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August 27, 2012

Messe Frankfurt nurtures the young designers who come to its fairs—Tendence and Ambiente, namely—to exhibit their wares. From the prominent placement of the Talents exhibition (in the main hall for good visibility) to not charging booth fees for those who exhibit (unlike SaloneSatellite) to the assistance with exhibition design and booth set up, one can tell that the Messe Frankfurt team has much invested in the next generation of designers.

Sebastian Herkner exhibited the Nan 16 lighting design in 2008.
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This year, German manufacturer ClassiCon released Herkner's Bell Table.
Courtesy of 
Copyright © 2012 Elias Hassos
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This year Herkner also collaborated with famed Italian brand Moroso on the Coat Armchair and Bask Table.
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German designer Mark Braun first exhibited at Talents Tendence in 2006. Here are his Join lamp and dinnerware, a family of objects created early in his career. Northern Lighting now produces the Bell pendant lamp that is based on this form.
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The Lift furniture series was released in a wooden version this year. The volumes jigsaw together to create seating and table elements.
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Designers Thio Schwer, Jens Pohlman, and Sybille Fleckenstein exhibited at Tendence in 2004. Their Ally cabinet won a Good Design Award in 2008 and they recently released a line of modern office furniture through Sedus Stoll AG.
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A riff on the famous Rietveld chair, Studio Minale Maeda's Red Blue Lego Chair—which leans toward the conceptual end of the Talents spectrum—was designed in 2007 and exhibited at Ambiente the same year.
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The duo of Mario Minale and Kuniko Maeda exhibited their 3D-printed vinyl flowers at Spazzio Rossana Orlandi at the Milan Salone del Mobile this April.
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DING3000 exhibited their Pimp My BIlly shelf at Tendence in 2005. The Ikea hack was inspired by MTV's Pimp My Ride.
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The Beater whisk was released this year by Normann Copenhagen.
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sebastian herkenr nan 16
Sebastian Herkner exhibited the Nan 16 lighting design in 2008.

While we frequently hear about the more established names—the Matali Crassets and Konstantin Grcics, who both held their first exhibitions at Messe Frankfurt—it's not often that we're privy to the path it took to get there. For many, it begins at a trade fair, where manufacturers and buyers trawl the floor to find the next great idea for production.

When it comes to hand selecting the young designers who exhibit at Tendence and Ambiente, Nicolette Naumann, vice president of Ambiente and Tendence and a driving force behind Talents, is the first to say that it's not an exact science. "Like any process of this kind, first and above everything else, one has to admit that there's a lot of gut feeling and emotion." And after 26 years of working for one of the largest trade fairs in Europe, it's her innate judgement that has made Talents such a successful venue for emerging talent.

"Sometimes [the designers] didn't apply with something that you thought would be a really great product but they applied with something that was reflecting sitting, reflecting how we eat, reflecting time even…You can see that this reflection leads to something that might be too avant grade, that might never be a sellable product, but you know that there's a bright mind behind it," Naumann continues.

In 10 + 1, in honor of Talents's 11th birthday, Naumann and the other Talents organizers took a look at 11 designers who exhibited some of their first works at Ambiente and Tendence and juxtaposed early pieces along with more recent ones. In the following slideshow, we take a look at the works from five designers included: Sebastian HerknerDING3000, Mark Braun, Speziell, and Studio Minale-Maeda.


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