A trade fair cannot just be a trade fair anymore. All involved want more than exchange, the experience is also crucial. One of the key features at imm cologne is the Featured Editions installations, which can be seen on nine stages throughout Halls 2.2 and 3.2 of the Pure Editions segment. And the organisers are keen to stress that the umbrella slogan of Light Labs is not just a handy collection of words. It reflects the desire to encourage experimentation, and also the focus on both decorative and technical lighting at imm cologne, recognising the transformative impact of lighting.

However, the Light Labs take us to another place, away from the home, where light is the means and the method. The nine companies taking part are Alias, Brokis, Cappellini, Dante – Goods and Bads, Emu, Gie El, Pedrali, Vitra and Zeitraum – a list that more than suggests the diversity of the projects.

Dirk Spierenburg, creative dire or at imm cologne
For example, Alias’s Kaleidoscopic installation has been created by its own Andrea Sanguineti and is designed to be a homage to Dadaism, while Luce ́s Tower sees Cappellini playing with colour, light and glass, as Giulio Cappellini and Antonio Facco’s cubical Luce table is recontextualised in stacks and rows. Meanwhile, Emu turned to Chiaramonte Marin design studio and conjures up an underwater landscape, and Vitra’s Light Sculpture installation tips its hat to Japanese-American designer Isamu Noguchi, filling its lab with a mix of his Akari lamps.

Mirrored, translucent, refracted, humorous, shining or sparkling – the labs are all prisms with a point.

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Giulio Cappellini and Antonio Facco. Illustration: Cappellini, Koelnmesse

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Calvi Brambilla for Pedrali. Illustration: Calvi Brambilla, Pedrali, Koelnmesse

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Kaleidoscopic. Illustration: Andrea Sanguineti, Alias, Koelnmesse

This article appeared in DAM66. Order your personal copy.