12.–16.01.2025 #immcologne

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Studio Dessi: „Welcome to stay“

Interview Marco Dessi Installation Circles imm cologne 2024

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The installation demonstrates the original, atmosphere-creating use of materials and semi-finished products from a wide range of applications. The Vienna-based designer has created a temporary stage set for the furniture, a backdrop and projection surface for interpretations and ideas about a sustainable future. The protagonists on this stage are the furniture and lights designed by STUDIO DESSI. In Dessi's interpretation, hospitality is also characterised by cultural traditions and artistic impulses. The installation is reminiscent of a pavilion in the middle of a (trade fair) landscape, which magnetically attracts visitors like a trail mark.

Photo: Guido Schiefer

Marco, the imm cologne invited you to design an installation on the subject of hospitality that is inspiring and looks progressively into the future. What were the biggest challenges for you?

The task was to create a situation that invites people to linger - at the imm cologne, this is almost synonymous with cosiness. At the same time, sustainability is a basic requirement of our work. We therefore took the idea of a temporary installation very seriously and tried to create something truly temporary for these five days without producing a lot of waste. In particular, we didn't want illusionistic architecture that symbolises a sustainable lifestyle without being truly sustainable and circular. We tried to solve these challenges by choosing unusual materials and reducing the amount of transport required. Our installation is lightweight, can be dismantled and easily reinstalled in another location - a theme that runs like a common thread through our work.

What does this solution look like - formally and materially?

In my opinion, the theme of hospitality is best conveyed by the idea of a roof over your head, because the roof is the purest form of welcoming. That is the core idea of the installation. With a roof that can be seen from afar, we create a spatial situation within the exhibition hall that attracts visitors almost magnetically - like a pavilion in a park landscape, towards which all paths lead. The solution is a large-volume inflatable roof that can even make a big impression in the trade fair context, is easy to transport and takes up little space when deflated. The roof weighs just 16 kg and fits on half a euro pallet!

The roof is a little reminiscent of a doughnut ...

Yes, there are ambiguities. It's more the idea of a roof than a closed, hermetic roof. The opening in the centre, which gives rise to the association with the donut, forms a patio through which light falls into the interior. The material of the roof is also translucent and reminiscent of frosted glass, which is associated with the gesture of an architectural element - such as a glass roof. Finally, the light streaming through the patio is also reminiscent of James Turrell's Skyscape. The circular arrangement of the loungers reinforces this effect and invites conversation.

The type of suspension, on the other hand, reminds of a hot air balloon, isn't it?

This image also resonates deliberately. The filigree suspension creates the impression of a floating roof that is part of a modern, futuristic pavilion - with associations of a hot air balloon that takes visitors on a journey. Above all, however, everything came together for us with the suspension: The Cima luminaire we developed for Lodes a few years ago, with its cable system, served as the perfect "hanger" to show how creatively and unconventionally products can sometimes be used.

The same seems to apply to the use of materials when you look at the walls of the installation.

Exactly, that is also particularly important to us. The installation tests and demonstrates a different approach to plastics. We work with semi-finished products from the construction industry. For example, the walls are clad with embossed acrylic glass panels that are actually used for roofing sheds or carports. They are sponsored and go back to the manufacturers as borrowed panels. It is the type of lighting that gives the prism-like surface, intended as weather protection, a high-quality, almost crystalline appearance. The roof consists of a projection foil whose properties and misappropriation are reminiscent of sandblasted glass. We are experimenting with a new interpretation of beauty. The installation shows where beauty can be found and is intended to sensitise people to look at materials from a different context with a new perspective - in my opinion one of the most original tasks of design.

Do you expect this aesthetic to be understood by everyone?

Polarisation can be a very productive part of inspiration. As a concept space and as a projection surface for visitors' ideas, "Welcome to stay" can become a topic of conversation in the Circles and stimulate discourse. This is one of the basic ideas behind the Circles. The installation works with semi-finished materials and semi-finished aesthetics, so it must also leave space for interpretation. Only the discourse completes it. This is why the meditative, oracular work "Sea of Storys" by Quirin Krumbholz, the Vienna-based artist, designer, and architect, fits in so well with our installation. It will stand on the glass table and complements our idea. We saw the commission to design this installation as an invitation to use our means to thematise the future - not just of the trade fair, but of us all.

If the installation forms a stage set with the roof and the surrounding walls, what is the role of the furniture?

The invitation from imm cologne is a very exciting opportunity for us to apply our design philosophy to an interior design theme. The installation recreates the context from which I draw my inspiration - usually a technical one, as you can see from the Cima lamp, which was created by observing rope cleats on sailing boats. The D70 Lounge Chairs by Tecta and the 520 upholstered chairs by Thonet are the main actors on a stage that is temporary and nomadic. Our furniture is the actor that stands for longevity.