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imm cologne 2017: Everything is possible

Living styles in an age of contrasts

A successful start of the new furniture year with a record-high number of visitors at the international furniture trade fair in Cologne: More than 150,000 people visited imm cologne, the largest international furniture show that took place from 16 to 22 January 2017, this time co-located with LivingKitchen. Almost half of the trade visitors came from abroad to the metropolis on the Rhine to get an overview of the most important trends of the industry. That is an increase of 4% in international visitors compared to the previous year.


Naturally authentic

The trend towards naturalness is unbroken: In troubled times, people create cosy rooms to live and work. Natural wood and naturally looking wood decors were the best sellers at the imm cologne trade fair – regardless of whether in their pure form or in combination with, for example, stone or coloured surfaces. The dominant wood types are oak, ash and walnut, with wood nuances from three different worlds of colour: natural, bright warmth; anthracite or grey shades; or dark, rich colours, charred and heavily processed. With its authentic 'Eureka' and 'Burlington Oak' decors, Interprint hits the zeitgeist; a further trendsetter in Cologne was the very popular 'Intra' design by Interprint from its 'Six Pack 2017'; black-stained independence at its best.


Digitalisation meets materiality

Smart Home and digitalisation on one hand, materiality on the other hand. Both trends combine to form a non-contradicting symbiosis. Stone, metal, textile: Where much is no longer 'tangible', the haptics of the material shifts into focus. Often to be seen are marble, oxidised brass and bronze, smooth and rough. All materials can be freely mixed, often and preferably in combination with wood. Strong representatives of materiality at the imm cologne trade fair were the Interprint decors 'Oxid' with a stone and concrete look and 'Industrial' with a metal look. The 'Veneto' marble design from the 'Six Pack' was very popular as well.


Homely calm colours

The worlds of colour at imm cologne mainly indicated one thing: the desire for relaxing cosiness. Hardly anything flash, instead pleasant unobtrusive colours – completely in line with the Nordic or Nature style. Powdery pastel colours with an unobtrusive grey touch were very popular. Plenty of grey shades ensure bright friendliness. The 'nature' topic was unquestionably omnipresent: Green plants, hanging baskets of flowers and cacti (for example at Vitra) embody casual naturalness in urban living space. Red and green create a stronger colour accent; orange, blue and brown also produce colour variety. Whilst grey shades remain popular – recently often in combination with accent colours – white is clearly on the retreat. A stylish exception: The exhibition area of String completely designed in this non-colour.


Material mix in the kitchen

The imm cologne is co-located with the Living Kitchen trade fair every two years. A striking trend of this year's kitchen trade show: Material mix. Modern materials are combined with, for example charming retro-style tiles. Many kitchen designers focus on the mix of stone or concrete with wood. Very popular is the country-house style of old wood with a 'used' look. A real novelty is that it is used not only on furniture fronts but also on worktops.


'Hygge' and the 1950's

'Hygge' is on everyone's lips: This lifestyle postulated in the Future Report of 2017 was omnipresent at the imm cologne trade fair. The Danish term describes the further development of cocooning: The trends of individual retreat have developed into a trend of a more social, more colourful way of life and cohabitation. The focus is on essential things and values; above all, the time spent with the family and friends. The harmony of modernity and tradition, brightness and naturalness, unpretentious restraint, purist clarity: That is how 'Hygge' is expressed in the design of rooms.   

Also extremely popular is mid-century-style furniture. With its timeless design, it conveys the calming lifestyle of the 1950's – an era when the world still seemed to be in order.


The co-existence of styles

If a conclusion must be drawn from this year's imm Cologne trade fair, it can only be: Everything is possible. There is NO DOMINATING trend. In an age of contrasts, lifestyle and home design are also full of intended contradictions. Regardless of whether retro, design, Nordic or industrial style, the very different styles demonstrate a surprising capability of harmonious co-existence. Interprint confirmed an unerring instinct for the current zeitgeist with its decors and the new 'Six Pack' exhibited at the trade fair.


It will be interesting to see how the interior design trends will develop next year – at imm cologne 2018, which will take place from 15 to 21 January 2018 and then be co-located with LivingInteriors.