Visitors to IMM Cologne this year are invited to experience futuristic living, via the annual ‘Das Haus’ installation. Each year, organisers Koelnmesse invites an upcoming designer to recreate their vision of a home in a 240 sq m area of the exhibition halls. Now in its fifth edition, ‘Das Haus’ has been placed in the hands of German designer Sebastian Herkner, who has imagined a labyrinth-style circular structure, accessible from all sides.
‘Das Haus’ has had a number of eclectic renovations over the years, including the organically multicultural space realised by duo Doshi Levien in 2012 and Neri & Hu’s wooden walkway abode from last year. For the 2016 version, Herkner has focused on softer architecture. Constructed with textiles, his rounded maze structure is devoid of conventional solid walls or straight lines, instead comprising an enveloping space that Herker describes as ‘a (nearly) endless house’.
The space can be walked through as if a gallery; the ‘endless house’ is draped with mobile Nya Nordiska curtains and laden with Dinesen GrandDouglas flooring, structuring the different rooms. All areas meet in the middle, an alfresco-inspired area filled with foliage and a bespoke abstract Caesarstone wall as the backdrop. This, together with the slight transparency of the ‘walls’, creates an open-ended, 'new home' concept that feels almost portable.
The pad also channels Herker's boldly imaginative and colourful spirit in its dynamic styling, offering a flurry of modern designs; from Patricia Urquiola’s tubular steel bathtub for Agape, to Herkner’s own new pieces. Highlights include a framed bed design with integrated bedside tables for Schramm and playfully large, globe-shaped lighting for Polpo.
Herker's 'Das Haus' is a wholly conceptual showcase that doesn't totally fit the 'house' brief, but certainly brings a fresh spin to free living: 'There are no boundaries, no barriers, no corners on which one can bump into or hide behind,' he clarifies. Here's hoping for a proliferation of Herkner's mobile homes in the near future.