Insights From the IMM Cologne 2020

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If there’s a motto for this year’s imm Cologne 2020, then that would be better living. The first furniture fair for this year that ended last week, attracted well over 125,000 visitors from 145 countries and some 1,200 exhibitors. It echoed eight distinct living trends, articulating some of the upcoming changes in our living spaces. These are due to space shortage, higher rental fees and a raised environmental awareness. So without further ado, these are my insights from the imm Cologne 2020 fair.

A booth at the imm Cologne 2020. A black divider, armchair, a wall tapestry and tables all part of this installation at Classicon.

Once again furniture brands showcased their inventiveness. So what’s new? The embracing of comfort seems like a top priority in today’s better living spree. Pronouncing round forms, a flow-y design with emphasis on ergonomics aim to cater for the increasing need to spend quality time at home. That includes catering for the needs of a much wider and diverse people’s pool like elderly people too.

From Bolia. A dining set in light wood and two pendants lights. Pampas grass is used as decor in the background.

Alongside with comfort, cosiness another one of the top trends, continues its trending streak. Materials, finishes, carefully chosen furniture and decor with sustainability in mind, that make homes more cozy are favored. Furthermore, the open plan layout is re-surfacing, based on the living without limits living trend. This time though it stretches outdoors too. And this one definitely clearly showcased with the Das Haus installation.

A contemporary bedroom setting with a tone-in-tone approach in an earthy light ochre hue as seen by Ferm Living.
Ferm Living. A tone-in-tone approach for this notable brand.
A contemporary installation with a dark grey sofa and pink marble coffee tables and a gorgeous huge delicate and modern chandelier as seen at Baxter.
Big pendant lights hanging over a contemporary setting with an off white sofa and a light blue armchair.
Menu. Despite the neutrality of most lights, they were used extensively to highlight spaces.
A dining set against a dark blue tiled wall with two pendant lights as seen at Cassina.

The Living Trend

  • Better living – an effort in examining home living in an overall view; more comfortable, more elegant, more stylish, more sustainable
  • Greener living – getting closer to nature
  • Smarter living – reliable smart applications for tailored needs
  • More efficient living – space saving furniture to compensate for smaller spaces
  • Comfortable living – applies to areas like the bedroom and bathroom, but also seating furniture
  • Living without limits – letting go of the “compartmentalised” layout concept
  • Colorful living – a priceless tool for achieving a harmonious aesthetic result and quality
  • Decorative living – our living space as means of expression

“Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”

A white kitchen with minimal furnishing and a Mediterranean feel to it.
The kitchen…
Part of the Das Haus installation from the imm Cologne 2020.
The standout piece is the swing chair by MUT Design for Expormim.

This year, the simulated home installation was entitled “A La Fresca” by Valencia-based MUT Design. It was an appealing invite to step out into the fresh air. The lines between the four room pavilion both indoors and outdoors are blurry. The white backdrop with the terracotta tiled flooring and minimal aesthetic is like a modern take on a traditional Mediterranean home. The staged setup facing outwards clearly highlighted the outdoor living concept which is so common in Mediterranean architecture.

Suggested read: “A la Fresca”. Merging Indoors and Outdoors

Pure Atmospheres

The organizer is the theme of this Trend Atmosphere installation at the imm Cologne 2020.
The organizer. Minimal, sustainable and with a Wabi-sabi or Japandi attitude.
The earth lover, an Pure Atmosphere installation at imm Cologne 2020.
Trend Atmosphere: The earth lover. Earthy colors & organic materials the key decor trends.

Curated by Dick Spierenburg and Floor Knaapen, this is basically home to a thematic portrayal of 7 interior design trends; 7 atmospheres with unusual installations filled with trendsetting innovations. It is also imm Cologne’s longest standing design format. Thus, it poses as a very good indicator on where things stand when it comes to the current design trends.

This year’s atmospheres were:

  • The organizer
  • The sculptor
  • Earth lover
  • The innovator
  • The geometrist
  • The revivalist and
  • The new historian.

My favorite atmospheres are two. The organizer that embraces biophyllic design, craftmanship, tactile and soft materials. And the earth lover that has a 70’s and 80’s vibe and showcases earthy hues, handmade ceramics, and textured materials like velvet, soft leather and hessian.

Suggested read for you to see all 7 Trend atmospheres from imm cologne 2020.

The organic setting at New Moments installation at imm Cologne 2020, where new products are launched.
New Moments is a new forum for product launches. In the picture here, the organic setting is shown.
A living space installation with a large bookcase and two sectional leather sofas in a contemporary setting.
Lema. Note that mustard yellow tones are still on.
A tone-in-tone design approach in this stand by Fermob at imm Cologne 2020.
Dark blue flooring and wall dressing and tobacco designer armchairs popping out. Stunning effect.
Normann Copenhagen.
A teal velvet sofa in a contemporary setting in front of a dark stained wooden bookcase from Molteni at the imm Cologne 2020.
Two contemporary red armchairs side by side resting on a color blocked area rug.

This was definitely not a color indifferent trade show with lots of colored glass, ceramics and statement furniture in earthy colors and all sorts of green hues. Tobacco and caramel shades dominated in the earthy color range with reds beside them. However, the lack of intense, bold contrasts and a softer approach was evident. Hence, this tone-in-tone approach has the potential to appeal to some minimalists as well.

Additionally, a lot more off-whites were present highlighting other dominant colors. As I mentioned in my interior trends 2020 and beyond report, off-whites will be all around, but the way designers will use them in 2021 has changed. 


View of the Ligne Roset stand with a curvy light green modular sofa at the imm Cologne 2020.
Ligne Roset.
The Taru sofa by Sebastian Herkner for Ligne Roset.
The Taru sofa by Sebastian Herkner for Ligne Roset.
Ligne Roset. The Taru sofa.

As always, there are products that stand out. One of them was the “Taru” sofa designed by Sebastian Herkner for Ligne Roset. The upholstery continues on all the way through the sofa’s bulky “elephant-like” legs. (See above the top right image).

Another product that is surely worth mentioning is the Silhouette rug for outdoors by Jaime Hayón, a Spanish designer, for Namimarquina. It is made from PET plastic! It also comes in a version for indoors too.

Lastly, I really fancy the chair designed by Luca Nichetto for Wittmann, part of the “Paradise Bird” collection. It looks a lot like a modern take on Josef Hoffman‘s Barrel chair. Nonetheless, it will make a wonderful accent chair to have in any setting.

Suggested read: 15 new product highlights from imm 2020

A funky installation with a curvy sofa and round coffee tables featuring a delightful pendant light at Petite Friture during the imm Cologne 2020.
Petite Friture. Vertigo Pendant Lamp by Parisian designer Constance Guisset.
The "Paradise Bird" designed by Luca Nichetto for Wittmann is a chair with ladder-like metal backrest in a brass color and upholstered velvet seating.
Wittmann. The “Paradise Bird” designed by Luca Nichetto.

The aftermath

One of the things that stands out from this fair is a strong focus on the outdoors with an increased experiential intensity. For me, who is based in a Mediterranean country, Greece, this feels totally right. After all, we spent a great deal of time outdoors throughout the year. Hence, it follows that any outdoor space is the extension really of our home.

A dark grey contemporary sitting lounge by Vitra that includes a sofa, an armchair and some big plants.
A big contemporary sitting lounge in a circular arrangement with a round black coffee table in the middle. Everything has a vibe from the 70's. As seen at Minotti.

Moreover, diversity in products and furniture styles is a given not only at this trade fair, but in the real world too. However, as design trends tend to rise/decline, the design industry evolves and searches for more sustainable, viable solutions to aid living responsibly. As such, multi-functionality is key in both spaces and decor pieces. That aligns with the effort to increase adaptability in general. Therefore, this is one of things I will take from this fair.

Suggested read: Best Highlights from IMM Cologne 2019

And that’s a wrap!

Velvet signature

P.S. All images are courtesy of Elisabetta Rizzato, the founder and mastermind of Italianbark.

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