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The international furniture and interior design supply industry demonstrates its impressive innovation capabilities

9-12 May 2023 • interzum

For 23 years, technical developments, advanced materials and exciting product innovations and concepts have been the focal point of the interzum awards, organised every two years by Koelnmesse and Red Dot for the furniture supply industry.

From the 150 entries submitted by manufacturers from 18 nations, the jury eventually selected 52 products. Seven entries received a “Best of the Best” award for their outstanding tour de force, setting new standards in their sector with their form and function. A further 45 products and materials were recognised for their product quality, garnering an award for special achievements in form and function.

The award-winners were celebrated on 8 May, the eve of the interzum 2023. The winning products, materials and concepts will be on show in the “Nordboulevard” of the exhibition centre in physical or digital form for the duration of the fair until 12 May. From 9 May 2023, they can be viewed in a permanent online exhibition.

Focal point “Neo Ecology” – products and concepts for greater sustainability in the sector

This year, for the first time, the topic of “Neo Ecology” was a focal point. In a specially created category, the search was on for pioneering sustainable products, processes and concepts. “Product and manufacturing process innovations as well as new materials are examples of the new momentum developed by companies to drive a sustainable economy. They are what bring this year’s interzum maxim ‘Shaping the Change’ to life,” says Maik Fischer, director of interzum. “It is precisely these types of innovations that deserve our particular attention – also and especially within the scope of an international trade fair such as interzum 2023. By launching a corresponding category, we want to give our exhibitors’ achievements in this area greater visibility.”

The jury bestowed eight awards in the “Neo Ecology” category, including one “Best of the Best” for the Vita First mattress manufactured by The Vita Group from Great Britain. This is a mattress produced without adhesive using innovative, sustainable technologies to simplify dismantling and recycling at the end of the product life. It is made of Orbis Plus MB, Novus, a reconstituted foam, and comes with a sustainable cover.

Trend: conservation of resources and pared-back design

According to the jury, one of the key trends in the “Neo Ecology” realm is conservation of resources. Vito Oražem, jury member and managing director of Red Dot, explains: “This not only relates to pure product features but also to the question of how the depletion of resources can be reduced with the help of technology and design. This reduction has to be squared with the respective function. The streamlining of numerous products goes hand-in-hand with a simplicity in design that I find incredibly interesting.”

The Best of the Best: groundbreaking materials and product solutions

A total of three “Best of the Best” awards were handed out in the “Function & Components” category. They included the rotating swivel fitting by Hettich, whose unique translational rotational movement makes it possible to swing cabinet interiors out on their own axis, as well as the electronic “AMPEROS” system by Julius Blum, which offers a simple yet secure solution for the electrification of furniture. Finally, “PEANUT CORE®” by Pyrus Panels is an invisible, tool-free connector for furniture made from frameless lightweight panels.

In the “Materials & Nature” category, two “Best of the Best” awards went to “Arfinio”, a novel solid-surface technology by Covestro and Arcesso Dynamics, which enables the production of seamless solid surfaces, and to the “NUO” wood textile by the manufacturer of the same name, which is as soft and supple as fabric but is made from real wood and is thus vegan and sustainable.

In the “Textile & Machinery” domain, there was an award for “SmartSleeve Circular”, a mattress protector by BekaertDeslee made from recycled ocean plastics. It comes with a “Transparent Circular Label” with an NFC tag to offer both consumers and recycling operations complete transparency about the material composition of the protector at the end of the product life cycle.

And the first “Best of the Best” winner in the new “Neo Ecology” category was, as previously mentioned, The Vita Group with its “Vita First” mattress.

Exhibition – physical and digital

For the duration of the fair, products, materials and concept that won a prize at the interzum award 2023 can be seen by the international trade audience in a special exhibition that is partly physically on display, partly available in digital format. From 15 May 2023, the award-winning entries will furthermore by presented during the “interzum @home 2023” digital event and displayed in a dedicated digital showroom.

A permanent exhibition on the website presents all the award-winning products and projects with accompanying text and images.

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