Ambiente 2012, Frankfurt
Europe may have been in the grips of a cold snap last week, but we resisted the urge to hibernate and made the annual journey to the Ambiente trade fair in Frankfurt. Held in the sprawling Messe Frankfurt grounds, Ambiente once again served up a vast selection of new tabletop products, living accessories and gift items from across the globe.
This year the fair had noticeably extended its reach, with exhibitors and designers coming from as far a field as Benin and Ecuador. Japan, now home to several Messe Frankfurt fairs itself, also had a strong presence.
Meanwhile, the fair's partnership with Denmark proved a hit - even securing a visit from Danish royalty (Princess Benedikte). Brands like Normann Copenhagen, Stelton and Georg Jensen all had strong stands, and there was plenty of inspiring ecologically-minded products to be found in Denmark's exhibition on sustainability.
Also a highlight was an exhibition curated by product designer Sebastian Bergne - the man of the moment when it comes to tableware (glimpse of his forthcoming show in London here). Titled 'Solutions', the show focused on innovation and functionality in product design.
The fair halls were also noticeably brought to a life by a refreshing smattering of neon hues, courtesy of German brands like e15 and Koziol, with the latter exhibiting a fetching collection of rainbow insulated cups by Wallpaper* Handmade contributor Matteo Thun.
Another Wallpaper* Handmade collaborator attracting attention was JIA, who won no less than three Design Plus awards at the fair for items such as its chopstick and spoon set.