Design events around the cathedral

(Photo: BĂĽro Sabine Voggenreiter)
In January, Cologne will once again become the temporary design capital of Europe. But the design highlights aren’t restricted to the booked-out exhibition grounds – throughout the city, the trade visitors and design aficionadas who flock to Cologne from all over the world can look forward to a host of fascinating product presentations and exhibitions from the international design scene.

One of the biggest solo exhibitors is lifestyle label Esprit, which will be presenting its latest Home Collection at Cologne’s new event location “The New Yorker Dock.One” to coincide with the imm cologne. As in previous years, the MAKK (Museum of Applied Art), one of the city’s biggest design institutions, will also be showing an exhibition during the imm cologne, this time about exclusive furniture designed by architects over the last 100 years: “From Aalto to Zumthor”. And at another event that traditionally takes place in the cathedral city at the start of the imm cologne and can almost be considered an institution in its own right, renowned interior design and architecture magazine “Architektur & Wohnen” will be honouring an influential designer personality with its “Designer of the Year” award.

Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible

‘Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design’ – Dieter Rams. Dieter Rams’ life and work are indelibly linked to his thoughts about how people live, and how they can live better. Products he designed in the 1960s are still being produced and sold today – only one demonstration of the strength of his work.

The new book ‘As Little Design as Possible. The Work of Dieter Rams’ is a comprehensive monograph covering Rams’ life and his work, as well as his ideas on good design which continue to inspire designers and consumers today. The book includes sketches, prototypes, finished products and the marketing for those products, giving a complete picture of Rams’ work and its context. It shows photographs of his life as well as archive material from Braun and the works he did for the furniture company Vitsoe.

Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec at the Centre Pompidou Metz: design for nomads

(Photo: Koelnmesse/FAR_consulting)
A recently opened solo exhibition at the new branch of Paris’s Centre Pompidou shows a selection of the French brothers’ works from the last fifteen years. The more than 1,000 m² of space in Gallery 3 of the Centre Pompidou Metz, which was designed by architects Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastine, serves the brothers an enormous playground. The two designers have juxtaposed products from Vitra, Magis, Alessi, Established & Sons, Axor Hansgrohe, Kartell, Kvadrat, Cappellini and Ligne Roset without establishing any immediately obvious scenographic link between them. The only thing that seems to connect the works, installations and experiments is an element of playfulness. Perhaps it takes a hall of this size to reveal the extent to which the designers play not just with the scale of the objects and the viewers’ expectations, but with the space itself as well.

Contemporary Relaxation: the 405 PF and 406 PF Padded Armchairs by Stefan Diez

Contemporary Relaxation: the 405 PF and 406 PF Padded Armchairs by Stefan Diez Complement the Designer’s Successful Chair and Table Series for Thonet.

The use of bentwood for excellent seating comfort has always been a hallmark of Thonet’s seating furniture. Introduced three years ago, Stefan Diez’s 404 chair series has further developed this theme, using new wood processing techniques and building a bridge between tradition and contemporary interior design. Thonet has extended the successful 404 collection with two new and distinctive designs: the 405 PF and the 406 PF padded armchairs, furniture that provides relaxing seating comfort for the home as well as for hotels, restaurants and bars.

Welcome to Germany’s average teen bedroom

(Photo: Jung von Matt)
“Let me introduce myself. My name is Jan Müller, I’m 18 years old and live in Germany’s commonest teen bedroom.” That, at least, is how Jan’s spiritual mother Karen Heumann sees it. Heumann, who is Chief Strategy Officer at Hamburg advertising agency Jung von Matt, created the fictitious Müller family seven years ago: father Thomas (43), mother Claudia (40) and son Alexander (13 at the time), who is now called Jan and is 18 years old. The teen bedroom is the fourth room Jung von Matt has created as a location for lively target group research. It all started with Germany’s commonest living room, which is still on display at Jung von Matt’s premises as a socio-demographic study. It was followed by living rooms at the agency’s branches in Vienna and Zurich. Each of the interior designs reflected the typical German furnishing style at the time.

Pope took a seat on Vitra chair

Photo: Benedikt Plesker / Archbisopric of Freiburg

During the Pope’s visit to Germany, Vitra’selegant highback office chair by the name of Skape more than earned its credentials as an “executive chair”. The Archbishop’s Palace of Freiburg chose none other than this Vitra chair to put at its distinguished visitor’s disposal during Pope Benedict XVI’s closing speech in Freiburg. Within just three weeks, the Weil-based company had delivered a custom-made model in white leather with hand-embroidered papal arms to the nearby city of Freiburg.

The Skape model combines the comfort of an armchair with the functions of an office chair without focusing attention on the technology. The chair was launched in 2008 and created by Italian architect and designer Antonio Citterio. The result was a win-win situation: Vitra was given an opportunity to demonstrate its exquisite craftsmanship, and the Pope got to enjoy exquisite comfort.

From Urban Chic to Green Design – the outdoor trends for 2012

Photo: Bauholz design
Escaping from the hectic pace of everyday life, shifting down a gear and enjoying the evenings and weekends in your very own green oasis: for a growing number of people, the garden, patio or balcony is their favourite place for getting away from it all for a while. And that means having a comfy place to sit too.

The Nordic maritime look with its clear but cosy shapes is particularly popular for outdoor furniture right now. And in view of Scandinavia’s coastal climate, it’s perfectly acceptable for the tables and chairs to look a little rough. When it comes to patterns, stripes and various shades of blue are popular. At the same time, romanticism is experiencing a renaissance: a growing number of manufacturers are going for a dreamy look. The trend is dominated by playful creations and gently flowing forms, along with combinations of charming details, floral designs and old-style patterns. The City Style is also featuring on the outdoor stage as a countertrend to the romantic look and favours flamboyant, design-oriented shapes. Loungers and couches are characterised by a puristic straightforwardness and elegance and many of the material combinations include stainless steel. When it comes to colours, white, sand and brown shades will continue to dominate in 2011/12. And green is a must. The trend colour of the last fashion season is now conquering balconies and patios too, with manufacturers banking on bright shades like lime and apple green.

Creative screening from Création Baumann: Gecko in the Box

Gecko in the Box. (Photo: Création Baumann)
Gecko in the Box. (Photo: Création Baumann)

They can be used as screening, anti-glare protection or just for decoration. They adorn mirrors or windows and cast striking shadows on floors or walls – the self-adhesive Gecko in the Box textiles from Création Baumann. The decorative elements are simply stuck onto glass surfaces, no glue required. The uv-proof textiles stay in place thanks to an adhesive coating on the back: the gravitational pull of the molecules between the two materials provides sufficient traction.

As a result, the foils can be removed without leaving any residue and reused. The various designs are supplied in a gift box as a set of ready-cut components. A choice of different colours and shapes are available, from graphic figures all the way to silhouette-like flowers and leaves and colourful kids’ themes. An accompanying booklet provides suggestions for various creative possibilities.

Dynamism, standstill and motion: Office furniture specialist Vitra invites you to a special kind of art exhibition

Foto: Ampelphase 5 (Foto: Holger Peters)
People spend a considerable amount of time in their lives waiting. And especially waiting in traffic – for the train to pass, the traffic jam to break up or the red light to change.

Back in 2007, this waiting at traffic lights inspired office furniture specialists Vitra to launch a series of exhibitions. For a period of three weeks, six renowned architectural firms are invited to use the Frankfurt showroom to stage experimental installations in a space-consuming scenography inspired by the following question: How can dynamism, standstill and motion be translated into striking form? And while the traffic lights on the busy Gutleutstrasse thoroughfare are red, passing motorists are meant to become participants in the exhibition, at least for a brief moment.

Good style and humour are by no means mutually exclusive – burgbad designs new bathrooms

With its latest ad campaign, German furniture and furnishing concept manufacturer burgbad is breaking new ground when it comes to marketing sanitaryware. The drawings of French illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme are intended to appeal to a sophisticated target group for whom good style and humour are by no means mutually exclusive.

We generally encounter fittings, bathtubs, rainfall showers, washbasins and even toilets as highly polished stars set against a perfectly styled backdrop. Or as elemental water dispensers that bring us closer to nature. And indeed, the product collections from burgbad come across as sometimes architecturally reticent, sometimes sculptural-looking objects for the design-oriented bathroom. But in the new ad campaign, they are not the stars but merely the backdrop – for the people who live with them. “The product is an element around which the characters can play,” says illustrator Jean-Philippe Delhomme of the ad visuals he has created. “I’m not trying to isolate the product, but rather integrate it into the scene, as part of the character’s life.”