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A lamp that mimics daylight and a collapsible desk – Pure Talents Contest 2018

Photo: Ivo Hovsté

On the first 15th January 2018, the moment arrives one again: The imm cologne opens its doors and on that day the young talent competition Pure Talents Contest will take place for the 15th time. Young design talents from all over the world can present themselves and their prototypes on an exhibition at the Cologne interior fair. At the news blog, we introduce the products of this anniversary event and let the creatives themselves have their say. Let’s start with Sofia Souidi and her product Gradient and with the design trio Arends, Bucher, Kim and their table Fold It.

“Supporting the next generation of creative professionals is something we care deeply about,” says Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Pure Talents Contest. “Young designers are immensely important for the interior design industry because they are synonymous with new inspiration, creativity and innovations. Many imm cologne exhibitors follow the Pure Talents Contest closely and are actively involved in career planning — they open up their collections to young designers to provide them with their first experiences of professional design work. And as a trade fair organiser, we are delighted to be able to support these up-and-coming talents at the start of their careers.”

Inspired by sun: Gradient by Sofia Souidi

Gradient is a light that mimics the visual appearance of the sun.
Photo: Ivo Hovsté

This project is about changing lightcolor and reducing lightintensity in relation to the daily rhythm. Today 90% of our routines happens inside with little natural light. The intensity of daylight can almost be replicated with LEDs. However daylight is not constant. It changes its colour and intensity depending on time, weather and the architecture of the place. Gradient mimics the sun and aims to build a bridge between the outside and inside.


Pure Talent’s Voice mit Sofia Souidi

Why did you become a designer?
I’ve always liked designing things. But what I understand by good design has always evolved so I find it hard to pin that down to a certain time.

What is the most unusual place you have ever had a brilliant idea for a new design?
I usually get good ideas when I’m travelling or just after visiting exhibitions.

Do you still need a pencil as a designer today?
Yes, for quick sketches and for when you want to illustrate something mid-conversation. I often assume that my conversation partner knows exactly what I mean. But in my experience, a sketch helps to make things clear just in case.

Foto: Sofia Souidi

Do you have role models?
Everyone who manages to reconcile the demands of children and work.

Does design bring happiness?
Hmm, that’s a tough one. I think there are studies proving that colour influences mood. I don’t know whether that’s also true for shapes and materials – I’d be really interested in finding out!

What do you find satisfying or unsatisfying about design work?
I find it amazing that the work we do exists in reality or is comprehensible at a later time. It doesn’t stop at the level of thought. What I, as a rather impatient person, find unsatisfying is that it sometimes takes such a long time before I’m happy with the result.

Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
I personally find that knowing where something comes from, and who made it, gives an object quality. But that’s not to say that I exclusively consume such things. I think there’s room for both.

What can’t you do without while working?
Space, discussions about ideas and easy access to model construction materials.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Good weather in February.

What does appearing at imm cologne mean to you?
It is an amazing opportunity to present my work to a large and international audience, and I’m really looking forward to talking with visitors and the other exhibitors.


Easy to assembly, easy to store – the work table Fold It by the designer trio Arends, Bucher, Kim

Fold It is a flexible workspace with a collapsible frame.
Photo: Arends, Bucher, Kim

Collapsible, portable and easy to store. Fold It is designed to cope with all situations. The focus is on the day-to-day work of students, but the concept can easily be applied to any work scenario. For transport or storage, Fold It can simply be collapsed and its volume reduced to a minimum. The simple design means tools can be dispensed with and assembly and disassembly are straightforward.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Arends, Bucher, Kim

Why did you become a designer?
Kim: Actually, there wasn’t one specific reason. But I was always interested in making and drawing things. I think it was that interest that got me into design.
Bucher: I would like to become a designer in order to shape our environment with intelligent solutions.
Arends: I study Product Design because I was intrigued by the range of possibilities. Right now on the course, a new project always means immersing yourself in a new subject area and continuously developing your knowledge. I’m curious to see in which direction it takes me.

Do you have role models?
Kim: No, but I’m always on the look-out for things I can learn from.
Bucher: They’re always changing. I admire intelligent design decisions.
Arends: I don’t have any special role models – I tend to gather inspiration randomly and spontaneously.

Does design bring happiness?
Kim: It makes people happy, yes.
Bucher: It certainly makes me happy, as the person realising it. And if it’s good design, it also makes the user happy.
Arends: A product has the potential of creating added value and therefore of creating happy moments when used, but I would never want to sell “great happiness” to anyone.

Alissa Arends, Leon Bucher, Yelim Kim
Photo: Arends, Bucher, Kim

What do you find satisfying or unsatisfying about design work?
Kim: Independently of the model, when I see how a design is developing from the idea to a model – I find that very cool, very satisfying.
Bucher: Turning an idea from a drawing into an object is satisfying. I find it unsatisfying when good design is not appreciated, and when design doesn’t work.
Arends: It’s a great feeling when viewers understand the product and the meaning behind it without an explanation. In contrast, it’s really unsatisfying when it’s not possible to communicate the idea behind a product intelligibly.

Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
Kim: Yes, it is certainly important. However, during my studies, I want to consider exactly how important it is for me.
Bucher: Yes, for experiments, concepts and going in the direction of art. Series production is the best way to reach more people – and it also offers the best way of changing something for the better.
Arends: I think it’s very important for the development of design that designers allow themselves to experiment outside the limitations imposed by planned serial production.

What can’t you do without while working?
Kim: Magazines and a place where I can relax enough to clear my head and get inspired again.
Bucher: Good music and a pen and paper. I also need constructive criticism.
Arends: Breaks to think and reflect.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Kim: A teleporter so that you can travel quickly between home and university.
Bucher: A machine that can directly record and sort all my ideas.

What does appearing at imm cologne mean to you?
Kim: It means a lot to me. On the one hand it is recognition of the fact that we have put in a lot of effort in one semester. On the other hand it facilitates the next step.
Bucher: It will be an important initial learning experience for establishing contacts and to see the world beyond university.
Arends: Being there means a lot to me. I’m hoping to get plenty of feedback, to learn new things and to have some interesting encounters.