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Icons of globalisation – design at imm pure

Have you already used the calculator on the iPhone? It reminds design fans of the interface on the classic from German appliance giant Braun. This example not only goes to show that there is an influential, specifically German design tradition, it also reveals how different regions of the world and product areas interact with one another today.

imm cologne is an ideal venue to study this development and integrate it into your own product offers. From 19 to 25 January 2009, under the sub-brand “imm pure”, more than 200 design companies from all over the world will present their creative responses to an increasingly networked world.

In total there were 30,272 specialist visitors from construction, design, interior design and architecture who visited the Cologne furniture fair last year. This specialist audience will find an inspiring and, in a positive sense, vexing range of products in Hall 11 in January 2009, once again presided over by a curator panel.

A curator panel with clout
Member of the curator panel Bernd Hollin, who came up with the iPhone example above, is delighted that companies that dare to be truly adventurous will appear at the forthcoming design show. “The fair’s purpose is not just to showcase profitable trends whose successes are followed up by ever-newer versions,” says the architect at Studio Hollin + Radoske who, among other projects, is currently creating the first class area for a German airline. “It’s also about presenting those visionaries whose products are destined for tomorrow’s world.”

Together with seasoned Cologne-based furnishing expert Dieter Pesch, long-established architect and designer Thomas Sandell from Stockholm, purist product designer Christophe Marchand from Zurich and creative interior designer Gerhard Wolf from Darmstadt, Hollin ensures that visitors to the 2009 Cologne Design Hall will “experience completely new things”.

Profit factor design
If you think the design activities at imm cologne too glamorous but wholly unprofitable, you should definitely take time to call in at Hall 11. Although, the ideas are subject to lively discussion, as is only fitting for a design location, good business is also done, a trend that is gathering speed.

“Design is no longer restricted to the premium market or Ikea customers, but is gradually reaching the mainstream market,” write the BBE retail experts in their “Market Excellence: Home & Interior 2008” study.

The association of creative interior designers is also letting the numbers do the talking. In 2007 the collective of medium-sized furniture retailers in the premium design segment posted a sales increase of 9.6% against the general trend in the sector. The fact that the profitable shop of German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung’ is now marketing an exclusive design collection is another indication of the mass appeal of design.

International Creative Pool in Hall 11
One company that always knows how to captivate is Cappellini. With the “Love Collection” by Stephen Burks of the US, the Italian company is making a multifaceted contribution to the theme of “sustainability”. Burks’ occasional furniture is made from recycled paper by artists in selected regions of South Africa. A lounge is planned to showcase his collection and latest prototypes in Hall 11.1.

Its powers of renewal is also bringing other design companies to Cologne, some of them for the first time. The curator panel is delighted that several up-and-coming newcomers from Berlin will also be strengthening the reputation of German design. There will also be “ambitious exhibitors with extremely functional and purist designs” from Asia, says Hollin.

Strong talent will be coming from the UK and Benelux who navigate and transgress the boundaries between design and art with virtuosity. Besides their sought-after artistic masterpieces, they have managed beyond all profitability considerations to devise new and marketable products too.

And what is special about the furniture venue Cologne, Mr Hollin? “”Cologne offers the best overall idea of what’s out there,” he says. “The other trade fairs are more regional and specialised.”