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Flexible, natural & networked: Our top-five trends from imm cologne 2019

From 14 to 20 January 2019, Cologne became a hotspot for the world’s interior design industry. The international furniture fair attracts more than 1200 exhibitors from over 50 countries. With just under 250,000 square metres of exhibition space to explore, it’s virtually impossible to see everything in just one afternoon. So to help you out, we paid a visit to this year’s imm cologne and put together this overview of the hot trends according to industry experts.

Trend 1: Flexibility is more in demand than ever before

The shortage of living space in towns and cities continues to impact on the furniture industry, with flexible, small-sized and stackable designs proving incredibly popular. This trend was inescapable at imm cologne: Wherever you looked, manufacturers were highlighting the “stackability” of their latest designs, with chairs featuring particularly high on the agenda.

Another trend driven by similar societal factors is self-assembly furniture. Many manufacturers have been using self-assembly systems for decades, but a number of younger labels have now jumped on the bandwagon to offer flexible furniture that is easy to assemble and disassemble as needed. One of our favourite pieces was the NOVAK table by new Berlin label Objekte unserer Tage. On its website, the label says that “The shapes of the NOVAK table are derived from the dramatic worlds of dystopias such as Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner. NOVAK’s very progressive design language is expressed in futuristic surfaces and their proportions to each other. Massive and elaborately folded legs carry a delicate top that flushes the design. NOVAK is an object that moves in the field of tension between harmony and provocation”.

Imm cologne: IMM 2019, table and chairs

Trend 2: Sideboards move away from the sidelines

Sideboards remain an absolute must-have in the world of stylish storage. Available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colours, they add a touch of flair to our living space – and the sideboards by furniture producer Piure are no exception.

Through the expert use of contemporary colour palettes, this brand transforms the humble sideboard from a basic storage unit into an eye-catching statement piece. Shelving systems have also entered into a new design era: Solid bookshelves are being replaced by more delicate wall-mounted designs that can be decorated with on-trend accessories to create a decorative and personalised storage solution.

Imm cologne: White Sideboards, IMM 2019
imm cologne
Imm cologne: IMM19; white sideboards very elegant
Imm cologne: Eye-Catcher, red sideboard in the living room

Trend 3: imm cologne marks the end of the minimalism trend

Vintage remains on trend, but the retro look is developing in line with new influences: Bauhaus classics and mid-century pieces have been given a fresh new look with a splash of colour, proving that small changes can sometimes make a huge difference.

Interiors are once again becoming lighter, brighter and more colourful. This trend was showcased particularly effectively in halls 2.2 and 3.2, where mid-century modern design classics competed for attention in yellow, blue, green and red.

Imm Cologne: IMM19, mayor sofa
Imm cologne: IMM19, amore sofa green
Imm cologne: andTradition; IMM19, yellow coauch
Imm cologne

But this season’s colour palettes are not just limited to vibrant brights: Pastel and powder tones were just as prominent at imm cologne in 2019 as they were the previous year. However, designers have now added a fresh new twist to the designs, with bright complementary colours to offset their paler counterparts.

Oranges, pinks and yellows are now found in combination with turquoise, petrol and even mint. String has launched a new shelfin a beautiful shade of pink in honour of this year’s Pantone colour trend Living Coral– reminiscent of the blushing cheeks of a newly loved-up couple.

Imm cologne: Shelf

Trend 4: The natural look – wood is here to stay, and woven pieces become more prominent

In its trend report, imm cologne wrote: “Wood isn’t going anywhere. And it’s no wonder, because this material is not only sustainable, but also homely, healthy and flexible”. These words were echoed at imm cologne itself, where wood was one of the most commonly used materials. Leather, handmade and woven products influence by ethnic and Scandi styles also had an important role to play.

Labels such as Zanat, ames and gazzda in particular showed how well this somewhat unconventional mix of materials actually works.

Velvet continues to be popular, lending a touch of luxury and nostalgia to any interior. Linoleumis also making a comeback, winning favour as a robust and sustainable material.

Imm cologne: Gazzda koza-collection; Chairs and sliders, IMM19
Imm cologne: Wood is in; IMM19, gazza goza
Imm cologne: Wood and leater,IMM19, gazzda

Trend 5: Smart connectivity – even in the kitchen

Intelligent networking enables you to connect climate control, security and lighting systems and kitchen and bathroom applications quickly and easily – for example using voice control. Ovens, dryers and washing machines can now all communicate independently with one another and with us, and their open interfaces are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and smart sound systems from Sonos.

A key focus at imm cologne 2019 was how Smart Home technology will be used in the future to make our lives easier – including in the kitchen. The special exhibition Living Kitchen was dedicated to this topic, proving that end consumers are increasingly developing an interest in new kitchen technologies and modern nutrition concepts. Among experts, opinions on the future of the kitchen are divided: Will our home kitchens become a place where we only prepare convenience food, or will robots take over the task of cooking? And how will trends like urban gardening and indoor farming develop – will these areas continue to grow? We’re looking forward to seeing how the industry translates the market’s evolving needs into trends. The G-Pulse team will keep you updated!

Source: Sonos / YouTube

As always, we left this year’s imm cologne with an explosion of interior design ideas, trends and impressions to mull over. Many of last year’s trends will continue to be popular, albeit with a new twist.

This year’s bright colours made a lasting impression, embodied by Karl Bertilsson, Creative Director at the NCS Colour Academy, NCS Colours in his talk on 2020+ trends: “Without colour, there is nothing”.

So be courageous with colour this season!

What do you think of the trends at this year’s imm cologne? Are you a fan of colour, mid-century modern design or handwoven accessories?

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