COLOGNE, GERMANY - "Transparent" veneers, fragrant acoustic panels, wood-based foams and innovative hardware technology were among the nine products named "Best of the Best" by judges of the 2015 interzum Red Dot awards for intelligent material and design.

The winning items are on display at the fair’s boulevard in a walk-in square. Organized by Koelnmesse, interzum is the world's largest trade show featuring supplies for the furniture, cabinet and other interior construction industries. The four-day biennial interzum fair runs through May 8 in Cologne, Germany.

At the Koelnmesse site in Cologne, tens of thousands woodworking manufacturers, designers and worldwide media personnel, including Woodworking Network, converged to see the results of the 2015 competition. This year's competition had 269 entries from 21 countries, submitted in three  categories: "Materials and surfaces" to "Fittings, glass and lighting" and "Upholstery manufacture and bedding." This was the eighth time Koelnmesse and Red Dot collaborated on the awards program.

interzum's 2015 award winners include these "Best of the Best" products:

The ALPI SpA ALPIlignum Radiant, a composite veneer laced with transparent polycarbonate lines that allows light to pass through. The company says production process utilized makes the wood translucent. Radiant can be produced from a wide range of ALPIlignum veneers.

Arpa's FENIX NTM is a nanotech material for interior design with a matte, silky surface that the company says offers a high degree of functionality. The nanotechnology makes the surface resistant to scratching or finger marks and allows micro-scratches to be corrected thermally, the company adds.

Organoid says its Acoustic Panel “Image Absorber” features a "surface of natural materials such as fragrant mountain hay, lavender stems or jasmine blossoms which also act as sound absorbers according to the Helmholtz principle." The acoustic performance is achieved with the absorber, depending on the slit and bore hole of the support material, Organoid adds.

Available from Richter akustik & design, MineralVeneer is a homogeneous mineral surface, 0.9mm thick. Developed as a substitute for plastic surfaces, the cement-bound mineral fiber surface is vapor-permeable and is self-cleaning by photo catalysis. Scratches on the water-resistant surface can be easily removed by repair work, Richter says, and the mineral layer can be processed with standard woodworking machines

Fraunhofer-Institut für Holzforschung WKI says its new wood foam combines the material properties of oil-based hard foams with high environmental compatibility. The foam material is based on pure wood and does not require raw petrochemical additives, since the wood itself provides the structural component as well as the setting property. The wood foam can be used as base for light building materials and later be recycled without problem, the institute adds.

Lamello says the Divario P-18 is a self-tightening, invisible connector for insertion in both CNC and manual production environments. According to Lamello, the Divario also "offers the possibility of sliding in panel shelving or a partition into a previously assembled unit."

Schock Metallwerk says its new Air Motion smooth-running ball-bearing sliding systems feature quiet operation and can be individually configured with options including powder-coated surfaces and locking and damping systems.

Available from OCTO Actuators/Bionical Design, Octoflex is a central drive unit with flexible power transmission elements for use with furniture. "The Octoflex concept places the power via variably adjustable levers to the precise position where it is needed and converts it efficiently and quietly into an adjusting movement of the furniture," the company says.

DesleeClama, Zonnebeke says Biaxial is a collection of knitted mattress fabrics which follow the flexibility of the mattress core and are suitable for ergonomic mattress concepts. With a high level of point elasticity the fabric can be stretched up to 50 percent in all directions. It is also pressure resistant.

Click here for a complete list of interzum award winners, including honorable mentions.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.