Be it small or huge, colourful or illuminated, industrial or organic, silver or brass, wood or glass, or just plain odd – there was no common ground at IMM Cologne. Everything was possible. In fact, emerging brands such as New Tendency, L&Z and Cologne-based Kaschkasch, who have always done what they want anyway, made that clearly evident this year, too. In their carefully arranged booths, they presented a palette of products that range from office furniture to home accessories and living-room furniture, and address anyone with a product-related sense of living and aesthetics. For what are trends anyway? These designers opt for their independence – ‘und das ist auch gut so’'.
And there were more risk takers to be found on the horizon. Pulpo, for example, seems to be interested in working with undiscovered designers like Hfg Offenbach student Martin Hirth, and Alexandre Reignier, whose table lamp, Lena, made it into the company’s collection.
A new segment introduced this year, Pure One is a platform ‘for the promotion of up-and-coming international designers’. Its experimental exhibition format Design Injections showed unusual scenographies and projects by young designers and groups for the first time. Part of this was a surprising presentation named The Journey – Part One, in which Sarah Illenberger, Brose~Fogale and Studio Hausen, amongst others, presented objects together with their creation process, thus portraying the whole story a product has to tell. This new ‘curated platform for outstanding exhibitions by universities, design initiatives and young graduates’ is sure to grow in the coming years.
At the D3 contest, Pascal Howe’s Lego Technics-like lamp, The Worker, resembled a science-fiction film prop, while in a dark room further down, Arnout Meijer’s Thanks for the Sun lighting had us doing just that. This year’s winning designs were, surprisingly, all practical – more industrial than conceptual (as in previous years). The first two places went to Swiss Christoph Goechnahts for his Ordnungshaber storage system and Yann Mathys with his Reverso room divider, while German designer Lena Schlumbohm’s magnetic Jella lamp was awarded third prize.
And how about Das Haus, IMM’s interior project; what did that look like in its third year? Well, according to Louise Campbell, life should be lived in a spacious, open-plan, half-empty house with a broad selection of Kvadrat textiles (very Danish) and a varied product assortment. A bit too much Big Brother, perhaps. One great addition, though, was a pegboard wall full of tools and utensils for everyday life. I do wonder if, rather than simply being a presentation of furniture and products, the annual Das Haus project could benefit from a more critical approach that investigates what we really need for future interiors?