How thrilling for Kathy and I to attend our first Cologne furniture fair. (IMM Cologne) Not only was it the exciting but it was hugely successful for us to find new German sources. And anytime we travel to Europe, it feels like going home to us after living there for 10 years.
The international furniture fair in Cologne Germany is an annual event held in January. The footprint of the buildings is significantly smaller than Milano furniture fair and the attendance is roughly 150,000 people (versus 350,000 in Milano) All the major Italian brands had showrooms here including B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, Cassini, Cappellini, Moroso, and Minotti. In addition, every high end German company was here like Walter Knoll, COR, Interlubke, Draenert, and Rolf Benz.. Kathy would say this market is much elegant, cultured, pleasant and a lot less chaotic. How can you not want to order product when you sit in a showroom drinking Moët Chandon and eating canapés. In Milano you may get an espresso, here you meet the owners family and learn about their proud history.
Our frame of reference is the Milano market so we noticed that the market is heavily attended by Germans, Dutch, Swiss, Austrians, and to a less extent, other Europeans and Asians. Russians have a big presence and the US is barely present. Aside from us, the owners of Luminaire and DDC were here.
(can you get over the select group of retailers from the US, Home Resource, DDC, and Luminaire) The US has a much bigger presence in Milano.
The 2012 market is used by the German companies to introduce their new lines while most of the Italians wait until their show in April. We certainly discovered a number of new lines that we will bring into the showroom and we were the first to order product for the US market. Sometimes we need to pinch ourselves when we think that Sarasota could be the first market in the US to showcase the just produced 2012 products from these high end lines. Wow! Look for them to appear in our showroom in April.
I will make additional posts as I discuss our new sources..
One of our goals at the Cologne furniture market was to see the line of Draenert. What a seriously stunning product group. We couldn’t resist, we placed an order for a granite top extension dining table, dining chairs, and their signature coffee table and end tables.
We were introduced to Draenert by COR and Interlubke and it was suggested to us to have them in our showroom to complement each others brands ( in many high end stores in Germany they are shown together).
Draenert is a family owned business based in the Lake Constance area of Germany. Draenert has designed and produced top quality designer furniture for more than 40 years. Their main emphasis is on dining and coffee tables with patented extension-mechanisms and dining chairs to match in form and style. The aesthetics of the products orientate themselves towards the form of classic modernism.
Included in the products that we saw, the one that most amazed us was the Adler II dining table. This is a classic table combining perfection, shape and function like no other table. The seemingly effortless, playful movement of the heaviest of objects is a fascination, which no one can escape. The integrated lifting mechanism allows the interior central leaf to be raised once the two halves of the tabletop have been pulled apart. An ingenious technique makes the extension a procedure of miraculous ease
What also blew Kathy and I away was the stone selection by Draenert. Their natural stone park holds invaluable gems of creation, stone slabs that tell the history of our world. More than 200 kinds of stone, from marble, limestone, and travertine, to quartzite and granite are sorted by color under open skies. Every slab is a picture drawn by nature, a piece of art that is not destroyed by the manner in which it is cut, but rather displayed to perfection.
Look for our press release announcing the new relationship between Draenert and Home Resource.
The walk across the main bridge from the market to the center city has gotten far more interesting. At first you say, how can it get any better than walking across the Reine river at night, city lights, cathedral lit up, river barge traffic, etc. until you notice a interesting phenomenon. In the last couple of years, the bridge has become a new focus for lovers. Covering the entire span of the bridge, lovers have placed scribed padlocks on the chain fences. As part of the process, they place the lock on the fence, take a photograph (mainly so they can find it again) and jointly throw the keys in the river. It is the coolest thing.
The cathedral in Cologne dates back to the 13th Century. It is massive! Construction of Cathedral began in 1248 and took, with interruptions, until 1880 to complete. It is 144.5 metres long, 86.5 m wide and its towers are approximately 157 m tall. The cathedral is one of the world’s largest churches and the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe. Because of its enormous twin spires, it also presents the largest facade of any church in the world. The choir of the cathedral, measured between the piers, also holds the distinction of having the largest height to width ratio of any Medieval church, 3.6:1, exceeding even Beauvais Cathedral which has a slightly higher vault.
Lastly, Cologne has 14 breweries and we were forced to try one. It is part of the market tradition. Just as you would expect, long tables, waiters walking around with trays of beer to replace your last one, and food designed to absorb the beer. Thank god I stopped the waiter before he put down a pig knuckle in front of me the size of a elephant’s leg. Five beers later and some barely edible wiener schnitzel, Kathy and I slept like babies and woke in the morning cured of jet lag. (ps, this cure for jet lag, I may not recommend it for home but it sure worked in Cologne)
Kathy and I had been contacted by Spectral before we went to the Cologne furniture market. However, between the rep “speak” and the glossy catalog, we felt that it is something that we have to experience before you decided to represent them in the showroom.
When we walked into their showroom, it was Oh My God. A combination of high tech heaven combined with the amazing design, craftsmanship, and functionality. This visit was the showroom that exceeded all expectations.
According to Spectral “the breathtaking speed of technological advances in consumer electronics presents us, as manufacturers of television furniture, with new challenges each day. Among the biggest trend we have seen in recent years is that television sets are continuously being made thinner. Welcome news to the consumer but the thinner the TV, the poorer the sound quality. The result is more and more people are buying additional loudspeakers. “ We provide solutions so there are no visible cables, speakers, one single remote for all the electronics, and Apple compatible.Spectral has made it their goal to combine premium entertainment systems with attractive interior design. With Spectral, they make technology invisible in the mind with integrated sound systems, projector drawers, and built in docking systems for Apple IPods, IPhones, and IPads. Their wish is for a very tidy living room.
At the Cologne market we ran into another friend of ours, Christopher Rieter, a partial owner of Kenneth Cobonpue furniture company.
It is always great to see old friends but this time we had a chance to meet the man himself, Mr. Kenneth Cobonpue.
Looks just like his photo in the catalog, small In stature, big on design skill and foresight. After a little bs and a discussion about Dedon island, Kenneth had a chance to discuss his new designs for 2012. Call it outdoor furniture design 3.0
His general belief is that clients will be looking for a something other than polyethylene as their tastes change. To that extent, he is moving away from plastic and has developed furniture that blurs the line between indoor and outdoor upholstered furniture. What we saw created confusion. Am I sitting on indoor or outdoor furniture? The comfort and styling was the same but the only difference was the fabric used and the outdoor foam. We fell in love and ordered some.
And to tell you the truth, we subscribe to his philosophy. Whether it is Aluminum frames and mess or woven polyethylene, we truly believe the next generation it is about taking the comfort and design of indoor upholstery and moving it outside to the pool deck.
Home Resource is proud to represent Kenneth Cobonpue
Tapping the natural tension of the pvc that looks like rattan vine, the Yoda supports your back and offers comfort concealed in the seeming randomness of the material. The pvc like rattan vines grow from the seat like tall grass in a field on a summer’s day, transforming your living space into a garden. Available in indoor version also.
Sublime simplicity for this innovative, amazing design by Tokujin Yoshioka. The idea for the Bouquet came from an installation Yoshioka did in the Moroso showroom in NYC where he used 30,000 tissues to create a cloud like atmosphere.
The bouquet chairs makes everyone happy when they sit in it. The bloom sits on a slim, chrome metal stem that blossoms into white or delicately colored petals made of hand folded fabric squares, sewn one by one with great care and infinite patience.
One of the greatest luxury chairs ever made, the Eero Saarinen‘s Womb chair serves the dual purpose of great art for your home and supreme comfort for you and your family.The styling provides so much versatility in sitting positions that you never get tire of being init. It features a steel rod base with a polished chrome finish. It is made exclusively by Knoll and it displays the Finnish-born designer’s flair for challenging rules, breaking molds and setting new standards for modern design.