Transformable furniture leads the way in Cologne

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The Independent Online

A dominant theme at last week's IMM design fair in Cologne, Germany were foldable and bendable pieces that adapt to the individual needs of their users.

The event, which usually serves as a trend indicator for spring's I Saloni fair in Milan, is also home to the renowned D3 contest for young designers, and this year's winners presented particularly flexible furniture.

AKKA's OLA table, for instance, which will officially be launched at the Stockholm Furniture Fair next month, can be folded while it stands on its feet: "Even a fairly small lady could unfold a hundred tables at a conference without risking her health, since you don't have to turn the whole table around," designers of the Swedish design studio explained. "The ola-table looks so nice when folded that you can store it by the wall in your office or at home for an easy-accessed extra work desk."

AKKA shared the first prize with German designer Harry Thaler, whose Pressed Chair is also bent into shape, even if in a completely different manner: "I wanted to create an elegant and simple chair from a single sheet of 2.5mm aluminium. [...] The chair, which is light enough to be lifted with only two fingers, is extremely strong without any external structural support. Instead decorative features pressed into the sheet provide the required strength once the chair is bent into shape."

Runner-up was fellow German Hanna Emelie Ernsting who presented her Moody Couch that features an oversize covering that adapts to your needs, e.g., sliding in front of it to sit on the floor or forming a 'nest' in the middle of it to cover you completely. Once left alone, the covering will stay in the shape it was used in, hence reflecting the person's mood.

The trend of flexibility wasn't limited to the D3 contest: Thomas Schnur's Rubber Table uses toilet plungers as legs to stick to any surface, for instance, and the Authentic Wood work module created by Le Corbusier at La Cassina can be rearranged according to the individual office situation.

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