Chief among our interests at any international design show is the work of young designers. That's why on our first day of imm Cologne 2013, the fair held annually in one of Germany's oldest cities, our first stop was to spy the finalists of The [D3] CONTEST. Since 2004 the competition has honored innovation and creativity among newcomers to the design realm, and this year sparked more than 800 submissions. Here we share the finalists' pieces, a lively mix conceived by tomorrow's generation of talent.
per by German designer Tim Macerodt is a mouth-blown glass light pendant that holds a bulb within its double volume and a fixture within a cork end-piece. The lamp is freestanding, mounted within a pane of pre-stressed safety glass.
Beams Chair by Berlin-based design duo Tsuo-Ning Hu and Yu-Chih Chang is a lightweight wooden piece with a form inspired by the T-frame structure of the Golden Gate Bridge. Two thin wooden boards comprise the main frame, resulting in a high degree of stability.
CMYK Lamp by Dutch designer Dennis Parren is a fascinating sculptural piece that's captivated us since we spied it at the 2012 Interieur furniture fair in Kortrijk, Belgium, a few months back. Casting a spidery network of cyan, magenta, and yellow shadow onto its surroundings, the lamp functions both as a light-emitting device as well as a sculptural form.
Reflection Range by London-based designer Kim Thome is a curious combination of semi-reflective glass mirrors and graphically bold pattern, resulting in the object's constantly shifting show of light and line.
Engineering Temporality by Dutch designer Tuomas Markunpoika Tolvanen is a statement about impermanence of memory and time. Prompted by his grandmother's battle with Alzheimer's disease, Tolvanen experimented with various pieces of existing furniture, covering each one with a custom network of steel rings. Next he would set the entire piece on fire, waiting for the furniture to burn away and leave the steel mesh behind. The result is the designer's statement about lost objects that were once emotional attachments.
Slagbaenk by Danish designer Rasmus B. Fex is a bench inspired by traditional Scandinavian furniture, based on a simple concept: five boards join two chairs to form a bench with integrated storage space. The size of the bench depends on the dimensions of the boards used.
Platzhalter-Stuhl by German designer Julian Sterz is another rumination on object and perception—one conventional chair becomes four new, different chairs, each with a missing part replaced with a metal frame.
Tilt by German designer Tina Schmid is a morphing object, moving from a flat graphic on the wall to a three-dimensional object. With a simple movement, the image of the cube can be folded downward into a table, the cuboid as a valet on which garments can be hung. Both objects boast an ingenious system of rods with jointed nodes that can be rotated as needed.
C58 - Dressing Table by London–based designer Florian Schmid is a seemingly rudimentary form comprised of a circular mirror bisected by a horizontal plane of wood. The proportions and shapes are then echoed by its matching stool. The interplay of surrounding light lends texture and depth, resulting in a piece that is anything but simplistic.
Shingle Shelves by German designer Hanna Kruger playfully suggest the act of opening and shutting cupboard doors—combinable rawhide modules act as sliding doors and overlap like shingles on a roof.
The New Old Light by Taiwanese design trio Lin YiHsien, Shih HsiaoChun, and Yeh TingWei is two lights in one—when one pulls the paper portion down from the wood shade, a soft glow morphs into a direct spotlight. The piece is meant to suggest the interplay between simple and complex forms, Eastern and Western style, and old and new aesthetics.
Dear disaster by Swedish designer Jenny Ekdahl is simply a cupboard with a movable surface structure. Perhaps not so simply, its surface is comprised of 2,000 wooden scales, which can be reversed to create a constant shift of pattern.
L' étagère en bois by Swiss designer Lucien Gumy is a solid wood shelving unit that requires zero screws or nails—each of the boards and uprights interlock perfectly. The overall size can be varied by using differing lengths of elements.
Invader by Danish designer Maria Bruun is a stackable storage module in three sizes that can provide storage or display space as needed. Its stability is ensured by a metal core within. As the designer's statement reads: Home is where your stuff is.
The Royal Family by German designer Ellen Heilmann is another creation we've admired at other shows this year. A modular family of American walnut stools topped by dark cotton fabric, The Royal Family can be disassembled for use as stool, table, or pillow—or all three.
Swell by Dutch designer Rachel Griffin features a production methodology that ensures that each piece is a one-off—the foam fills the fabric, acting as a binder between material and frame. The foam expands differently each time, creating a unique piece every time.
And A And Be And Not by German designer Camilla Richter is a mesmerizing folding screen assembled from different transparent sections that allow light through and reflect passersby. It can be assembled and combined in many different orientations.
Transience mirrors by Dutch design collaborators David Derksen and Lex Pott is a groovy geometric piece that exhibits the absolute beauty of the oxidation process, resulting in a an elegant formation of hues and pattern.
Pilu by German designer Leoni Werle is a table and a floor lamp in one. An oddly shaped oak base allows the lamp to toggle between two positions. The connection between shade and base is jointed, allowing the beam to be directed downwards even with the lamp is in the angled position.