COLOGNE, GERMANY Anybody coming to the imm cologne in search of top international brands and high-end design is certain to find what he’s looking for – especially in Hall 11. The “pure” segment covers modern furnishing styles with premium appeal and is where top-class exhibitors showcase complete interior philosophies. Relevant complementary ranges such as carpets put the finishing touches to this variety. In the run-up to the event, the imm cologne reveals some of the highlights many of its exhibitors will be presenting at the fair.
Functionality is the most important requirement of all modern furniture. As a result, most furnishing items are getting smaller again, enabling all sorts of things to be done with them. Easily adjustable sofas that conjure up a bigger seating area in the blink of an eye, tables that can be extended with just a few easy moves when friends come round for dinner, flatscreens that can be made to disappear into the sideboard via remote control. And as technology gets smaller and smaller, even desks don’t need such a big work surface any more. These are just a few of the latest trends that have already been revealed by exhibitors.
The Poltrona Frau Group and its various brands is ready and waiting for the imm cologne 2012. “Cassina will be showing new products by the designers Charlotte Perriand, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Gerrit T. Rietveld. In many respects, the focus is on the naturalness of the materials. Cappellini will be concentrating on its latest new products such as “Dinah” and Poltrona Frau will also be travelling to Cologne with some up-to-the-minute developments. A sofa bed with an innovative filling, for instance,” promises the successful Meda-based group from Italy. For the Poltrona Frau Group too, the trade fair is an important event where it can meet its existing dealers – mainly from Germany and Northern Europe – and forge new contacts.
A genuine first in the history of the de Sede Group is planned for the coming January, when it will be presenting the two Swiss manufacturers de Sede and team by wellis at a joint booth for the first time. The result promises to be an extremely atmospheric and consistent exhibit that covers all areas of the home. And it goes without saying that both premium brands will be featuring product innovations as well: team by wellis, for instance, will be showing a multifunctional, very unusual storage furniture system that can be used to break up, zone and extend any space; de Sede will be presenting a new and innovative armchair concept. When it comes to trends, the de Sede Group believes in a play of contrasts between soft, organic lines and volumes on the one hand and strict, clear shapes on the other, as well as an even stronger emphasis on exclusive materials and processing techniques without looking showy.
Willisau Switzerland stresses that, as the premium manufacturer of a convincing collection of tables, chairs and sideboards, it considers the exhibition environment extremely important. Because the dealers who come to the fair rarely have time to have a really good look at the collections, Willisau prefers to have successful, well-known and highly reputed fellow exhibitors with a similar sales approach in its immediate vicinity – exactly the kind of environment the Swiss producer will find in Hall 11. Right now, the premium provider does not see any one dominant trend; instead, it believes that current developments are being influenced by innovative design that merges form and function. In addition, says Willisau, top-quality materials and sumptuous workmanship with sophisticated details are indispensable for creating genuine added value. In January, the spotlight at Willisau’s booth will be on its lightweight construction line “Leggera” and a brand new line of chairs by the name of “Estetica”, which will be presented in Cologne for the very first time.
Girsberger has been putting its faith in the imm cologne for a long time and is hoping not only for an answer as to whether the latest product developments are in line with the zeitgeist, but for honesty from all those involved with regard to seriously meant sustainability concepts of the type Girsberger has been cultivating and implementing ever since the company was founded. At the centre of the booth there will be a table that is a genuine piece of European history. It was made from a 600-year-old common oak from southern France. In addition, with “Adesso” by Kurt Müller, the upholstered bench will be finding its way into the dining area in extremely understated form. “Diago”, a filigree solid wood table by designer Dieter Stierli, is unique. The table can be extended from 220 cm to 320 cm, and yet the grain of the longitudinally glued solid wood runs the entire length of the table.
“We’ll be taking the momentum and some very good memories of the imm cologne and LivingKitchen 2011 along with us – Cologne is definitely the meeting point for the international furniture world. We’re very much looking forward to the 2012 event,” says Philippe Walther, head of the Home division.
Leolux considers itself a genuine trendsetter. Modern design and up-to-the-minute materials are the order of the day at the Dutch company. Which is why the Venlo-based firm will be showing several award-winning models in Cologne – including “Mundo”, “Sella” and “Arabella” – as well as some totally new furniture designs intended to form a perfect unit with the impressive booth. “For us, the imm cologne is always the start of a new business year, the beginning of a new season,” says Markus Hintzen, advertising manager at Leolux.
Erba is one of the new exhibitors who will be joining the top brands in the “pure” segment. “We hope we’ll be able to give people a good idea of the uniqueness of our style in Cologne and would be delighted to encounter visitors who appreciate the originality and top quality of our furniture,” comments the company headquarters in Biassono. Erba wants to show two totally new models in Cologne and enter into talks with the buyers and owners of top German and European stores. The Italians are also hoping to reach architects and interior designers.
Danish furniture manufacturer ABC Reoler, who has been exhibiting in Cologne for many years, still sees individuality and personality as the biggest enduring trend. The new product it will be launching at the trade fair is a good reflection of this tendency: the innovative new shelving system offers an almost infinite range of possibilities, the manufacturer plays with various depths and colours – without compromising its previous shelving lines. According to Sören Iversen, Managing Director of the Aulum-based company, the imm cologne’s most important function for ABC Reoler is “its significance as a window to the international markets.”
There will be some truly top-class design on show at Artek’s booth: the company has been the licensee for the unique seating furniture by Finnish interior architect and designer Ilmari Tapiovaara since 2010. Artek has already managed to attract a great many customers with its collection of lights and furniture by Alvar Aalto, and the Nordic company is now rounding off its assortment with the Tapiovaara designs.
The focus of its presentation at the imm cologne will for instance be the multifunctional “Domus Chair” and the “Domus Lounge Chair”. “For us, the imm cologne is a very important event and showcases the entire world of interior design. Thanks to the positive way the fair has been developing in recent years, the event seems a lot fresher and new elements like ‘pure village’ are extremely appealing. For us, the imm cologne is one event that we definitely can’t afford to miss!”explains Mirkku Kullberg, Managing Director of Artek.
Artmodul has recently been paying a great deal of attention to the look of its products and will be presenting a new world of colour at the January trade fair. Whilst its furniture systems continue to be dominated by subtle hues, contrasting bright shades will be adding a vivacious touch. And the basic idea behind Artmodul’s modular furniture ranges is also totally in line with the prevailing trend towards individuality. The imm cologne is at the very top of the Swiss firm’s list of priorities: “For us, the imm cologne is one of the most important shows of all. This is where trends are born and international contacts are made. We’re very much looking forward to the next imm cologne in 2012,” says Markus Biland, co-proprietor and board member of Artmodul.
Bocci, who will be making a vibrant appearance in Cologne with, amongst other things, its new “28” lighting collection, is hoping for good-quality visitors. Besides a high level of interest at its own booth, the Canadian firm would also like an environment that features plenty of new products staged in an effective and exciting way, thus ensuring that Hall 11 is once again a major attraction. Year after year, Bocci travels to the imm cologne with the very highest expectations.
Steamed oak will be the major theme at Ethnicraft’s booth. A new collection with this finish is intended to delight both existing and future customers, for the look of the wood bears a strong resemblance to the interesting appearance of tropical woods. The manufacturer believes there is currently a huge demand for real wood in all its many forms. “For us, the imm cologne is an international and professional trade fair – just the way it ought to be. A meeting point for people with a proper understanding of the furniture industry,” says Tom Geluykens, sales director at Ethnicraft.
Arno Ruijzenaars, CEO of Flux Furniture, is equally enthusiastic: “The best moment for showing the world what we’ve designed and developed is the imm cologne. A place where trends and business meet.” For Flux, its presence at the fair will hinge on the presentation of “Flux Junior”, an identical mini-edition of its highly successful “Flux Chair”. As the name suggests, the product is a child’s chair with the same look as the original design developed by Delft University of Technology.
Fraubrunnen looks set to celebrate its anniversary year 2012 in style. The company has exhibited at the imm cologne several times, and the Swiss furniture makers have felt very much home in Hall 11since 2010. The focus in January will be on individual further developments of the Art collections and, in particular, several innovations in honour of the anniversary. Fraubrunnen hopes its presence at the trade fair will establish and extend its prominence as a brand-name manufacturer at international level and help it exploit the available market potential to the full. “For us, the imm cologne is an important platform for cultivating existing contacts and making new ones, as well as for building up our market position,” explains Head of Marketing & Sales and board member Silvia Bürki. “Especially in our centenary year, we want to take advantage of Cologne as a central international meeting point and present our innovations in an environment dominated by renowned visitors.”
Although Christmas will only just be over by the time the imm cologne 2012 gets underway, first-time exhibitor Keilbach is planning to stage a big entrance for a Christmas tree stand which, it says, is nothing short of revolutionary.
Up until now, Keilbach has been active at other trade fair venues where the focus was on its accessories division. With its attendance at the Cologne furniture fair, the Dörzbach company wants to highlight its competency for small items of furniture. “The entire team is looking forward to this trade fair and we’ve been enthusiastically developing some new products that will be on show in Cologne for the very first time. We borrowed our trade fair motto from Bertolt Brecht: ‘Change the world – it needs it’,” says designer and company founder Peter Keilbach.
Being embedded in an environment where high-end design is an overriding principle that governs not just the products on show but the booth design and visitor milieu as well – that is what Kymo expects from the imm cologne. “For Kymo, the imm cologne continues to be the most important exhibition platform of all. It gives us the opportunity to present ourselves in an absolutely top-level setting which, thanks to the combination of internationality and the level-headedness so typical of the Rhineland, is unique throughout Europe. On top of that, we feel extremely comfortable at the trade fair, it’s always a bit like a homecoming,” says Ann Zuber, PR manager at Kymo. The product Kymo is planning to cause a sensation with is old and yet totally new: a reinvention of the classic oriental carpet with 21st-century means.
Müller Möbelwerkstätten from Bockhorn was extremely satisfied with how the 2011 trade fair went and the post-show business it generated. Having taken part in the “Passagen” programme in previous years, the North German producer is in a good position to draw comparisons – and has decided in favour of a presence at the trade fair. Müller’s new ultra-flat bureau “Flatmate” will be making its debut at the fair. When closed, it has a footprint of just 0.09 square metres – and is thus probably one of the smallest fully equipped bureaus in the world. Without making itself conspicuous, it can turn long corridors in old apartments into a home office in the blink of an eye.
The manufacturer is thus totally in line with what it regards as the dominant trend: furniture that permits both conventional and totally new types of usage and features integrated lighting and technology. “We’re looking forward to the coming furniture fair in Cologne because it’s the ideal platform for entering into a dialogue with customers, designers, the press and competitors. For us, the Cologne furniture fair is the top event of the year,” explains Jochen Müller, managing director of Müller Möbelwerkstätten GmbH.
Paschen wants to use the trade fair to stage both its products and the company to perfection. The focus will be on a special edition to mark the 25th anniversary of Paschen Libraries and on a spectacularly sized specimen of the “Vision One” model. With regard to visitors, the traditional manufacturer from Wadersloh is hoping for an interested, exclusive public that is curious and open-minded about all things new and attaches importance to quality and first-class workmanship. “As the world’s leading interior design fair, the imm is a highlight for us every year and accompanies us continually during the subsequent months. We followed the recent upswing with the greatest of pleasure and are delighted that the event is finding its way back to such attractiveness and strength. A world-class fair in Germany is an absolute necessity for a successful market presence. Internationally, the fair certainly still has upward potential,” says Christian Teutsch, head of sales at Paschen.
Riva 1920 is also planning to present a whole series of new products to visitors in Cologne for the first time. They include solid wood tables, TV wall units and beds. The Cantù-based Italian firm has very high hopes of its new designer collection, which is made of special types of wood such as “Kauri Millenarian” and “Briccole Venezia”. The latter, for instance, originates from the Venetian Lagoon and is used in recycled form. Riva 1920 sees Hall 11 as one of the most important locations at the entire fair during the imm cologne. “We’re avowed fans of the trade fair and it’s the most important event for us in terms of keeping in touch with our European customers,” explains Simone Belotti, export manager at Riva 1920.
For Ronald Schmitt, sustainability is one of the most important themes of all. Accordingly, the firm’s new collection features a “Linoleum” tabletop finish that is 100 percent natural. For the family-run company, the imm cologne is an important choice of location for the coming year. What the Eberbach-based firm appreciates about Hall 11 is the concentration of manufacturers with the same customer structure. Because manufacturers from a wide variety of market segments also present themselves in the immediate vicinity, “the customer finds a highly comprehensive range of goods from the individual product groups,” says the high-end producer.
Another exhibitor that is totally in line with the concept behind the pure segment is Tonon Italia. Its highlights at the coming fair will be material interpretations by designer team Maly Hoffmann Kahleyss and Martin Ballendat – in particular, a modern wooden chair designed by the trio and a chair made of the new material “Freeform Advance” by Ballendat. “For us and our customers, the furniture fair in Cologne is a genuine must,” confirms the Manzano-based company. It is certainly no coincidence that the Italian firm has been exhibiting at the imm cologne without interruption for 32 years.
In the run-up to the imm cologne, there are three things Weishäupl Möbelwerkstätten is hoping for from the January event: lively interest from the press, lots of good talks with customers and a positive basic mood during the fair. As one of the few outdoor specialists exhibiting at the event, the Stephanskirchen company is in optimistic mood as it looks forward to the fair and will be showing a whole series of new products that are certain to delight visitors. They include the “Chill” and “Aikana” series in the lounging/chilling segment, the chairs “Wipp”, “Rion” and “Strip” and some interesting carpets for both outdoor and indoor use.
There is a palpable sense of enthusiasm amongst almost all the companies involved – not only for the pure segment but for the entire furniture fair as well.
According to Ton from the Czech Republic, for instance, or Punkalive from Finland, “The imm cologne is THE platform for Northern Europe when it comes to furniture and design.” Schramm, the bed systems specialists from Winnweiler, and Italian designer furniture producer Zeus Noto, are both hoping for an international visitor clientele with a keen interest in the products on show and prospective purchases.
Even at this early point, one thing is certain: the exhibitors have spared neither effort nor expense and have been making optimal use of the time since the last imm cologne in January 2011 to perfect their new developments. They are thus making a very successful contribution towards generating sales appeal and getting the business year 2012 off to an excellent start.
imm cologne + LivingInteriors
16th to 22nd January 2012
9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Public Days: Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd January 2012
Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.