Easy living

About 120,000 visitors from 129 countries came in January to the metropolis in the Rhineland for IMM Cologne. They were met by a dizzying array of interior furnishings from all over the world, but amidst the cacophony a few trends revealed themselves. Namely, everything seems to be getting cosier and more colourful, with designers and manufacturers expecting people to want comfort, harmonious shapes and colourful accessories. The cool virtual world of the Internet hasn’t vanished, and the colour white was still readily on display, but seemed to be in decline. A wide variety of bright colours were everywhere, with lots of blue and violet as well as teal and cyan tones. The spectrum of natural tones was popular as well, primarily in the wooden furniture range.

1-Colour me cool

The Papillon armchair is so inviting, with its graceful, winged silhouette; what’s more, it is also completely foldable and easy to carry. Designed by Kati Meyer-Brühl for the eponymous firm (at least the latter half of her name), the base comes in solid birch plywood, beech/spruce ply or in solid beech mounted on copper supports; the soft parts are fully removable and come in a bright, cheerful range of cushions.   bruehl.com

2-Outside the box

Cologne-based Bordbar wheeled its way into our hearts back in 2006 with its brilliant airplane trolleys (I seriously wish I had one!). In 2014 the company scooped up another Interior Innovation Award at IMM with the new Cube, a free-floating sideboard available in eight different colours that continues Bordbar’s discarded-industry-product motif.   bordbar.de

3-Sit a spell

Dutch furniture manufacturer Leolux’s booth at IMM was one of the more enchanting. Dominated by three enormous paintings by resident artist and designer Jane Worthington, the obvious photo-op was the new Interior Innovation Award–winning sofa Gynko, which was hung in the stand like a swing. Designed by Berlin-based Jörg Wulff and Thomas Müller, Gynko’s humorously shaped round arms are fully adjustable and come in varying widths, as well as several modular elements that make it even more customizable.   leolux.nl

4-Cruise control

Pedro is a Finnish manufacturer of cruise-ship furnishing that also dabbles in design furniture. That may appear like an incompatible pairing, but after seeing its offerings at IMM, it is clear the company deserves to be there. Need proof? The new ON chair – designed by Tapio Anttila and made from a new ecological thermo-formable wood material from Finland called UPM Grada – earned Pedro an Interior Innovation Award.   pedro.fi

5-Don’t be fooled

The Aetas table by the always-reliable Vitamin Design is so deceptively humble it almost belies just how harmonic the interplay between single elements and balanced proportions creates a clear shape. Produced in solid oak, ash, or walnut, the seemingly thin looking solid board (actually 40mm thick) creates a seamless transition to the four angled table legs. At least the German Design Council thought so, giving it an Interior Innovation Award.   vitamin-design.com

6-Pure simplicity

SixE is a new stacking chair by Howe that garnered rave reviews at IMM. In fact, this mono shell chair designed by Pearson Lloyd nabbed the Best of Best title in the Interior Innovation Award 2014, the highest version of this award at the show. The name refers to the six E’s that the firm says characterize the chair: ergonomic; environmental; ease of handling; elegant; efficient; and economic. Bearing a modern yet modest aesthetic and intended for multi-usage environments, up to 25 SixE chairs can be stacked on a dolly at once.   howe.com

7-Just roll with it

ONGO’s thing is “active sitting.” Since its founding in 2009, the Stuttgart-based firm has been battling the immobility of sitting with stools whose curved bases encourage movement, activating muscles and metabolisms. Additionally, built into the base is a ball track that gives acoustic feedback, a playful technique especially among children. This year at IMM, ONGO added the Rhei (Greek word for “flow”), a chic variation that graphically depicts movement.   ongo.eu  

8-What ’choo lookin’ at?!

To design something in Switzerland but manufacture it in Bulgaria requires a bit of unruliness, and the Forester, a three-legged rebel designed by Thomas Kleiner from the Bulgarian firm Artebjala EOOD, is exactly that. Made from wood touched with gold leaf embedded in resin, it almost gives the finger to passersby with a white V-shaped leg plugged into the solid seat.  artebjala.ch

9-In name only

It may be called Challenge, but the newest addition to a chair series that German firm Conde House first presented in 2013 is anything but. The delicately flowing lines of the chairs’ self-supporting frame and armrests quietly invite relaxed seating.   condehouse.de

10-Got balls?

Interior design needs some balls, and Lina is here to help. Its playful sitting composition, called (not surprisingly)
The Ball, is made of durable inflatable spheres upholstered with a 3D textile slip that is removable and washable. Available in different colours, the balls can be easily connected to each other using special textile loops sewn on each ball’s slip.  linafurniture.com

11-Playing with geometry

A new furniture company simply called H made its debut with aplomb at IMM. The London, U.K.-based (but with Mexican origins) firm displayed several lines, including the tricky Corner Collection, taking the perfect 45-degree angle as its conceptual starting point. The corner edges of a deceptively simple table top and sideboard are cut away at 45 degrees to reveal naked wood; continuing the mathematical motif, the table’s legs and side are inclined at precisely 22.5 degrees.  hfurniture.co

12-Zeitgeist-y kitchen

Design Line by Supergrau for Nomad Kitchen is a series of cube elements intended to suit the needs of a studio kitchen. Different materials subtly suggest a path for processing food: preparation begins in a sink made of white Corian; cooking gets done in the clay-coloured area, made of the same mineral material; and consumption ends on a wooden table element made of bleached maple. But it’s up to the user to decide the path: different materials are available, and modules are placed on castors to be rearranged at will.   nomadkitchen.com

13-Come together

Berlin-based System 180 collaborated with the Potsdam School of Design Thinking to develop a functional and flexible series of furniture specifically for creative teamwork. The Design Thinking-Line (DT-Line), named after the school, includes a standing workplace and a movable whiteboard, showing that only two pieces of furniture are needed to support brainstorming, discussion or presentations. The elements are lightweight and sleek in their design, and placed on casters to be individually configured for various group sizes or work phases.   system180.com

14-In the crosshair

In Cologne, e15 unveiled several new products including a solid European oak table, Platz (shown), and bench, Sitz. A diagonal bar and solid wood dowels dominates their visual form and character, echoing a traditional worktable aesthetic, while also guaranteeing high stability. The table comes in seven lengths and three heights with optional drawers.   e15.com