Jul 15 2019

In focus: up-and-coming designers

The Pure Talents Contest is a major platform in the international design scene. Each year young creatives present their prototypes to an audience of design lovers from around the world. The competition, promoted and organised by Koelnmesse as part of the interior business event imm cologne, is accompanied by an exhibition. Together they help up-and-coming designers to take their first steps into the design business.

Spotlight on up-and-coming designers

The hosting of the Pure Talents Contest by imm cologne 2020 will mark the 17th edition of the internationally prestigious design competition for young designers. It serves as the springboard for a successful design career for many of the selected entrants. It gives young creatives from around the globe the chance to present their product ideas for tomorrow to an international audience. The competition, promoted and organised by Koelnmesse, is specifically aimed at designers who are still studying or have recently completed their education. The Pure Talents Contest puts up-and-coming designers in the spotlight. And talented young creatives have recognised this: a record 926 products by 756 designers from 69 countries were entered in 2019.

 In 2020, designer Sebastian Herkner will be supporting the Pure Talents Contest for the third time as a member of the jury: “The Pure Talents Contest is a very special event at imm cologne for the young designers, for us as jurors and for visitors. The most recent competition showed how high the level of submissions now is. The product maturity of many designs is often highly advanced. That is remarkable. I am already very much looking forward to the new submissions and am pleased to be part of the jury once again.”

An exhibition with the success factor

It is not just the winners of the Pure Talents Contest who have the chance to make it into the furniture collections of well-known manufacturers. All the selected competition entrants have the unique opportunity to present their prototypes to an international audience as part of a special exhibition at imm cologne. The exhibition is guaranteed to attract interest, and not just from visitors. Furniture manufacturers know that this is the place to find innovative furniture design and unconventional product ideas. Many of them therefore often visit the exhibition on the evening before the fair opens. 

The standard floor lamp Bloom by Japanese designer Hiroshi Kawano, who took part in the contest back in 2007, is now an established fixture in Ligne Roset’s collection. Harry Thaler’s design Pressed Chair, which he entered in the 2011 contest, subsequently went into series production. Nils Holger Moormann, based in Chiemgau, Germany, incorporated the then prototype into its portfolio. Several entrants in 2017 succeeded in attracting the furniture industry’s attention: Simon Diener’s pendant luminaire Pong has become part of NYTA’s collection. And young designer Christoph Hauf found a home for his minimalist corner mirror Slanted Mirror at Schönbuch, where it now goes by the name of Lean.

 “The Pure Talents Contest has two decisive advantages over other competitions,” explains designer Christoph Hauf. “Firstly, the products shown are discussed with the jury in intense and productive conversations, and the winners are only announced after this. Secondly, sooner or later during the trade fair a large number of prominent figures will appear at the stand. A conversation that I had with an architect is something that has really stayed in my mind. Learning about spatial perception in another profession was very enriching for me. Besides all these points, I’m still friends with some of the competition entrants.”

An Audience Prize will also be awarded for the first time for the Pure Talents Contest 2020. The winner will be chosen through a people’s vote via Instagram. With growing numbers of entrants, the results of future competitions are set to be just as exciting and packed with new discoveries for the furniture industry – the industry can count on the next generation of up-and-coming designers.












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