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Four Top Designers To Present Two Ideal Houses At Cologne Show In January

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Four designers will be taking part in the ideal houses cologne project at imm cologne 2006. Here, three international newcomers - Astrid Krogh, Stefan Diez and Joris Laarman - will be taking on Dieter Rams, the doyen of technical minimalism. The four designers have now presented their ideas for this unusual project to the general public for the first time. The ideal houses attract a large number of visitors at every imm cologne - the world's leading trade fair for the furniture and interior design sector. For the next imm cologne, in January 2006, the ideal houses will be set up in a new location at the restructured exhibition center. The three-story houses will then be found in Hall 11 (formerly Hall 13), at the heart of the regular exhibition area. They will surround the escalators used by the visitors to move between the various levels of the trade fair. Three celebrated up-and-coming designers from various countries will be presenting their visions in competition with those of Dieter Rams, the former Chief Designer at Braun, whose creativity still influences the design scene today. The most exciting aspect of this new concept is that the ideas presented by Rams and the three newcomers will be directly linked with one another, allowing interaction with the visitors to the fair. Rams's design is clearly in line with his credo of "Less, but better." His house features natural elements such as wood, stone and plants - from the outside in and from the inside out. In a courageous statement against current trends, Rams's ideal house is not given over to excessive self-portrayal. The furniture and decorative objects are designed primarily to fulfill a purpose. They are functional items rather than status symbols, and they are intended not to be obtrusive, but to create space that allows the inhabitants of the house to feel comfortable. Rams's ideal house consists of five rooms and three floors. They are slightly raised and appear to float in an imaginary landscape that reconciles nature and architecture. The lower floor comprises four rooms arranged in a U-shape around the escalator. The middle story, meanwhile, is devoted entirely to nature, with water flowing through an implied garden. A fifth room is located next to the escalator on the upper floor of the house. The walls are arranged according to a wooden grid of units measuring 1 m by 50 cm - an unusual design that expresses Rams's admiration for the American design legends Ray and Charles Eames. "It's my appreciation for the sustained values of quality, integrity and intelligence," explains Rams. "It's not a dogmatic manifesto, but a link between the demanding and the simple; between east and west." The upper level of the house is where Rams's design meets the living style vision of the Danish textile designer Astrid Krogh. She'll be breathing life into her part of the house by means of artistic ornaments: wallpaper, glowing tapestries, video installations and technically sophisticated textiles. Krogh's ornaments recreate structures she finds in nature and the outside world in general. Her designs bring this outside world into the home, representing nature in a man-made space. They are important by virtue of the fact that they are organic and unpredictable. Krogh's ideal house features dynamic walls and decorations that are constantly subjected to a process of change, allowing her to switch regularly between the outside environment and the interior of the house. One level down, the German designer Stefan Diez will be presenting his own visions of tomorrow's living styles. His ideal house is an oasis in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the trade fair, encased in a special wooden covering that completely separates the room from its surroundings. Once inside, visitors can no longer see the lights from the trade fair, the hall pillars or even the escalator that Diez's ideal house is arranged around. In a public space, Diez creates a private room whose content is chosen by him alone. This room exists independently of its physical or temporal surroundings and contains only those items of furniture and design objects that are relevant to the person who has designed it or inhabits it. The Dutch designer Joris Laarman will be presenting his interpretation of the ideal house on the lower floor. His house is an ongoing experiment; a living space that remains almost entirely fluid and thereby stimulates the imagination. It has no walls, because furniture and design objects are intended to show themselves openly rather than hiding behind architecture. The most eye-catching part of his design is a climbing wall that appears to grow upwards like ivy or a beanpole, forming an alternative staircase. Laarman's vision is an ever-changing experiment for modern, contemporary home styles, and each visitor can choose particular design elements from it, according to their individual taste. Together, the three up-and-coming designers are offering an unusual insight into the framework of modern design. To them, houses are not closed units with an independent existence, but rooted in history. They exist in particular surroundings and are shaped by the people who live in them, who give their homes an unmistakable character. Through their ideal houses, the three international newcomers aim to illustrate this interaction between interior and exterior influences from three completely different perspectives. From January 16 to 22, 2006, at the new part of the Cologne exhibition center, visitors at imm cologne will be able to discover the visionary nature of the ideal houses and their designers.

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