Fast Company

50,000 Year Old Table and More from a Cutting-Edge Furniture Fair

This past weekend, one of the world's best contemporary-furniture fairs wrapped up. IMM-Cologne isn't the biggest, but it always hosts a sizable chunk of the world's best designers. Here are the highlights:

This past weekend, one of the world's best contemporary-furniture fairs wrapped up. IMM-Cologne isn't the biggest, but it always hosts a sizable chunk of the world's best designers. Here are the highlights:

Tables made of rough hewn, natural wood have been trendy for the last few years (which in turn was resuscitated from the drift-wood furniture rage from the 1950s). But architect Mario Botta blew all those forebears away. Nearly 40 feet long and weighing 3.8 tons, his table is almost certainly the oldest table in the world. It's made of so-called millennial Kauri wood, which was felled in a storm 50,000 years ago, then naturally preserved in a muddy bog:

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In a new line of office furniture for Arco, Bertjan Pot had the clever idea of making cabinets and drawers all customizable. They attach to the desk in any way you want, using magnets:

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Norman Foster, an architect best known for his boundary-pushing use of technology, seemed in a misty-eyed, sentimental mood. He presented a sofa that harks back to the the fine-lined modernism of Mies van der Rohe:

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Konstantin Grcic has designed signature pieces for Krups; he's also created remarkable, tech-savvy chairs (like this one and this one). At the fair, like Foster, he played against type, with an elegantly curved, wooden armchair:

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Grcic's chair and Tokujin Yoshioka's (below) share an elegant, simple design. (Rather than mass produced items, Yoshioka is better known for limited editions such as his chair made of crystals and another formed from "baked" plastic.)

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Philippe Nigro presented a line of modular seats that can be arranged in almost any configuration. When fit together, they manage to look elegant and cartoonish (in a good way? We think yes, but you decide):

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Alfredo Haberli won the fair's Designer of the Year award, and he also unveiled a modular sofa design, which lets you group chairs together, creating armrests wherever you see fit:

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If you're still hungry for furniture candy, check out videos of the fair here and here. And some impressive highlights in a competition for young designers here.

[Via Designboom, DesignWS, Core 77, and Dezeen; Images of Yoshioka and Grcic chairs via Design WS; Image of Botta table via Design Boom]

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