imm cologne changes its skin (4 to 7 June 2023). Spaces like art pavilions, more events and reflections on the profound meaning of product and 'producing'. We talked about this with Dick Spierenburg, creative director.
In the summer of 2022, imm cologne embarked on a journey to renew its traditional trade fair brand. Why was it important to do so, from your point of view?
The last few years have certainly turned the world upside down and with it our lives. But the last few years have also seen the emergence of many things that had been hidden for a long time. This is why we are forced to change things and radically question decades-old traditions. There is certainly no one right way, but it is important to start now! For us, this means proceeding step by step, experimenting, always adapting, learning, moving forward and never losing sight of the goal: this is the path we are on now and the Spring Edition is the starting point.
Where will the Spring Edition set new accents?
In the domestic sector, which is certainly larger, the focus is more classically on business. Here the trade fair serves as a platform for orders. Supply and demand meet at a high international level. In the Pure segment, the focus will be on design, inspiration and networking. In this way, we are redefining the term business in the Pure segment. In addition to products, I think it is important to have other input and talk about the themes that are prevalent in our industry. For example, we need to talk not only about sustainability, but also about materials. The question is whether we need so many new products every year or whether we cannot be more modest when it comes to developing things and changing their appearance to keep them new. So we have to discuss the issues that are important for the industry and that I see as the task of our trade fair. And all this within a very short time frame.
For decades, the heart of Pure has been Hall 11 - doesn't the new gallery concept require a profound rethink on the part of visitors and exhibitors?
With the new and creative stand construction concept, developed exclusively for the spring edition, the most visible change is certainly taking place on the ground. Yes, this is certainly a big step for all of us, but if we want to shape the future of imm cologne, the transformation must first of all take place in the halls, but above all exhibitors and visitors must also be ready for this transformation. The Spring Edition offers enormous potential to try new and more experimental things. Pure Galleries is a compact and creative concept that is perfectly suited for furniture brands with high demands on brand identity. It is a very modern way of presenting current products to target groups, e.g. for the German market. With COR, KFF, Brühl & Sippold and Signet, renowned German companies have already chosen the new presentation concept. From my point of view, the concentration concept also makes sense for Italian exhibitors who want to place special products on the German market. Furthermore, the format offers the possibility to think in terms of exhibition themes. Here I could imagine themes such as colour or material or the interaction between classics and new designs. In developing the concept, I was inspired by the appearance of art galleries or art fairs. The aim is to create a world of high-end presentation with minimalist and customisable brand spaces.
In addition to the new Pure Galleries pavilion concept, events are also an integral part of the 'new' imm cologne. What is already planned for the spring edition in the area of events?
From my point of view, the pure presentation character is gone. The Next Generation of imm cologne will illuminate and discuss the topics of living, furnishing and how we will live in the future in numerous formats and from different perspectives. The platform idea is a key criterion that will characterise the trade fairs of the future: in the future, platforms will enable active participation in what happens at the fair, connect exhibitors and visitors beyond the hall, and enable and intensify dialogue. That is why the Speakers Corner and Café are the central meeting point in the middle of Hall 11. On the Speakers Corner stage, the public will be able to attend specialist lectures, presentations and discussions on industry-relevant topics, innovations and developments throughout the fair. At the end of the first day of the fair, exhibitors and visitors can attend the vernissage in the Pure Galleries area in Hall 11.
How will the journey continue in 2024?
Thanks to the lessons learned from the spring edition, exhibitors and visitors can already look forward to imm cologne 2024 with confidence. One thing is already certain: next year, Germany's largest furniture trade fair will return to its customary date and once again ring in the new furniture year in January. From Sunday 14 to Thursday 18 January 2024, however, the fair will be shortened to five days. In this way, we will better reflect the dynamics prevailing at the beginning of the year. It has been proven that January is the ideal time to bring industry and trade together.