Issue Date: 2016 February, Posted On: 2/17/2016

02172016 Sustainable Furnishings Council Kicks Off 10th Anniversary with Special Events at 2016 Imm Cologne


At the Jaipur Rugs Imm Cologne 2016 exhibit space, Abhishek Sharma and Sitara Menon flank Susan Inglis of SFC in front of a new colorway in the award-winning Project Error by Kavi collection.


COLOGNE, Germany -- Environmentally-conscious organizations from Jaipur Rugs to Textile Exchange and Sauder Woodworking participated in a unique Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) program of events held Jan. 18-24, 2016 during Imm Cologne, the annual international interior furnishings fair which this year drew 120,000 visitors from 128 countries.

First in a series of special events planned to celebrate SFC's 10th anniversary, the program kicked off with a presentation entitled "Designing for a Healthy Future, Indoors and Out" by Sustainable Furnishings Council executive director Susan Inglis. Attendees were eligible to earn one CEU credit through IDCEC for the lecture, which began with the question, "What is Sustainable Furniture, Anyway?"

Topics covered by Inglis on the stage at Koelnmesse included an overview of SFC's work and the organization's popular certified sustainability training course for GREENleaders. She further discussed a variety of sustainability issues that impact choices in home furnishings, as well as key questions to ask and answers to look for when specifying furnishings or accessories in wood, leather, textiles and other materials.  

Representatives from Bosnia-based Zanat greet SFC's Susan Inglis at their breathtaking booth during a tour of Imm Cologne.  Zanat is known for what it has dubbed "universal sustainability."

Special VIP events organized by Imm Cologne for the SFC contingent featured a guided showroom tour that visited exhibiting SFC members Calligaris, Ekornes, Jaipur and Vispring and other international proponents of sustainable design. "It was very exciting to see the innovative materials many Imm Cologne exhibitors were using, including new uses and reuses of old materials and exciting bio-polymers," Inglis told RugNews.com. "In general, I noticed careful choices in materials, which is significant since in furnishings most of our environmental footprint is in the materials we choose. Designers are making choices that ensure less energy use and fewer harmful chemicals in our environment -- that is good news."

For SFC guests, more good news was the opportunity to meet Frankfort-based 34-year-old design star Sebastian Herkner. Creator of Imm Cologne's exhibition Das Haus for 2016, Herkner designed a round, 2,150 square foot house of the future that is open on all sides. More or less transparent with almost no solid wall elements, the house is open plan and uses movable fabric screens to change its form like a chameleon. 

The circular Das Haus, designed by Sebastian Herkner of Frankfort, uses fabric screens to create a soft architecture of nearly invisible "walls."

Sebastian Herkner, guest of honor at IMM Cologne 2016 and designer of Das Haus, chats with Susan Inglis of the Sustainable Furnishings Council during the group's VIP tour. 

In addition to several cultural dinners and global networking events hosted by Imm Cologne, a highlight for the SFC group was an off-campus visit to Ecosign Academy, a higher education venue that offers an interdisciplinary design program focused on the environmental, social, cultural and economic challenges of the globalized world. The group was addressed by lecturers Bernd Draser on design philosophy and Felix Stark on product design, and toured the academy's permanent collection of multi-disciplinary work, which has received prestigious accolades such as the Red Dot Award.

SFC's Susan Inglis with orientation tour leader for the Sustainable Funishings Council contingent Anton van der Lande of Design-Supply in the Netherlands (left) and Robert Taylor group leader from IMM Cologne. 

Part of the SFC group visits the innovative Ecosign Academy during IMM Cologne.

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