The new calendar year marks the beginning of the January design fairs, which kick off in Europe with IMM Cologne (14-20 January). The German showcase is heading into its 70th edition with over 1200 exhibitors from around the globe putting their best foot forward with innovative releases and inspiring installations. Here we preview the pioneering projects to look out for, from an Australian duo that questions contemporary living, to experiments in a railway line bunker...

Das Haus by Truly Truly

Das Haus by Truly Truly

Each year the fair invites an international emerging talent to create their ideal living environment in a 180 sq m space at the fairground. In 2018 they appointed Czech designer Lucie Koldová, and this year they enlisted Australian duo Truly Truly. The Rotterdam-based team map out a vision of experimental contemporary living, ‘the space that we’re developing for “Das Haus” will be unfamiliar yet inviting at the same time – a balance between abstraction and warmth’, explain the studio founders Kate and Joel Booy.

Ferréol Babin for Pulpo

MAGMA by Ferréol Babin for Pulpo

German brand Pulpo add a number of lighting designs to its portfolio this year with the ‘Light Now, Vol. I’ collection. Collaborating with Sebastian Herkner, Ferréol Babin and no-made, the works express Pulpo’s innovation with materials. Babin’s sculptural table light (pictured) is made from fat lava-covered ceramic, as its title ‘Magma’ suggest. This organic base supports the handblown glass light in an intriguing collision of contrasting materials.

Generation Köln at Passagen

karoline fesser powder

Taking place inside a railway line bunker, this satellite event is part of coinciding design week Passagen in the city. The project explores how the surrounding environment can inform designer’s products and includes works from four German creatives: Karoline Fesser, Klemens Grund,Thomas Schnur and Tim Kerp. The result is eclectic, with Kerp’s furniture pieces inspired by the urban landscape of Cologne, while Fesser’s products are formed from powder (pictured).

Bunker am Bahngleis, Gladbacher Str. 49, 50672 Köln

Sebastian Herkner for Schönbuch

Sebastian Herkner for Schönbuch

Last year Herkner designed a 1950s-inspired trolley for the German brand, in 2019 he returns with a colourful project that exudes similar sophistication. The ‘Souvenir’ drawers that are mitre-jointed in lacquered MDF, and available in a flurry of playful hues from emerald green to flamingo pink. §