This year, too, the focus is on sustainability and product flexibility for many submissions. Collage: far.consulting, Koelnmesse
Design means making things easier (and, where possible, more sustainable, too). This formula could be used to describe the common approach taken by the young creative minds whose designs have been shortlisted for imm cologne’s 17th Pure Talents Contest. Intelligent, sustainable, original and also beautiful to look at – these are the 20 best entries to the competition for up-and-coming designers. In January, they will be on display in the special exhibition at the Interior Business Event in Cologne.
With their design solutions, the young designers have addressed climate change or developed multifunctional ideas for changing living circumstances. The prototypes presented in person by the designers range from an open-source vacuum cleaner to a collection of vases made of 100% recycled acrylic through to multifunctional tables and workstations. The Pure Talents Contest showcases 20 ideas for the lifestyles of tomorrow.
Perfect prototypes for a world in need of improvement
While much of what is currently on-trend in home furnishings is again glamorous and elegant, the selected products by the next generation of designers are characterised by a relatively low-key appearance, often coupled with the no-less-elegant appeal of subtle seriousness and a refusal to compromise. In creating their pieces, some designers have imagined themselves in different living circumstances and questioned habits and standard responses, seeking out more sustainable alternatives. The exhibition will feature many everyday objects that have been reduced to their bare essentials, making modern life simpler and more manageable.
Always there to promote young designers
The interest in the exhibition of Pure Talents is great among trade visitors and end consumers alike. Photo: Constantin Meyer, Koelnmesse
The shortlist of contestants includes four teams, while one designer has got through to the exhibition stage with two products. This year’s finalists come from 13 different nations; alongside a strong field of contestants from Germany and the rest of Europe, Asia is remarkably well represented with six shortlisted designers.
The imm cologne takes its role in supporting young talent very seriously: “We deliberately focus on the quality of the exhibited designs, rather than on their quantity,” explains Matthias Pollmann, Koelnmesse’s Vice President Trade Fair Management. “We are thrilled by the success of this concept. Every year, the Pure Talents Contest produces designers who are able to establish themselves in the market and celebrate successes. Our competition doesn’t seek to make money from the young designers. Instead, we see it as an investment in future generations of creative talent and thereby in the vitality of the interiors sector. This sets us apart from many other trade fair locations.” Koelnmesse not only covers the shortlisted designers’ travel and accommodation expenses, it also bears the cost of transporting and presenting the exhibits. The twenty chosen designs will be on show at imm cologne in the passage between Halls 2 and 3.
Sustainable concepts and flexible products for changing needs
A sustainability theme runs through the submissions to the Pure Talents Contest like a common thread. It would appear that the curriculum of all national and international design schools features product development under resource-efficient conditions that are as climate neutral as possible. Renewable natural materials or recycled materials have been used particularly frequently in the chosen designs, but high-tech materials feature as well. Everyday products that make behavioural habits, consumption or energy a sensory experience are another theme that is inspiring young designers. The number of concepts looking for alternatives to common electrical appliances or ways of reusing functional components in upcycling projects is also striking.
High rents, increasingly small homes and constantly changing living situations are also notable features of a young designer’s everyday experience. These circumstances have prompted many of them to develop flexible and individual product solutions that can be used for multiple functions, leading to the creation of multifunctional room dividers, lightweight and ingenious fittings and constructions for products and folding furniture that are easy to assemble and disassemble.
Four prizes for the best products from the Pure Talents Contest
The award ceremony is one of the highlights of the week for the participants of the Pure Talents Contest. Photo: far.consulting, Koelnmesse
Those designers and design teams who have been selected for the shortlist and will therefore take part in the associated exhibition are already winners. They have the opportunity to present themselves to a broad audience in an attractive, high-quality setting and make their first contacts with manufacturers and media representatives. But the three official prizewinners from these top-20 entries will not be chosen until the trade fair. Following an examination of the exhibited prototypes, a jury will make their final selection on the first day of the trade fair and present the victors with their special awards. In addition to this, an Audience Prize will also be awarded for the first time for the Pure Talents Contest 2020, the winner of which will be determined through a people's vote via the social platform Instagram. The names of those taking home prizes will be announced in an awards ceremony at the event forum “The Stage” (Hall 3.1) at 2 p.m. on Monday, 13 January 2020.