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42,000 trade visitors from 129 countries attended imm cologne

With a new central theme and the innovative trade fair concept "The Circles", the international Interior Business Event has made an impressive return to its usual January dates.

After five days of brisk trade fair activity, imm cologne can report excellent results: from 14 to 18 January 2024, interior design professionals from across the world gathered at the Koelnmesse trade fair grounds in Cologne. Around 42,000 visitors from 129 countries used the international trade event to establish contacts, boost their business and glean inspiration. Alongside the trends and product innovations presented by the roughly 750 exhibitors, the reconceptualised trade fair impressed with a diverse line-up of event highlights designed to promote exchanges between trade fair participants in line with its motto, “Connecting Communities”. With this strategy, this year’s edition of the Interior Business Event had its finger on the pulse and marked a key milestone in imm cologne’s further evolution. Next year’s edition of the trade fair is also scheduled for its established January dates.

"Under the banner of ‘Connecting Communities’, imm cologne has played a decisive role in fostering networking in the interior design sector at the start of the year. Together with our partners from the industry and the retail sector, we’re looking forward to writing the next chapter in the trade fair’s history in January 2025. imm cologne remains a powerhouse of new inspiration for the international interiors industry,” said Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse.

Leo Lübke, President of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), also underscored imm cologne’s position as a crucial link in the furniture sector: “Especially in challenging times, the trade fair provides all industry participants with a central business platform for presenting new launches, networking and making sales. And it’s proven once again that Cologne in January generates widespread coverage on home living and interior design across Germany.”

Markus Meyer, President of the German Federal Association of Furniture & Kitchen Retailers (BVDM), added: “The German retail and wholesale trade and all the major purchasing associations were represented at imm cologne 2024. It’s been a forum for successful discussions and generating sales. Yet again, Cologne has secured its position as a crucial ordering platform.”

New trade fair concept promotes networking
The central theme “Connecting Communities” proved to be a key factor in the trade fair’s success. Drawing on this idea, the concept for The Circles was developed. At the event, it brought the theme of community to life with numerous interlinked content and event formats. The circular event spaces were spread across the entire exhibition area, acting as central gathering places for participants. Oliver Frese, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, explains the positive response to the new format: “The Circles have transformed imm cologne into a dynamic, interactive platform that created diverse forums for conversations and inspiring spaces for discussing industry issues.”

The highlights at this year’s edition of imm cologne
The event highlights staged as part of the holistic trade fair concept included the imm cologne Summit, hosted in collaboration with the VDM and the BVDM. The congress shed light on opportunities for the interiors industry and outlined approaches that participants can apply to prepare successfully for the future. Insights into what lies ahead for interior design were also provided by the Pure Talents Contest. Now marking its 20th edition, the prestigious design competition celebrated up-and-coming talent and demonstrated its high relevance for young creative professionals with a record number of over 1,000 submissions. The designs focused on working with sustainable materials and exploring circular product concepts. The Circular Cooperation Network Day (CCND), jointly hosted with the initiative FURNITURE 4.0, was also devoted to discussions and exchanges of ideas on the challenges of transitioning to a circular use of resources. In addition, renowned design studios and well-known influencers enriched the trade fair with artistically conceived installations. These creative elements fostered an inspiring atmosphere and gave participants a taster of the latest design trends. Alongside these highlights, imm cologne 2024 hosted numerous other standout events, including a programme of speakers, which was jointly curated with the magazine H.O.M.E. and the platform Architonic. As part of this programme, speakers appeared at various Circles across several days of the trade fair. The expert-led Guided Tours, focusing on new launches and trends at the trade fair, and the well-attended evening events also received a positive response from trade fair participants.

Cologne: an interior design hub
As is tradition, the PASSAGEN Interior Design Week took place in parallel with imm cologne this year. Across Cologne’s entire city centre, a diverse programme of events was hosted, featuring around 150 exhibitions in numerous showrooms, galleries, furniture stores, cultural institutes, museums and universities. Attracting large crowds of visitors, this impressive line-up once again transformed Cologne into a magnet for design lovers from across the globe.

imm cologne 2024 in figures
Around 750 exhibitors from 42 countries participated in imm cologne, which was hosted across a gross exhibition area of 137,000 square metres. 110 exhibitors came from Germany and 640 from other countries. Taking estimates for the last day of the trade fair into account, around 42,000 trade visitors from 129 countries attended imm cologne. International visitors accounted for around 50 per cent of the audience.

The next edition of imm cologne will take place from 12 to 16 January 2025

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