12.–16.01.2025 #immcologne

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Connecting Communities

Design that brings people together

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At imm cologne 2024, one designer’s work really stood out from the crowd: Lucie Koldova’s. The Czech designer presented two armchairs – created for Bielefelder Werkstätten and Team7. What do they have in common? An organic design language and a distinctive response to the desire for more cosiness and togetherness. We spoke with Lucie Koldova about current trends and developments in the furniture industry.

Designer Lucie Koldova stands next to the lounge chairs she designed

Koldova designed the Nimbo armchair for the German furniture manufacturer Bielefelder Werkstätten. It celebrated its premiere at imm cologne 2024. Copyright: Bielefelder Werkstätten

The central theme of imm cologne 2024 was “Connecting Communities”. XXL furniture that can accommodate the whole family and creates space for more togetherness could be seen at many stands. Is there a new trend for larger lounge furniture?

I think that, after the pandemic, people’s values have changed, and they have started to look at things and furnishings differently. Togetherness and comfort in the home have been important for several years now. At the moment, there is so much violence in the world that people need to cherish their loved ones and feel the need to spend time with them. I will present even more of Nimbo’s gentle togetherness with Bielefelder Werkstätten soon.

Angular furniture was less visible at the trade fair – a rounded design language predominated. You also presented some new products with a compelling organic approach to design. Where does your preference for rounded shapes come from?

I generally like to work with soft, sensual forms. I worked based on the companies’ briefs and designed generous lounge chairs. I guess there have been so many sectional, rather rectangular sofas in the past that now, for a change, people are tending towards a more sculptural design. People need more softness because life is moving fast and going digital. We need to slow down, to “feel” more. This gives rise to a gentle environment with tactile finishes, such as rough wood or thick textiles. We are longing for a “real” and “natural” connection in a digital and artificial world.

Beige armchair with wooden backrest and wooden base

Koldova created Elliot for Team7. The lounge chair embodies the brand’s commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly design. Copyright: Team7

Sustainability is more than just a buzzword – it’s a driving force in furniture design and manufacture. Your new design Elliot for Team7 is one example of this. How does sustainability influence your furniture designs?

Throughout the entire process, we discussed the issue of sustainable design and followed its principles. Team7 adopted this philosophy a long time ago, and I was very pleased to play my part in producing an exceptional piece of furniture crafted in a completely sustainable way. That meant that the colour palette for varnishes and the choice of fabrics were limited to an extent, but on the other hand, I learnt about new alternatives to PU foam fillings for upholstery.

In your opinion, what characteristics does a piece of furniture need to have in order to stand the test of time?

Good functionality, an inspiring or pleasing form, and quality materials. The most important thing is not just having a good idea, but rather the emotional aspects of the piece. People want to connect with the brand. They want a piece of the brand universe in their homes as well.

Your work goes beyond perfectly shaped and crafted furniture – you are also known for designing captivating lights. Is designing a lamp more demanding than designing a piece of furniture? What are the particular challenges of designing a lighting element?

Light was my first step into the world of design, but I’m interested in every kind of design: from objects, accessories and watches to lights and furniture and even interiors as complete works of art, such as the Hotel Perk, which I finished last year in the Czech Republic. There are more technical aspects involved when you create a light fixture. The source of light is an essential part of the fixture, and it plays the main role throughout the entire design process. The interplay of the source of light with the materials used, creating shade or volume, enhances the final effect, namely the sensation of light. Light continues to fascinate me. Light can be seductive, intimate, energising, soothing … There is so much that light can provide. When I design a light, I perceive it as a sculpture, as an object that enriches the entire interior. Ultimately, lighting and furniture are both equally challenging in their own way. They’re completely different but symbiotic, and working with both makes it interesting for me as a designer. My approach to both is similar and always passionate, but the end result is different.

One final question: As a designer, you are also a kind of visionary when it comes to product design. Which furniture trends do you see fading in 2025, and which new directions will emerge?

I think people will increasingly appreciate good quality and slow design. Fast design will fade away. People will also keep items for longer, mixing them with rented pieces. Even more emphasis will be placed on materials and where they come from. We’ll see people mixing precious pieces mixed with basics. And lighting is becoming more important.

Lucie Koldova is a light and furniture designer based in Prague in the Czech Republic. Her work encompasses products for everyday use, poetic gallery objects, limited series and interior architecture projects. Copyright: Lucie Koldova

Designer Lucie Koldova