What possibilities do we have for enhancing the way we live? There are technological approaches, sustainability concepts, social and multicultural utopias and ideals. And, since 14th January 2013, there has been an experiment on the idea of green living too: the “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” installation at the current imm cologne, this year designed for the international furniture fair by Luca Nichetto. In his design, the Venetian focuses on solutions intended to enable occupants to live in direct co-existence with nature.
The architecture of “Das Haus” – a structure with permeable walls, big windows and a planted interior – stages an elaborate interplay between indoors and outside. For Luca Nichetto’s “Haus”, nature is an integral element of both the architecture and the interior design. Around 350 plants were placed in the louver-like exterior walls. Inside, potted plants perform specific functions that enhance the indoor climate and are used as green walls that delineate different living zones without obstructing the view. They stand for nature as an element that vigorously strives to enter people’s living quarters from the outside.
This is not just where the two cuboid volumes of the architectural solid intersect in the shape of a cross, it is where all the various living areas interconnect as well. Nichetto compares “Das Haus” with a microcosm that stands for the entire planet, a global system in which the living room fulfils the same function for the house as the Amazon rainforest does for the earth’s climate.
Luca Nichetto collaborated with Italian ceramics manufacturer Bosa on the development of a series of ceramic containers created especially for the potted plants used to equip “Das Haus”: the DHP, or Das Haus Pot. The DHP pots of the first, limited edition have also been customised with the “Das Haus” logo and Luca Nichetto’s signature and will be available for purchase once the exhibition is over.
Scandinavian simplicity with Italian inner workings
The simple architecture of the “Haus”, which has been designed using natural materials and colours and creates a rather reserved impression, provides the setting for the furnishings, most of which are Luca Nichetto’s own designs. “I wanted to be able to create the atmosphere of a connection to nature while fostering a sense of intimacy at the same time. I want to live in a modern home, but I also want to feel at home,” says Luca Nichetto, describing a style of living that many people can identify with. At the same time, his design largely dispenses with enclosed spaces: “I like the idea that the furniture gives the space its function.”
New products by Luca Nichetto
To mark this event, Luca Nichetto designed a series of products and product variants that will be presented to the public for the first time in “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” at the imm cologne 2013. They too exhibit the expressive forms so typical of Luca Nichetto – especially the Toshi cabinet collection designed for Casamania and the Flamingo table collection for MGLab, which Luca Nichetto developed for public areas. The linearity and pure geometric form of the cabinets, which are available in a variety of heights and configurations, is evocative of Japanese architecture. The name is also an allusion to Japan (“Toshi” is Japanese for “city”), as is the texture of the surface, which is reminiscent of decorative mosaics from Tokyo. The tables of the Flamingo collection, which are likewise available in a wide variety of sizes, imitate their namesakes by balancing on a single long leg that rests on four splayed feet.
Cassina’s La Mise sofa makes a totally new, very natural-looking impact in its new leather cover. It wears its leather casually, like a kind of leisure outfit – soft, sumptuous and lightly padded. The new indoor variants of the Railway Outdoor table developed for De Padova translates the concept of a dining table for both indoor and outdoor use, intended to combine character with clean lines, into the new materials oak and marble (white Carrara or black Marquina). The table clock and bookend for Petite Friture’s Swell series of ceramic accessories are also new. The collection also includes a penholder and a key holder.
For Nodus, Luca Nichetto designed two new carpets by the name of Morgane and Regata Storica. The latter shows a graphically disintegrated representation of the historic Venetian regatta and features the classic colours of the boats. Morgane was derived from the pattern of the same name that features on the outer facade of “Das Haus” and was created for Luca Nichetto by French illustrator and designer Morgane Pluchon. The illustration depicts ten objects designed by Luca Nichetto in harmonious coexistence with a natural idyll populated by animals and people – a motif that symbolises the underlying theme of his interpretation of “Das Haus”. Morgane is hand-knotted by professional Indian carpet makers.
Finally, there is the comfortable lounge armchair by the name of Hai that Luca Nichetto created for online-only brand One Nordic Furniture Company. It combines quality with distinctive design and the modularity required for shipping: Hai is delivered in three components – metal frame, seat and body (consisting of the back and armrests) – for assembly by the customer.
Systematically co-ordinated colour spaces created with the NCS Colour System
The colour palette that Luca Nichetto has chosen for “Das Haus” combines natural colours evocative of Scandinavian landscapes with the soft pastel shades typical of Venetian tradition. The 18th-century paintings of Canaletto of Venice served as a source of inspiration and are a perfect fit with the natural floors in untreated oak, porcelain stoneware and hand-cast concrete pigmented with natural colours.
The colours also illustrate the spatial connections between the two intersecting volumes of “Das Haus”. With the help of the NCS Colour System, Nichetto scrupulously chose specific colour spaces for each living area, linking the different shades of adjacent spaces with identical surface finishes. Even the choice of furniture and accessories was largely influenced by the colours chosen for the respective space. Nichetto wants visitors to “Das Haus” to be welcomed by a sense of warmth.
Fascinating synthesis of the arts
None of the details is randomly selected or placed, everything is subordinated to the plan of a living concept based on the harmonious interweaving of indoors and outside, architecture and nature. Nichetto’s ultimate aim is to give the visitor as authentic a sense of his idea of “green living” as possible, an impression that appeals to all the senses.
For Luca Nichetto, the furniture is only one component of the arrangement. Besides the richly nuanced colour palette, the effects of the materials, the plants and accessories chosen to complement the function of the space, his concept also includes works of art, porcelain items, bird representations and graphics, all the way to fragrances and music recordings – a complete catalogue of impressions that a trade show installation set amidst the hustle and bustle of the fair can hardly convey in its entirety. Nevertheless, it satisfies the requirements of a synthesis of the arts in a way rarely seen nowadays. “I just love paying attention to the little things as well,” confesses Luca Nichetto. “Designers have to be sensitive to the connections between architecture, furniture, colours and materials – their work can fundamentally change the way a space is perceived.” For Luca Nichetto, “Das Haus” is an opportunity to convey a feeling of this sensitivity and its importance. “Essentially, I see ‘Das Haus’ as a ‘Slow House’, a combination of SLOW FOOD + HOUSE = SLOW HOUSE, where if you take care of the house the house will take care of you.”
Whilst Luca Nichetto might not be alone in his passion for detail, experts will have to go a long way back in order to pinpoint his role models. It is designers and architects like Arne Jacobsen, Gio Ponti, Ray and Charles Eames, George Nelson and Carlo Scarpa in whose work we encounter this same aspiration to create holistic design. After the 50s and early 60s, however, this multidisciplinary aspect gradually disappeared – “because,” according to Nichetto, “design became increasingly specialised. In that sense, ‘Das Haus’ is definitely one of my first true interior designs.”
The products designed by Luca Nichetto and used for the interior design of “Das Haus” are from the following manufacturers, whose kind support has played a major role in the success of the project: Bosa, Carlo Moretti, Casamania, Cassina, David Design, De Padova, Discipline, Established & Sons, Fornasarig, Foscarini, Fratelli Guzzini, Gallery Pascale, Gallotti & Radice, Globo, Italesse, Kristalia, La Chance, MGLab, Moroso, Nodus, Offecct, Ogeborg, One Nordic Furniture Company, Petite Friture, Plust, Prosciutteria King‘s, Refin, Salviati, Skitsch, Skultuna, Tacchini, Tobeus and Venini. In addition, Luca Nichetto has integrated a number of products and objects by designer and artist friends, as well as a series of design classics.