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Winners of imm cologne’s 16th Pure Talents Contest impress the judges with portable and intelligent solutions for the home

The four best submissions to the Pure Talents Contest, the competition for up-and-coming designers run by the Interior Business Event imm cologne, have been selected. The winners were announced today at the awards ceremony held in the event forum The Stage (Hall 3.1). First prize was presented to Ilja Huber, whose luminaire Baschnja (1st prize) won over the jury with its beautiful, understated design and its functionality. The seating trio Bench Gang by Christian Cowper took second place (2nd prize), and Julian Marticke’s series of accessories A Day at Zoo came third (3rd prize). The international panel of jury members voted The Portable Kitchen Hood by Maxime Augay the best product from the LivingKitchen Selection, which has introduced the kitchens product category to the Pure Talents Contest for the first time in 2019 and was considered for a dedicated prize.

The shortlist featured a total of 26 entries by young design students and graduates from Germany, Finland, France, Great Britain, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, China, India, Taiwan and the USA. In this year’s competition, many of the submissions focused on sustainability and a responsible attitude to resources, while also addressing the subject of changing living concepts.

With 926 entries from 69 countries, the 2019 edition of the Pure Talents Contest has outshone the previous year’s event in terms of both numbers and international character (2018: 836 products, 53 countries). The shortlist was selected in advance of the trade fair by a high-profile panel of expert judges comprised of designer Rianne Makkink, Chief Curator of Helsinki Design Museum Suvi Saloniemi, designers Sebastian Herkner and Cristian Zuzunaga as well as design journalist Johannes Hünig (IDEAT) and businessman Wilfried Lembert. Visitors to imm cologne 2019 are invited to familiarise themselves in person with the 26 designs put forward for the Pure Talents Contest 2019 and meet their designers between 14 and 20 January. This year, the Pure Talents Contest special exhibition is distributed across Hall 3.1 (Pure Editions) and Hall 4.2, where the LivingKitchen Selection will be showcased as part of the “Future Design” event format.

The 2019 winners: Clever products with lots of character
The luminaire Baschnja made the greatest impression on the jury. “Here, we have a striking prototype, the presentation of which won us all over,” says Sebastian Herkner. “It’s a portable lamp consisting of three parts, it’s very light and features LED technology. It can be split into three separate luminaires, each of which can be positioned in a different location or fitted together to form a single light source in the form of a column, in which each individual lamp can, however, be turned to face a different direction.” The three parts are charged via the base lamp.  “Functional and simple, yet integral. Perfect for today’s living requirements,” adds Cristian Zuzunaga.

Second place was awarded to Bench Gang by Christian Cowper. “The designer has used very simple resources to achieve maximum effect – simply by means of the oblique angle of the legs and the curved shape,” in Johannes Hünig’s view. “Positioning the legs to appear as if they’re walking gives the benches personality and establishes a personal relationship,” according to Wilfried Lembert’s interpretation of the design. “There’s a lot of humour here. It’s fun to have the benches in the room – a bit like having pets that come to meet you when you enter. Together they also create a good setting. It’s only wood and paint, but the design is pure and really good.”

The jury liked the playful character of Julian Marticke’s design, A Day at Zoo, as well as the material and the excellent workmanship shown in the figures. Suvi Saloniemi describes the ease with which the elements can be combined in different ways using magnets as having “a poetic quality – both on an abstract level as well as the ability of young and old to build the figures together.” “The animal figures are very well characterised, with a beautiful, colourful finish, and they can be assembled to create fantasy creatures. Their appeal isn’t restricted to children – they’re accessories for everyone,” stresses Sebastian Herkner, and Wilfried Lembert welcomes A Day at Zoo as a sign of a “revival of wooden tools and analogue objects.”

The Portable Kitchen Hood by Maxime Augay impressed the jury with its well-thought-out functionality, small size and many self-explanatory details, which, as Suvi Saloniemi stresses, “all work”. “The design also looks to the future, when homes in megacities will be smaller.”

Special mention for future-oriented designs
This year, special mention has been made of The Conscious Unconsciousness by Michael Varga and LivingKitchen Selection entries Rebrush by Jingbei Zheng and SPL 3650 by Peter Sorg.

The message put across by Michael Varga’s The Conscious Unconsciousness met with the jury’s approval as did the humorous nature of the performative design, which invites interaction. “The message is that we should think carefully about how we use light, water and resources,” says Sebastian Herkner. The design also urges you to communicate with the product,” finds Rianne Makkink.

In the opinion of the jury, Peter Sorg’s compact kitchen laboratory SLP 3650 would fit well into future micro-apartments. As Johannes Hünig also explains: “Here we have a small kitchen, but there’s nothing it lacks. The design creates a space in which the user can concentrate on what he’s doing.” “It’s also worth noting the industrial nature of the design, the smooth, jointless surface, which is beautiful and easy to clean,” states Rianne Makkink, with Suvi Saloniemi adding: “In theory, this kitchen can be installed anywhere there’s a water connection, because it’s not mounted on the wall. It would also be easy to take it with you when you move.”

The jury was impressed by the ecological aspect and sustainability sentiment behind Rebrush by Jingbei Zheng, a kitchen cleaning kit consisting of sponges made from loofah, a plant in the pumpkin family. Sebastian Herkner gives the following justification for this special mention by the jury: “We talk a lot about plastic in the oceans. We have to find natural solutions like Rebrush as a replacement.”

The Pure Talents Contest
The winners of the Pure Talents Contest 2019 join a long list of former participants in the design competition for young talent, which has achieved a strong international reputation since it first started in 2004, when it still bore the name “inspired by imm cologne”. The competition, promoted and organised by Koelnmesse, is specifically aimed at designers who are still studying or have recently completed their education. It is one of the most prestigious international contests for young design.

Koelnmesse – Global Competence in Furniture, Interiors and Design: Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of furnishing, living and lifestyle. At the trade fair hub of Cologne, the leading international fair imm cologne as well as the trade fair formats of LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, interzum and Kind + Jugend rank among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the upholstered and case furniture segment, the kitchen industry, the office furniture sector and outdoor living as well as the innovations of the furniture supply industry. Over the last few years, Koelnmesse has specifically added international fairs in the most important fast-expanding markets to its portfolio. These include idd Shanghai, interzum guangzhou in Guangzhou and Pueri Expo in Sao Paulo. With ambista, the online portal for the interiors business, Koelnmesse offers direct access to products, contacts, expertise and events relevant to the industry all year round.

Further information is available at: www.global-competence.net/interiors/
Further information about ambista: www.ambista.com/


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