Now open for submissions, the Pure Talents Contest is a design competition seeking new faces and conceptual designs. Sponsored by Germany's Interior Business Event imm cologne trade fair, the competition is open to design students and those that graduated within the past three years. "The Pure Talents Contest can serve as the springboard for a successful career for them," the organizers write. "Many former contestants have launched their design careers via the Pure Talents Contest."
The organizers 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.
"Students and young freelancers are the first to be hit by the emerging economic downturn. But paradoxically, they are the last to be considered when it comes to providing assistance. In my view, if we are able to host a trade fair during a pandemic, we must also remain committed to our measures to support young designers, having positioned ourselves as their trusted partner for so many years.
"This is something we won't give up on so easily," explains imm cologne Director Claire Steinbrück. "Our commitment to the Pure Talents Contest has come from imm cologne itself from the outset, and staging the competition is also worthwhile from an industry perspective because it introduces new talent to the market and makes it richer and more progressive in the long run."
As for the type of work they're looking for, here are some examples of who made the cut last year:
The jury of the Pure Talents Contest 2020 awarded the first prize to Marie Kurstjens and Iva Coskun (Germany) for their collapsible and universally deployable Levi table. At first glance, Levi seems like a normal, simple table with a wooden plate on a metal frame. However, thanks to a joint-like hinge, the frame can be set up and fixed at all possible angles in order to incorporate plates of different formats, from the dining table square to the rectangle compatible for use as a workplace.
The second prize of the Pure Talents Contest 2020 was given to Omit, a non-electrical, hand-operated vacuum cleaner, designed by Hiroyuki Morita (Japan). Applications like refrigerators or vacuum cleaners are closely linked with the furnishings. Omit demonstrates that applications without smart technology and energy are also practicable.
The third prize of the Pure Talents Contest 2020 also went to a product with energy as a theme, this time in the form of light. The Jojo light, designed by Sofia Souidi (Germany), is started by pulling on a string and grows darker over time until it extinguishes entirely; the changing of the light should generate a feeling for passing time with the user.
The jury of the Pure Talents Contest 2020 issued two special mentions this year: first, to Aspirator by Qing Deng (China), a kind of beanbag chair that is inflated by sound waves caused by screaming into a funnel. "Aspirator is reminiscent in its aesthetic of the 1960s, but in terms of its concept more of the performance character of some designs from the 1990s, which we could once again use more of today", the jury decided.
The second special mention of the Pure Talents Contest jury 2020 went to According to the Grain, an item of seating furniture honouring the materiality of wood, designed by Sho Ota (Japan). The harder branches of the wood are revealed by sandblasting the softer parts, which, despite the protruding branch rudiments, results in an on the whole soft surface.
The Audience Prize presented this year for the first time following the Instagram voting went to the Flow Chair of Filip Lenarcik (Poland) – another flat pack product that is easy to assemble and comfortable; a seat that well suits a modern, airy interior.
As you can see, the emphasis is on concepts and theory over practical application, so this might be a good fit for you younger designers that don't have a ton of work experience to jade you, and still have that blue-sky creative spark from design school.
The deadline for submissions is September 17th, 2020. You can learn how to enter here.