imm cologne 2024: Networking and concepts redefined

January is a special month for many people. It marks the start of a new year and is ideal for plans, new beginnings or changes. And with all the inertia after the winter holidays, it's time to ask ourselves what will this year be like? What is the pulse of the furniture industry? Who, what and how is showing up at a trade show in 2024? It's the first major event of the year and that makes imm cologne like a barometer for the furniture industry. So after a few weeks of holiday and quiet, it's a place to find inspiration, partners and make plans. Naturally, beyond seeing/exhibiting innovative and inspiring products, it's a great opportunity to meet people. It's a place where business, inspiration and relationships naturally come together. And very much about connectivity is what this year was all about.

imm cologne is one of the most important exhibitions dedicated to the furniture and interior design industry held in Cologne, Germany. A new edition of the event took place from 14-18 January 2024, attracting a large number of industry professionals as well as interior design and furnishing enthusiasts.

Connecting communities: imm cologne 2024's motto

The central theme "Connecting communities" was brought to life by an innovative exhibition concept called "The Circles". The format made its debut in 2023 at imm Spring Edition and featured various content platforms and events combining business, inspiration and networking. The circular areas from which the format takes its name were intended to be connecting elements and places where trade fair participants can meet and discuss. This holistic approach reflected the central theme of the fair - Connecting Communities - fostering a sense of connection of an entire industry that goes beyond a typical fair experience. 

As a new feature at imm cologne 2024 - and one of the different types of "Circle" - hospitality areas played a more prominent role. The concept was embodied in various formats, including the Circle Club - a special area furnished in the style of a café. Where there is good food and drink, relationships, meetings and fun naturally follow. A relaxed atmosphere is proven to stimulate face-to-face conversations and strengthen community spirit.

Installation Circle was composed of several installations staged by outstanding designers. There was also a Community Circle, where several exhibitors presented their ideas and innovations in shared booths, making it the ideal place for conversations among like-minded peers.

Pure, Home and Sleep - the three segments of the exhibition

The Pure segment is the imm cologne format for exclusive, cutting-edge design. Pure along with the other two segments of the fair - the Home interior world and the Sleep section - have  covered the diverse spectrum of interior design for which imm cologne is renowned. The number of exhibitors in the Home and Sleep segments attracted a large number of participants. The furniture that stood out with its impressive variety of designs were chairs, armchairs and sofas of all shapes.

imm cologne announced before the start of the fair, a list of key retail and wholesale representatives who have confirmed their participation as visitors to the January fair. "Confirmations from major buying associations and leading furniture retailers as visitors underline a positive signal. We are delighted to be able to once again offer trade fair participants this important business platform right at the start of the year with imm cologne", says Bernd Sanden, director imm cologne. These include names such as Conforama, El Corte Inglés, IKEA, JYSK, Krieger/KHG, Micasa, Möbel Martin, Next, Nitori, Porta Möbel, and XXXLutz and others. All these presences, which come in addition to the many major exhibitors, confirm that imm cologne is an important networking and business platform.

Trends at imm cologne 2024: sustainability, mobility, versatility and retro-vintage

Participants at IMM Cologne 2024 proposed a variety of trends in furniture and interior design. Here are some of the most obvious:

1. Sustainability and environmental responsibility: A strong trend in this edition was the focus on eco-friendly products and materials. Furniture manufacturers showcased innovative ways of using recyclable and renewable materials, such as FSC-certified wood and recycled materials, ensuring sustainability and minimising environmental impact.

2. Minimalist and streamlined design: The focus has been on simple shapes, clean lines and minimalism. Designers have presented furniture with a simple layout and simple geometry, which gives a clear and orderly look to spaces.

3. Mobility and versatility: The furniture of the living spaces has been adapted to the changing needs of the users. Easy to move, modular and flexible pieces of furniture were presented, allowing easy reconfiguration of the space according to individual requirements. This is one of the strongest trends we have seen. For example, outdoor furniture that looks exactly like indoor furniture. So with indoor furniture you can create comfortable working spaces outside, in the garden, on terraces.

4. Technology integrated into furniture: Many manufacturers have introduced furniture in which technology components such as wireless charging ports, integrated lights and sound systems have been incorporated.

5. Retro and vintage: The exhibition featured furniture pieces with retro and vintage influences. Emphasis was placed on shapes and colours characteristic of past periods, bringing a nostalgia to modern designs. Some exhibits were visibly 'brought over' from the 80s and 90s.

6. Natural and pastel colours: The colour palettes presented included neutral shades, terracotta, pastel green, dark blue and other nature-inspired colours, satisfying the need for comfort and relaxation in interior design. We saw proposals for single-colour furnishings, where the walls and décor elements were the same colour shade as the furniture. And to make the intention obvious, everything was done in the same shade of orange.

These are the trends we noticed on our visit to the fair and some of them highlighted by the guided tour we attended. 

Romania's pavilion at imm cologne: elegant, airy and diverse

As for the participation of Romanian companies, 15 companies exhibited collections of furniture and interior design accessories on an area of over 800 sqm: VISA SA, SOLENZARA SALON SRL, MOBILA DALIN SRL, KA&MA TRADING SRL, LARIX MOBILA SRL, HANGAROUND SRL, DESIGN FOR LIFE SRL, CITY COMFORT SRL, PURE HOME COLLECTIONS SRL, ENTOURAGE FURNITURE SRL, DIS PROD SRL, ECOMATRIX SRL, LEMN PROD EX COM SRL, SAVINI DUE SRL, SZEL MOB SRL.

We were impressed by the openness to communication and discussion of all those we managed to talk to, even if some of them we knew at the time. We saw an elegant, airy pavilion and heard nice words about the organisers. We met both companies with many years of participation in foreign fairs and companies that have approached this participation for the first time as a strategy to maximise the chances of achieving commercial objectives. 

Szel Mob, which specialises in the production of classic wooden furniture, is taking part in the fair for the tenth time. Their stand presented new variants and finishes for established furniture as well as new products for bathrooms. With exports accounting for 70-80% of production, Szel Gábor, owner of the company, stressed the importance of the German and European market for them in his talk in Cologne. 

VISA Wood is a company that includes the production of furniture for various sectors, including HoReCa, as well as exhibition stand design. Although it is in charge of the Romanian pavilion at international fairs, this year was the company's first participation at imm cologne. 

Among those who participated for the first time is Solenzara, a recent name on the Romanian market, entered through the acquisition of a factory in Targoviste. 

With consistent sales in the German market, Wood Prod Ex Com with the XO Interiors brand presented versatile collections that combine the classic with the modern. Furniture pieces from the Chic collection, known in Germany as "grandma's library", were now presented in solid oak, responding to the growing demand for this type of wood.

On the youtube Wood Magazine you can see all the videos made at imm cologne 2024, an event recommended by #Lemn.Expert - A quality community and travel supported by Felder Group - #unprietendecalidad.

About the author


Anamaria has over 15 years of experience in marketing and communications for companies in the furniture industry and retail. Prior to Ces Brands she coordinated marketing activities at ICLA Romania.

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