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Dick Spierenburg: “We’ll be experiencing a very sensuous ‘Haus’ at the imm cologne.”

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The trade fair architecture of the Pure Village format that was launched four years ago was developed for the imm cologne by external consultant and Creative Director Dick Spierenburg. And even here, the design event “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” that was initiated under his creative supervision will be opening its doors again next year too. This time it will be based on a blueprint by Danish designer Louise Campbell. In the course of the trade fair management’s ongoing expansion of the Pure segment, Dick Spierenburg was also responsible for devising a further component that celebrated its highly successful premiere in 2013: Pure Editions, a gallery-like stage for curators of visionary furniture concepts.

The “Das Haus” event is entering its third season. How important is this project for the imm cologne?
The imm cologne stages numerous events for visitors. When we presented the “Das Haus” format for the first time in 2012 with designer couple Doshi Levien, we weren’t necessarily planning a series of houses: we wanted to wait and see what the response would be like. Well, it turned out to be very positive, and even after the stunning next instalment by Luca Nichetto, the initial designs from Louise Campbell still managed to surprise us: it’s astonishing to see just how wide the scope of a format like this can be. And it’s precisely this individual interpretation by the respective designer that makes it so appealing to visitors. On 240 square metres of space, “Das Haus” presents innovative ideas for interiors in the here and now.

This time you decided to commission a female designer. Why?
Well, to start with the last house was designed by a man. Obviously we keep a close eye on the design scene, and it’s still true to say that the design world – for whatever reason – is dominated by male designers. The question itself is proof of that. But it’s often women who decide what furnishings to buy for the home. So you could ask yourself whether women designers aren’t actually much closer to the female target audience that plays such an important role for the industry. Nevertheless, we did consider other designers and design teams for the project too, but with Louise Campbell we’ve managed to find somebody with a strong personality who’s not just rooted in the world of Scandinavian interiors – a highly productive field right now – but who is very influential in that area as well. Personally, I’m delighted to have our first female solo designer for “Das Haus”, but it wasn’t the decisive factor.

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What do you particularly like about working with Louise Campbell?
Louise has given the development of her house at the imm cologne 2014 intense consideration. She builds her models herself, brings a lot of her delightful personality to bear and is concentrating wholeheartedly on this project. She also surprised us by coming up with several completely different designs and is bringing some totally new aspects of home living to the public dialogue. Whenever we get together and she shows us the latest model, it’s like an updated snapshot of the “Haus”, which seems to be growing as time goes on. But more than anything else, Louise Campbell is a virtuoso when it comes to light, whereas many furniture designers often underestimate just how complex that particular area of interior design is. And Louise Campbell is also a queen of colours, patterns and decoration. But there’s one thing you can’t expect from her: a conventional approach. We’ll be experiencing a very sensuous “Haus” at the imm cologne 2014, a house that allows people to take a step back from everyday life. So there are plenty of good reasons to look forward to “Das Haus”.

Why do visitors and creatives find “Das Haus” so appealing?
It shows a complete picture, an original example of avant-garde, creative living – a picture that has been refracted through the lens of the designer’s personality and individual tastes. Rather than being homogeneously “styled” to ensure its conformity with a given brand, it showcases an exclusive selection of what the market has to offer. It’s as authentic as any trade fair scenography that strives for good design can be. It’s like being allowed to look into a stranger’s home, except that this is the home of a creative who deals with issues relating to how we live professionally and is allowed to “play a little,” as Louise puts it. At the end of the day, “Das Haus” is also an experiment, a look at the possibilities interiors offer us and how we will be living in future. Louise Campbell’s “Haus” really will have a very playful side to it, whereas Luca Nichetto’s scenography was more application-oriented. Whatever its focus – which will sometimes be more realistic than others – the “Haus” is definitely a source of inspiration, just for consumers but for professionals as well.

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Will there be any changes at the next imm cologne in 2014?
Yes: although “Das Haus” will be erected in the middle of Pure Village again, it will be in Hall 2.2 this time round – and thus on a level of the exhibition centre that has a higher ceiling. We want to make the most of that, and the way things stand at the moment we’ll be presenting our first house with two levels.

What does participating in “Das Haus” mean for a designer?
It’s hard to think of any other event format in the field of interior design that attracts so much public attention as “Das Haus”. And it really is a fantastic job: you’re given almost 200 square metres and a decent budget and get to build and furnish a house according to your own ideas. What’s more, you get to do it all before the eyes of an international audience of professionals. That’s not just attractive to visitors, it catches the attention of companies looking to commission designers too. So far all the designers who’ve taken part have been able to make some interesting contacts on the very first day of the fair.

Isn’t it a shame that “Das Haus” has to be dismantled once the imm cologne is over?
Of course, but then again we’re used to the fact that a trade fair is a transient thing. But we do try to reuse a lot of the materials. The products displayed in the “Haus” go back to the manufacturers, and the many plants that Luca Nichetto used in his design went back to a nursery. We’re even thinking about exporting “Das Haus” as an ambassador for the imm cologne. We’ve had enquiries from international design events about re-erecting “Das Haus” in other places. We want to bear that in mind more when it comes to constructing the current house by Louise Campbell. Who knows: maybe there’ll be a Cologne “design house” travelling the world as an ambassador before too long.

Find out more about “Das Haus” here.
All photos: Andreas Körner; koelnmesse

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