• ArchiExpo e-Magazine - #32 - IMM Special - ArchiExpo e-Magazine

    Special Edition


    Special Edition


    IMM Special Issue

    This issue unveils the latest technologies found at the German trade fair IMM’s LivingKitchen exhibition, including high-tech countertops and robotic personal assistants.
    At this year’s international interiors trade fair German architect Wibke Schaeffer gave a talk on the psychology of color.
    For rest and relaxation, furniture manufacturers are focusing on combining sustainability and comfort to make their beds, chairs and sofas. All this and more in ArchiExpo e-Magazine’s special IMM issue #32.

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    Hot Topic
    There are 24 million known colors
    Courtesy of Interior Joss


    On the second to last day of IMM 2017, German architect Wibke Schaeffer, whose practice Lichte Arte works often with hospitals, physiotherapists and pediatricians, gave a talk on the psychology of color: what it says, why it matters and how we can best use it to our advantage. “Color has a tremendous influence on our...

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    Webinar Disrupting the Hotel Industry
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    Combining sustainability and comfort
    Courtesy of Birkenstock


    New York designer Todd Bracher taught us with his Das Haus creation this year at IMM that one of the three major necessities for living is rest and relaxation. Although his point highlighted the space itself and not so much furniture, a lot can be said about textiles, materials and composition to make the most comfortable and sustainable beds, sofas and lounge chairs.

    Good sleep and relaxation makes all the difference, and each individual’s needs vary according to his or her specificities. Designers and manufacturers work together to develop an assortment of beds that offer different heights, with varying levels of mattress thickness, size and type, whether box spring beds, waterbeds, futons. The same goes for seating options; brands and their designers go above and beyond to produce soft seating. As consumer behavior changes, the sofa and armchair transform into a sleep surface.

    “Our in-house designers study consumer behaviors in regards to furniture and we make advancements accordingly,” Børge Heggen Johansen, CSR manager at furniture brand Ekornes’ Norway headquarter, told ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

    At this year’s international interiors trade fair IMM in Cologne, companies focused on putting forward the subject of combining sustainability and comfort.

    Your Bed, Your World

    ADA - Upholstered furniture, beds, mattresses and slatted frames from Austria

    ADA – Upholstered furniture, beds, mattresses and slatted frames from Austria

    Within the Sleep segment was the sustainability-centered Recycling Lounge, illustrating the current state of the bedroom while offering answers to issues that are relevant to society. The Lounge, a creation developed through collaboration between Koelnmesse and the American organization ISPA (International Sleep Products Association), featured the latest ideas behind mattress recycling.

    Learn more from ISPA and the latest ideas here.

    Beyond recycling and upcycling, manufacturers dig deeper into creating both sustainable and comfortable products. “The one doesn’t exclude the other. This means, sustainable beds can be comfortable too and also the other way around,” Gerhard Vorraber, executive manager at ADA AUSTRIA, told ArchiExpo e-MAgazine.

    Vorraber explains the crucial point regarding comfort is the user’s specific needs; however, when discussing materials, differences between the various options do play a role. “As for spring mattresses, the use of pocket springs instead of bonnell springs results in more comfort when sleeping. Also, the higher number of springs, the greater the support and lying comfort.”

    Mattresses with a natural rubber core belong to the most sustainable mattress models available on the market.

    Cold foam, according to Vorraber, is also getting more and more sustainable. He points to the Birkenstock cold foam mattress, made from newly developed cold foam with a high proportion of natural castor oil. “Due to this special combination, this cold foam has an improved ecological footprint in contrast to conventional cold foam. What’s more, the wood, which is used for our beds and sleep systems, exclusively comes from sustainable forestry.”

    As of this year the shoe manufacturer Birkenstock, inventor of the footbed, has officially expanded its product range with sleep systems. In partnership with Austria’s largest upholstered furniture manufacturer ADA AUSTRIA, known for following the trend towards natural materials and healthy living, Birkenstock developed feel-good sleep systems made using a mixture of granulated cork and natural latex. Presented for the first time ever during IMM, the new sleep systems include mattresses, slatted frames and six styles of beds.

    Birkenstock ada bed frame mattress archiexpo emag imm cologne

    Courtesy of Birkenstock

    More on Birkenstock’s amazing sleep systems here.


    “What is comfortable for one person, though, need not necessarily be good for another. Consequently, I am critical of one-fits-all solutions, for example regarding mattresses, and convinced that furniture must be selected according to personal requirements.”

    In honor of personal requirements: a number of companies debuted at the trade fair, including Perzona International, Ecus Sleep, Boydak and Toom Tekstiil. Also debuting at the fair, Ersan Madeni designs mattresses to hug. The Loft and Vogue, for example, illustrate exquisite stitching and soft surfaces. Companies such as Centa Star and Shogazi exhibited for the first time at IMM. Shogazi has been specializing in healthy sleep since 2002, using natural materials for its products.

    Check out what manufacturers and designers are up to via ArchiExpo with a variety of bed options here. Be inspired for your next product design or interior design project.


    Resting “In” the Sofa, not “On”

    Many brands aim to create comfortable and long-lasting seating products, always running after the next best composition of foam layering and frame thickness. At Ekornes a combination of well-seasoned and fresh-off-the-market engineers, designers and craftsmen work side-by-side to develop its products, offering the best of both worlds. They understand that “comfort comes from the inside” and focus on technical solutions.

    “You need the right balance between softness and support, a sturdy frame and the right composition of foam layers with a special focus on the thigh, neck and lower back areas,” Børge Heggen Johansen told ArchiExpo e-Magazine. “Our goal is to create furniture that people sit in, not on. We want them to sink into it.”

    Ekornes imm cologne archiexpo emag product design sofa

    Courtesy of Ekornes.

    The company currently puts emphasis on leather with an increasing interest in fabric for its products exterior, and laminated wood, steel and aluminum for the frame. Ekornes works closely with its suppliers to see how far they can stretch a material for improvement, in order to achieve a more sustainable material. “They’re rewarded by creating an innovative material and we get a more sustainable product. Everyone’s happy.”

    At IMM this year Ekornes exhibited a number of new products, notably its leg comfort system released for the first time. It offers more possibilities to expand the foot rest. “When you pop it out, you can also adjust it laterally. It differentiates us from our competitors because it’s the first time a leg rest can be adjusted to this extent. It fits people of all heights.”

    Ekornes imm cologne archiexpo emag product design sofa chair

    Courtesy of Ekornes

    While the company follows all developments in the various material industries, it’s also involved in the Circular Economy Group and the European Furniture Industries Confederation (EFIC). Along with other furniture manufacturers and foam suppliers, assessments are made to find the best practice for creating a low product life cycle.

    Build it in a way to make it last.

    In addition to Ekornes, visitors at IMM delighted in seeing products from furniture manufacturers such as Belgian company Passe Partout, Austrian brand Joka, Scandinavian company Vilmers, Polish brand Burhéns and Italian company Primavera.

    Hot Topic
    IMM Cologne’s 2017 edition of LivingKitchen
    Courtesy of Valcucine

    Next time you step into your kitchen, look sharp: It may soon be unrecognizable. There is no place in the house that both technology and science are intersecting in such a revolutionary way—and that means robotic personal assistants, specialty tea brewed with precision temperature control, 3-D-printed healthy snacks,...

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    Mairi Beautyman

    Mairi Beautyman is a journalist based out of Berlin. She’s been writing about design and architecture since 2001.

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    Marcia Adair

    Marcia Adair is a Canadian freelance journalist based in Cologne, Germany.

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    Erin Tallman

    Erin Tallman is a journalist and the Editor in Chief for ArchiExpo e-magazine. She contributes to other online publications and, as an author, has already published her first novel.

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    Hilary Edesess

    Hilary Edesess is a freelance journalist based in Marseille, France. She blogs about culture, art and urban design.

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    Erin Gigl

    Erin Gigl is a freelance design and travel writer, editor and artist.

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