IMM Cologne 2018-cover

IMM Cologne 2018: my experience and design finds

Hello design lovers!

Here I am, back from IMM Cologne 2018. As you know I’ve recently gone full time freelancing, which means that I’m finally free to decide of my own timescale (at least I like to think so…). One thing of my job that I love to do is attending design events and trade fairs. So this year I decided to visit as many as possible and to share my experience here on the blog.

IMM Cologne 2018-portrait-pic

IMM was the first trade fair I attended this year. It was open from the 18th to the 21st of January.


I went to Cologne on Monday at lunch time, spent the following day at the fair and came back on Tuesday night.

On Monday I spent the night in a hostel called Jugendherberge Köln-Deutz, sharing the room with other four girls. The interior design was nothing special but I truly recommend this place because of its amazing location: well-connected to the airport and close to the fair. It was also quite close to the city centre, I walked to the main cathedral in 15 minutes.

IMM Cologne 2018-cathedral

That night I met Elisabetta from Italian Bark and Carlotta from UnProgetto, who were also attending IMM. That’s the magic of Internet and blogging, right? It connects like-minded people. As a Millennial who was born in an era when mobile phones didn’t even exists, this still amazes me!


Tuesday was all about the fair. I shall say that I like visiting these events not just to look at the new collections. Honestly, if it was just for that I could easily stay at home and download the press releases. The whole point of going there for me is discovering how the brands set up their stands. Styling details are really interesting, creative and clearly give you an idea of what the latest design trends are.

For example, get inspired by this post about the amazing stand that Ceramica Sant’Agostino realised at Cersaie 2017.

Trend 01 – Darker shades

From left to right: 1. Image © Design House Stockholm – 2. Petite Friture – 3&4. Artek – 5. Please wait to be seated – 6. Woud

Let’s start by saying that there was a massive presence of the colour black (which happens to be my favourite!). So after years of white or greyish Scandinavian design, we are finally going to see a new era of darker shades. The new collections have a lot of black pieces (especially black metal or wood structure).

IMM Cologne 2018-Mobitec-01

From left to right: 1. Please wait to be seated – 2. B&B Italia / Maxalto – 3. Mobitec – 4. Muller Mobelwerkstatten – 5. Tecta

Also, my favourite colour was a real protagonist of styling details and graphics. Imagine my emotion… I couldn’t stop taking pictures!


Trend 02 – Matte colours, stained wood and velvet

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From left to right: 1&2. Please wait to be seated – 3&4. Calligaris – 5. Poliform

Matte colours and stained wood are the choice this year.

IMM Cologne 2018-Calligaris-01

From left to right: 1. Sits – 2. Poliform – 3. Calligaris

The only exception is velvet (and some marble!). That’s all the sparkle we need in 2018, apparently.

Trend 03 – Durability and flexibility

Above: System 180

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Above: String

Flexible pieces of furniture were all over the place. Modular bookcases, wall-hung shelves that can turn into improvised workstations and the integration between technology and furniture are exactly what new generations need. Dealing with small spaces and multi-functional items, is a topic that designers are going to explore more than ever, according to the increase of nomadic lifestyles.

From left to right: 1. Emko – 2. Minimal Home

Trend 04 – Indoor plants

From left to right: 1. Atelier Haußmann – 2. Living divani – 3&4: B&B Italia / Maxalto

This trend started when Greenery was declared Pantone colour of 2017 and it’s still powerful. Plants took over every interior setting as a reminder for us to be more connected to the nature.

Above: Image © Organoid

Trend 05 – Craftsmanship, handmade items

Nowadays, enhancing the human touch is very important. Days of cold industry processes are long gone, people want to bring more personality into the design process. For example, at the fair there was a guy weaving a rug and involving visitors in the process.

Above: Jan Kath

Most of the logos were made out of handwritten fonts and sketches.

IMM Cologne 2018-Indera-01

From left to right: 1&2. Coming Home – 3. Indera – 4,5,6&7. Petite friture

A brand that managed to bring a lot of personality into the show was Tom Tailor: their stand was one of my favourites, it actually looked like a real home!

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Above: Tom Tailor

Trend 06 – Vintage

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Above: Artisan

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Above: Coming Home

The 80’s are back! And mid-century furniture is being revisited alongside.


Taking stock of this experience, I feel quite satisfied but I wish I had stayed an extra day as I may have visited some more stands. I think two days would have been a sufficient time for a proper visit.

Good news is that I’m very used to run around stands and quickly get a glimpse of what I like. So I managed to see my favourite brands and to chat with all the emerging designers (which is one of my favourite activities). My next post will be entirely dedicated to them.

Unless otherwise specified, all images © Martina Pardo – A Designer At Heart


I am Martina, an Italian designer based in London. I spend most of my time designing interiors or writing about it. I also love travelling. You may find me walking around the East End of London, drinking coffee and stopping at every single bookshop I bump into.

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