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The trade fair as a creative platform for tomorrow’s living

16-21 Jan 2023 • imm cologne

“imm cologne 2023 is going to look totally different!” Creative Director, Dick Spierenburg, stated in an interview about the changes to Pure and Home, two of the focal segments of the international furnishing trade fair in Cologne.

After being cancelled for two years, the layout has been strongly revised for the re-start of imm cologne in January 2023: The central Pure section, Pure Atmospheres, is leaving its comfort zone in Hall 1 and has not only been allocated a new location in the new Hall 1, but also a totally new structure.

Won’t that lead to a totally changed trade fair experience?

Very far. Because imm cologne 2023 is not only changing its layout, it is also treading new paths in terms of its concept. The changes to the theme world, Pure Atmospheres, which is being completely restyled, will stand out the most to the visitors of imm cologne 2023. And there is plenty to discover, because the spatial relocation of the section from the East to the West as well as the new Hall 1 provide the opportunity for new contexts, new presentation options and new ways of demonstrating the brand identity of exhibitors.

You are the inventor of several successful trade fair formats such as Pure Editions, for example. You and imm cologne are now presenting a further new format called Pure Galleries. What is the added value for the visitors and exhibitors of imm cologne 2023?

Inspired by the appearance of art shows, alongside Pure Editions and Pure Atmospheres, we are staging the “Pure Galleries” format for the first time. Pure Galleries is a further first-clast presentation world for minimalist, personalised brand environments. Pure Galleries offers the exhibiting companies a further compact, creative presentation alternative that allows the exclusive presentation and communication of brand identities, visions and current products.

Hall 11 was the heart of the Pure exhibitions for years – doesn’t this mean that the visitors and exhibitors will have to profoundly alter their way of thinking?

Yes, this is without doubt a big step for us all, but if we want to shape the future of imm cologne, the transformation has to initially take place in the halls. And above all, the exhibitors and visitors have to be ready for this transformation. We have completely revised the hall plan of imm cologne 2023 and from our point of view optimised it in line with our customers to create a new trade fair feeling following the motto up next Business. To this end, the trade fair focus of Pure is leaving the classic theme world Pure Atmospheres in Hall 11 and is moving to the new Hall 1 and the adjacent areas (4.2 and 5.2) in future, where it will serve as a bridge to the Boulevard. The exhibitors in the Home section will attract more attention due to the new layout of Hall 11. Here too, the relocation is an initial step in the direction of the realignment of imm cologne, where the Home section will be expanded into an industry business platform. Thanks to the new, digital guidance system at the fair grounds, we can offer an innovative and modern trade fair platform, which is inspiring for the visitors and at the same time convenient to explore.

In addition to the clear structure, events still form an integral part of the “new” imm cologne. What events are already planned at imm cologne 2023?

In my opinion the pure presentation character is outdated. The next generation of imm cologne will examine and discuss the themes of “living”, “furnishing” and how we will live in the future from different angles across numerous formats. The platform concept is an essential criterion, which will distinguish the trade fairs of tomorrow: Platforms will in future enable the active participation in the trade fair happenings, they unite the exhibitors and visitors beyond the hall space, they enable and intensify the dialogue.

With its new alignment, imm cologne will become a dialogue and knowledge platform. Instead of singular highlight events such as “Das Haus”, we will integrate more locations, formats and diversified contents into the exhibition space. Our aim is to make it possible for our exhibitors and visitors to establish many professional contacts and to illustrate the new developments and relevant themes to them. Of course, the classic product presentations of the exhibitors and the possibility for the visitors to gain a complete overview of the furnishing industry and discover new furnishing solutions continues to be the centre of attention. However, in future it will be decisive that leading trade fairs find an equal balance between economic interests and social responsibility. imm cologne is already taking the first steps in the direction of a new alignment next year by staging corresponding formats in the scope of the theme worlds of Pure and Home.

What are these formats in concrete form?

The so-called “SPOTS” play an important role in encouraging discourses and networking among the market participants. The SPOTS are round areas, which invite the visitors to spend time, engage in an exchange and theme-related discourses. Food service areas form part of this concept in a bid to promote networking, because from my point of view a dialogue that brings us forward can only arise if ideas are exchanged. Several SPOTS are found in every hall that focuses on Pure – on the one hand designed as an inspiring event environment curated by Koelnmesse, on the other hand as an event area, which the companies can use for commercial presentations. Whereby the spots are always part of the theme world of a hall

What content is presented on the new SPOT theme areas?

The content of the SPOTS occupies itself with the question as to how we will live in the future. At imm cologne 2023 we will see trend-oriented SPOTs that focus on the sections Textiles, Light, Art and Smart Living. Our Pure Talents Contest, which is incidentally celebrating its 20th anniversary at imm cologne 2023, will use the new SPOT format and will thus take on a totally new appearance. We are already looking forward to the visions of the young designers and their ideas about how we will live in the future.

And in the Home section?

In the Home section we focus on the current developments and trends of the market and stage event formats that seek answers to the important business challenges of the industry. Current themes are for instance digitality or logistics. The aim is to create community hubs for the industry here, which then serve as the point of contact for the different current and future “digital” and “logistic” challenges.

Can you sum up what will distinguish imm cologne in the future?

imm cologne will be the platform where the future is shaped. In turn this means it has to fulfil the role of a pioneer where something new is created and has to present itself confidently. I am convinced that in addition to a stronger emphasis on the themes, the imm cologne of the future has to follow a kind of community and club approach, where one engages in a constant exchange and where impulses are provided in podcasts, the social media or online forums in the run-up to the trade fair. The trade fair is then the actual highlight, namely the gathering together since trade fairs live from people. Connecting people. Networking, new business contacts, business transactions, but also the inspiring dialogue – for me all of this is the imm cologne feeling. For me that is why the ideal trade fair of the future is the intelligent combination between the best of two worlds, the smart mix between a physical event and digital aspects, in other words an unlimited exchange which shapes the future.

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