It’s probably fair to say that no object at IMM Cologne 2018 confused us quite as much as the new 118 chair by Sebastian Herkner for Thonet.

Not in bad way. Just in a confused way.

We know, we know, what sort of being gets confused by chairs.

Us. Regularly. It’s why our lives’ are such a mess.

118 by Sebastian Herkner for Thonet, as seen at IMM Cologne 2018

Aside from the chance to catch up with, and following the development of, familiar manufacturers and designers, one of the (all too rare) joys of a fair like IMM Cologne is being introduced to the previously unknown.

Among our new discoveries at IMM Cologne was Münster based manufacturer Caussa.

Wedge table/stool Andreas Kowalewski for Caussa, as seen at IMM Cologne 2018

While Georges-Eugène Haussmann is associated with the radical and unrestrained, Atelier Haußmann prefer the understated and reserved. Yet applied with the same level of conviction, self-confidence and appreciation of a well considered line.

Following a couple of years absence 2018 saw Atelier Haußmann return to IMM Cologne….

Atelier Haußmann @ IMM Cologne 2018

The English playwright and composer Noël Coward is widely attributed to have once opined that, “a perfect Martini should be made by filling a glass with gin, then waving it in the general direction of Italy”

We can’t confirm if Munich based StudioFaubel employed the grand raconteur’s advice in the development of their Martini Sessel for Müller Möbelfabrikation. The result is however equally as satisfying…..

Martini Sessel by StudioFaubel for Müller Möbelfabrikation, as seen at IMM Cologne 2018

One of the early highlights of our 2017 #campustour was the Arc Collection by Marie Hesseldahl & Nanna Neergaard created in context of their Diploma project at Design School Kolding.

Consequently it was a particularly pleasing mødes igen with the Arc Collection at IMM Cologne 2018 where it was launched as a product family by Danish manufacturer Le Klint.

Arc Pendant Lamp by Manér Studio for Le Klint, as seen at IMM Cologne 2018

In his 5th century BC text “The Art of War”, the Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu notes:

There are roads, not to take.

There are armies, not to attack.

There are towns, not to besiege.

There are terrains, not to contest.

There are ruler’s orders, not to obey.1

Were Sun Tzu’s metier the furniture fair rather than the warfare, we feel certain he would have added:

There are objects, not to produce.

IMM Cologne 2018 is awash with such. It’s not IMM’s fault; rather is endemic of an industry which supplies utensils of human need, objects which surround our every waking and sleeping moments, accompany the trials, tribulations, triumphs and temporality of existence, but which all too often do so not with the aim of improving our immediate environment, be that aesthetically, functionally or morally, but of generating profit.

The inevitable result is innumerate brands all desperately trying to prove they can do exactly the same as everyone else, can all do what the t**** soothsayers tell them the market(s) want.

Yet as George Nelson teaches us, don’t produce for a perceived market, produce for yourself. Your customers will find you. And those who don’t, aren’t your customers.

As we say, its not IMM’s fault, IMM is one the major furniture industry platforms, and consequently its visitors are exposed to a very concentrated dose of the unnecessary and unseemly

However it’s not all soulless pastiche, lazy appropriation or “cocooning” at IMM Cologne 2018, there are also works which demonstrate as Sun Tzu reminds us, and despite what we may believe in any given moment, “Anger can turn to pleasure.”

As ever, we’re not claiming to have seen everything, have invariably missed some gems, while there are a few projects which may in retrospect have earned a place in the following list, but on which we are still in the process of forming an opinion.

With that in mind, and in no particular order, our IMM Cologne 2018 High Five!

1. Sun Tzu, The Art of War, translated by John Minford, Penguin Books, 2002

IMM Cologne 2018 High 5

As a fair IMM Cologne 2017 didn’t impress, but one or the other product did. Our IMM Cologne 2017 High Five!! And a few words of comfort from Epictetus.

IMM Cologne

With the exhibition 21 Common Things designer Thomas Schnur explores his personal relationship with everyday objects. And in doing so the concept of functionality.

Thomas Schnur - 21 Common Things

"My Bauhaus is better than yours" exhibition poster Milan 2009 (with a little support from the Milan Transport Corporation)

Back at Milan 2009 we stumbled by chance across “My Bauhaus is better than yours”, an exhibition featuring works by

Müller Möbelfabrikation @ IMM Cologne 2016

2016 sees Augsburg based manufacturer Müller Möbelfabrikation celebrate their 20th anniversary, and to mark their round birthday the company have

Thanks to Egon by Alexander Seifried, the Eiermann table frame can be used to create round tables. Here with the chair Prater by Marco Dessi, as seen at Richard Lampert @ IMM Cologne 2016

According to Brigitte Eiermann her late husband, the German architect and designer Egon Eiermann, would work so long on a

IMM Cologne 2016. Pure Talents Contest

For reasons known only to the IMM 2016 organisers the numerous segments composing the “Talents” section – that section of

Thonet @ IMM Cologne 2016

As we noted in our post from the 2015 Garden Unique Youngstars competition, the contemporary outdoor furniture market is a

IMM Cologne 2015 Richard Lampert Eiermann Regal Frame Boxes Alexander Seifried

Established in 1993 with a primary focus on producing the designs of Egon Eiermann, including most famously the re-edition of

IMM Cologne 2015 Erleuchtung Kräutergarten by Elisabeth Kocher und Anna-Lena Bast

In our post on Plug Lamp by Form Us With Love for Ateljé Lyktan, we posed the question “where in

IMM Cologne 2015 Lenz lounge chair Bartman Berlin Silvia Terhedebrügge Hanne Willmann

In our post on Rui Alves’s Bridge Chair prototype from IMM Cologne we noted that, although generally approving of the

IMM Cologne 2015 Müller Möbelfabrikation PS 04 Kressel + Schelle oak steel

Contrary to popular legend, a change is not as good as a rest. It’s better. For whereas after a rest

IMM Cologne 2015 Thonet relax

If you’re of a certain age, and of a certain background, you’ll be familiar with the Roland TR-808 drum machine.

llot llov IMM Cologne 2015

We remember very clearly the first time we saw the work of Berlin design studio llot llov: it was at

IMM Cologne 2015 ess.tee.tisch t-6500 Horgenglarus

In our post on the Drawers Table by 45 Kilo for My Kilos we noted “any product that can appear

IMM Cologne 2015 Pure Talents Contest

Presumably for reasons of brand unity the German Design Council’s D3 Design Talent Contest for young designers has been renamed

Drawers Table by 45 Kilo for My Kilos

As regular readers will be aware, for us there are two characteristics which define a proper desk: drawers and an

Lounge Sofa by Rui Alves for Menu

Our favourite Portuguese designer TM Rui Alves is making his IMM Cologne début this year, with a new prototype under

Back at the end of 2014 we mused as to whether or not this might be an apposite moment to

Passagen Cologne 2014 Young Persepectives at Boffi Köln Woodware Sarah Böttger

During the 2014 Passagen design festival the Cologne flagship store of Italian kitchen and bathroom manufacturer Boffi presented an exhibition