COLOGNE: The world’s largest furniture fair, popularly known by its German acronym IMM, provides good signposts for current and future trends in all aspects of the furniture trade and industry.
A large number of furniture exhibitors from several Asean countries, particularly Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and even Singapore, descend each year on the Cologne Exhibition Centre to participate in the International Furniture Fair.
The event this year starts of this week and will end on January 20.
Roughly two-thirds of the exhibitors are foreign companies.
After visiting the just-concluded Heimtextil show of Frankfurt, Jamaluddin Mustapa, a Malaysian businessman from Penang,
was in Cologne.
Frankfurt’s Heimtextil show is, in a way, interconnected through its range of home-furnishing products with Cologne’s furniture fair, Jamaluddin said.
“Many exhibitors of home-furnishings and interior decorative materials at the Frankfurt show also attend the IMM at Cologne because home-furnishing products are interesting as accessories for furniture buyers,” Jamaluddin told Bernama.
One of the important sections at the Cologne show is called ‘Living Kitchen’ where some 200 exhibitors, including several from the Asean region, present a wide array of kitchen furniture and other requisites.
Werner Anton, a German buyer who sources furniture for a German import company from a number of Asian countries, said that he had visited the Malaysian International Furniture Fair (MIFF) in Kuala Lumpur.
He described it as “one of the leading furniture fairs in Asia” affording visitors the opportunity to see a large collection of furniture.
The IMM attracts large exhibitor contingents from Italy, Belgium, Austria, Spain, France, Poland and Sweden.
Malaysians at the Cologne show could benefit from their participation in or visit to the IMM for another reason – Cologne is not only the focal point of furniture but also a magnet for the kitchen furniture industry.
Singapore, in particular, is aggressively marketing its products. The Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), supported by the Design Singapore Council and IE Singapore, have put together a strong contingent to showcase the latest designs at the IMM.
The SFIC president, Ernie Koh, said that Singapore encouraged its companies to leverage on IMM Cologne to meet new customers, forge closer business relationships and widen their business network.
Germany is for Singaporean suppliers, like for Malaysians, a major market in Europe. — Bernama