“We raise the profile of authentic young designers”
imm cologne launches a fresh search for the best up-and-coming designersThe digital revolution, the importance of social networks, the profound changes in society that are giving rise to a lasting transformation in the way we will live in the future – all these influences are finding their way into the exciting ideas being developed by the next generation of designers and start-ups. They will be presented in the Pure Talents Contest, which numbers among the most respected international design competitions for young creatives in the interior design scene. Hosted by imm cologne, one of the world’s most important interior design trade fairs, it is the platform on which emerging talent can showcase their products to a large audience and make their first contacts in the industry.
The competition for young, inventive design has been officially launched, and the call has once again gone out to design students and young graduates from design schools all over the world to submit their designs for contemporary and sustainable objects for the home. Last year, 862 entries from 59 countries were submitted for imm cologne 2021, together representing 240 design schools. The young creative minds put forward designs that don’t always conform to the latest trends, tending instead to be a little more expressive in their colour choice, more unusual in their form and more ingenious in their application.
High-profile jury gives young designers the opportunity for success
This year, the high-profile jury panel will consist of designer Eva Marguerre (Studio Besau-Marguerre) from Hamburg, Offenbach-based designer Sebastian Herkner, entrepreneur Norbert Ruf, Creative Director and Managing Director of Thonet GmbH, and Jennifer Reaves, Director of DesignFest GmbH. They will be looking not only for design quality, but also for a unique vision with the potential to speak to many users worldwide. In addition to talent, it’s also important today to have the ability to develop a coherent narrative, a story of how a product can fit into and/or influence life. “Unlike many similar competitions, ours is about much more than ‘just’ good design. Our jury forms a complete picture of the submitted product and the young creative, and that’s the key to selecting the designer and design,” says Dick Spierenburg, Creative Director of imm cologne. Jennifer Reaves adds: “I believe that it’s not just the creative innovation aspect that matters. Today’s successful designers also need to be business-minded, which includes having skills like knowing how to commercialise their talent, cost a product from production all the way to the price charged to end consumers, analyse the market and much more besides. Only those who are aware of all of these tasks and their importance have a chance of winning the Pure Talents Contest.”
Pure Talents Contest goes digital
Every year, the Pure Talents Contest hosted by imm cologne showcases the excellent standards being achieved by the global creative industry’s rising stars in the field of product and interior design by way of interactive products, sustainability concepts and innovative furniture. “We raise the profile of authentic young designers,” says Claire Steinbrück, Director of imm cologne. “We want the competition to give young designers the opportunity for a successful entrance onto the market. We put them on the launch pad, so to speak,” explains Steinbrück enthusiastically. At the same time, it’s right that the design competition should move with the times. Accelerated by the pandemic, our way of experiencing and evaluating designs has changed, in both the professional scene and the market. “In a digital world, we’ve got used to seeing everything instantly in photographs. So we want to think more in terms of digital images, too. With the adjustment to its concept, the Pure Talents Contest will take on a bigger presence in the digital space.”
The new concept will focus on increasing online reach, with the two digital components serving as a logical complement to imm cologne’s physical exhibition. “The magazine by imm cologne” offers inspiration for living spaces 365 days a year, while ambista is a platform for new business opportunities and networking all year round. Because the Pure Talents Contest will be an integral component of both of these formats, the 20 designers shortlisted by the jury will benefit from a significant boost to added value compared with previous years. As a result, the Pure Talents Contest will reach a worldwide audience of millions on top of the on-site exhibition. “This is not a replacement for the successful Pure Talents Contest model but rather an extension of it. The events at the trade fair location will still provide the foundation and generate the pulling power as the meeting place for the interior design scene for one week each year – and will thus continue to guarantee a successful entrance onto the market for young creative talent,” says Claire Steinbrück, explaining the benefits: “We believe the reorientation of the Pure Talents Contest will take it to a whole new level.”
The Pure Talents Contest submission phase
The competition, promoted and organised by Koelnmesse, is specifically aimed at designers who are still studying or have recently completed their education. The deadline for submissions to the 2022 competition is 15 September 2021. The entries will then be inspected and the 20 best products selected by the jury. From those submissions shortlisted and presented to the media at the Interior Business Event, the top three designs will be crowned as winners. First, second and third prizes will be awarded, worth Euro 1,500, Euro 1,000 and Euro 500 respectively. For the Pure Talents Contest 2022, there will also be an additional Audience Prize (#PTC22), also worth Euro 500, whose winner will be decided by a people’s vote via the social platform Instagram.
Entering the contest and appearing in the Pure Talents Contest special exhibition for those nominated is free of charge for the designers. Those interested in entering can find all the information on the contest and the conditions of participation, as well as information on previous contestants and their submissions at