PSFK Reporting From 2011 IMM Cologne On Design Trends

PSFK Reporting From 2011 IMM Cologne On Design Trends

PSFK is excited to announce that beginning Monday we'll be on hand at the 2011 IMM Cologne Home Furnishings Show in Germany bringing you design and home interiors coverage.

Dave Pinter, PSFK
  • 13 january 2011

PSFK is excited to announce that beginning Monday we’ll be on hand at the 2011 IMM Cologne Home Furnishings Show in Germany bringing you design and home interiors coverage. Ligne Roset is sponsoring our travel and they’ll be debuting a huge new collection of furniture at the show by a diverse group of designers. We’ll have plenty of details from the show floor.

To get the coverage started, IMM invited designers Patricia Urquiola, Defne Koz, Harald Gründl, Martin Leuthold and Marco Velardi to give their take on the emerging design trends for 2011. Here’s the four which they think will define the next year:

Emotional Austerity

The elegant ambiance is defined by clear and unostentatious aesthetics. And yet despite their severity, the forms and lines are anything but cold. Instead they betray the passion of their makers and owners for details and quality. In their search for the essence of things, the designers encounter classic and established forms that are equipped with new functions and produced with high-tech. This playful mixing with new technologies and the piecing together of old and new details are symptomatic of a desire to dismantle and re-arrange that finds particularly strong expression in this trend: The cards are being reshuffled.
With filigree forms and soft colours, these austere beauties appeal to both our heads and our hearts. They are joined by pretty but modest basic forms with boxy or rounded contours. The colours and materials are dominated by nature: wood, leather, felt and plant fibres are complemented by technical fabrics; an earthy olive hue dominates over lush and pale shades of green and is joined by powder shades from rosé to brown.

Surprising Empathy

Who says that future isn’t sensual? New forms and new materials are teaching us a new way of seeing things. What looks light turns out to be heavy and resilient, what seems heavy and solid captivates us with its lightness. This applies to both forms and materials. Volumes appear airy or are reduced to their outline, while honeycombed and woven structures add depth to two-dimensional surfaces.
Light and flowing materials form a contrast with their cold and heavy counterparts. On the whole, the aesthetics are defined by angular and folded structures. The dominant colour is a cold grey, accompanied by ash grey and black and brightened up with vibrant dashes of citrus yellow and mandarin orange. A light taupe mediates between grey and white and adds a little softness to the colour scale.


Perhaps surprisingly, it is in the generally so tranquil world of harmony-seeking family-minded consumers that the box is becoming the epitome of universal furniture, a symbol of the search for personal, meaningful pieces populated by truly practical things – icons of everyday life. What doesn’t fit is made to fit, and wherever people are content with their own company, the furniture ought to be unpretentious too.
Even angular and simple individual structures can be fashioned into rounded and astonishingly comfortable opportunities for retreat – soft padding or sheepskins emanate a sense of luxury. The preference is for natural materials. The surface textures are knitted or woven, occasionally even hand-spun. A warm rhubarb-red radiates positive energy and warmth and is combined with creamy-white, corn-yellow and tan shades ranging from light brown all the way to terracotta.

Transforming Perspectives

As in performance art, this Interior Trend (unlike “Emotional Austerity”) is not so much interested in a long-term relationship as it is in a snapshot, in a response to the nature cult, the hype surrounding cult objects or “green design”. The protagonists try to convey their newly gained insights with the aid of archaic forms, simple solutions and it-products taken to cliché-like extremes.
A great deal of importance is attached to material finishes, to polished or matt surfaces. The experimental workshop of “Transforming Perspectives” prefers to work with foamed metals, composite mineral materials, glass and metal fabrics. A dark plum-blue provides the dominant background for both an artificial lavender shade and a dove-grey with a violet shimmer. Important features are emphasised in a caramel shade with a metallic-brown gleam.


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