A Changing Attitude – In conversation with Winy Maas

Winy Maas is one of the directors of the globally operating architecture and urban planning firm MVRDV, which was founded in 1993 by Maas, Jacob van Rijs and Nathalie de Vries in Rotterdam. The products of MVRDV’s unique approach to design vary, ranging from buildings of all types and sizes, to urban plans and visions, numerous publications, installations and exhibitions. In the interview, Winy Maas speaks about the transformation of the former Serp & Molot factory area in Moscow and the importance of developing new typologies.

Winy Maas © Boudewijn Bollmann
Winy Maas © Boudewijn Bollmann

Mr. Maas, MVRDV has won the competition for the transformation of the former Serp & Molot factory area in Moscow into a new neighbourhood. How would you describe the task and the concept?

It’s the monumental task to transform 58 hectare inner city brown lands into a lively neighbourhood for 19,000 inhabitants and 16,000 workers. Our concept respects the past, we decided against a ‘tabula rasa’. MVRDV’s winning scheme builds upon the current layout and identity of the site. By taking the characteristic factory streets, buildings and objects as starting points, a new layer is added to the neighbourhood. Historical structures such as large chimneys and pipes are preserved and other structures are integrated into new buildings. Large factory halls are replaced by urban blocks that follow the footprint of the old factory with additional green courtyards. By partitioning the blocks further into segments and applying different densities the plan diversifies the area. Ground floor spaces are reserved for public facilities and retail. This leads to a vivid, green, complex and highly dense urban plan which strongly respects the character of the site. An existing factory transport ring will be repaired and become part of a park that will form a threedimensional spine for the new neighbourhood. This public urban space will house playgrounds, sports facilities, open air markets and pavilions. Schools and day care centres are connected to
this ring park. On top of the transport ring a sky walk can be made in between the tops of the trees, overlooking the surrounding neighbourhood.

All lights are green for imm cologne 2015

Stylish, modern and inspiring: in January 2015, imm Cologne will once again be the trendsetter for the interior design industry and the place to be for visitors from around the world. As the year’s first trade show for interior design, imm cologne showcases contemporary and future trends for the next season and inspires with high-class exhibitors and events.

A highlight of the fair is the project “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage”. By means of a simulation of a house with a living space of 240 square meters (2,500 square feet) which is furnished and decorated by a renowned interior designer each year, imm cologne provides new stimuli for the world of lifestyle. For 2015, the influential designer duo Lyndon Neri und Rossana Hu, who have been sparking excitement all over the world with their mixture of western design and Chinese varieties of forms and shapes, could be won over to take on the project.

Renowned brands such as Vitra, Thonet, Walter Knoll, B&B Italia, Ligne Roset and De Sede as well as prominent new exhibitors Fendi/Trussardi, Hülsta and outdoor furniture manufacturer Dedon will provide for high-class design and abundant inspiration for the visitors. Already this year, imm cologne could look back on a gratifyingly high number of international exhibitors; for 2015, the trade show expects it to increase even more. “More than ever, this makes imm cologne the epitome of worldwide furniture trends, and it enables purchasers to select from a broad range of products from different countries and of different styles”, says Gerald Böse, chairman of management of Koelnmesse GmbH.

vitra at imm cologne 2014
vitra at imm cologne 2014

For more information, see www.imm-cologne.de.

“Das Haus” 2013 by Luca Nichetto: a stage for visionary living concepts

Stand: Das Haus, Halle 3.1It was a design event of the quieter, more subtle kind. There was no proclamation of a new design philosophy to the accompaniment of spectacular gestures. Nor was a new collection presented in a typical trade fair scenography designed to show the product off to full advantage in a perfectly styled setting, as is the custom in the Pure segments of the international furniture and interior design show imm cologne. Instead “Das Haus – Interiors on Stage” was a half realistic, half visionary depiction of a dream of what living space could be like – in this particular case, of Luca Nichetto’s dream. The imm cologne’s new design format, which was introduced just last year, is not so much about individual products as about the interplay between all the various factors that constitute interior design. The individual pieces of furniture are important soloists within this ensemble but not, in this case, the superstars.

With the concept for “Das Haus” and its choice of designers so far – Doshi Levien in 2012, Luca Nichetto in 2013 – the imm cologne has underscored just how seriously it takes its goal of an “interior design” fair that depicts a wide range of different product lines. And Luca Nichetto’s interpretation of “Das Haus” was impressive proof that this is a format for the interior design discipline to take seriously – perhaps the first of its kind at such a major furnishing fair.

Final report: trade fair duo imm cologne and LivingKitchen 2013 attracts 142,000 visitors from 137 countries

After seven intense days, the imm cologne closed its doors on Sunday with good to very good results. 1,250 companies from more than 50 countries showcased the latest trends for the coming year and – including estimates for the last day of the fair – attracted 142,000 visitors to Cologne.

This year, there was a 13 percent rise in the internationality of the visitor structure – a significant increase. The international furnishing fair was able to report particularly positive growth in the emerging markets of Eastern Europe and Asia that are so important for the sector. “This result is a great signal for the imm cologne and confirmation of a performance befitting a leading international fair,” said a visibly satisfied Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse. “With this trade fair duo, we have written the next chapter in the success story of the imm cologne and LivingKitchen. Cologne is the absolute focal point of the furniture and kitchen industry – especially when it comes to business,” continues the trade fair corporation’s chief executive officer.

Dirk-Uwe Klaas, Chief Executive of the Association of the German Furniture Industry (Verband der Deutschen Möbelindustrie), came to a similarly positive conclusion: “The imm cologne 2013 was an outstanding trade fair – the German furniture industry is more than satisfied. Despite the wintery weather, visitors flocked to the exhibition centre in droves. We are delighted to report numerous new contacts and customers as well as a pleasing amount of ordering activity. The marked increase in the number of foreign trade visitors is another important component for the fair’s enduring and sustainable success.”

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year 2013! See you soon in Cologne!

The imm cologne social media team wishes all our fans, followers and friends,  Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. We had a lot of fun with you, enjoyed your feedback and all the creative ideas. More than ever before, Cologne will be the central meeting point for the suppliers and decision-makers from all over the world’s most important markets in January 2013.

imm cologne continues to build on its position as the sector’s central business platform. The outstanding infrastracture in the state-of-the-art fair halls and a broad range of services provide a good basis for your success at the fair. Take advantage of this opportunity for good discussions and concrete business deals.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR to all fans and friends of imm cologne. See you soon in Cologne!

Isn’t it romantic? Contemporary Design balancing between Poetry and Provocation: 14 January to 21 April 2013 at the Cologne museum of applied arts

Studio Makkink & Bey, Birdwatch cabinet (for girl), 2006. (photo: © Studio Makkink & Bey)

In literature, music and art, the term ‘romanticism’ refers to an artistic era that reached from the late 18th far into the 19th century. Today we associate this term with attributes such as ‘rapturous’, ‘dreamy’, ‘imaginative’ and ‘poetic’ but also with ‘kitsch’ and with being out of touch with reality. But what, then, does romanticism have to do with contemporary design?

The exhibition ‘Isn’t it romantic? Contemporary Design between Poetry and Provocation’ attempts to address our current understanding of romanticism and to explore the new desire for romanticism.  The longing for beauty and harmony and for a place of fulfilment can be understood as an alternative concept to modernism, which has predominantly shaped our current society. New values such as individuality, sensuousness, uniqueness and affinity with nature stand in opposition to increasing globalisation and mobility, against ubiquitous information overload, against alienation and against the absolute transparency of our private lives.

Against this backdrop, we can observe a shift in contemporary design that, in terms of motivation and goals, can be compared to the historic Romantic Movement. In contrast to the positions represented in the design of the 1960s and 1980s, this current movement is both less radical and less political. The focus is not so much on a radical rejection of the generally accepted understanding of design as related to the notions of perfection, functionality and a reduction of forms, rather it is about a synthesis of the romantic and the modern and about an amalgamation of rationality and irrationality, something which can be observed in current design.

Allure F-digital by Grohe: the digital water experience

Grohe Allure F-digital: the focal point of the digital collection are the two control elements with their universally comprehensible pictograms. (photo: Grohe)
Grohe Allure F-digital: the focal point of the digital collection are the two control elements with their universally comprehensible pictograms. (photo: Grohe)

With its digital products, Grohe is one of the pioneering forces in digital sanitaryware technology and has been continuously expanding this segment since Ondus was launched in 2008. As well as fittings for every kind of bathroom tap, the range also includes digital showers and kitchen fittings. Now Allure F-digital is set to become the new star of the technological bathroom.

When it comes to the design, the company has opted for understated simplicity and a mixture of cuboid and cylindrical shapes. Grohe sees the square base plates of the circular controllers as their style-defining feature. Sized to complement the square base plates of the bent, u-shaped spouts, they are intended to emphasise the harmonious combination of round and angular forms – a characteristic feature of Allure’s design vocabulary.

The focal point of the digital collection are the two control elements with their universally comprehensible pictograms. To start the water flowing, the user simply pushes the power button, tapping lightly on plus and minus to change the temperature. The illuminated LED ring provides visual feedback on the temperature setting. Turning the outer ring of the controller regulates the amount of water. Thanks to their textured surface, the controls are easy to operate even with wet and soapy hands.

Interior Innovation Award 2013: register until 7 November 2012 for the competition!

The Interior Innovation Award is one of the most prestigious design prizes in the international furnishing sector – companies from all product categories of the sector are now invited to enter the competition at www.interior-innovation-award.com. imm cologne is the conceptual sponsor of the competition, which is hosted by the German Design Council.

Companies with products listed in the categories Furniture, Outdoor Products, Bathroom/Wellness, Office/Workplace, Building Fixtures, Walls/Floors/Ceilings, Luminaires, Textiles and last but not least products for Kitchen/Household may register for the competition until 7 November 2012.

The Interior Innovation Award – Best of Best 2013 label will be bestowed to 15 products overall; as an additional highlight three up-and-coming designers will be selected for the Interior Innovation Award at the D3 Contest 2013 talent show. The prize winners will be announced at the imm cologne opening ceremony on 13 January 2013.