Call for entries for the Pure Talents Contest 2021

The organisers of imm cologne firmly believe in the creative potential of emerging talent and are therefore ensuring continuity in their support for up-and-coming designers by launching the 18th edition of the Pure Talents Contest. The competition offers young designers more opportunities to win than ever before with the inclusion of a dedicated LivingKitchen Selection to mark the biannual kitchen event and the second awarding of the Audience Prize. To ensure that all the entrants are granted equal opportunities in the current coronavirus outbreak, more stages in the competition will be hosted on digital channels than in previous years. 

Creativity and inventiveness are vital to the industry

The Pure Talents Contest special exhibition at imm cologne is the place to find them – original furniture concepts and ideas for more sustainable products that the interior design industry looks to for inspiration, but also unusual designs for everyday objects that prompt visitors to reflect on their daily routines. The next generation of designers will present prototypes that offer something visually and functionally new and showcase them to the interior design scene. The Pure Talents Contest sees tables reinvented, furniture designed for ease of transport, and lamps created from paper – beautiful, intelligent and experimental objects for our homes and lives. 

A fixture on the events calendar devoted to promoting emerging talent

Despite all of the current challenges, the Interior Business Event imm cologne is hosting the popular contest for up-and-coming designers once again at the edition of the fair in January 2021. The design contest is one of the most prestigious competitions for young creative talent in the world. Over the past seventeen years, a total of 476 products by 526 designers from all over the world have been presented at imm cologne as part of the contest exhibition. Many of these products have found their way into the collections of well-known manufacturers. Design students from all over the world and design graduates from any country who received their degree no more than three years ago can now enter the Pure Talents Contest 2021 – the deadline for entries is 17 September 2020

Nominees selected by an acclaimed jury

Each year the contest jury is formed of different representatives from the international design scene, the trade press, institutions and manufacturers. This year it includes the designers Ana Relvão (Relvãokellermann, Munich) and Sebastian Herkner (Studio Sebastian Herkner, Offenbach), the design journalist Johannes Hünig and Thonet’s Creative Director, Norbert Ruf. 

Special exhibitions with a dedicated LivingKitchen Selection

The organisers are once again looking for ideas for tomorrow’s homes and kitchens. The jury will assess the entries and nominate the 20 best designs from six categories: Furniture, Home Accessories, Lighting, Floor Coverings, Wallpapers & Textiles, and Smart Home. To mark LivingKitchen, the leading kitchen event co-located with imm cologne every two years, the Pure Talents Contest 2021 will once again include a LivingKitchen Selection with submissions for three categories: Kitchen Concepts, Concepts for Electrical Appliances, and Kitchen Accessories & Kitchen Utensils. The six nominated products in these three categories will appear in a dedicated exhibition, and one first-prize winner will be chosen from among them. 

The nominated product designs will be presented as prototypes to a wide audience of trade visitors and the international press at two special exhibitions at the Interior Business Event imm cologne and at LivingKitchen from 18 to 24 January 2021. The contest gives up-and-coming designers a unique opportunity to make valuable contacts with industrial manufacturers, leading design brands, journalists and prominent representatives from the design scene through the exhibition visitors and imm cologne’s extensive communication activities and its matchmaking tools – it’s the perfect career launch pad.

The second Audience Prize, chosen on Instagram

The jury will choose the four best designs from the exhibited products on the first day of the trade fair. They will select the first-, second- and third-prize winners – who will receive Euro 3,000.00, 2,000.00 and 1,000.00 respectively – as well as the winner of the LivingKitchen Selection, who will receive Euro 3,000.00 in prize money. The Audience Prize, which debuted successfully last year, will also be awarded again: The public will vote on the social media platform Instagram, and the winner chosen will take home Euro 1,000.00 in prize money. 

Business (almost) as usual: a competition under unusual circumstances

The coronavirus pandemic poses new challenges for the Pure Talents Contest as well. These are challenges that the organisers are happy to face with the assistance of all those involved in the competition as an opportunity for the trade fair to give the creative economy its full backing in making a fresh start. Given the challenging conditions under which the current competition will be held, ensuring a strong international dimension is a particular concern for the organisers. As they are striving to ensure equal opportunities for all contestants and they currently have to assume that travel will be subject to different restrictions in different regions of the world, the registration process will be digital, and the presentation of the nominees to the jury and at the event will also take place exclusively via digital media. The Pure Talents Contest 2021 therefore reflects the accelerated evolution of a digital future. 

Entering the contest and appearing in the Pure Talents Contest special exhibition for those nominated is free of charge for the designers. Those interested in entering can find all the information on the contest and the conditions of participation, as well as information on previous contestants and their submissions at: 

About Koelnmesse

Global Competence in Furniture, Interiors and Design: Koelnmesse is the world’s top trade fair organiser for the areas of furnishing, living and lifestyle. At the trade fair hub of Cologne, the leading international fair imm cologne as well as the trade fair formats of LivingKitchen, ORGATEC, spoga+gafa, interzum and Kind + Jugend rank among the internationally renowned and established industry meeting places. These fairs comprehensively represent the upholstered and case furniture segment, the kitchen industry, the office furniture sector and outdoor living as well as the innovations of the furniture supply industry. Over the last few years, Koelnmesse has specifically added international fairs in the most important fast-expanding markets to its portfolio. These include idd Shanghai,  interzum bogotá in Bogotá, interzum guangzhou in Guangzhou and Pueri Expo in Sao Paulo. With ambista, the online portal for the interiors business, Koelnmesse offers direct access to products, contacts, expertise and events relevant to the industry all year round. 

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Further information about ambista can be found here.


17 september 2020


imm cologne



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