Cologne’s furniture fair is enjoying a renaissance. Once a “can’t miss” event, in recent years, its popularity has waned, a victim of Milan’s powerful Salone del Mobile . But it has now gotten back into the game. A host of Italian companies have returned to exhibit here, from B&B Italia to Kartell and the Poltrona Frau Group, a strong sign of its ongoing significance. A host of new products were on view. Here are our picks of the best of them.
1. The Tobu table , designed by Wolfgang C.R. Mezger took pride of place at the front of the Walter Knoll booth. With its solid wood top and delicate cross-legged base, it exudes serenity. The Lazy Susan turntable offers a subtle homage to the traditions of Asia.
2. Flototto asked Konstantin Grcic to recreate a beloved wood chair, known and loved by all German school children. Over 20 million were sold. After researching the ergonomics involved, Grcic came up with PRO , a brightly colored plastic seat, available in a variety of permutations.
3. Patrick Norguet, fresh from his redesign of McDonalds in Europe—the shops now have Eames chairs—got back to work for Kristalia. His Compas chair not only stacks—it goes indoors or out thanks to its polypropylene seat and back and die-cast aluminum legs, which have a weatherproof epoxy lacquer finish.
4. Niels Bendtsen’s Mick stool for Montis has enough class to hang out in the living room. Its leather seat and thin, elegant steel frame speak to the fine hand of its designer.
5. What’s better than an old Hans Wegner chair? The answer; a newly re-issued one. The 55-year-old wooden seat, produced by Carl Hansen & Son , is known as the CH33, and epitomizes timeless design.
6. Bertjan Pot’s Tiebreak chair for the up-and-coming Richard Lampert company makes a strong addition to Lampert’s line-up of outdoor furniture.Tie-Break vaguely evokes Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona design, but has its own quirky personality.
7. Spanish company Gandia Blasco, known for its rigorously modern outdoor furniture collections, has gone soft. Stefan Diez’s Tropez collection has cushy plush pillows to provide sophisticated comfort.
8. For Ligne Roset, the late Pierre Paulin supplies a gift that keeps on giving. His Elysee seating, originally created in the 70s looks as if it were born yesterday.
9. Dutch designer Ineke Hans installed her whole new collection in a booth the fair created to provide comfortable seating for weary attendees (High Point and Neocon take note). Her choice of colors was inspired and her whimsical forms were comforting and low key.
10. Fandango Chandelier by Danny Fang has a shimmery, layered organic form that seems to float in space. It’s one of those pieces that make a room.