The Pure Talents of Imm Cologne 2020

Simple and very clever: folding table, vacuum cleaner and a lamp with a mechanical timer

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23/01/2020 - The prize-winners of the 17th Pure Talents Contest were announced during the international interiors trade fair imm cologne: three prizes, two special mentions and the Audience Prize, awarded for the first time.
The prize-winners were selected from the 20 nominated designs. Many of the chosen nominees this time focused on sustainability concepts, in that they drew attention to the theme through their choice and treatment of materials, transportability or making us conscious of our use of resources. However, the young designers were also concerned with the mobility and flexibility of the furnishings.
The three prizes
The jury awarded the first prize to Marie Kurstjens and Iva Coskun (Germany) for their collapsible and universally deployable Levi table. At first glance, Levi seems like a normal, simple table with a wooden plate on a metal frame.
However, thanks to a joint-like hinge, the frame can be set up and fixed at all possible angles in order to incorporate plates of different formats, from the dining table square to the rectangle compatible for use as a workplace. According to the jury, Levi stands for a tendency toward flat pack products optimised for transport that is conspicuous in the submissions of the competitors. Many products also deliberately address the need for flexible use in both daily routine and when moving.
The table seems so simple and self-explanatory, as if it had already been around for years. Although it is a new product. This is already an aesthetic quality”, comments Johannes Hünig on the decision of the jury.
The second prize goes to Omit, a non-electrical, hand-operated vacuum cleaner, designed by Hiroyuki Morita (Japan). Applications like refrigerators or vacuum cleaners are closely linked with the furnishings.
Omit demonstrates that applications without smart technology and energy are also practicable. Philippe Malouin: “Omit is a highly intelligent design; with the internal mechanics and the design of the housing, the designer embodies, in my opinion, the ideal mixture of inventor and designer”. “Omit is also a statement against the sweeping electrification of even the simplest actions, for example, an electric pepper grinder”, finds Sebastian Herkner, and Suvi Saloniemi emphasises: “It is simply well-designed, so that it can also look good lying on an open shelf for spontaneous use without being negatively conspicuous”.
The third prize also goes to a product with energy as a theme, this time in the form of light. The Jojo light, designed by Sofia Souidi (Germany), is started by pulling on a string and grows darker over time until it extinguishes entirely; the changing of the light should generate a feeling for passing time with the user. “Jojo is highly intuitive in an almost poetic manner and can draw a smile”, Johannes Hünig adds.
Recognition by the jury and an Instagram vote
The Audience Prize presented this year for the first time following the Instagram voting goes to the Flow Chair of Fillip Lenarick (Poland) – another flat pack product that is easy to assemble and comfortable; a seat that well suits a modern, airy interior.
The jury issued two special mentions this year: first, to Aspirator by Qing Deng (China), a kind of beanbag chair that is inflated by sound waves caused by screaming into a funnel. “Aspirator is reminiscent in its aesthetic of the 1960s, but in terms of its concept more of the performance character of some designs from the 1990s, which we could once again use more of today”, the jury decided.
The second special mention went to According to the Grain, an item of seating furniture honouring the materiality of wood, designed by Sho Ota (Japan). The harder branches of the wood are revealed by sandblasting the softer parts, which, despite the protruding branch rudiments, results in an on the whole soft surface. “The design emphasises something we would otherwise hide as an alleged material defect. And, although it looks uncomfortable, sitting on the bench or stool is astonishingly comfortable”, the jury agrees unanimously. Suvi Saloniemi: “It is a kind of furniture that makes us think and feel and prompts us to make our relationship with objects a conscious one, that we use”.
The Pure Talents Contest
The competition for young designers once again confirmed its international renown with 862 product submissions from 59 nations. The jury of the Pure Talents Contest, which is reconstituted annually, met in Cologne in autumn to view the product submissions from around the world. Twenty products were nominated for the special exhibition, where they are presented by their designers.
In keeping with its high standards for quality and internationality, the jury of the Pure Talents Contests 2020 was once again composed of high-quality participants: this time with the designers Sebastian Herkner (Germany), Philippe Malouin (United Kingdom), Gesa Hansen (Germany/Denmark), the Art Director of Cappellini, Giulio Cappellini (Italy), as well as the IDEAT editor Johannes Hünig and the head curator of the Design Museum Helsinki, Suvi Saloniemi.
The competition, presented and organised for the 17th time by Koelnmesse, is especially oriented to designers who are still studying or have just finished their training. It is one of the world’s most renowned international competitions for young design.

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