"Das Haus – Interiors on Stage" is the large-scale scenography of a living situation based on the very personal ideas of an internationally influential designer who changes every year. Following London design team Doshi Levien’s successful launch of the imm cologne’s new design event (2012) and the subsequent edition by Luca Nichetto (2013), Koelnmesse has nominated Danish designer Louise Campbell to create "Das Haus – Interiors on Stage 2014".
Louise Campbell designs "Das Haus – Interiors on Stage" at the imm cologne 2014 as a low-tech house in which open space and furniture are put to flexible use. The Danish designer will be staging her individual interior vision as a play with measurements and scale entitled "0-100. (Made to measure.)"
Das Haus – Interiors on Stage 2014 is meant to be a house that radiates calm amidst the hustle and bustle of the trade fair; a house that extends a solicitous welcome to visitors and entices them into the world of Louise Campbell with subdued lighting, a warm atmosphere and an extremely large bed space. But also a house that turns the home as we know it on its head and alters the familiar dimensions of space and furniture. Very gently and seductively, the Danish designer's rebellion against rigid interior habits and design norms is taking on concrete shape in Cologne.
Louise Campbell is continuing the "Das Haus – Interiors on Stage" series in unusual fashion: her design for the 240 m² house that will be erected at the international furnishing fair imm cologne in January 2014 shows an open space without walls; whilst three of its sides are largely closed by a textile covering, the fourth is totally open. Inside, a post-and-beam grid structures the space. A second, non-accessible, gallery-like level hints at areas of retreat.
Open space with symbolically designed furnishings "I didn't approach the assignment as a purely architectural project; on the contrary, I've actually tried to emphasise that it's a piece of design," says Louise Campbell. "I built 'Das Haus' from the inside out. The house itself can be seen as a big piece of furniture. It's one big storage unit for people. Or you could say it's a shelf for life." The interior design is correspondingly unusual and has nothing in common with mere styling. "You can't imitate a house 100 percent in a place like this, with no air and no light. So my 'Haus' is a lot more abstract."
The designer is thus deliberately focussing on just a few crucial functions – such as the light that is so essential to the atmosphere – and depicting them in symbols. There are huge cabinets, lamps, tables and mattresses – permanent built-in fixtures that represent basic functions for the users: something soft that enables them to lie down and relax instantly, work surfaces meant for productive activity. "These functions are going to be given high priority in my 'Haus'. Because some things are fixed – including a very long work surface in the kitchen and a surprising amount of bed space – the interior also permits a great deal of flexibility," says Louise Campbell in explanation of her design concept. Louise Campbell's design demonstrates the broad scope of the "Das Haus" format The third "Das Haus" cenography thus differs considerably from its predecessors, which created a more or less readyto-use, cosily furnished house organised into a sequence of spaces. Louise Campbell, however, turns "Das Haus"
into a stage for her own, very personal interior manifesto, a place that tells a lot of stories without the need for words. The most important advance cue she wants to give visitors is an allusion to the stories of Alice in Wonderland. And so, like Alice, visitors to "Das Haus" 2014 can look forward to a fascinating play with dimensions.
"0-100. (Made to measure.)"
For although the great attraction the project holds for a designer is undoubtedly the possibility of implementing an ideal living situation on a 1:1 scale, Louise Campbell – influenced by the unusual location – has very deliberately decided to play with dimensions and challenge visitors with surprising details. She picks up on size norms in architecture and design and the search for the right balance between hectic activity and total relaxation and turns them into the central theme of her design. The tools and grids present throughout the house also serve to emphasise the major role measuring and weighing things up play in our modern lifestyle – and help explain why Louise Campbell has given her vision of the ideal way to live the fitting title "0-100. (Made to measure.)".
But besides representing complex layers of meaning in relation to taking measurements and scale, "Das Haus" 2014 is also an authentic reflection of the designer's personality: here, Scandinavian rationality collides with Louise Campbell's passion for the aesthetics of decay. The designer – who grew up in two cultures and has been shaped by both Danish and English influences – also wants her scenography
to embody her penchant for mistakes and accidents. As a result, "Das Haus" is also a statement that takes a stance against the perfectionism and static furniture concepts that are so often intrinsic to interior design.
A low-tech house as a survival strategy What makes her house visionary is a seemingly anachronistic attitude towards media and domestic technology. "This is a low-tech house. It's in opposition to too much electronic media coming into the house, it’s in opposition to too much noise. I want this to be a quiet place. I love my smartphone and take it to bed with me, but that's enough," reveals the mother of an adolescent son. Rather than being rooted in a certain philosophy, Zen or sentimentality, this conviction stems from the fact that she believes people are swamped by a flood of impressions and requirements as soon as they step outside the door. "My ideal home is completely rid of all this rubbish. There's nothing old-fashioned about that; it's just a survival strategy." "Das Haus" – half designer portrait, half visionary blueprint “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” is the simulation of a home at the international interior design fair imm cologne. In the middle of the Pure Village hall, the trade fair will be erecting a big, open stage for the installation measuring around 240 m². Every year, the imm cologne nominates a new designer whose plans are then used for the layout and furnishings. As Guest of Honour, he/she determines what both the architectural elements and the furnishings for the interior and outdoor spaces will look like. The furniture, colours, materials, lighting and accessories chosen by the Guest of Honour add up to an individually configured interior design. But this holistically conceived proposal isn’t just meant to be forward-looking; it should be practical as well – and above all authentic. “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” is both a designer portrait and a visionary blueprint, an example of how it is possible to create a world of one’s own that becomes an expression of one’s own personality. Besides picking up on current interior design trends, the project also addresses the public’s aspirations and social change.
In 2012, Anglo-Indian designer team Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien were in charge of the new format's debut, staging what was effectively an organically evolved space that permits communicative interaction between occupants and cultures. In 2013, Italian product designer Luca Nichetto created the next instalment of the design event as an elegant ensemble open to nature on all sides. "Das Haus" is located within Pure Village; in 2014, the trade fair format will be moving into a spacious new home in Hall 2.2.
The next trade fair duo imm cologne // LivingInteriors will be held from 13th to 19th January 2014
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