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Interview with Dick Spierenburg about
“Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” (Part II)

In the second part of the interview Dick Spierenburg, creative director of the imm cologne project “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” talks about expectations of the project and draws a comparison to the former imm cologne project “ideal house”.

What kind of result do you expect when a man and a woman design this kind of house together?

That will be particularly interesting – especially because the couple lives with a small child and can think things through from a family perspective. It’s great that they’ve already done various products for children – the project will probably also feature some solutions that will appeal to young families as well. I can’t wait to see how it goes down and where it will go from there.

What kind of products are they allowed to use?

They can use both their own products and designs by colleagues they admire, products that they have personally experienced as good and would choose for themselves. And if they can’t find anything that already exists for some of their furnishing ideas, they might even come up with a design of their own, custom-made for “Das Haus”, so as to show visitors “we believe the way people live is going to go in this or that direction.”

So we should be seeing the occasional prototype as well?

I certainly expect so.

How do the two designers feel about integrating designs by their colleagues? Doesn’t that mean taking on the role of curators?

Designers tend to know each other and often meet at trade fairs or exhibitions. I don’t think they’ll have any problem with choosing some of their colleagues’ best products. On the contrary: they appreciate the opportunity. Everybody has his own special field. In the case of Doshi Levien, they mainly design seating and textiles, so they might choose something by another designer if they need, say, a cupboard or a table.

Why do you want to implement a concept that’s so very application-oriented as compared to the ideal houses, whereas the rest of the world is increasingly pushing design in the direction of art?

That’s got to do with the position taken by the imm cologne. The imm cologne is a trade fair that shows ideas for living and interiors and presents the best and newest developments. However, nor is it totally unfettered – it always asks practically-oriented questions about how people live in their homes and what their lives are like. Besides all the creative ideas it showcases, it’s important for a trade fair to show people examples of how interiors might develop. We put this question to the designers and asked them to make sure their answers are both feasible and liveable. It’s not just supposed to be an installation or an exhibition. It’s not that I don’t like one-off products – I find them extremely interesting – but there are other exhibitions for things like that.

Is that the biggest difference to the ideal houses – “Das Haus” is more practically oriented?

Yes, that’s one thing. The second major difference is that it reflects a broader spectrum. With the ideal houses, it was the living area that dominated – it was sitting, eating, tables, chairs, sofas etc. that played the leading role. With “Das Haus”, we want to show more aspects of how people live. After all, the imm cologne has developed in that direction too: nowadays it’s an interior design fair rather than a furniture fair. “Das Haus” is meant to be furnished practically, although we’ve got more than just furniture in mind. We’re thinking along the lines of light, sound, the appliances you find in a house, the media technology. What impact will networked computers have on the way we live? We explicitly asked the designers to think about the consequences that will have on the design or the furnishings. We want to do everything we can to support the designers and help them incorporate everything that seems important to them.

Why are you involving sponsors in the project?

We need sponsors so as to create technical possibilities and be able to implement any particularly ambitious ideas – to supply materials, provide technology, give us their input on new developments. In the long term, this kind of project means you need companies who are willing to go one step further and make it possible to show something that’s genuinely new.

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