imm cologne issues an invitation: design talents wanted for the big stage

News Infurma30/08/2013

At the imm cologne‘s newcomer platform [Dł] Design Talents, experimental design comes face to face with international trade professionals. The two formats that have been established here to promote young designers, the [Dł] Contest competition and the [Dł] Professionals forum, present visitors to the international furnishing fair with a selection of the best next-generation designers.

[Dł] Contest: an established competition format for the furnishing sector

The newcomer competition [Dł] Contest is one of the most renowned platforms for enabling young designers to present their prototypes and design concepts. For ten years now, the imm cologne has been inviting young designers and design students to show their latest ideas and designs for furniture, home accessories, lights, flooring, wall coverings, textiles and other furnishing items to the public. After a steady rise in the number of participants, designers from more than 40 countries applied for this opportunity at the last imm cologne, submitting a total of 671 products. However, only about twenty entries are nominated by the expert panel every year and presented to the trade fair's international professional public and the press in the context of an exhibition. Within the framework of the Interior Innovation Award, an expert jury will then choose the three most talented international newcomers 2014 from amongst those selected for the contest.

[Dł] Contest: design needs constant renewal

Held by the imm cologne and organised in collaboration with the German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung), the competition is held in high esteem by the design scene due to its professionalism and generous conditions. Unlike most other competitions that attract comparable publicity, for instance, participation in the contest and exhibition is free of charge for the nominated designers - they only have to provide the exhibit. Accordingly, the contest traditionally features a lot of unconventional designs, located somewhere between the poles of pure experimentation and potential mass production.

Danish designer Rasmus Fex, for instance, who was nominated for participation in the [Dł] Contest exhibition in 2013, sees his works in the border zone between art and design: “I make the things myself in small quantities. For me, there's very definitely a world beyond mass production.” Amsterdam designer Lex Pott also stressed the importance of this market niche during his appearance in Cologne: “The world of small series or one-offs is very important. This part of design is constantly innovating and moving design forward.” For Taiwanese designer trio KIMU, on the other hand, their [Dł] appearance at the imm cologne 2013 meant “a new start“, from where they hope to conquer the world with their “New old Light” luminaire. The imm cologne certainly provides a good basis for doing just that: many of the designs nominated for [Dł] have found their way into the collections of renowned manufacturers over the years.

[Dł] Professionals: a springboard into the big market

[D ł] Professionals is aimed at independent designers and design studios who, although no longer total newcomers, cannot be regarded as established market players yet either. Places are limited and allocated on the basis of high quality standards. In return, the market novices get an inexpensive opportunity to present their ideas to a broad public in a sophisticated context. For them, it is mainly a question of making concrete contact with manufacturers and dealers. At the imm cologne 2013, 21 young professionals from 9 different countries presented their ideas in the fields of product design and interior design.

The [Dł] Alumni database: designers amongst themselves

In 2011, the D3 Alumni portal was opened to ensure that [Dł] Design Talents continues to serve participants as a platform even after the actual trade fair event. The imm cologne has thus established a unique profile database that already features more than 500 young designers and colleges from the international design scene. The online directory contains all the designers, products, universities, projects and installations that have been presented in Cologne in recent years.

The closing date for taking part in the [Dł] Contest application procedure is 25th September; designers wanting to participate in [Dł] Professionals have until 31st October to apply for a stand.

Source: IMM Cologne

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