Fresh Impressions And Highlights From The 2017 IMM Cologne Furniture Fair

Being the first event focused on interior design this year, IMM Cologne sets the trends and shows us the directions to follow in the sector of furniture and interior décor. The IMM 2017 highlights offer us a great opportunity to catch a glimpse at the newest innovations and ideas that will define this year’s trends and to find fresh designs for every style, every room and every requirement. After IDS Toronto we’re back with news from IMM Cologne and we can’t wait to also cover the Maison & Objet Paris highlights. 

The 2017 Imm Cologne Furniture Fair

IMM, the world’s most important furnishing fair, was a big success this year, reaching  a record number of visitors (150.000). This year the event was featured in parallel with another great fair, LivingKitchen, where more than 200 exhibitors from 21 countries showed us all the newest improvements in this particular area of interior design. We visited both fairs and we’re ready to show you all the highlights and the latest trends. The next IMM Cologne edition will take place from the 15th until the 21st of January in 2018 and we’ll be there for more great ideas.

The latest trends in living room furniture

This combo of comfortable chairs, stylish table and chic pendant lamps is ideal for casual lounges and reading nooks

One of the exhibitors at IMM Cologne this year was &tradition, ready to impress with this beautiful match, perfect for modern living rooms and lounge spaces. The Catch Lounge by Jaime Hayon has the simplicity and sophistication of classical chairs with a hint of modern flair and the Palette Table by the same designer has all the quirky features needed by an accent piece, whether it’s displayed in the living room, office or any other space. This wonderful duo was complemented by the Utzon Pendant designed by JØRN UTZON, displayed here with a copper finish.

The unit is designed to suit the aesthetic and functional needs of the modern living room
The most wonderful detail here is the organic texture highlighted by subtle accent lighting
The series also includes open shelving units which put an emphasis on the natural contrast between wood and iron
The units can be combined in a variety of ways, depending on each person’s needs and preferences

Products such as the V-organo series inspired us to focus more on the natural qualities of the materials. This is a series that plays with the contrasts between wood and iron and combines them with natural forms and textures. The result is a living room furniture collection that goes back to the basics and brings back the untarnished charm of the wood.

Tall and elegant, these freestanding mirrors are ideal for makeup vanity nooks, hallways and dressing rooms
The large sectional sofa is the main piece here but that doesn’t necessarily make it the focal point
Once again, large mirrors are used to add an unexpectedly glamorous twist to the decor
Suitable as both a console table and as a desk, this elegant piece is both versatile and stylish

We were also mesmerized by the wonderful products exhibited by Porada. They displayed a wonderful arrangement of comfortable sectionals, chairs and ottomans highlighted by large and elegant wall mirrors, graceful consoles, coffee tables and side tables, all displaying a lot of charm, elegance and refinement.

Chairs and sofas designed to impress

There’d no solid surface on which the seat to rest, being entirely suspended and offering an unusual yet comfortable feeling

Designer Shi-Chieh Lu showcased a wonderful piece called Ming’s Heart. The unusual name is explained by the design of the chair, which is inspired by the historic Ming chair. Its modern version displays simple lines, simple geometry and a fluid and continuous form with graphical character. The frame is made of tubular steel and the seat is a continuous shell attached to the top and sides of the frame. As a result, the chair floats.

The side platforms are excellent side tables, perfect for placing table lamps on
The entire Fly series features this signature frame design, although the sofa is the only one with side extensions

Another big hit was the Fly Sofa designed by Space Copenhagen. A key detail is the slatted backrest which is part of a solid oak frame that contains the comfortable cushions. The platform on which the seat cushions are placed extends on the sides of the sofa to form two built-in side tables. It gives the impression that the sofa is ready to fly away at any moment, hence the name. The sofa is actually part of a series which also including a matching armchair, designed with the same type of beautiful wooden frame that ages gracefully and becomes more beautiful with each passing moment.

The warm and neutral color and the combination of materials are a good match for the overall design of the armchair

This is the Assaya chair and its matching pouf. It’s a piece designed by Satyendra Pakhalé which has an irresistibly beautiful form, with a high back and curved armrests that wrap around the seat. Leather covers the back of the chair, creating a protective shell around it. The new fabric and leather versions emphasize the simplicity and fluidity of the design.

The chair looks best when paired with a coordinating ottoman that features the same color combination
The curved sides of the backrest offer privacy and make this a really great reading chair

If the design of these chairs looks a bit familiar that’s because it’s based a classic style. The 570 gender chairs combine modern and traditional features and materials into a design that’s unusual, comfortable, eye-catching and versatile. The chairs have soft padded seats and backrests, leather edging and fabric-covered shells that unfold like the delicate wings of a butterfly. Five standard color combinations are available and they’re all exquisite.

The modules are available in several sizes and versions, offering a lot of flexibility in terms of design and comfort

The intriguing creation of designer Patricia Urquiola was also present at the fair. We’re talking about the 550 beam sofa system which is a series of three sofas that can be used individually or as a set. The modular trio includes an end unit, a two-seater center module and a corner piece. Matching ottomans and tables are also available.

Although it looks very simple, the sofa allows each user to customize their seating position and level of comfort

Designer Pietro Lissoni also embraced modularity when creating the 202 Otto series, a collection that includes two-seater and three-seater sofas, chaise lounges, armchairs and several modules which can be put together to create custom seating arrangements. This is the three-seater sofa version. It has a structure made of extruded aluminum and polyurethane foam cushions covered in either fabric or leather.

The empty frames give the chairs a really lightweight look, making them great for both indoor and outdoor environments
The seats can be covered with cushions for increased comfort

This year also brings us eye-catching pieces such as the Sign Filo chair designed by Piergiorgio Cazzaniga. The cool thing about the chair is its graphical design made of sleek metal wires. The wire structure of each chair is assembled by hand with over 226 sealing points. Although it looks delicate, lightweight and ready to bend, the structure is actually very strong and sturdy.

The exotic flair of the loungers comes from their very forms and the choice of materials and textures

IMM Cologne also featured some of the newest creations from Bretz. We got to see some really cool lounge seats with designs that bring back the aristocratic and royal charm of classical and traditional furniture. The padded frames have a certain exotic flair and the strong colors emphasize that even more.

The chairs are stackable and this makes the easy to store. In addition, the design is versatile enough to also be used outdoors

This is Nicolette, a really elegant chair from Ethimo. It was designed to serve as a dining chair and it has an aluminum frame. The most intriguing part of its design is the backrest which has a natural teak support attached to the frame. This support is meant to offer comfort and to allow the user to maintain a correct position while seating.

The chair is perfect for al fresco dining spaces thanks to its simple and practical design

Speaking of stackable and practical chairs, there’s also another wonderful example that we came across at IMM. It’s called Stitch and it’s a really beautiful chair, simple and versatile enough to be used in a variety of settings and decors. Its main use is as a dining chair and given its design it’s easy to imagine it out on a deck or terrace.

We love the wooden details of this chair. They offer a sense of increased comfort and beauty

It seems that the combination of wood and metal is a popular one amongst modern furniture. One of the examples is the Swing dining chair. It has a frame made of aluminum and teak wood. But the design only becomes complete when the textile cushions are added. The design as a whole is a well-balanced one worthy of any modern decor.

The fiber shell wrapps around the curved frame of the sofa and supports the back cushions

A lot of modern sofa designs are minimalist but also very focused on comfort. The Esedra is one of the best examples. It’s a three-seater high back sofa with a design that makes look really cozy and comfortable thanks to the curved shape of the backrest and the fact that it doesn’t look robust despite its structure.

The modules can be organized in an endless number of ways, allowing numerous configurations to be created
Mix and match the colors and patterns and create a unique seating arrangement for the space you have in mind

Roche Bobois was present at the 2017 IMM Cologne fair with a series of colorful and cozy seating arrangements composed of casual sofas and modules that can be used as individual floor cushions. The really cool thing about the series is the flexibility and versatility that comes with it. The collection was designed by Hans Hopfer and the elements are stitched by hand.

Consider mixing upholsteries in various nuances of the same color for a pleasant and subtle contrast
As a dining chair, this piece is extremely comfortable and elegant with just the right amount of casual flair
Soft Line opera privacy chair
The New Calligaris Igloo chairs

One of the things that we loved most about the Igloo chair is its versatility and the fact that it can look wonderful when combined with a dining table but also when displayed in the corner of a bedroom or next to a sofa in the living room. This love easy chair has a wooden frame and an upholstered seat available in a variety of materials and finishes.

The angular design of the frame gives the sofa an added sense of modern beauty by avoiding the standard structure

We were also impressed by the refined and comfortable nature of the Combine series. This seating unit has a low backrest and a simple profile that puts together clean, straight lines and gentle curves in order to look sleek, lightweight and chic, the characteristics of a modern interior design. The sofa is available with wooden or steel legs.

The rounded forms of the sofa coordinate well with the sharp angles of the side tables

Despite the contrasting nature of the forms, materials and colors displayed here, the overall combo is very well balanced and really harmonious. This arrangement puts together the Nubilo sofa and armchair with designs that are reminiscent of clouds and two eye-catching side tables, the Basil Trapeze and Basil Pyramide. They both have cork tops and geometric designs.

We particularly enjoyed the contrast between the extremely comfortable seat and the thin and sleek base that holds it

We also got to have a look at the new 808 lounge chair from Farmstelle. The version featured at the fair was in black leather but several other options are available. The design is a perfect representation of comfort and style, reminding us of the classic Eames lounge chair. The design features a protective shell that offers a modern interpretation of the classic wingback design.

The design of the Open-air series is a contemporary interpretation of typical deck furniture

After a 15 year gap, Giorgetti returned this year at IMM Cologne with a wonderful outdoor collection called Open-air. The series is designed by Chi Wing Lo and Loduvica + Roberto Palomba. The collection manages to capture the informal and casual nature of outdoor furniture and to give it a sophisticated and refined twist. The units sit on wooden platforms and can be mixed and matched as desired.

The latest innovations in the field of cabinets and tables

The interior of this modern cocktail bar includes storage for bottles, glasses and everything else as well as a fold down prep counter

Isidoro is a unit designed by Jean-Marie Massaud which inspired us to rediscover the elegant and sophisticated nature of the cocktail bar. This cabinet is not only very stylish but also really practical, featuring wheels and a design that allows it to be closed shut very much like a large suitcase or a book. It has a classical click to close mechanism and a sleek external handle. The interior is well organized down to the smallest detail.

The unit combines the advantages of having a bookcase, media unit and desk all in one

As always, Cassina was present this year at Cologne with a series of elegant and classical designs. The star was a modern version of the modular storage units never looked better. It combines flexibility with familiarity, maintaining some of the characteristics of the previous designs and combining them with new features and design details.

Soft Line opera privacy chair
This quirky design uses no screws, nails or glue and this gives it a very friendly attitude

Something else that caught our attention at this year’s IMM fair is the Tojbox unit, an interesting and simplified version or a wardrobe. It’s a design with a lot of potential, being suitable for spaces such as the entrance, the bedroom or the walk-in closet. It combines a clothes rack and a simple box module and it can be used as a standalone piece or as an addition to a more complex storage system.

Soft Line opera privacy chair
The table is an exquisite statement piece that also offers the advantage of being modular

Of course, few designs were as impressive and as memorable as that of the Pangea table created by Michele de Lucchi. Unlike your typical table, this one doesn’t have a single piece top but is rather a collection of smaller individual modules which come together like puzzle pieces. The design is inspired by Pangea, the single large continent that was the original of the world structure as we know it today. In total, the table combines 19 moulded pieces and has 25 conical section legs.

The molded hardwood seat contrasts with the metal spring base both in form, texture and color

The exhibit also showcased quirky accent pieces such as the Molla stools. We were particularly attracted by the unusual form of the base which features a square spring. A solid wooden seat is attached to the spring and the user can oscillate in all directions thus enjoying a very unusual form of flexibility, not encountered on typical bar stools or chairs.

The reflection of the wood stumps on the steel top creates a very peaceful ambiance

Lots of modern furniture pieces stand out through strong contrasts and this includes the Venice table designed by Claudio Bellini. The table featured a thin steel top with a reflective finish supported by a series of six solid wood stumps positioned at different angles. The wood pierces through the steel top, like trees that emerge out of water.

The screens are made of wood and aluminum and can be used in combination with planters

We also encountered intriguing accent pieces such as the Clostra shields which are difficult to define or place in a category. They’re screens designed to look like stylized shrubs and they can be used in a variety of different ways. For instance, you can display them on the wall as decorations or you can use them as space dividers. They can offer privacy and they can also serve as decorations.

New lighting accents

The key feature of this collection is the sculptural nature of the shades which welcome the cord inside of them
The series reinvents the typical handblown glass pendant with an unusual and simple twist

Brokis brightened the exhibit with their latest creations in terms of modern lighting fixtures. The pendants displayed here feature simple forms and intriguing combinations of materials and techniques. The company is known for the interesting designs that combine hand blown glass with other materials such as wood, metal or even rope.

New innovations in the sphere of bedroom furniture

The bed frame features tapered and angled legs that allow it to look light and sleek while also being strong and durable
The usual nightstand is replaced here by a low table that comes in the direct continuation of the bed frame
The simple wood headboard is better suited for minimalist decors while the upholstered version makes the space look cozier

Hulsta introduces us into a world of sophisticated and elegant beauty with a bedroom furniture series defined by simple and elegant lines and designs made of sustainable wood often combined with glass for a lightweight and airy look. The beds feature minimalist frames which can be combined with two types of headboards, one with a simple wooden construction and one in an upholstered version. The Madera series is well-balanced and a perfect mix of simplicity and sophistication.

The leather headboard has a classical and elegant design but manages to remain simple
The entire frame of the bed is covered in leather, giving it a sophisticated character and a soft look
Such a bed looks beautiful in combination with other modern-classical furniture pieces that feature leather accents

The design of the Suzie Wong bed by Roberto Lazzeroni has a very specific character inspired by the style of the 50s. The structure has lean and feminine attributes and the overall aspect is a classical one with a few hints of modern charm. The tapered feet elevate the frame above the floor. They’re covered in leather and have brass caps. The bed can be paired with a headboard wrapped in quilted leather.

The design of this piece is a hybrid between a console table and a makeup vanity with desk-inspired features

Although it was designed for entryways, the Ren collection which includes this console table can look exquisite in bedrooms as well as in living rooms or even bathrooms. We love its simplicity and the fact that it’s so subtly versatile. The mirror allows the console to function as a makeup vanity while the hanging tray can be used either for storage or as a display shelf for decorative items.

Exquisite bathroom furniture novelties

The accent lighting around the mirrors highlights the sleek metallic panel behind them turning it into the focal point of the vanity
This is a design that softens the rugged nature of industrial design with nature-inspired details

Scavolini and Diesel worked together to create a new collection that attempts to give bathrooms a strong industrial vibe while avoiding rugged forms and textures and focusing more on clean lines, polished surfaces and the harmony between the materials and finishes that define the designs. The collection is called Diesel Open Workshop.

We enjoy the overall simplicity of this bathroom series, especially the open shelves and the way they coordinate with the mirrors
The same type of simplicity is also a characteristic of the kitchen furnishings in the same collection
Open shelves are a main feature of both the kitchens and the bathrooms in the series

Scavolini also collaborated with Nando to create a new design concept for modern kitchens and bathrooms. It’s called Ki and it’s a series of vanities, washbasins and shelving units with harmonious and welcoming forms and designs and simple silhouettes that seamlessly introduce geometric shapes into decors meant to look open, airy and sophisticated while also maintaining a functional core.

Our favorite thing about this series is the harmony between the modern simplicity and the classical nature of the composition

The Magnifica series aims to transform the bathroom into a sophisticated and prestigious space. The collection is designed by Gianni Pareschi for Scavolini and it puts together classical and contemporary elements combining them is the most harmonious way. This exclusive series reinterprets a classical design giving it a contemporary allure and eliminating the barrier between comfort and style.

New trends to bring into the office

Chic and compact, this desk is just what a tiny or occasional workspace needs in a modern environment

Modern offices don’t need to concern themselves with the lack of space. Designers such as Florence Watine offer a variety of wonderful furnishings with space-saving capabilities. Gaston is a wall-mounted secretary desk that we encountered at IMM Cologne this January. It has a solid MDF construction and a design that’s both simple and very functional and versatile. It has a very compact structure, generous storage compartments and a fold-down work surface for laptops. There’s even a clever niche for the cables at the back.

A small opening between the two sheets of metal letts cables pass through

The Victor desk is another pieces that blends old-school elegance with the minimalism that defines most contemporary furnishings. The workspace offered by this desk is compact and very comfortable thanks to the soft curves of the top and the thin metal edges that wrap around the back and sides. They prevent objects from falling off and this makes it easier to maintain a clean and organized work surface.

Soft Line opera privacy chair
The desk offers drawers, shelves and open compartments for efficient storage and organization

The idea behind the Honore desk designed by Pierre-Francois was to create a workspace that can be functional, comfortable and space-efficient without looking cluttered or overwhelmed by too many features. The desk has a clever and efficient cable-management system that hides the cords and chargers and keeps the top clutter-free and well organized.

Soft Line opera privacy chair
Secretary desk with three drawers

The designs exhibited by Harto are focused on reviving the elegance of the secretary desk. The Hyppolite desk is a gorgeous example. Its design is simple and versatile enough to look elegant in a variety of decors, be they modern or traditional. The design is a mixture of classical and modern features, the end result with a compact, functional and beautiful piece for the office.

The tubular steel frame featured by both the desk and the chair is a trademark for the company that produces them

The event also covered office furniture that exploits the minimalist side of modern design. One such example is the B 108 desk from Thonet Design Team. It’s easy to picture this desk in a lot of contemporary settings. What’s surprising, however, is the fact that the design dates back to 1930 when it was first presented in the company’s catalogue. It made a surprising comeback this year when it became once again the star of the series, being presented with a matching office chair.

The transparent glass top exposes the entire structure of the frame as well as the contents of the drawer

It’s difficult to capture the essence of this desk’s design in just a few works. The desk is the creation of designer Chuck Mack and it has a structure supported on trestles and with a glass worktop which doesn’t even attempt to hide the contents of the drawer beneath. The desk was named Arco and has some really nice and well thought-through details such as the fact that the drawer can be accessed from both sides and that the table has smooth rounded edges.

This series was designed with privacy, relaxation and communication in mind, being shaped for contemporary spaces

Although not specifically designed for offices, the Opera lounge series has the ideal characteristics for such a space. The high back and sides form a shell around the seat, offering the user privacy and intimacy. This makes the series a good suit for large open spaces, allowing the configuration or semi-private conversation nooks or relaxation spaces.