Pure Talents Contest 2021: the finalists

Twenty-six projects have been selected for the competition organized by imm Cologne. With a focus on sustainability, lighting and interaction with objects

There is Draft, the climate control system by the Swedish student Sofie Aschan, which reduces indoor temperatures by means of water, wind and evaporation, respecting the environment without making noise; and there’s Nesting, the flexible sofa that becomes a protective nest, developed by the German designer Steven Dahlinger.

Nesting by Steven Dahlinger

These are just two of the projects selected for the 18th edition of the Pure Talents Contest 2021, the competition organized by imm Cologne for young designers. Though the fair was canceled this year, the contest has gone forward to support promising new creatives: 20 have been chosen for imm Cologne, plus 6 for the LivingKitchen category, from about 862 international candidates hailing from 59 countries and 240 design schools.

La giuria: la designer Eva Marguerre, Jennifer Reaves, CEO della fiera blickfang, il designer Sebastian Herkner, e Norbert Ruf, direttore creativo e amministratore delegato di Thonet GmbH
The jury: the designer Eva Marguerre, Jennifer Reaves, CEO of blickfang fair, the designer Sebastian Herkner, and Norbert Ruf, creative director and CEO of Thonet GmbH

The winners will be announced in February, based on the decisions of a jury composed of the designer Eva Marguerre, Jennifer Reaves, CEO of the blickfang fair, designer Sebastian Herkner, and Norbert Ruf, creative director and CEO of Thonet GmbH.

The 26 designers have been indicated in the categories of furniture, flooring, wallpapers and fabrics, lighting, smart home, accessories and kitchen solutions. “Although direct interaction among the participants, and with the visitors and exhibitors of imm Cologne, cannot take place, we hope that the audience in our sector will notice and encourage these young talents. The Pure Talents Contest is our way of putting the spotlight on promising individuals in the world of design,” says the director of imm Cologne, Claire Steinbrück.

La lampada-segnalibro Elina di Dirk Vosding
Elina lamp by Dirk Vosding

The selected projects cover a wide spectrum not only of functions but also of construction techniques and materials, reflecting different approaches but sharing a focus on relations and interactions between people and furnishings, in a context of sustainability.

The nominees include lighting projects, like the Twin shades by German designer Albane Hundevad, which can be attached to bulb sockets in a simple way, using magnetic strips; or the Elina lamp by Dirk Vosding, another German talent, a bookmark that only reveals its real purpose at second glance, as a table lamp or reading light. “The lighting category has been incredible this year – we’ve seen many innovative and sensual solutions,” says Eva Marguerre.