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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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...

Webinar Disrupting the Hotel Industry
Hot Topic
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,...

Courtesy of blickfang

IMM Cologne collaborated with blickfang and Heimatdesign to organize a new addition to this year’s fair in Hall 1, the Designers Market. Products exhibited in...

Rendering Das Haus 2017 by Todd Bracher – courtesy of imm cologne

Contrary to the previous year’s Das Haus demonstration of sensual indulgence by Sebastian Herkner, U.S. designer Todd Bracher settled with the essentials for...

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  • Courtesy of IMM Cologne

    For 14 years, the Pure Talents competition at IMM has tried to reduce the risk and expense for young designers bringing new products to the market. Twenty-one ideas were shortlisted from an international pool of 395 entries and from there three winners were chosen. “The designers’ contributions were very inspiring, and, taken as a whole, incredibly multifaceted”, Sebastian Herkner, a German designer who served on the jury. “I was overwhelmed by the creativity.”

    First place was awarded to a lamp borne in a moment of pique. Hamburg designer Bernhard Osann was frustrated with the base of another floor lamp project. After bending the now baseless lamp so it would lean against the wall, Osann saw he was onto something and Neo was born. Reminiscent to North Americans of Bob Barker’s Price is Right microphone, the thin, now-gracefully bent body swivels in the upper third so the LEDs light a room directly or be diffused by the wall.

    “The light Neo is not yet under contract. At the moment I am trying to find a manufacturer,” Osann told ArchiExpo e-Magazine.

    osann neo lamp imm cologne

    Osann and his Neo lamp

    Second prize winner Simon Diener, from Karlsruhe, doesn’t have eureka moments, relying instead on “past impressions and experiences that I collect over time.” His lamp, called Pong, makes the necessary things seem like design decisions. The cord snakes lazily over any object and the battery that acts as a counterweight. It’s an elegantly simple solution that makes you wonder why no one thought it before.

    The third prize was awarded to Christoph Hauf for Slanted Mirror. Its 1950s trapezoidal curves and position in the corner of the room make the reflection of light feel soft and warm rather than interrogative.While Osann’s piece is up for manufacturing grabs, Diener and Hauf’s work are represented by kkaarrlls, part of the Hochschule für Gestaltung Karlsruhe.

    Another standout was the copper clock named Es Liegt was in Der Luft – or There is something in the air – by German designer Patrick Palcic that tells the hour via a drip of essential oil heating up on the copper plate. Each hour has its own fragrance.

    imm cologne copper clock pure talents archiexpo emag

    The copper clock named Es Liegt was in Der Luft – or There is something in the air – by German designer Patrick Palcic

    Outside of the Pure Talent contest, there were several stands with term projects from various German design schools. Danai Moshona and Christian May from Fachhochschule Potsdam were charged with reinventing the door and came up with Pythagoräer, a geometric sculpture that can also bring peace and quiet. Lisa Drenkelforth from Angewandte Kunst Schneeberg, used sound dampening tiles made of synthetic felt to make a cradle. The idea of the angular, collapsible Nap, easily the most playful Pure Talent in the show, was to keep sounds away from the baby. There’s nothing saying it couldn’t work both ways too.

    Courtesy of Zuzunaga

    Spanish artist and designer Cristian Zuzunaga showcased his work which includes print, letterpress, photography, sculpture, textile and furniture design. He...

    Courtesy of Ubikubi

    Simple and sustainable products that are also priced to be accessible—that’s the aim of Romanian firm Ubikubi, which presented at interior furniture fair IMM...

    Courtesy of Dornbracht

    At IMM 2017, Martina Brüßel, from Aqua Cultura, a custom bathroom company in Germany, gave a talk about what the digitalization trend looks like in the most...

    Courtesy of e15


    IMM Cologne introduced several new products from seating systems to kitchen accessories.

    Modular Seating

    e15 presented the Kerman sofa by e15 co-founder Philipp Mainzer and Farah Ebrahimi. It was awarded Best of Best in the 2017 Iconic Award: Interior Innovation. Kerman fits public and private spaces with rearrangeable seating modules, poufs and armrests, available in fabrics ranging from sober to flamboyant.

    Rolf Benz’s Agio sofa by Norbert Beck can be repositioned as a twin-seater sofa, a two-part sectional sofa or an individual long chair. The side elements fold upwards to provide backrests, or outwards into a comfortable flat surface. The seat backs pivot and bend individually.

    A Side of Simplicity

    Thonet introduced the S 18 side table by designer Uli Budde. This year, the IMM “Featured Editions” proposed the key theme “textiles,” which inspired Budde to explore steel’s textile properties. Computer-driven steel wire gives the S 18 wire base a multifaceted, flexible appearance with minimal components.

    S 18 side table by designer Uli Budde for Thonet

    S 18 side table by designer Uli Budde for Thonet

    Team 7’s sturdy but subtle Loop side table highlights aesthetic qualities of wood. A wooden supporting leg connects the wooden ring of the base to the congruent ring of its surface. Loop’s wide thin façades maximize grain exposure.

    Cross Discipline

    With 127 years wood craftsmanship experience in seating, Swiss company Girsberger tries their hand at wooden kitchen accessories. The Essentials solid wood collection introduces a series of wooden bowls, dishes and cutting boards.

    Form fitting shoe company Birkenstock partners with Austrian bed and mattress manufacturer ADA, extending their form fitting expertise to sleep systems. The new collection includes beds, slatted frames and mattresses.


    “Swiss company Girsberger tries their hand at wooden kitchen accessories.”

    Trans-Oceanic Fusion

    Petite Friture presented the Hoff collection, which includes two modular steel, wood and textile stools and armchairs, which can be arranged to create sofas and interior landscapes. Norwegian designers Morten & Jonas designed Hoff with the textile collaboration of Brazil born Kioshi Yamamoto whose Japanese roots influence his work.

    Ames debuted the Caribe furniture series as part of the Sala collection. German designer Sebastian Herkner mixes Colombian colors and traditional weaving with simple European forms for the collection made in Colombia. It includes dining chairs, lounge chairs and basket tables.

    Déjà vu

    Swiss chair manufacturer Horgenglarus reintroduces a classic, Ga Stuhl. Architect and designer Hans Bellmann conceived of the plywood chair, resembling two halves split down the center, in 1955, which Horgenglarus produced until 1970. Now the manufacturer updates Bellman’s chair.

    Freistil draws on traditional Shaker furniture’s craftsmanship, minimalism and warmth for the 156 dining collection. Mortising is applied throughout the solid oak frame of tables and benches adding natural 19th century flourishes.CZ_156_09[1]


    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

    American artist Erin Tallman is a journalist for various online publications and is the Editor in Chief of ArchiExpo e-magazine. She has published three books, including 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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