For architects Lyndon Neri and Rossana Hu, the ideal home is unsettling. “We want to challenge people so they don’t just see a trade fair with the most beautiful furniture and the best materials, but really begin to question where we stand today – especially also in China,” the Shanghai-based duo explain. “Are we using furniture in the right way? How much do we need? And what is it really: the home?”
The husband-and-wife team, responsible for such projects as the Meridien in Zhengzhou and currently designing hotels with Ian Schrager, is referring to Das Haus: the main installation at IMM Cologne in Germany. Each year, a designer is invited to simulate a 240-square-metre residence, and past contributors have included Luca Nichetto, Louise Campbell and Doshi Levien.
Titled Memory Lane, Neri & Hu’s version references Shanghai’s narrow laneways, characterized by cheek-by-jowl neighbours, and to the childhood-evoking memories the architects plan to create as people walk through. The grid-like house opens with a metal scaffold, to convey the idea that the home is a place of refuge as well as a cage for possessions and rituals. An enclosed, meandering bridge will lead visitors through the installation and offer small glimpses into the various rooms between the bars. The material palette includes bricks, wood and wire, plus artifacts such as reclaimed windows and doors from traditional Chinese buildings. The house will be furnished with existing furniture pieces by the architecture firm as well as prototypes they’ve developed for major manufacturers.
Neri & Hu’s Das Haus – Interiors on Stage will be exhibited from January 19-25, 2015 at IMM Cologne in Germany.