New Impulses for Contract Business

Exhibitors from the Contract Business value the imm cologne as an international platform for an exchange with architects, interior and other designers

From the 19th to the 25th of January, imm cologne 2015 will present new furniture and furnishings trends – and along with it an extensive offering of products for the contract sector. Exhibitors who are globally active will display market-ready new products for furnishing projects such as hotels and spas, bars and restaurants or shops. The trade fair thus offers a wide range of opportunities for all designers who are looking for fresh ideas and experienced partners for their interior and architectural projects. What trends however are currently emerging in the contract business and what impulses will imm cologne provide for this sector? Renowned exhibitors from the contract business describe current developments and their expectations at the upcoming edition of the international furnishings trade fair:

Markus Benz, partner and member of the executive board, Walter Knoll: ‘In the contract business it’s all about designing living spaces - places that create living and working spaces in equal measure, that promote communication and concentration, influence the culture of companies and create brand identities. The potential lies in these areas. And Walter Knoll’s expertise is that with our interiors we interpret the presence of a new brand of our customers in the furnishings sector. imm cologne ranks among the leading furniture trade fairs worldwide. For the northern European manufacturer, it is the most important platform for introducing their new products. It thus is extremely attractive for dealers, architects, interior designers and design enthusiasts’.

Edgar Aumüller, Managing Director for Germany, Christian Fischbacher: ‘The demand for textiles in the contract business continues to be very high. The challenge for us is to collaborate closely with the designer again and again to give him the option of adjusting his projects individually to his client. That is an outstanding possibility with textiles because hardly any other product creates the mood and ambience in the room as much as textiles do. We see here an opportunity for our sector as well as for us as a company. With its offerings, imm cologne is extremely attractive for designers and architects’.

Beniamino Mengacci, Luxury Living Group (Italy): ‘The contract segment has become strategic for the business growth plans, which has permitted us to obtain significant orders in several areas. For this reason we have developed a specific unit in our company, the Luxury Living Contract, which specialises in elaborating projects ranging from yachts to private jets, from hotels to residential and office contexts, with custom-made solutions. imm cologne is a fair that has known how to attract a specialised public over the years, being the year’s first exhibition dedicated to the interior design’s world’.

Steffen Reim, Project Manager of Dauphin Home, Dauphin: ‘In the office sector, there is a growing demand in the so-called creative zones in which people get together and look for solutions in as relaxed a way as possible. It’s a great opportunity to make our mark here as a creative and highly capable full-service provider. Here there is potential for growth, and here the trend of merging together living and working is increasingly emphasised. The same is true in the hotel and boarding-house sector – both are growing and both can only be approached successfully via concepts and less by a product alone’.

Jens Lewe, Manager Director, KFF: ‘The development in the contract business is characterised by the integration of comfortable components. Materials and design are becoming less technical and are intended to offer the user a higher quality of amenity. There are great opportunities here for all suppliers that can offer such heterogeneous products. An enormous potential lies in the possible individualisation of products in consultation with designers and clients’.

Marco Desiderati, Head of Export, lapalma (Italy): ‘The contract sector is still an interesting sector. In our opinion and considering our collection, we think the challenge will be to understand how the market (office, public spaces, etc.) is changing and to adapt the offer to the new need. imm cologne is a window for the German market where lapalma has been actively present for more than 30 years’.

Christian Drescher, Managing Director, Tecta: ‘We are noticing an increasing demand in the sector of smaller and medium sized high quality contract furnishings. With our Bauhaus classics like the F51 armchair by Walter Gropius, we can offer very special and individual solutions that make these places distinctive’.

Nadia Tan Panza, Export Sales Manager, Tetrad (Great Britain): ‘The biggest challenge in the contract sector is to keep the cost low without sacrificing the quality, as the demand for bespoke pieces is key in that sector. The best opportunities are in the growing market of the hospitality sector. At imm cologne we wish to make some new international contacts, as our contract market is currently English’.

Jan Juza, Marketing Director, TON (Czech Republic): ‘We believe that a mix of high quality, functionality and design are crucial in the contract business. And that is what we stand for today and will also stand for in the future. A good example of this is the introduction of our Merano solid wood chair. This is very light, stackable and has passed numerous intensive quality tests. We are hoping to increase the number of our contract customers at imm cologne and expand our dealer network’.

Alberto Rognoni, Special Projects Manager, Baxter (Italy): ‘We pay great attention to the design and the carrying out of custom-made and bespoke products. On this point a great deal of work has been done in collaboration with design studios and internationally famous designers to get the best solutions for our customers every day. We hope that imm cologne will hold again an important position at an international level, becoming a meeting point with people from new markets; this will enable us to face other situations, even ones that are very far from ours’.

Source: Koelnmesse, reprint free of charge.