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.
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?
Itâs 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 rasaâ. MVRDVâs 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.
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 BĂ¶se, 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 MĂ¶belindustrie), 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.”
What do you need to create a proper feel-good oasis in your own four walls? Are laminate flooring, woodchip wallpaper and white half-curtains really the answer? Or are soft furnishings with different fabrics the solution, as seen in countries like England or France? This is the question Barbara Friedrich, editor-in-chief ofÂ Architektur & Wohnen magazine, asks herself in her new special on textile furnishings. âCould it be,â she speculates, âthat our idea of modern living has always favoured practical aspects over decorative considerations â and that we are unconsciously continuing this âtraditionâ?â And yet just three or four decades ago, thick carpets, roomy sectional sofas with fabric covers and heavy curtains were still the epitome of German GemĂŒtlichkeit.
Dick Spierenburg is Creative Director of the imm cologneâs new design highlight: âDas Haus â Interiors on Stageâ. For the first installation, he has invited London design studio Doshi Levien to build a sort of turnkey vision of what living in oneâs own four walls can be like in the midst of the Pure Village hall.
Which interior design trends do you think will dominate the next few years?
A lot of developments are apparent right now, but I think trying to infer trends from them is going a bit too far. The complexity of the developments made it difficult to focus on the four trends we depicted in the annual Trend Book. There are always several directions that remain constant as well: quieter ones that aim for simplicity and livelier ones that use lots of colour and materials. That wonât ever change, because there are so many different people out there, so many different clients and interior designers. But it isnât possible to name totally new and completely different trends every year.
The reason modernist architecture is so topical again today is that â perhaps for the first time ever â it is compatible with many peopleâs desire for open living spaces, a more flexible organisation of their lives and aesthetics with a bearing on the present. Today we want to live the way Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier proposed.
But also the way Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien depict in their installation for âDas Haus â Interiors on Stageâ at imm cologne 2012 (16.-22.01.2012) in Cologne: in an individual, lively home with cultural echoes. In a house that permits privacy and publicness, that connects the kitchen, eating and working zones, family and friends, areas of retreat and shared wellness experiences in an individual way.
The conventions that shape the way we live are changing along with our lifestyles, and architecture is enabling a growing number of people to try out new ways of living. The elimination of room boundaries and walls, the new desire for cosiness and the longing for more nature in the house are giving rise to a host of new possibilities for interior design. Today, anybody that wants to build a house for contemporary living needs more than a floor plan â he needs a concept.
The furnishing year 2011 is kicking off with a double sensation. Parallel to the international interior design fair imm cologne, the new international kitchen fair LivingKitchen will also be opening its doors in fully booked halls from 18th to 23rd January. And so, in the third week of January 2011, Cologne won’t just be the design capital of Europe, it will be the gourmet capital as well. At the imm cologne 2011 and LivingKitchen, over 1,200 companies from 49 countries will be presenting more than 100,000 pieces of furniture and even more interior design items on a space of approx. 300,000 mÂČ. Around one third of those products are totally new.
“Cologne is a talking point in the international interior design sector again,” says CEO of Koelnmesse Gerald BĂ¶se. “In view of the huge interest from professional circles and the media, plus the fact that the number of exhibitors who have registered to take part exceeds all our expectations, we can already say that the dual event imm cologne and LivingKitchen, which presents the entire spectrum of interior design in one location, is going to be a total success.”
The success of Pure Village has shown that the increasing overlap between the various product segments and the growing importance of co-ordinated interior design concepts is creating the need for a special forum. At the international interior design fair imm cologne, this need is met by Pure Village. And so that the discussions can continue between the fairs held at the start of every year, the webpage www.purevillage.net is intended to provide a bilingual web platform for information about interior design.
purevillage.net provides a multitude of varied content on design issues relating to furniture, home furnishings, architecture and interior design. Pigeonholing is passĂ©: Anything that influences the quality of interior lifestyle and design can be presented.
A design dictionary helps users expand their basic knowledge; regular news about exhibitors, new products and trends as well as reports on aspects such as colours, materials and sustainability ensure the Pure Village community is always up to date. Company profiles provide interesting insights and give a face to the furniture.
It continues to be a megatrend in the textile sector and a genuine all-rounder that can be combined with anything: the colour white. It stands for purity and weightlessness and adds a sense of freshness and light. But it is also multifaceted. Textile specialist Jab Anstoetz (hall 11.1, stand D021 C020) is even dedicating an entire collection for the spring/summer 2011 season to it: White Passion. 48 items are to be launched in 49 different nuances of white, sometimes presenting the colour as subtle, elegant or pure, sometimes as playful and nonchalant. A mix of different patterns, materials in various shades of white.
Jab Anstoetz describes its Rixa fabric as nothing short of spectacular. Closely spaced, embroidered semicircles on a background of Bobinet tulle are meant to evoke countless slats. The fabric with the lengthways design is only available in snow-white. Elvis, a decorative fabric featuring fine, irregular stripes with different thread counts, seems to fluctuate between transparency and opacity, conjuring up a play of dancing light and shadows in the room.
Itâs been called âhomingâ for years: that magical word, that complete residential concept. Nature, genuineness and heartfelt cordiality are the order of the day, something you instinctively know from your own conception of the pastoral idyll. And for this, there are cosy sofas, fireplace-heated rooms, plush carpets, silky pillows, walls of natural stone, mineral bathtubs, solid wood dressers.
Of course, natural materials like wood, glass, stone have become readily available, along with a colour palette in natureâs spectrum. People are becoming more sensitive to â and sensible with â the resources of this world. Even with furniture, they are paying closer attention to the material and its origins. They are paying heed to the volume of raw materials, and their recyclability. Itâs worth noting here that discussion of the âcradle to cradleâ approach is beginning. âCradle to cradleâ aims at a virtually one hundred percent recovery of all components, and opposes their disposal on the rubbish heap, or their incineration, or their recycling into far inferior components. Increasingly, raw materials are being re-used. Some European furniture manufacturers are already pursuing this prudent approach today.
At imm cologne 2011 and LivingKitchen, roughly 110,000 furniture pieces and even more furnishings are on display. Nearly 30 percent of these are completely new innovations. Given all the diversity, there will always be furniture and furnishings that enjoy particularly strong demand.