A trend installation on a human scale
Who says modern everyday life and sensuousness have to be at odds with one another? The “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” installation by Doshi Levien at the imm cologne 2012 aims to furnish evidence to the contrary. In an installation that is visionary not just at architectural level but in creative terms as well, the design experiment is developing into a fascinating study on modern ways of living.
“‘Das Haus’ combines the best of some very different worlds. It could be located anywhere on the planet.” Designer Nipa Doshi is alluding to an encounter between modern architecture and a world of contemporary forms on the one hand and the traditionally colourful aesthetics of Asia, the chaotic-seeming building tradition of Indian or Far Eastern megacities and the open, inward-facing interior culture of Morocco on the other. According to the plans of London design team Doshi Levien, many of these elements will be brought together in their installation in such a way that something totally new emerges: “It combines unconditional modernity with a sensuous lifestyle,” says Jonathan Levien of the blueprint for the imm cologne’s new design format: “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”. His wife Nipa Doshi adds: “That’s precisely why we designed ‘Das Haus’ this way – because it doesn’t exist in this form. Only parts of it do.”
In fact, a great many more worlds will be coming together in the installation: “Das Haus” experiments with colours and materials, integrates water and nature into the living area and puts technologies old and new to the test as a model for a sustainable household. In Doshi Levien’s “Haus”, furniture and multimedia, bathroom fixtures and kitchen design, solid, open-work and transparent walls, living space and garden, work and life complement one another to form a harmonious whole. Known for their unconventional choice of forms and colours, the designers also see the project as a collection of ideas for various ways of using materials to design a space, especially when it comes to wall surfaces. Even artistic elements seem like an integral part of the architecture; a multilayered glass wall by London graphic design studio Pony, for instance, doubles as privacy screening for the kitchen and a projection surface for overlapping pictures of the house, symbols and reminiscences of domestic life.
Premiere of a new format for depicting interior design trends
Koelnmesse sees the “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” format launched for the imm cologne 2012 as part designer portrait, part living laboratory, where the current trends in interior design can be depicted in three dimensions and the guest designer can formulate a statement on his own very personal idea of a perfect home. As a result, the big format that fills a 180 m² stage in the midst of “Pure Village” (Hall 3.2) with architecture, furnishings, lighting installations etc. in accordance with the designer’s plans nevertheless remains on a human and utterly intimate scale. “We’re interested in interior design that’s ahead of our time, but not so far ahead that nobody understands it. That’s particularly important to us,” says Katharina C. Hamma, Chief Operating Officer of Koelnmesse, of her expectations of the project.
Doshi Levien solved the challenge of creating a very personal living space scenography with visionary character in the midst of the trade fair by coming up with “a culmination of spaces from all over the world – some of them taken from memory, some of them from dreams”. The prominent London duo’s constructed dream is widely regarded as one of the highlights of the next international interior design fair that will be taking place in Cologne from 16th to 22nd January.
Broad-based support from international design brands
The blueprint is gradually taking on concrete shape: the construction of the installation got underway on 19.12. It will be furnished entirely with the help of partners and sponsors from a wide variety of interior design segments. Doshi Levien have been able to realise their innovative colour concept for “Das Haus” with the support of RAL: the company provided them with an unconventional, fascinating material for the windows and tiles in the form of the new RAL Plastics colour samples. On the other hand, with the NCS Natural Colour System, it was possible to translate all the colours used in “Das Haus” into handy colour samples that will be available as giveaway items at the exit, thus constituting something like a trend barometer of the most popular colours.
Lichtfabrik Erco will be showing “Das Haus” off to full advantage with an ingenious system of spotlights and floodlights. Besides the Ananda spa by Glass, the installation will of course mainly be featuring furniture designed by Doshi Levien for companies like Moroso, Cappellini, Richard Lampert and Authentics. But there will also be many products by other designers that Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien would be happy to surround themselves with, from classics by Eileen Grey (ClassiCon) or Alvar Aalto (Artek) all the way to the “Vigna” chair by Martino Gamper (Magis) or the “Pico” tiles by Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec (Mutina). The project thus enjoys the support of a number of brands from the international design scene, including Cassina, E15, Established & Sons, Foscarini, Mattiazzi, Thonet and Vitra.
New ways of organising life at its focal point – the home
Because the different activities are located within an open sequence of spaces, there seem to be close links between the private living quarters, family and working life and the more public areas. “Das Haus” is an urban place, inspired by cities like Tokyo or Mumbai where life itself is at home rather than being split into purely residential neighbourhoods and downtown areas. In Doshi Levien’s interpretation of “Das Haus”, the links between the street and the living space are symbolised by a work room that could also be used as a shop: “‘Das Haus’ is also a study about how we can enjoy the time we spend on routines and translate it into rituals,” says Nipa Doshi of the cultural significance of her proposal for a perfect home. “That’s exactly what the workshop symbolises – a place where the family can get together to do activities.”
The central idea behind “Das Haus” is the redefinition of spaces and their activity-based relationships to one another. Living in (physically) networked spaces is meant to help use time in a more multi-faceted and intense way. Here, every space is a living room. The special importance of the transitions between the individual functional zones is illustrated by furniture that creates connections rather than boundaries; to this end, Doshi Levien have designed prototypes of cabinets and tables that are being produced in collaboration with BD Barcelona and the Stilwerk Design Gallery. “For us it’s important to challenge the cliché notions of what is a bedroom, what is a kitchen, what is a bathroom. Every part of the house is connected with the other areas, thus redefining interior living in a new and exciting way,” says Jonathan Levien of the project.
The realisation of the “Das Haus” project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of The Mix, RAL, NCS Colour and Erco.