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Flexible and flat-packed, poetic and inventive: the winners of the 17th Pure Talents Contest of imm cologne

Cologne, 13 January 2020. The prize-winners of the 17th Pure Talents Contest were announced today at the international interiors trade fair imm cologne. In the context of the award ceremony at the event forum The Stage (hall 3.1), the jury and Matthias Pollmann, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse, presented a total of three prizes, two special mentions and the Audience Prize, awarded for the first time.

The prize-winners were selected from the 20 nominated designs, which can be seen in the special exhibition of the Pure Talents Contest in hall 3.1. The designers were able to present their designs to the jury live one day prior to the start of the trade fair. Many of the chosen nominees this time focused on sustainability concepts, in that they drew attention to the theme through their choice and treatment of materials, transportability or making us conscious of our use of resources. However, the young designers were also concerned with the mobility and flexibility of the furnishings.

Simple and very clever: folding table, vacuum cleaner and a lamp with a mechanical timer
The jury awarded the first prize to Marie Kurstjens and Iva Coskun (Germany) for their collapsible and universally deployable Levi table. At first glance, Levi seems like a normal, simple table with a wooden plate on a metal frame. However, thanks to a joint-like hinge, the frame can be set up and fixed at all possible angles in order to incorporate plates of different formats, from the dining table square to the rectangle compatible for use as a workplace. According to the jury, Levi stands for a tendency toward flat pack products optimised for transport that is conspicuous in the submissions of the competitors. Many products also deliberately address the need for flexible use in both daily routine and when moving. “The table seems so simple and self-explanatory, as if it had already been around for years. Although it is a new product. This is already an aesthetic quality”, comments Johannes Hünig on the decision of the jury.

The second prize goes to Omit, a non-electrical, hand-operated vacuum cleaner, designed by Hiroyuki Morita (Japan). Applications like refrigerators or vacuum cleaners are closely linked with the furnishings. Omit demonstrates that applications without smart technology and energy are also practicable. Philippe Malouin: “Omit is a highly intelligent design; with the internal mechanics and the design of the housing, the designer embodies, in my opinion, the ideal mixture of inventor and designer”. “Omit is also a statement against the sweeping electrification of even the simplest actions, for example, an electric pepper grinder”, finds Sebastian Herkner, and Suvi Saloniemi emphasises: “It is simply well-designed, so that it can also look good lying on an open shelf for spontaneous use without being negatively conspicuous”.

The third prize also goes to a product with energy as a theme, this time in the form of light . The Jojo light, designed by Sofia Souidi (Germany), is started by pulling on a string and grows darker over time until it extinguishes entirely; the changing of the light should generate a feeling for passing time with the user. “Jojo is highly intuitive in an almost poetic manner and can draw a smile”, Johannes Hünig adds.

Recognition by the jury and an Instagram vote
The Audience Prize presented this year for the first time following the Instagram voting goes to the Flow Chair of Fillip Lenarick (Poland) – another flat pack product that is easy to assemble and comfortable; a seat that well suits a modern, airy interior.

The jury issued two special mentions this year: first, to Aspirator by Qing Deng (China), a kind of beanbag chair that is inflated by sound waves caused by screaming into a funnel. “Aspirator is reminiscent in its aesthetic of the 1960s, but in terms of its concept more of the performance character of some designs from the 1990s, which we could once again use more of today”, the jury decided. The second special mention went to According to the Grain, an item of seating furniture honouring the materiality of wood, designed by Sho Ota (Japan). The harder branches of the wood are revealed by sandblasting the softer parts, which, despite the protruding branch rudiments, results in an on the whole soft surface. “The design emphasises something we would otherwise hide as an alleged material defect. And, although it looks uncomfortable, sitting on the bench or stool is astonishingly comfortable”, the jury agrees unanimously. Suvi Saloniemi: “It is a kind of furniture that makes us think and feel and prompts us to make our relationship with objects a conscious one, that we use”.

The Pure Talents Contest
The competition for young designers once again confirmed its international renown with 862 product submissions from 59 nations. The jury of the Pure Talents Contest, which is reconstituted annually, met in Cologne in autumn to view the product submissions from around the world. Twenty products were nominated for the special exhibition, where they are presented by their designers. The exhibition of the Pure Talents Contest in hall 3.1 attracts those interested in design and those who create design each year during imm cologne.

In keeping with its high standards for quality and internationality, the Pure Talents Contests 2020 jury demonstrates its usual high calibre with designers Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Philippe Malouin (United Kingdom) and Gesa Hansen (Germany/Denmark) as well as Art Director at Cappellini, Giulio Cappellini (Italy), IDEAT editor Johannes Hünig and head curator of Helsinki Design Museum, Suvi Saloniemi.

The competition, promoted and organised by Koelnmesse for what is now the 17th time, is specifically aimed at designers who are still studying or have recently completed their education. It is one of the world’s most prestigious international contests for young design.

Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Furniture, Interiors and Design: Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of furnishing, living and lifestyle. At the trade fair hub of Cologne, the leading international fair imm cologne as well as the trade fair formats of LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, interzum and Kind + Jugend rank among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the upholstered and case furniture segment, the kitchen industry, the office furniture sector and outdoor living as well as the innovations of the furniture supply industry. Over the last few years, Koelnmesse has specifically added international fairs in the most important fast-expanding markets to its portfolio. These include idd Shanghai, interzum bogotá in Bogotá, interzum guangzhou in Guangzhou and Pueri Expo in Sao Paulo. With ambista, the online portal for the interiors business, Koelnmesse offers direct access to products, contacts, expertise and events relevant to the industry all year round.

Further information is available at: www.global-competence.net/interiors/
Further information about ambista: www.ambista.com/

The next events:
interzum guangzhou - Asia's leading trade fair for woodworking machinery, furniture production and interior design, Guangzhou 28.03. - 31.03.2020
Pueri Expo - International Trade Fair for Baby & Childcare Products, Sao Paulo 23.04. - 26.04.2020

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