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imm cologne 2018 Announces Winners of the 15th Pure Talents Contest

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imm cologne recently announced that for the fifteenth time, the three best designs in the Pure Talents Contest were honored at the international interiors show in Cologne. The winners of the anniversary edition of the Cologne competition for up-and- coming designers, which were announced on the first trade show day, are Yohay Alush with his outdoor furniture “Nocturnal Beasts” (1st prize), Alissa Arends, Leon Bucher and Yelim Kim with their “Fold it” table (2nd prize), and Julien Manaira with his poetic work “The once liquid plastic” (3rd prize).

The international jury selected the winners from the shortlist of 20 entries by design students and young graduates from Germany and other European countries such as France, Italy, the Benelux countries and Sweden, and even from as far afield as Israel, Japan and China – representing the best young designers have to offer.

The 2018 vintage had a particularly international flavour. A total of 836 products by 671 designers from 53 countries were submitted. The verdict was arrived at by a five-strong jury, composed of Sebastian Herkner, Sophie Lovell, Rianne Makkink, Tobias Lutz and Harry Paul van Ierssel. From 15–21 January 2018, a special exhibition at imm cologne is showing the 20 most exciting products and prototypes featured in the competition. A remarkable number of the nominated entries this year explore the relationship between the furniture, the user and time.

The winners:
The jury was particularly impressed by the solidity and distinctive character of “Nocturnal Beasts”, and were won over by the message imparted by the outdoor furniture. “The furniture is like a catalyst that transforms a landscape of ruins into a liveable space where you can simply be,” finds Tobias Lutz. Sophie Lovell emphasises the social aspect: “The political atmosphere of upheaval that has developed over the last 18 months has triggered a feeling that we need design that connects people and brings us together. And that’s exactly what this project does.”

The second prize was awarded to a joint project by three students at Weimar’s Bauhaus University. “Although only in their second year, they have designed something very minimalist and functional that is also linked to the history of Bauhaus. A very smart idea, and you can do it yourself,” says Sebastian Herkner. “The table thematises something that runs through the whole of German industry. It is functional, democratic and honest. And it works,” says Sophie Lovell. Rianne Makkink is impressed by the way you can scale the dimensions, and “I love the fact that there are only two functions: fold up and open out.”

The third prize goes to a design loved by the jury because of its aesthetic and poetic quality. “The once liquid plastic” thematises the formation process and the time required for casting epoxy resin layer by layer. “It is very poetic, a delicate application of a technique. It is a work of art and, quite simply, it gives you joy,” says Sophie Lovell. Unlike the “Fold it” table, functionality is not a concern in the shelf-like object. Harry Paul van Ierssel says, “It stands for itself, and I like the way the light plays with it. It is not a perfect piece of furniture, it is not even a proper rectangle, and yet it is perfect nevertheless.” Rianne Makkink adds, “I wouldn’t use it for any purpose. The cabinet itself is what’s beautiful.”

Three entries received Special Mentions this year. “Liga”, nylon-ligature storage furniture by Matthieu Muller and Pierre-Alexandre Cesbron, impressed with its clever, jointed connections. “They’re sexy,” says Sebastian Herkner, “The nylon ligature is a nice indication of how the piece is used and the neon colours are a highlight in the true sense of the word. Like a butterfly.” The “Varjo” lamp impressed because “its light transforms the material into something festive,” as Tobias Lutz explains. “It’s almost like a chandelier. And the way it disperses the light is fascinating.” The third Special Mention went to Pia Regenbrecht’s three-part “Hyperreal”, in which interactions between man, time and furniture are transferred into sculptural objects. Analysing the work, Tobias Lutz says, “This project is shaped by an idea, and not by the search for form.”

The winners join a long list of previous participants in the Pure Talents Contest, many of whom launched successful careers in Cologne and became models for their respective generations.

Pure Talents Contest – 15 Years
Looking back at 15 years of the Pure Talents Contest at the award ceremony hosted at “The Stage”, Koelnmesse’s Chief Operating Officer Katharina C. Hamma said, “Of course, it’s valid to ask whether there is still a place for a format such as this contest in the age of the internet and fundraising. The answer we get is a resounding ’yes’. The younger generation has the challenge of finding the right opportunity when faced with an infinite choice. The Pure Talents Contest is a genuine opportunity."

Since the first call for submissions at imm cologne 2004, the Pure Talents Contest has developed continuously, becoming one of the most prestigious and high-profile competitions for young, international designers.

The first competition, held under the name “inspired by cologne”, presented designers who went on to become very successful, e.g. Joris Laarman from the Netherlands and Jonas Wagell from Sweden, two of the 43 young designers invited from 11 countries. The competition continues to be distinguished by its international appeal, and has brought designers from 31 countries to Germany for imm cologne. In addition to several European countries, these include China, Japan, Thailand, the USA, Canada, Colombia, Australia and New Zealand. Over its 15 years of existence, the Pure Talents Contest has presented 418 products by 441 designers selected from more than 8,500 submissions.

Anniversary exhibition: prototypes and product history(ies)
In addition to successfully taking part and gaining their first experience of appearing at an international trade fair, several young designers have also been able to establish valuable contacts in the industry. A number of these ideas and designs have been included in the collections of well-known manufacturers. Authentics, Böwer, Cappellini, Création Baumann, Esschert Design, Fredericia Furniture, Hem, Houe, Iittala, Jaga, Kymo, Ligne Roset, Maigrau, Materia, Menu, miniforms, movisi, Nyta, Plank, Pulpo, Richard Lampert, Schönbuch, Serafini, Tecnolumen, Thorsten van Elten, Ton, Woud, Zeitrau and & Tradition, for example, have given young designers a chance and put their designs into production.

For the first time ever, the special exhibition now presents all the products that have taken part in the competition since its inception in 2004 – shown on 418 cubes and represented by 15 products, as seen as prototypes in the original exhibitions and as produced by the respective manufacturers today.


"Nocturnal Beasts" by Yohay Alush
Forms in cement and metal: The “Nocturnal Beasts” outdoor furniture family is the winner of the 15th Pure Talents Award for junior designers at the 2018 imm cologne international interiors show. The Israeli designer Yohay Alush’s intention with this project was to create a dedicated space for young people. The beasts come to life at night. A hybrid of the street materials concrete and metal in the form of mythical wild creatures, they amplify music played on a mobile phone and provide pedal- powered light and a heat-emitting bench: music, light and warmth. (Photo: Alush/ Koelnmesse)

"Fold it" by Alissa Arends, Leon Bucher and Yelim Kim
Foldable, mobile and easy to stow away: The team of students from the Weimar Bauhaus University (Alissa Arends, Leon Bucher and Yelim Kim) created Fold it (not only) for use by students. The folding table has now won the 2nd prize at this year’s Pure Talents Contest for young designers at imm cologne. Due to the integrated joint and its simple construction the table made of steel pipes and multiplex board can be converted fast and easily, stowed away to save space or carried out into the open air. The tabletop is simply lifted out to mobilise it.

"The once liquid plastic" by Julien Manaira
3rd prize at the Pure Talents Contest 2018: Recognition for a poetic work about a time-intensive technique. With his project, Julien Manaira, a French designer who lives in Amsterdam, aims to make the production process visible and discover open spaces for individual influence during production. The shelf is made by pouring epoxy resin onto a mould layer by layer, where the time factor plays an equally important role as the individual pivoting of the casting mould.

"Hyperreal" by Pia Regenbrecht
3rd Special Mention: What does living space signify in the era of the digital hyperspace of the World Wide Web? The product series Hyperreal thematises the disappearance of the borders between space and time by asking about the everyday habits through furniture with contrary functions. The German designer, Pia Regenbrecht, wants to redirect the focus to life here and now. In this way, the wooden table "Productivity >< Disfunction" becomes a functionless object by turning the upper part over, the clock "Future >< Presence" makes the clock only readable from one angle or perceivable from the surrounding space and the sheet steel standing mirror "Selffocus>< Surrounding" exceeds a mirror by providing a highly- polished, idealised reflection or steers the view to the surrounding environment. (Photo: Regenbrecht/Koelnmesse)

"Liga" by Matthieu Muller and Pierre Alexandre Cesbron
1st Special Mention of the Pure Talents Contest at imm cologne 2018: Liga - teamwork by French designers Matthieu Muller and Pierre-Alexandre Cesbron - is a series of metal storage furniture, comprising of a box, a bedside cabinet and a coffee table. The two-piece lid is fastened using a full-perimeter nylon strap that serves as a joint and can be folded open separately to grant access to the closed interior of the piece of furniture. (Photo: Muller, Cesbron/Koelnmesse)

"Varjo" by Umberto Garcia
2nd Special Mention for this idea of formable light: The lamp Varjo (Finnish for " Shadow") created by the Italian designer Umberto Garcia is made up of a system that is spanned between the ceiling and the floor comprising of six differently sized non-fixed rings, which elastic textile straps run through. By moving the rings the shape and the light transmission of the shade that is formed by the straps change. (Photo: Garcia/Koelnmesse)



More about Koelnmesse: 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 the LivingKitchen/CIKB in Shanghai, interzum guangzhou in Guangzhou and Pueri Expo in Sao Paulo. With ambista, the network of the interior decorating industry, Koelnmesse offers direct access to relevant products, contacts, competence and events. For more information, visit http://www.global-competence.net/interiors/


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