14572 Thu, 05/29/2008 - 3:32pm
By Nancy Meyer
NEW YORK–As trade shows feel the effects of a challenging global economy, they must constantly reinvent themselves with new features to offer the best experience for their guests.
ImmCologne, is doing just that, with added high-tech amenities and enhanced design and business trend information for attendees. With these, organizer KoelnMesse is reaching out to American retailers, designers and manufacturers to attend the show.
For the January edition, slated for Jan. 19 to 25, organizers are enhancing their trend presentations and multimedia services before, during and after the fair.
For the first time, podcasts of design highlights found at the show are being offered on the show’s Web site. Four different podcasts, on various design themes, have been produced for the 2008 edition, and more will be produced for the 2009 show.
Additionally, KoelnMesse is working on a media portal, with live streaming video broadcasts from the show. Also in the works is a GPS navigation system of the fair that will allow visitors to locate all the hot products and booths on their handheld devices. This would simulate the audio tours of museums, officials said.
“Cologne has so many interesting things to do and experience,” said Markus Majerus, press officer for KoelnMesse. “What we can do is give answers to all your questions on where to find the hottest product, or fresh design talent. We can tailor those edits to the audience. We have to be a think-tank, a content tank.”
In fact, another new feature will be content maps written by design journalists on different aspects of European design, and interviews with European designers, plus economic issues covering top business and import/export trends, Majerus said.
The U.S. market, despite weakness in the dollar, still represents tremendous opportunity for European exhibitors at immCologne.
KoelnMesse is trying to get its message out earlier so that people can make their plans earlier, the officials told HFN.
“We want to encourage a lot more American designers to attend and are looking at new ways to attract them,” said Mette Petersen, president and managing director of KoelnMesse, based in Chicago.
The January 2008 edition of the Cologne fair recorded about the same number of visitors as the previous year, but with 6 percent more trade visitors, as opposed to consumers, who are allowed in during the final days, KoelnMesse said.
For 2009, the partner country will be Spain, with a focus on Spanish design and inspiration.
In October, a new panel of design experts will release their Interior Trend Book for immCologne 2009. The 2009 Trend Board includes Stephen Burks, a New York-based designer; Marcus Fairs, an author and editor in chief of Dezeen in London; Eero Koivisto, a Stockholm-based architect; Arik Levy, a designer based in Paris; Giulio Ridolfo, an Italian designer and textiles adviser; and Daniel Schindler, a Zurich, Switzerland-based co-partner of Zona Architektur and Inneneinrichtungen AG.
The trade fair is also timed to overlap the Paris Furniture Fair (the Paris show dates are Jan. 22 to 26), to allow visitors to attend both.