from consumption and towards usefulness. And those products that are consumed should be manufactured from environmentally friendly or recyclable materials.”

Here are 10 of our picks:

1. The Physical Sketchbook by Mu Hau Kao

Photo credit: Mu Hau Kao; Koelnmesse

Mu’s project is based on his explorative research into what constitutes good seating in different contexts. The result was 21 prototypes that add up to a wide-ranging collection of seating options. 

2. 2018 Chair by Zohair Zouirech

Photo credit: Zohair Zouirech; Koelnmesse

The 2018 chair designed by Zohair Zouirech has no seat at all until the user ties a simple knot in its textile throw. The soft fabric creates an interesting contrast with the matter-of-fact tubular steel frame.

3. Piggo by Mor Dagan

With Piggo, modular seating furniture made of metal, wood and textiles, Mor Dagan aims to make the often long waiting times at children’s hospitals more enjoyable for both the little ones and their parents by providing them with protected space for closeness and interaction.

4. SALT by Bastian Thürich

Photo credit: Bastian Thürich; Koelnmesse

Powered only by copper, magnesium and salt, Bastian Thürich’s SALT side lamp doesn’t contain any of the rare earth metals or harmful, environmentally damaging acids found in used batteries. The mobile lamp generates its own energy.  When it’s turned the right way up, the saline solution sinks to the bottom and closes the circuit. 


5. Paper Tiles by Alice Guidi

Photo credit: Alice Guidi; Koelnmesse

Pushing paper: with her upcycling-based Paper Tiles, Alice Guidi shows how recycled paper can be combined with porcelain to create sound-insulating wall tiles that absorb and deflect sound waves. 

6. The Conscious Unconsciousness by Michael Varga

Photo credit: Michael Varga; Koelnmesse

The Conscious Unconsciousness by Michael Varga is a plea for greater awareness when it comes to everyday consumption habits. Here, for instance, a clothes hanger enters into a dialogue with its human user by throwing off clothes that haven’t been worn for a long time.

6. Low Tambour Credenza by INDO- (Manan Narang and Urvi Sharma)

Photo credit: INDO-; Koelnmesse

The Low Tambour credenza by INDO- (Manan Narang and Urvi Sharma) is a highly original alternative to conventional sideboards. This new interpretation of a popular nineteenth-century furniture item was inspired by the Ikat weaving technique, in which each warp end is dyed individually or in bundles – a principle the designers transferred to the individual wooden slats of the sliding doors.

7. Baschnja by Ilja Huber

Photo credit: Ilja Huber; Koelnmesse


Baschnja by Ilja Huber is a three-part lamp that uses the 360° rotation of its individual segments to provide both direct and indirect light. Stacked one on top of the other, the three battery-powered elements are charged via the base unit and can then be positioned separately anywhere in the room.

 8. Onda by J.P. van der Horst

Photo credit: J.P. van der Horst; Koelnmesse

An interactive textile accessory for the home,Onda by J.P. van der Horst uses nanotechnology to purify the air. Thanks to a coating that reacts with daylight, the textile converts polluted air into harmless water-based molecules.

9. Leppänen Dining Table by Riku Toivonen

Photo credit: Riku Toivonen; Koelnmesse

Leppänen celebrates the imperfections of old birch, the grain of which is emphasised when the rotting process sets in. The designer created tables with unique patterns out of blocks of discarded lumber that are generally only used to secure goods during transport.

10. POP by Rongjie Yang

Photo credit: Rongjie Yang; Koelnmesse

No need to stick your head in the sand! POP by Rongjie Yang provides a protective, soundproof shell – a private sphere for taking a bit of time out in public spaces, enjoying a meditative moment or just making a phone call.

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