The trade fair sector is experiencing a deep crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic; events scheduled before summer 2020 and moved to the end of November have been definitively postponed, see for example Cersaie, Xylexpo while others have preferred to focus on the 100% digital event such as Marmomac in Verona. Trade fair events scheduled at the beginning of January 2021 have already been postponed to May such as Heimtexil in Frankfurt (4-7 May 2021), Domotex in Hanover (18-20 May 2021), Maison &Object in Paris (26-30 March 2021), Ambiente in Frankfurt (17-20 April 2021).
Even imm cologne, the most important event in the sector at the beginning of the year, scheduled to take place from 18 to 24 January 2021, was eventually forced to change the way it was conducted.
In close cooperation with the technical committee and with an eye to the development of the Coronavirus pandemic in Germany and Europe, Koelnmesse has decided that the special edition of imm cologne 2021 will adopt a hybrid format, with a highly targeted exhibition section and a digital platform that will rationally complement the exhibition in Cologne. The Cologne trade fair will feature four exhibition days instead of the traditional seven, from Wednesday 20 to Saturday 23 January 2021. In 2021 LivingKitchen will be suspended and the kitchen theme will be integrated into the special edition of imm cologne.
"Our aim is clearly to enable imm cologne to take place next January, despite the current extraordinary and extremely complex conditions. imm cologne will launch important ideas for the new year of the furniture industry with a compact exhibition area, enhanced by digital presentation and networking," explained Oliver Frese, COO of Koelnmesse.
Innovative stand solutions and the new imm@home platform
The imm cologne team led by Matthias Pollmann and Claire Steinbrück, in collaboration with Dick Spierenburg, Creative Director of imm cologne, has developed various stand models and event formats tailored to current conditions. A comprehensive hygiene and protection programme has been developed, enabling exhibitors and visitors to move around the exhibition grounds safely and concentrate on business. "On the occasion of this special edition we are offering our exhibitors innovative stand construction solutions that enable them to participate in the fair effectively and comprehensively," explained Matthias Pollmann, Vice President of Koelnmesse. "With the new stand models we offer companies an environment in which they can plan a high-class presence in compact spaces and this allows us to bring together the various interior design and kitchen ranges," added Claire Steinbrück, Director of imm cologne.
Reduced floor space and open stand configuration also means less staff at the stand and lower costs, and consequently business efficiency and risk minimisation. The brands will still be able to present themselves in a personalised manner.
The new imm@home platform will not only expand exhibitors' business opportunities, but also reach those visitors who are unable to travel to Cologne due to the Coronavirus pandemic. At imm@home it will be possible to initiate a virtual exchange with the industry, make valuable contacts and promote business. Companies will also be able to present their products in a virtual environment in private online sessions. The imm@home digital platform guarantees every exhibitor real networking, face-to-face meetings and real-time solutions beyond the confines of their stand.
This is how Koelnmesse aims to tackle the crisis with an active approach. However, this special edition of imm cologne will only be a success if exhibitors and visitors follow the organisers' motto: "You make it possible - we make it happen". (You make it possible - we make it happen.)
"In the coming days we will see how the entire market will welcome our format for the next edition. I look forward to the next imm cologne on 20 January 2021", with these words Matthias Pollmann looks forward to the coming weeks.