Top 5 trends from IMM Cologne

IMM Cologne, the international furniture show, offers a real insight into what 2013 might hold for the design world so we headed off to the show, armed with a camera to do some intrepid trend spotting. Here are our top 5 finds…

1. Flexible furniture for multi-purpose spaces 

We loved the Sphere table by Hella Jongerius for Vitra (pictured above). The perfect combination of public and private to provide focus in an open plan or mixed-use space.

A stunning example of this style of furniture was seen at the Vision Hidden Kitchen from Warendorf (below). It’s was a beautifully laid out and clever kitchen which, at the flick of a switch disappears behind a feature wall finished in natural rust,  sprayed on just like a lacquer. This is perfect for a contemporary open-plan living space.

2. Natural materials and traditional craftsmanship 

Not so much new but still going strong, natural materials really shone this year at IMM. La Garderobiére by Berlin-based Zascho Petkow (below) can be used for storing and displaying anything from shoes to handbags. It provides an elegant solution for storing hallway clutter.

A series of ‘editorial’ installations throughout the show were designed to make you stop and contemplate for a while. Bower’s master class in woodturning was interesting to see and showcased some beautifully handcrafted products.

3. Modernism 

An interesting development in the Mid-Century modern look saw a slight move away from ‘vintage’ and an introduction to more utilitarian aesthetics. A very literal example was an installation from e15; ‘Ferdinand Kramer: Knock Down As A Philosophy’, which showcased  its reissued Kramer range (as below). A Bauhaus drop-out, and according to e15 a much underrated designer, Kramer was a pioneer of the ‘knock-down’ approach (a precursor to flat pack) and social housing in Germany. Perhaps now he’ll finally get the recognition he deserves.

Again, taking inspiration from modernism and ‘objective beauty, the logic and logistics of industrial and commercial objects,’ Schellmann Furniture was a fabulous example of this trend with some pieces that would brighten up even the dullest workspace.

These lights from Pulpo, made from glass and powder coated steel, have a wooden base to add just a touch of vintage warmth.

4. Neons and neutrals

It’s great to see the trend for neons and neutrals move from textiles and into furniture. The “Expandable Modular Storage System” from ST16 has neutral grey and wood with neon corner fixtures, for example, and was winner of an Interior Innovation Award at the show.

5. Simplicity

“Thread Family” by Berlin and Shanghai-based Coordination is a set of flexible furniture made from a thread and seat lathed from walnut wood on a welded steel base, inspired by high quality bicycle frames. It was good to see the  simplicity of the design up close and the bright range of colours.

And more simplicity from Supergrau - the Kloezze System furniture comes in packs of six blocks of pine, oak and cherry and two elastic bands in yellow or blue, so it can be configured however you like – into a single seat, a long bench, a coffee table, shelving, or even an abstract sculpture.

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Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor

View all posts by Katie Treggiden, Guest Editor