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Welcome to an unknown world: video “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage“ at imm cologne 2015

Das Haus 2015

imm cologne’s “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” has never possessed such an imposing architectural force: Whereas in 2014, the visitor was invited into the interior of Louise Campbell’s “Haus”, a country-house-like, Scandinavian-cosy space, the installation by the Chinese architect couple Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri affects the beholder more like a challenge to be overcome.

A recent video takes the viewer on a visit into “Das Haus” 2015 and on a journey to a foreign world:

Actually, Neri&Hu did not want to create a place to relax with their version of “Das Haus”, which they gave the title “Memory Lane”: “Quite the contrary, our ’Haus’ is intended to unsettle people because we want to challenge them so that they will really start to ask themselves where we stand today – especially in China. Do we use furniture in the correct way? How much of it do we need? And what does the term “home” actually mean?”

In 2015, imm cologne started a new chapter of “Das Haus”. This chapter seems like it had been taken from a thriller novel, with unexpected and surprising perspectives, applications and views. Even before Neri&Hu created their first design sketches, it was clear to everyone involved in the planning that “Das Haus” 2015 would present a completely different facade to the world than previous editions of “Das Haus” – labyrinthine, poetic, voyeuristic. This is not just because this time around, it has been interpreted by designers who work primarily as architects but rather because they would take the imm cologne visitor on a journey to a completely different culture.

We encounter European and western culture of living decor in the architecture and interiors of Neri&Hu as being filtered through a foreign design culture. In addition, there is a continuous awareness of the oppositions which influence Chinese Culture. Rather than denying or glossing over them, Neri&Hu integrate these oppositions in a whole new way.

When it was completed, “The House” surprised even connoisseurs in the field: At first glance, from the outside, the dark grey painted walls, which looked quite like the surrounding fair architecture of Pure Village, did not look very inviting. Only the irregular window openings in the “Cages for Living”, as Neri&Hu call the containers for the objects we use for living, communicated the idea even from the outside that this structure contains more than just cool aesthetics – namely a unique, sensual synthesis of architecture, design, interior design, art and philosophy. Visitors took advantage of these window openings and went on a voyage of discovery, which (accompanied by Shanghai street sounds) confronted them with exotic as well as their own domestic cultures, with strange and familiar, spatial narrowness and infinite new possibilities.

The architectural composition of “Das Haus” 2015 was compact and urbane: five tall rooms, closed on all sides, create an exciting ensemble around a large interior courtyard, conceived as a semi-public living space. Through this compressed architecture winds a bridge, its path zig-zagging through and over “Das Haus”, intersecting the rooms at different points, breaking through walls, swerving over dining tables and granting the visitor precisely calculated insights into the installations of living space.

The inside of “Das Haus” revealed itself to be far more homely than the outside. This was not only due to the wooden flooring sponsored by Dinesen and the tiles from Mutina, but also the sophisticated colour concept from NSC Colour. With this, Neri&Hu specified a colour palette of muted shades, inspired by the traditional Shanghai lanes (nongtangs), with their houses overgrown with ivy, red painted doors and crumbling plaster walls.

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