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Pure Talents Contest 2024: Over 1,000 submissions to the anniversary edition

The 20th edition of the Pure Talents Contest for the next generation of designers attracted an exceptionally high number of applicants: with 1,050 entries, 893 designers from 76 countries competed for the coveted exhibition spaces at imm cologne 2024.

In accordance with the competition’s new concept, the jury of five international designers evaluated the “Objects” (products) and “Spaces” (interior design concepts) submitted in the three categories: “lifestyle and home living in cities with limited space”, “lifestyle and home living in a circular society” and “lifestyle and home living as a statement/message/concept”. Twelve nominees were shortlisted from these entries and given the opportunity to present their work to the international interior design world at imm cologne from 14 to 18 January. On the evening before the trade fair opens, the jury will review the exhibited prototypes and concepts before choosing the three winners of the sponsorship award, who will each take home Euro 1,000 in prize money.

International jury: alumni of imm cologne’s competition for upcoming designers
One special feature of the anniversary event is the jury itself, since all five jury members were in fact nominees in the Pure Talents Contest (previously titled “D3”) between 2004 and 2015. They now rank among the most renowned representatives of the international design community and have made names for themselves with installations and creations for ambitious interior design brands. In addition to Marco Dessí (STUDIO DESSí, Vienna), the panel comprises Esther Jongsma (VANTOT, Breda), Jonas Wagell (Studio JWDA, Stockholm), Tomás Alonso (Tomás Alonso Design Studio, London) and Yael Mer (Raw-Edges Design Studio, London).

Young design: less mainstream, more meaningful
The Pure Talents Contest that aims to support the next generation of designers is about more than furniture – it’s also about tools to facilitate sustainable lifestyles. By revising the format, imm cologne wants to adapt the design competition to new realities and encourage the talented young people who are shaping the future. The type, quality and number of entries are proof that the contest’s new focus has been very well received and recognises the designers’ wish to make a real difference through their work. Although there was once again a good mix of experimental design and market-ready projects among the entries, the jury noted that there were fewer mainstream projects and conventional pieces of furniture, with submissions including a number of well-developed, prototype-level projects and many strong conceptual designs for specific applications.

Sustainability – the overarching theme
A particularly striking trend among the submissions is the large number of designs focused on sustainable materials and circular product concepts. The jury was particularly impressed by the degree to which the ideas had been developed and by the design quality of the application examples. Today’s young creatives are working less with shapes and structures, design processes and product performance qualities and focusing more on new materials. Issues such as resource- and energy-efficient construction, cooling, cooking and heating are becoming more important, and materials need to be suitable for further development, recycling or upcycling. Sustainability is the core challenge for young design, as it encompasses all aspects of product development.

Design: an international and intercultural endeavour
The Pure Talents Contest also reflects the diverse range of design philosophies and represents both the design culture of Scandinavian countries – where designers concentrate more on product aesthetics with a focus on rediscovering craftsmanship and tradition – and the Central European interest in ideas and conceptual design. Even when it came to design projects for public spaces, creative talent from all over the world and vastly different design schools formed working groups to collaborate not only internationally but also interculturally.

At 3:00 p.m. on 14 January 2024 – the first day of imm cologne – the official Pure Talents Contest awards presentation will take place at the exhibition in Hall 4.

Koelnmesse – Global Inspiration for Living, Contract and Public Spaces
Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of Living, Contract and Public Spaces.
At the trade fair hub of Cologne, in addition to imm cologne and interzum, other trade fair formats such as LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, FSB and aquanale are among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the interior and design segment, the furniture and interior construction industries' supplying sections, the kitchen world, all topics for the modern working world, garden lifestyle as well as public space, sports and leisure facilities and also sauna, pool and ambiente.

In addition to the events in Cologne, Koelnmesse is strategically expanding its portfolio in key growth markets around the globe like with the successful shows ORGATEC TOKYO in Japan, interzum bogota in Colombia and interzum guangzhou in China and interzum forum italy.

More information:
imm cologne

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