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Zones instead of Rooms:
Designers in search of new ways of living

The reason modernist architecture is so topical again today is that – perhaps for the first time ever – it is compatible with many people’s desire for open living spaces, a more flexible organisation of their lives and aesthetics with a bearing on the present. Today we want to live the way Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier proposed. But also the way Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien depict in their installation for “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”: in an individual, lively home with cultural echoes. In a house that permits privacy and publicness, that connects the kitchen, eating and working zones, family and friends, areas of retreat and shared wellness experiences in an individual way.

The conventions that shape the way we live are changing along with our lifestyles, and architecture is enabling a growing number of people to try out new ways of living. The elimination of room boundaries and walls, the new desire for cosiness and the longing for more nature in the house are giving rise to a host of new possibilities for interior design. Today, anybody that wants to build a house for contemporary living needs more than a floor plan – he needs a concept.

Meanwhile it is almost standard practice for modern floor plans to factor in the way the kitchen, dining and living areas are growing together. Open-plan live-in kitchens where the dining table plays a key role are determining the way kitchen design is evolving as well. This is also evident from the way the kitchen is converging with the classic furnishing sector, a development that has made a great step forward with the new LivingKitchen fair (every two years, parallel to the imm cologne). But the growing role of pleasurable body and health care also calls for a more central position for the bathing zone. How much space do we want to concede to our children (and how many children will we be having in future?), how much to our work and hobbies? How much privacy will we need in future? Where and how do we want to sleep? How will we integrate lighting and plants, technology and entertainment? Does a room have to have four walls? How many walls and what kind of furniture do we need to divide our homes into zones that satisfy our need for both peace and activity?

Structuring the house into functional zones obviously also plays a crucial part in improving processes. Besides taking the number of people in the household and their daily routines into account, this also means factoring in the occupants’ personal preferences. This way, deciding where to put the kitchen, bathroom and relaxation zone, or even a make-up table, can be based on individual criteria.

The interfaces between the individual zones are particularly interesting. What are the transitions and connections like? Open or closable, only hinted at or very concrete, transparent, textile or colourful, rich in contrast or decked out in subtly graduated hues? As the designers entrusted with the “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” project, Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien have taken on a challenge which has lead to some extremely interesting solutions and ideas.

The realisation of the “Das Haus” project has been made possible thanks to the generous support of The Mix, RAL, NCS Colour and Erco.

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