In the first instalment of a new thought-provoking series of candid interviews on the future of physical design fairs – sponsored by imm cologne – AW Designer of the Year Stefan Diez discusses the good, the bad and the ugly…

Stefan Diez had a bellyful.

Like many, the explosion of digital design events during the Covid pandemic left him feeling bloated. The unfettered stream of product presentations, webinars and other forms of online content was a clear case of quantity over quality. 'It was crazy and interesting in the first weeks, but then we had it up to here. The platform at this stage is so huge, it’s literally endless. So you can pack totally unfiltered shit on it, and that is, for the audience, really unpleasant.'

At the same time, the organisers of physical are facing new challenges right now. This we know. With design brands taking a good hard look at their marketing budgets, many fairs are struggling with securing their future. Adapt or die, goes the old motto.

But, as Diez is keen to point out, there’s opportunity to be snatched from the jaws of uncertainty. Watch my interview with him to get his insights in full. Pursuing this line of quantity over quality, he posits a new model of cooperation and collaboration between international fair organisers. Think solidarity rather than saturation, characterised by an only-show-what-truly-matters approach.

Discover more imm cologne stories here

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