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Cologne is set to stage an inspiring programme for the interior design community and furnishing fans

4-7 Jun 2023 • imm Spring Edition

In June, Cologne will transform into an international showcase for the global interiors and design community. For four days, the city will provide an inspiring backdrop for design, lifestyle, architecture, interior design and outdoor living concepts. Our overview of the key activities taking place in Cologne during that week is sure to whet your appetite for a visit to the Rhine.

As Germany’s biggest Interior Business Event, the imm Spring Edition (4 to 7 June 2023) is eagerly anticipated by the industry. Thanks to Koelnmesse’s decision to celebrate the return of imm cologne with a Spring Edition, the city on the Rhine and its diverse design scene can present itself from a new angle. International visitors can expect an inspiring early-summer week with a host of special offerings by the city’s flagship stores and major interior design retailers, a PASSAGEN programme spread across many districts, and attractive new locations such as the Technikhof Kalk in addition to established players like the MAKK and the Design Post.

The Interior Business Event is finally back, and with it the chance to meet people, experience lifestyle trends and enjoy urban outdoor living! The imm Spring Edition provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at the world of design, stimulating interest in progressive presentations and interactive design experiences. Even outside the exhibition halls, networking will be a breeze during the imm Spring Edition – in the design hotspots, on the streets of Cologne or on the banks of the Rhine in the evenings.

PASSAGEN also moves to spring for the first time to coincide with the imm Spring Edition
PASSAGEN, Germany’s largest urban design event according to its organisers, Büro Sabine Voggenreiter, will take place from 2 to 7 June and feature more than 140 exhibitions throughout Cologne. It promises to be an exciting cross-over event encompassing design, architecture, interiors and urbanism. The event programme is packed with atmospheric presentations and installations, happenings and preview shows. What’s more, the event’s new date in late spring means it can involve the whole city this time, with the catalogue now also featuring interior design in outdoor areas, at open-air shows and in public spaces, in gardens and courtyards, on the street and on rooftops.

Venues old and new: Design Post and Technikhof Kalk bring together brands and makers
Visitors to the imm Spring Edition will be able to explore two further hotspots in the immediate and wider vicinity of Koelnmesse. During the imm Spring Edition, the Design Post will present a variety of special exhibitions and exciting new products from the 34 exhibiting brands. An impressive floral installation – an ephemeral artwork consisting of around 1,000 orchids – fits in with the imm Spring Edition’s vernal theme. Given the warmer conditions, the outdoor area will also play an important role, with brand partners Arper, Carl Hansen & Son, Ethimo, Habit, Marset, Prostoria, String Furniture, Thonet, Vestre and Wagner appearing on the 800 sqm outdoor terrace of the Design Post – with a party thrown in.

With the Technikhof in Cologne’s Kalk district, the “machwerkstadt” company aims to carefully develop a living gem of industrial heritage from the 1930s into a centre for design and urban production: the “Machwerkhaus Köln”. During Cologne Design Week 2023, creative minds will present their work, products and projects here in an exhibition preview for design and urban production that will take in the entire (outdoor) space. The site is already home to various companies that create, develop, plan, produce and operate at the interface of design, craftsmanship and technology: zwanzigzwanzig (concept.photography.design), buschfeld Design (industrial lighting manufacture), Lill + Sparla (landscape architecture), mosaico (cement tile manufacture) and Scherf Design (shoe design). Guided tours and workshops will offer insights into their production processes. In the canteen of the Technikhof and planned machwerkhaus, there will be exhibits by companies and projects focused on the circular economy in the context of food, shoe, textile and urban design.

Interior design brands on the Cologne Ring
The Cologne Ring boulevard (Kaiser-Wilhelm-Ring section) is set to be another hotspot during the inspiring interior design week in Cologne. The long-established interior design store Pesch will once again be active during the Interior Business Event and will host an exhibition by Italian manufacturer Henge 07. Lighting specialist Occhio will be presenting the Luna lamp in its Cologne flagship store for the first time. Thanks to its “fireball” light source, this sophisticated example of lighting technology produces an effect reminiscent of moonlight. Distinctive furnishings, interiors, decorative items and home accessories will be available at Lambert, where the latest trade fair innovations will also be on show. The Everyday Life collection designed by Paul Smith for DePadova will be exhibited in the Boffi | DePadova showroom. Roche Bobois, Bretz and Reform complete the line-up of design labels on the Hohenstaufenring.

“Kölsch Gold” (Cologne gold) by Sebastian Herkner at the MAKK
The Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (MAKK) has invited designers Maren Dessel and Isabel Hamm as well as artist Lutz Fritsch from Cologne to create pieces exclusively for the MAKK that, as contemporary design and art objects, establish a concrete relationship with the museum and its collections. Designer Sebastian Herkner, in conjunction with furniture specialists Thonet, will likewise be showcasing a special “Kölsch Gold” edition of his successful Thonet 118 chair, produced for the MAKK. The limited run of 77 chairs, each with a signed certificate, will be on sale from 4 June.

Fabrikat89 on Ehrenstraße
Fabrikat89, an innovative retail concept for designers and artists that combines pop-up events in vacant properties with networking, will be hosting an immersive showcase – a pop-up installation on Ehrenstraße. Up-and-coming talented designers such as Zigzagzürich, Rahmlow Design, Berlin Glass Works, Black Velvet Circus, GOFURNIT, Haus Üger, Saar Scheerling, Art Can Break Your Heart, Tanja Gletsch, Janina Bauer and artist Lara Fritsche have transformed textiles, ceramics, wood and glass into captivating and technologically advanced pieces.

Yet more gold
Designer Meike Harde, a rising star of the German design scene, develops furniture, lamps and furnishings for labels such as pulpo, Northern, Please Wait to be Seated and Fest Amsterdam in her studio in Cologne’s Mülheim district, just five minutes by bike from Koelnmesse. The successful ambassador of a creative city and role model for young female designers is a prime example of the evolution of a young creative into a top-5 German designer. Meike Harde will be exhibiting a selection of her designs at the Goldkant (www.goldkant.de) interior design store in Cologne’s Südstadt neighbourhood during Design Week.

Iconic Awards 2023: German Design Council celebrates innovative interior design
As part of the imm Spring Edition Interior Business Event, the German Design Council is organising a networking get-together for the winners of the Iconic Awards 2023, entitled Innovative Interior. In addition to the exhibition of award-winning competition entries, which will be presented in parallel to this year’s imm Spring Edition on an area covering roughly 100 m2 at Cologne’s Design Post, the German Design Council’s particular aim is to promote networking between the interior design industry and architects and property developers.

Vibrant creative sector in Cologne: all signs point to growth
Cologne is one of the most important hubs for Germany’s design industry. Around 2,000 studios, agencies, networks and freelancers in the city generate a combined annual turnover of more than Euro 550 million. The concentration of designers in Cologne is twice as high as the national average.

A remarkable enthusiasm for design sweeps through the city, especially during imm cologne and trade fairs such as interzum, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa and LivingKitchen. “While the focus at the trade fair is on work, along the three axes of business, inspiration and networking, the week in June offers our visitors an additional opportunity to relax, discover the city in comfortable temperatures and pick up further ideas for the interiors market,” suggests Bernd Sanden, Director of imm cologne.

Economic development agency KölnBusiness is intensifying its efforts in relation to the creative industries and is currently setting the course for further growth. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will open the headquarters of its Innovation Community for Culture and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI), or EIT Culture & Creativity, in Cologne in early 2024. Operating from this base, it will bring together various partners to promote creative thinking and innovation in the sector throughout Europe.

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