Beaugars  by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest
January 21st, 2011 by smow

As with all furniture trade fairs IMM annually gives part of the floor space over to young, up and coming, designers.

In three themed sections “d3 Design Talents” offers space for design colleges – d3 Schools – those further on the way to establishing themselves – d3 Professionals – and a competition – d3 Contest.

“Space” is however not only a relative term – but one that cannot be defined by physical measurements.

As we learned on the journey to Congress-Centrum Ost!

d3 Design Talents : d3 Contest

Beaugars  by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest

Beaugars by Meike Langer, part of the IMM Cologne d3 Contest. (In the background Home Traveller by Anne Lorenz)

Featuring the works of some 28 design studios from 9 nations, the 2011 d3 Contest was, for us, a little weaker than last years – but that’s obviously just our subjective opinion and no negative reflection on the competing works.

In addition to old friends such as Tafelstukken by Daphna and Laurens or Panel by Yi-Cong Lu the one object that did catch our attention was Beaugars by Meike Langer.

A clothes rack cum stool cum side table Beaugars is a similar concept to Kirin by Dörte Ahlgrimm and Kathrin Scheidt – just with a few extra features that make it, for us, the more interesting product.

d3 Design Talents : d3 Schools

Equally “interesting”  – though regrettably in the negative sense – was the treatment of the colleges taking part in d3 Schools 2011.

More reminiscent of some especially grotesque Bushtucker challenge from “I’m a celebrity …” than something anyone would undertake voluntarily, the path to d3 Schools took the courage traveller to the outer reaches of the Köln Messe complex.

And to a hall which looked as if it had been mothballed in the late1980s and then re-opened especially for the students.

Excellent lighting though. So old it’s almost modern….

We know the colleges don’t exactly help themselves by insisting on building their stands as an abstract interpretation of their underlying design philosophy rather than simply saying “Here’s our stuff – ain’t it good!”

But that’s no reason to banish them so far away from the visitors.

However, those who did pack some sandwiches and braved the journey to d3 Schools were treated to a few very worthwhile projects.

Franzel by Sebastian Schneider - the sort of thing that tickles our goat!

Franzel by Sebastian Schneider - the sort of thing that tickles our goat!

In particular Sebastian Schneider from the Akademie Gestaltung im Handwerk Münster caught our attention with his garden table and bench combination “Franzel” – or better put caught our attention with his delightful re-working of the “traditional” folding legs for his garden and table combination “Franzel”

In addition we were very, very  taken with Play – a versatile shelf and storage system by Adisa Vatres from the Academy of Fine Arts Sarajevo. The other item on the Sarajevo stand that caught our attention was Mantic by Marina Busic. But more on that – in the context of why it caught our attention –  later

We just hope that enough visitors saw it all to have made it worth the colleges trouble exhibiting.

And if not – we hope the colleges give IMM a wide berth next year as protest.

Or at least demand free places.

For there can be no acceptable excuse for the decision to place them in such a forlorn and desolate location.

It was insulting.

Especially when one saw the utter brilliance and unbeatable quality that was on display in the location that d3 Schools used to occupy.

But then we all know who ultimately chooses the piper’s tune….

d3 Design Talents: d3Professionals

Much more positive was the array of young talent that had gathered under the umbrella of d3 Professionals.

But more, much more, on them later.

All in all despite a few genuine high points and some wonderful new discoveries, d3 Design Talents 2011 was, for us, ruined by the treatment of d3 Schools.

Because it forces us to question how seriously the IMM organisers actually take d3 Design Talents.

And by extrapolation how much more important profit margins are than creativity, innovation and sustainability.

d3 Design Talents d3 Schools @ IMM Cologne. Genius lighting!

d3 Design Talents d3 Schools @ IMM Cologne. Genius lighting!

Posted in design talents, Exhibitions and Shows, imm cologne Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , , , ,