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    Ilustration: MUT Design; Koelnmesse

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    Ilustration: MUT Design; Koelnmesse

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    Andres Reisinger

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    Photo credit: Wallpaper*

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Inside out: blurring the borders between the interior and exterior for imm cologne 2020.

Georgina Johnston
04 Dec 2019

With the interpretation of the “Das Haus” design event by MUT Design, imm cologne is set to play host to a highly architectural creation once again in 2020.

The Spanish creatives will present a visionary living concept in which the inside of the house is turned to face outward. By removing the boundaries between the interior rooms and between the internal and external space, the living experience is opened up, not only to nature but also to the community of residents.

Das Haus 2020 is reminiscent of a classical pavilion: formed from the combination of a circle and a square, styled with minimalist furnishings and open on all sides. It’s an example of ideal architecture, perfect for a house nestled within the Albufera. Founded a decade ago by Alberto Sánchez and Eduardo Villalón, their selection of materials and harmonious colour schemes for this vision of home living for imm cologne 2020 were inspired by the colours of this breathtaking lagoon landscape.

But the pavilion is not being constructed in the sun-drenched landscape of Valencia; it will instead be showcased at the heart of the imm cologne from 13 to 19 January 2020 (Hall 3.1).

With their abstract approach, the designers from Valencia will have hopefully succeeded in making an aesthetically persuasive and hugely appealing statement in support of a living concept that unites architecture and nature, for opportunities for privacy and communal living. 

“A la fresca”, meaning to “step out into the fresh air” is the name MUT Design have given to their interpretation of imm cologne’s walk-in simulated living space, which is laid out by a different young, influential designer or design team every year. The Spaniards’ choice of name is a reference to the culture that still persists in the area’s villages of meeting up in the streets and squares of an evening. After the heat of the day, which forces people to stay behind closed doors, this custom provides an opportunity to sit down together with neighbours and friends to enjoy the fresh breeze at leisure. 

Set in an open landscape and enclosed by a large glazed façade, Das Haus would be a perfect holiday home. But restricting this architectural concept to the getaway from the everyday is too limiting. Life in direct contact with an environment that is as close to nature as possible reflects a very real need that is steadily growing, especially among city dwellers. Progressive architecture is responding to this need with large glazed façades, bright rooms and an apparently seamless transition between internal and external spaces. Das Haus takes this idea to the extreme with its architectural design because it is entirely open to its surroundings. 

The circular general outline is framed by a flat square of reflective metal, which symbolises a body of water broken up by grasses. Artificial light is largely avoided. Instead, Das Haus radiates from within: the cave-like private area located in the centre between diagonally convergent wall panels is illuminated by a light source that aims to imitate the natural light of the sun as it moves across the sky over the course of the day. 

“Life on the Mediterranean is synonymous with life outdoors. Since time immemorial, our homes have always incorporated an element of nature into their interiors,” MUT Design explain. Traditionally, patios have been shaded inner courtyards which form the organisational centre in Mediterranean architecture. Social life also revolves around this hybrid space. However, in their concept for Das Haus, MUT Design have turned this structure around: Das Haus “A la fresca” evolves from the inside outwards. Although the centre still appears to be the backbone of the house and is filled with daylight, the actual function of the patio as an integrated open-air space has been relocated to the outside. Perhaps visitors to Das Haus will be a little disconcerted as they search for the boundary between the indoors and outdoors, because they simply won’t find it. 

The structure of Das Haus seems to be upside down. The central area for retreat, the Refugium, is surrounded by four veranda-like spaces: a room for relaxation and dressing, an activity area, a kitchen and an area for personal hygiene.

Our intention was to soften the boundaries between indoors and outdoors.

A. Sánchez,  MUT Design.

The Spanish design team have therefore not only brought a piece of nature into the home but they have moved home life itself outdoors.

A bathroom in the open air exerts an immense fascination. We can imagine that the experience of the warm summer has not only made outdoor kitchens more popular, but also increased the desire to experiment with outdoor bathrooms.

E. Villalón, Founder of MUT Design. 

High-quality tables, chairs, pouffes and rugs, all suitable for outdoor use, occupy the four spaces that open concavely outwards: an outdoor cooking station serves as the barbecue-ready kitchen; there is a hammock instead of a bed in the room designed for relaxation; the dressing and hygiene area is symbolically linked to the surrounding area of water. 

Modern architecture not only seeks to create flowing transitions between indoors and outdoors; it designs fluid, multifunctional spaces in which furniture can assume highly diverse possibilities for use and form zones. This “loft” concept ensures expansiveness even on a small scale. A contemporary living space must be open to individual and changing functions.

In Das Haus by MUT Design at imm cologne 2020, this forward-looking home culture will be staged as an experiment in the form of semi-circular sections of space linked to each other via the external sides. All the areas have an open design and are used communally. Cocooning is directed inwards, while community opens up outwards and this is how the highly symbolic architecture can be read. Only the room hinted at in the centre is conceived as a separate area with a corresponding closeness and cave- like architecture. It forms a space that can be used for meditation and quiet retreat.

The rooms are designed as individual entities, but they are simultaneously very open so as to create a feeling of the utmost fluidity.

A. Sánchez and E. Villalón. 

To bring the outdoor way of life into the interior of their concept for the home, Das Haus will be furnished with quality garden furniture. A series of specially developed new products will celebrate their premieres at imm cologne 2020. They include a hammock, an outdoor rug and a room divider by GAN, a rattan chair by Expormim and a chair by Diabla. The new outdoor chair for Gandia Blasco and MUT Design’s new developments for Cappellini (a chair), Sancal (a pouffe) and Preciosa Lighting (a pendant lamp) as well as MUT’s addition to the Nudo series for Ex.t were chosen to bring the snug cosiness of interior spaces into the outdoors. The central lamp assumes a special importance. Like a light well, it simulates the incidence of natural light from the sun as it travels across the sky in the course of a day. “The light is designed to stream freely through the open areas and swim on the water. It acts as a frame and a thread that ties the whole structure together,” explains MUT Design. The new convex-shaped tiles by Peronda provide a consistent covering for the walls and floors. The colours and materials are soft and simple: sand, terracotta, white, blending the modern, rustic style and minimalism. 

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