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Up next: business

16-21 Jan 2023 • imm cologne

imm cologne is undergoing a transformation. With the 2023 edition of the event, it will start a new story – with a new conceptual focus, new formats and new structures, all in the spirit of “up next: business”.

With one of the world’s best-performing furniture industries and located in one of the most attractive markets in Europe, the Cologne trade fair will once again become a stage for new products, innovations and inspiring design and business ideas, at which German and international players can present the coolest start-ups and the most exclusive interior design brands in a familiar and compact overview. This time, however, even more diversified, fresher and more efficient.

“imm cologne will make a strong comeback in January. Our preparations are in full swing. The market has high expectations for the interior design industry’s business platform. We’re all set to give business new momentum and to offer the industry the stage it needs,” says Matthias Pollmann, Vice President Trade Fair Management at Koelnmesse. “But above all, imm cologne 2023 promises to be a festival of reunions, new encounters and new beginnings,” he adds.

imm cologne expands its business-enabling structures
The goal behind imm cologne’s new orientation is to create a business-enabling environment that goes beyond a conventional product showcase by exhibitors. In this way, the trade fair will lay the ground for developing sustainable new business. What impact will supply bottlenecks, logistics, energy and changes in purchase behaviour due to inflation and the values shift – especially in relation to sustainability – have on future commercial success? What opportunities do new business models open up? “With a line-up of inspiring talks and a variety of new networking formats, we are creating opportunities to enable business and presenting new perspectives on the most pressing questions and problems. The entire event is inspired by the spirit of ‘up next: business’,” says Pollmann.

Thought leadership as a future vision
But future success will depend on balancing commercial goals with social responsibility. This means that an industry gathering such as imm cologne will have to offer more than a mere showcase. Instead, it must highlight issues such as sustainability, mobility and digitalisation because trade fairs like imm cologne are the ideal platforms for shaping the future. For many of the key questions facing all members of the industry, new solutions can and will be found in the competition to present ideas and innovations that the trade fair gives rise to. imm cologne is therefore aiming to play an increasingly active role in shaping the future. It wants to go beyond providing a discussion platform by raising issues and creating new links – to other industries, disciplines, services, technologies and think tanks. “With this approach, we as a trade fair organiser are making the transition from being a disseminator of content to a thought leader,” says Matthias Pollmann as he explains Koelnmesse’s vision for imm cologne. “We are positioning ourselves as a source of pioneering thinking within the industry that supports businesses as they tackle the complex dynamics of this fluctuating world,” he adds.

Sustainable development in several steps
One of the crucial aspects of imm cologne’s new orientation is balancing content and business: On the one hand, the aim is to boost the order business, promote the industry’s economic interests and foster new business models. On the other hand, its focus will be on the social responsibility that imm cologne bears, together with its exhibitors, as a leading trade fair – a responsibility that the event fully embraces by promoting the industry debate on socially relevant issues. The concept for imm cologne’s development is based on an equally content- and business-driven platform for future solutions. This vision is to be implemented over the long term, with the foundations already being laid next year. The first step will be introducing corresponding formats in the Pure and Home interior worlds.

Even in the initial stage of its repositioning, imm cologne 2023 will be given a new layout, which will be reflected in its content and structure. One of imm cologne’s strengths is its highly effective crossover between business and inspiration. Building on this, the two interior worlds Pure and Home will be more clearly differentiated in terms of their content and business formats. At the same time, relocating some formats will foster a closer exchange between the two segments.

New trade fair layout with Pure in the west and Home in the east
Pure’s centrepiece, Pure Atmospheres, will move from Hall 11 to the new Hall 1 and the neighbouring sections (4.2 and 5.2), which act as a bridge to the Boulevard. Home Scenes will therefore be relocated into the three-floor Hall 11 and link directly to Entrance South. These changes mean that Pure will be predominantly hosted on the western axis of the trade fair grounds while Home occupies the eastern axis – separated and simultaneously connected by the north-south axis of the Boulevard. In the north, the theme worlds revolving around kitchen, cooking and enjoyment connect with this in the LivingKitchen year 2023 (Halls 7 and 8).

Home: new formats to foster networking and enable business
imm cologne’s future offerings are designed to reflect the changes in customer needs, which have resulted in new ordering cycles, new business models based on the circular economy, and the emergence of e-commerce as a core driver for the sector. Factors such as human resources, sustainability management and service solutions are becoming increasingly important for companies of all sizes. In the Home interior world, the trade fair will therefore focus on the major business issues facing the industry, such as the digital transformation and logistics. Community hubs will be developed to serve as ports of call for advice on various digital and logistical challenges of today and tomorrow

Pure: new formats with an exciting diversity of product and brand showcases
The trade fair’s Pure segment will be even more diverse than before. Instead of focussing on stand-alone highlight events like “Das Haus”, a larger selection of thematically linked special event areas and curated presentation formats will be integrated into the interior world. New features include the Spots. Named after the circular areas that they will occupy, these stages will be designed by Koelnmesse or individual exhibitors. Each Spot will focus on a current issue and feature a stand design and Food service that encourage visitors to linger, exchange ideas and converse. Another new format takes its inspiration from art trade fairs: Pure Galleries will be a high-end showcase for minimalist, individual brand spaces.

Even more ambience for inspiration, networking and experience
The new structure will make the halls more condensed and diverse. A bigger mix of different stand sizes will give the trade fair a fresher look and an even stronger ambience. Integrating many new offerings across the entire grounds, focusing on networking in Home and inspiration in Pure, will create a cutting-edge and stimulating trade fair experience: This is the third element of the trade fair concept, linking inspiring content, networking offerings, meet-and-mingle formats and trade fair architecture.

The industry is ready – so is imm cologne
While the plans for a streamlined event with attractive new formats proceed at full speed, exhibitors have already signalled their positive expectations for the trade fair: They are looking forward to meeting face to face and to a long overdue opportunity to present their brands and all the new products they have been waiting to launch at a suitable showcase. For exhibitors, the trade fair is a vital chance to observe market developments first-hand and pick up on the latest trends. Many see participating in the event as a way to send a message to their customers, business partners and the public: They want to maintain existing relationships and build new ones, but they are also keen to contribute to the current debates in the industry and society. The sector is looking to imm cologne for fresh momentum – for new impetus to boost the interior design business and new inspiration for creating unique worlds with interior design.

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