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Germany’s biggest furniture event got bigger this January, with attendance at IMM Cologne exceeding even 2013’s extraordinary performance. More than 146,000 visitors from 138 countries crossed the Rhine to engage in the business of design, and while the sound of sales jabber was bouncing off the booth walls, there was also plenty of good design to see. 

1-HEAR THAT? Equally eye- and ear-catching, the Hommbru Phonic Range is both multifunctional lounge and media furniture. Inserting high-quality sound into architecturally minimalist form, it can be a loudspeaker, a couch, storage space and a source of light – all at the same time. Combining sound and furniture is nothing new, but Hommbru does it in a way that avoids the typical kitsch.  hommbru.com

2-CALL A FRIEND Finally, an eye-catching alternative to those menacing spiders that occupy
every board table, the Evoko Minto makes phone-conferencing look good. Wireless, compatible with cellphones, tablets or laptops, it recharges on a wall mount to free up space on the meeting-room table when not needed.  evoko.se

3-IF YOU’VE GOT IT, FLAUNT IT Dauphin Home may seem like it’s been flogging the Perillo family of chairs for quite a while, but when you have a winner, you can’t be faulted. The new tweak this year is the slim Little Perillo XS dining chair, with a backrest/seat shell that spirals from the inside to the outside in one piece, making it instantly recognizable as a Perillo.  dauphin-group.com

4-UN-STARCHING THAT COLLAR Furniture giant Walter Knoll had a huge array of offerings at IMM, including new lines, old ones, and a few unconventional ones, such as Seating Stones, designed by Ben van Berkel from UNStudio. Inspired by nature and not a straight line to be seen, this seating system attempts to bring informality to otherwise formal settings in the work world.  walterknoll.de

5-CANDY CRUSH In a different magazine, you’d think these were pieces of confectionary. Designed to work on their own, in a triangle or in a group of six forming a circle, Ondarreta’s colourful Aia poufs make it feel like you’re in the waiting room of a Willie Wonka factory.   ondarreta.com 

6-INTO DARKNESS Things have taken a dark turn at Supergrau. Dark colours and lumbers dominate its 2015 lines, shown for the first time at IMM. The FS700 single-seater features a black and oak-brown frame and cushion upholstered with perforated black nappa leather; it recalls lounge furniture of the ’50s. A study in contrasts, the Rust Table comprises an industrial black-varnished grid carcass and a small, rectangular marble tabletop.  supergrau.de

7-READY TO POP  The Iris pendant lamp by Neo/Craft is so effervescent it seems almost like an optical illusion, like an iridescent soap bubble that will just not burst. This effect is achieved using a special dichronic coating that manipulates light so that wherever the viewer is standing, the intensity of the colours and reflections changes.  neocraft.com 

8-GIVE IT THE FINGER Netherlands-based Wood&Washi showed a brilliant new blinds system with individually adjustable slats, but without the need for messy cords. Turnalux is able to be mounted directly to glass and windows, and each individual slat is hand-adjustable into three different positions with just a flick of the finger.  woodandwashi.com 

9-THIN SKIN Light is pure, so why not make its casing equally pure? That is what Alessandro Zambelli tried with these luminous, airy voids. Designed for .exnovo, he calls the collection Afillia: in plant terms, it means “leafless, but not lifeless.” Available in table and pendant form, the base is Swiss pine locked on to a polyamide light shade sintered by 3D printing.   alessandrozambelli.it

10 ROCK ON! Rock Table, by Jean-Marie Massaud for MDF Italia, conveys both elegance and stability, and is defined by a base made of UHPFRC (ultra-high-performance fibre-reinforced cement) paste,
a product of extreme strength but also pliability. Tops can come in wood fibreboard or tempered glass.  mdfitalia.it

11-LIGHT LOVES FELT The new Alice table lamp from Moree is covered from shade to foot in a coat of classic grey-wool felt, creating a homely Nordic lighting atmosphere. At just 50 cm,
it is comfortable on both a table or on the floor.  moree.de

12-BALANCING ACT The M10 chair by Patrick Norguet for Cassina challenges your perception of balance and stability. The innovative designer figured out how to suspend the body of the chair with an almost elegant indifference on the slim natural or stained black ashwood legs.  cassina.com