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Products beyond space and time – without a clear definition: Pure Talents Contest 2018

Photo: Pia Regenbrecht

As a platform for young design, the Pure Talents exhibition format draws together imm cologne’s activities in support of the next generation of international designers. Its highlight is the Pure Talents Contest, which is entirely financed by the trade fair and looking forward to celebrating its fifteenth birthday at imm cologne 2018. Participants of this anniversary issue are Pia Regenbrecht with her collection Hyperreal and Julien Manaira with his plastic shelf The once liquid plastic.

Sebastian Herkner, one of Germany’s most successful designers and a member of the jury again this year, was once one of those who used the contest as a career springboard. “imm cologne is the first trade fair of the year and more compact than Milan. This is a clear advantage for young talent”, says the designer from Offenbach, adding: “The competition is established in the industry, which, ultimately, is reflected in the number of products that have gone into production after being exhibited as part of the Pure Talents Contest.” The competition’s practical
orientation is also seen positively by the other jurors. “The history of the competition and the direct contact with the industry at the trade fair are the Pure Talents Contest’s greatest assets”, says Harry Paul van Ierssel. “After the show, the participants are immediately confronted by reality – by businesses and by public criticism.”


Not from this world: Hyperreal von Pia Regenbrecht

Living space objects shift the focus to the present moment.
Photo: Pia Regenbrecht

What does living space signify in the era of the digital hyperspace of the World Wide Web? Digitisation is moving in to our private living space – constant, global interconnectedness is breaking down the boundaries of space and time. The home furnishings in the “Hyperreal” series question everyday habits through contrary functions in order to direct attention to the present moment.
PRODUCTIVITY >< DISFUNCTION reduces a desk to a work surface allowing flexible use, or it can become an installation with no function.
SELFFOCUS >< SURROUNDING goes beyond a standard mirror to give a highly polished, idealised reflection or directs the viewer’s gaze to the surroundings.
With FUTURE >< PRESENCE, the time can only be read from one angle or discerned from the surrounding space.  

Pure Talent’s Voice with Pia Regenbrecht

Why did you become a designer?
Generally speaking, to get to know people and their surroundings better. How do our surroundings influence us, and how can we influence our surroundings? What role do products play in this process?
Do you still need a pencil as a designer today?
Definitely! To get your initial ideas, visions and spontaneous thoughts completely intuitively out of your head and onto the paper via your arm and the pencil. For me, this is the most creative part of the design process.
Do you have role models?
I try to find my inspiration from different fields. At the moment, my role model is a philosopher. I am fascinated by the way in which Jean Baudrillard observes society from extreme or very critical perspectives and derives his own ideals and values from these observations.

Photo: Pia Regenbrecht

Does design bring happiness?
Not design itself – that is just a means to an end in order to express to yourself, for example, to organise or optimise your everyday life. So, design is actually what it results in. And happiness can certainly arise from it.
Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
The trend is increasingly for individualisation; for that reason, it is very exciting for me to work between the boundaries of industrial series production and made-to-measure craftwork. How can the advantages of both options be combined?
What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
So many people concern themselves with this question. Maybe the best inventions have already been made, and we just need to think back and adapt them to modern times.
What does appearing at imm cologne mean to you?
I am eager to see how visitors respond to my furniture range. Other than that, I’m looking forward to discussions and new projects and making new contacts.


Unexpected undefined: The plastic shelf The once liquid plastic by Julien Manaira

A handmade plastic shelf, revealing an unexpected approach of plastic.
Photo: Julien Manaira

The project displays a process that seeks for expanding the physical and mental engagement of the manufacturer within the production process. The process consists of open moulds, in which epoxy resin is casted, layer after layer. Structure and thickness of the objects are formed by the succession of casts combined with the particular positions of the mould in space. The mould acts as a frame, a shifting possibility rather than a defined border.


Pure Talent’s Voice with Julien Manaira

Why did you become a designer?
When I was 14 I started an applied arts education in high school. I remember at this time being fascinated by the works from Droog design. Time passed and things evolved for me but I think this is when I decided that I wanted to be a designer. Living and working in The Netherlands today is also a nice symbol for me.

What was the most unusual place where you ever had a brilliant idea for a new design?
Lately that happened mostly while biking across Amsterdam. I used to bike forty minutes to the school where I graduated from my master. Those long rides are quite relaxing for me and become time for thinking where ideas can come up.

Do you have a role model?
If I have to pick one it would be Gaetano Pesce, for his works with plastic and composite materials in general that he started in the 70’s. His approach considerably influenced my practice lately, notably concerning the aim for involving the manufacturers in the production processes. I am still amazed how ahead he was on his time and still is.

Photo: Julien Manaira

Does design make you happy?
Yes most of the time. It drives me crazy sometimes but I’d change it for nothing.

Is there a design world beyond serial production? And if so, how important is it for you?
What I find important is to consider the position and involvement of manufacturers within the serial production, from small to large scale. In my work I try to set up processes that strongly involve the manufacturer in the final outcome. These processes still intend to be repeated into series, but in the same time let room for variety and uniqueness in the outcomes due to the actions performed by the manufacturers.

What kind of product needs to be invented urgently?
Waterproof socks.

What does the imm cologne trade show mean to you?
As a young graduate, you need to spread out your work, these kind of fairs and contests are a chance to reach a larger audience, get feedback and potentially meet future work collaborators. And imm cologne being one of the most important in Europe is clearly a place where you want to be.