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Interview Dick Spierenburg: “We’ll be seeing a furnishing style that is way ahead of its time.”

Dick Spierenburg is Creative Director of the imm cologne’s new design highlight: “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”. For the first installation, he has invited London design studio Doshi Levien to build a sort of turnkey vision of what living in one’s own four walls can be like in the midst of the Pure Village hall. In the interview Dick Spierenburg talks about his decision for Doshi Levien and the basic idea of this project.

Is it true that there won’t be a Trend Book for the imm cologne 2012?

Yes, that’s right. As the saying goes, it’s best to quit while you’re ahead. In our opinion, an innovative trade fair format like the imm cologne has to anticipate developments. Especially when a show is as strongly influenced by developments in society and the dynamically changing design scene as the imm cologne, it makes sense to rethink your tools from year to year. That’s why we decided to establish a new and, in my opinion, very innovative format for the imm cologne 2012. We’ve called it “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”.

Will the latest trends be on show there too?

Obviously “Das Haus” will shed some light on the current trends from the interior design sector, but it will have a different, more personal focus.
Is that why you chose such an exciting design team for the project’s debut? Doshi and Levien aren’t just interesting at personal level, they’re trendsetters too.
Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien are unique because, as a design team, they combine so many different influences within themselves. It’s very interesting to see how India and Great Britain can develop a joint style that pursues a decorative direction but features understated forms as well. Doshi Levien is very distinctive because they’ve already developed their own signature in terms of graphics, colour and materials.

What’s the basic idea behind the new project?

With “Das Haus”, koelnmesse and the imm cologne want to show how people can live and what possibilities there will be for creating an interior in the next few years. And how designers with a visionary approach would furnish their own home, how they would use materials and innovative furnishing items by colleagues, things that are already available and things that will be available in the near future.

Who is “Das Haus” particularly interesting for?

It’s intended for everybody who visits the imm cologne – i.e. for dealers, architects and consumers alike. And because we’ve asked avant-garde designers like Doshi Levien to create the installation, they’ll be seeing an interior style and products that are way ahead of their time. But not so far ahead that they can’t be understood. That’s important to us.
What will it look like in concrete terms? What guidelines will the designers be given? Are there any structural specifications or do the designers have a totally free hand? They’ve been allocated a certain area where they can work with all the usual resources used for booth construction. They can erect walls and create and furnish a space – with as many parts of a normal interior as possible. And they ought to think about how they sit, how they relax, how they eat, how they prepare their meals, how they sleep, how they take a bath. Doshi Levien will be incorporating all these questions into their design and developing examples and solutions in response to them. They might not show a fully functioning bathroom or a complete kitchen, but we’ll be seeing ideas that are interesting in terms of how these spaces are used.

So it won’t be a completely finished house so much as a complete, liveable structure?

That’s right, spaces and furnishings for contemporary living. One thing I can hardly wait to see is how Doshi Levien will tackle the challenge of merging the eating and cooking areas. On the one hand, the way a cluster of appliances is positioned in the kitchen has changed. And on the other, the dining table is increasingly becoming the focal point of the room. There’s a similar shift in priorities when it comes to sitting: these days the family no longer sits around a coffee table in the living room. One person might be watching television while somebody else is reading a book and a third person is listening to music with headphones or playing a computer game. As a result, there might be several different corners, several little seating groups or a colourful collection of different seating options. Sitting and lounging are merging with one another too. I’m looking forward to seeing what solutions Doshi Levien will come up with.

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