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New concepts, new momentum

Post-show report • imm Spring Edition

Inspiring, innovative and full of momentum: With innovative exhibition formats and a clear focus on trade visitors, the imm Spring Edition had the dynamism to drive the issues facing the industry forward. Hosted from 4 to 7 June 2023, the event marked the start of the journey to a new and reimagined imm cologne. Amid early summer in Cologne, the trade fair transformed the grounds of Koelnmesse into a get-together for the interior design scene after a three-year enforced break due to the pandemic. Accompanied by numerous event highlights, the special edition of imm cologne offered interior professionals diverse opportunities to make new contacts, take their business forward and glean inspiration. From 14 to 18 January 2024, imm cologne will once again usher in the new interior design year and set the trends for tomorrow right at the start of the year.

“With the imm Spring Edition, Cologne has finally been able to send an important signal to the national and global markets again. Together with our partners from the industry, the Association of the German Furniture Industry and the retail sector, we’re now setting the course for imm cologne 2024,” says Gerald Böse, Chief Executive Officer of Koelnmesse GmbH. Elmar Duffner, President of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (VDM), also emphasised the innovative exhibition concepts. Despite the challenging market conditions, he noticed a surprisingly positive mood at the imm Spring Edition: “The high-quality profile of the visitors and their response to the exhibitors’ presentations were very promising. The new Pure Galleries format was particularly well received.” The new Pure Galleries format was particularly well received.”  

Cologne as a design hotspot: City attracts around 100,000 visitors

Held in early-summer temperatures and featuring many events, the imm Spring Edition in Cologne was a reunion for the interior design industry. Networking was not confined to the trade fair grounds – it continued well beyond: The imm Spring Edition and the Interior Design Week, which coincided with the trade fair, transformed Cologne into a summer design festival. Around 100,000 visitors flocked to the city to seek inspiration from the diverse presentations. The PASSAGEN programme, spread across many districts of the city, numerous promotions by renowned flagship stores and large furniture showrooms, exhibitions by established institutions such as the Museum of Applied Arts Cologne (MAKK) and Design Post, as well as attractive new locations such as Technikhof Kalk, made Cologne a hugely popular destination for design lovers. 

Central point of access to the European markets

As a trade-only event with a shortened duration, the imm Spring Edition was conceived as a one-off June edition of imm cologne with a focus on efficient business. The trade fair offered the approximately 30,000 industry participants from 116 countries a unique platform for harnessing lucrative commercial opportunities and successful networking. The exhibition’s broad scope ranged from up-and-coming start-ups to recognised market leaders, allowing the event to represent the entire spectrum of the industry. The imm Spring Edition attracted numerous international trade delegations, including the leading representatives from the European market. With over 50 per cent of visitors travelling from outside Germany to attend, the trade fair underscored its importance as a central point of access to the European market for international manufacturers.

On the path towards circularity

A key theme running throughout the entire trade fair was the circular economy. Valuable insights into this topic and sustainable strategies were presented at dedicated events such as the imm Spring Edition Summit on the circular economy and the Circular Cooperation Network Day (CCND), hosted by the initiative Furniture 4.0. The exhibition Design for Decades showcased interior design objects that have appeared in the exhibitors’ collections for more than ten years and those with the potential to achieve the same status. These design classics clearly demonstrated how important the quality of production, design and materials is in ensuring a long lifespan and reuse in the ethos of the circular economy. Numerous sustainable approaches could also be seen in the interior design solutions presented by the exhibitors. Overall, the industry showed a tremendous willingness to actively engage with this issue in order to develop sustainable solutions and promote circular business practices. 

Innovative exhibition concepts

Pure Galleries presented furnishings in a new exhibition format that emphasised minimalism and a return to the essentials. Drawing on an art exhibition, the format created clear structures with compact spaces and a focus on the products’ design. The segment gave the product centre stage, elevating it to the star of the event. This created a unique and inspiring trade fair experience that received an excellent response from the exhibitors and the trade audience. Further inspiration was presented at The Circle, another new format. Centrally located in the centre of Pure Galleries, it featured the exciting Architonic Live Talks. Serving as a networking hub for trade visitors, it was the beating heart of the action at the trade fair.  

The imm Spring Edition 2023 in figures
A total of 718 exhibitors from 43 countries participated in the special edition of imm cologne, which was hosted across a gross exhibition area of 120,000 square metres. 86 exhibitors came from Germany and 632 from other countries. Taking estimates for the last day of the trade fair into account, around 30,000 trade visitors from 116 countries attended the imm Spring Edition. International visitors accounted for 52 per cent of the audience. 

The journey to a new imm cologne will continue in January 2024.

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