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Louise Campbell: A house made to measure

Pure59_2014_Das-Haus_Statement_AufmacherPhoto: Andreas Körner; koelnmesse

“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”.

At the international interior design fair imm cologne in January 2014, she will be building a low-tech house as an open space for flexible use in which the furniture merely serves to symbolise basic functions. For the Dane, flexibility, comfort and scope for creativity are the most important requirements an ideal home should satisfy.

A “Haus” like something from Alice in Wonderland
Louise Campbell wants to use “Das Haus” to tell stories. One of them pursues the theme of Alice in Wonderland, whose adventures take her to both miniature and giant-sized worlds. The dimensions in “Das Haus” seem to have been shifted slightly too, and ultra-long tables and beds produce some disconcerting effects. Visitors to “Das Haus” 2014 can thus look forward to a fascinating play with scale.

Louise Campbell has called her scenography and its play with scale and measurements “0-100. (Made to measure)”. Amongst other things, the many layers of meaning in this title allude to the search for the right balance between hectic activity and total relaxation. The instruments and grids present throughout the house are intended to underscore the importance our modern lifestyle attaches to measuring and weighing things up.

The basic form of the house speaks the simple, uncluttered language of Scandinavian design and echoes its preference for natural materials. Louise Campbell takes an open space structured by a post-and-beam grid and bathes it in warm, welcoming light. At the same time, she sees her “Haus” as a piece of design rather than architecture: “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,” says Louise Campbell pragmatically. And yet behind the pragmatism of the house and its designer, who is mainly known for her lighting designs, there is a wealth of surprises, poetry and humour waiting to be discovered.

Louise Campbell is one of the leading protagonists in a new avant-garde generation of designers who are evolving the grand tradition of Scandinavian Modernism not only with respect but with new-found self-confidence as well. Born in Copenhagen in 1970 and influenced by the two cultures of her Anglo-Danish parents, the designer studied both at the London College of Furniture and the Danish Design School. Her clients include Louis Poulsen, Zanotta, HAY, Royal Copenhagen, Holmegaard, Stelton, Muuto, Interstop and the Danish Ministry of Culture.

“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. 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.

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