Archive for 5 December 2008

IMM Cologne 2009 Trend Preview

In September I was fortunate enough to see the unveiling of IMM Cologne’s 2009 trends at a special presentation in Barcelona. Four of the five trend board members were present and provided a very interesting take on the entire trend development process.

The 2009 trend board consists of Eero Koivisto, a Stockholm-based architect with Claesson Koivisto Rune, and a veteran of the process, having participated in three previous trend panels. The other returnee was American designer Stephen Burks, founder of Readymade Projects. Both Stephen and Eero were much more comfortable speaking about “trends” than either first-time panelists Arik Levy and Giulio Ridolfo. The final member of the 2009 trend team was British design journalist Markus Fairs, who was unable to make the live preview but was on record as being “suspicious of the notion of trends.”

This wariness concerning “trend” was also expressed by Ridolfo and most particularly by Levy. “My worst nightmare is that some designer somewhere takes what we’ve organized here and uses it literally,” said Levy, “developing a product based on exactly these materials and these colors because that’s what is ‘on trend’.

Levy went on to say that the actual process and development was very intense, collaborative, and at times, contentious. Burks agreed but noted, “It’s interesting, having finished up our part of the process months ago, to see the result in print and recognize how certain ideas have become more evident and noticeable just in that time.”

As the longest serving trend board member Koivisto emphasized that approach of the board was very “pluralistic. What we attempt to do is show no one perspective or point of view, but many points of view. The goal of these trends is not to dictate, but to provide a context.” And he continued: ‘I can say, having been involved now for four years, that these trends have proven to be accurate…that looks, materials and concepts we discussed in previous years have become factors in the design market.”

From the discussion among the board members and when responding to audience questions at the presentation, the core of these trends seems to be the simultaneous urge to experiment contrasted with the desire to preserve the best of the past.

So, here are quick summaries of the 2009 themes:

Extra Much
The design expression of extreme ideas as opposed to minimalism, not just in terms of embellishments and detailing, but on how technology influences both the design process and the possible end results.

Extra Much IMM 2009

Extra Much IMM 2009

The color palette for Extra Much is built around a vibrant peacock blue/green. A sunny yellow and orange add punch, while softer tones of cream, apricot and pale cocoa add depth and richness while a deep and a slightly paler purple bring a note of complexity.

New materials from other industries are adapted for home product use, while familiar materials like aluminum and Plexiglas are re-examined in the light of innovative new processing techniques.

Near and Far
A contemporary approach to design that values both the industrial and the artisanal, while always trying to stay clear of any “colonial attitude”, an attempt to balance both micro- and macro-production.

Near and Far IMM Cologne 2009

Near and Far IMM Cologne 2009

The color palette for Near and Far is very muted: A collection of warm and cool greys, with just the barest hint of pink, green and blue to lighten things up.

Seagrass, bamboo, felt and other natural materials are key, while synthetics are woven or shaped into natural-seeming structures–honeycombs, knits and more

Teepee Culture
The name for this trend created quite a bit of confusion for the mostly non-U.S. audience in Barcelona, with the board fielding several questions about Indian tribes, native American spirituality, etc. The title could have just as easily been Tent Culture, but that just doesn’t sound as nice! The core idea here is about paring down to the themes, values and experiences that matter; removing the clutter of over-design to focus on life.

Teepee Culture IMM Cologne 2009

Teepee Culture IMM Cologne 2009

For a natural/neutral theme, the color palette for Teepee Culture is rich and robust, based around a warm red. Khaki, army green, a true purple and a soft greyed blue round out the palette.

The main material for Teepee Culture is paper—shredded, recycled and in any other way processed, it represents the responsible re-use of resources.

Re-Run Time
This theme takes a bit of Teepee Culture, some aspects of Neat and Far and even something from Extra Much, but then combines it all for a different outlook. Re-Run Time is a rather Zen approach to design—contemplative, wanting to fully understand both the individual component and its role in the wider world.

Re-Run Time IMM Cologne 2009

Re-Run Time IMM Cologne 2009

The main color is a classic, neutral beige supplemented by a two deep burgundies—one a bit warm and one a bit cool—along with a blackened green and very dark navy. A shell-pink, winter white and silvery-grey add a touch of lightness.

The materials for Re-Run Time are rich in memory and inherent detail such as leather, suede and horsehair, silks & woolens, waxed woods and variegated stones.

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5 December 2008 at 2:14 pm Leave a comment


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