One of the more joyful aspects of trawling design fairs far and wide is discovering fresh young talent. At the heart of innovation, it's always those up-and-coming prospective stars that you can trust to dream up exciting new design concepts. This year, IMM Cologne is once again celebrating the names of tomorrow in their annual Pure Talents Contest: Young Design competition and exhibition.
Now in its 13th year, the initiative is hosting the work of 19 emerging global talents attempting to use new materials ecologically yet with an avant-garde focus. All of the chosen pieces test the boundaries between architecture, furniture and art with their eclectic forms from cardboard seating to sustainable kitchen concepts.
Standing out in the mix is a surprising use of unexpected materials: of note is a collapsible and portable bath in carbon fibre by German designer Carina Deuschl, which exists as a flat package before expanding into a simplistic, classic tub-shaped wire structure.
Embracing an ethos of reuse is Colombian designer Juan Cappa, whose ‘Basketlamp’ recycled pine and oak, transforming a basket into a woven lighting piece.
On the sculptural side of things, Netherlands-based Martijn Rigters's ‘Cutting Edge’ – first presented at Salone del Mobile in 2014 – utilises specialised techniques in foam-cutting to create an abstract sofa. Intuitive shape experimentation is also seen in Oliver-Selim Boualam’s bent steel stool formed of circle and triangle shapes; meanwhile, RCA graduate Louie Rigano’s table boldly mixes corrugated fibreglass and a removable beech tray, geometrically carved to merge together.
The competition – previously named D3 Contest – will take place at IMM Cologne next week, where three winning designs will be chosen by a panel of judges including designer Stefan Diez and Wallpaper* editor-at-large Sophie Lovell.