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

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

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

While critics denounce such as an easy and obvious way to generate content – for us reviewing the past year

Fear not, we’ve still got a duffel bag full of products and stories from our week in Cologne to bring

Students. They’re a bit like the monsoon rains in Bangladesh. Cause havoc and distress, yet without them out them human

On Wednesday a tweet fluttered into our (smow)twitter from @imm_cologne with the information that the Munich based producer ClassiCon had

According to the advertising information “The leaning lamp stresses the relationship between light and architecture by its generous gesture” That

We’re not going to pretend we’re fans of Carnival. Truth be told, for us Carnival and Oktoberfest belong to a

With the Christmas pounds still causing us to sink deeper into the January snow than we find attractive, it is