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KAP: Michele De Lucchi

 

As an architect and designer, Michele De Lucchi has created iconic buildings and objects. In his Milan-based office, he confidently combines two disciplines. What inspires the designer? What's his mission? An evening about the big picture.

SERIES FOREIGNER. MICHELE DE LUCCHI

»EARTH STATIONS«

DO. SEPTEMBER 19, 2019, 7 PM

Speaker: Michele De Lucchi, architect and designer, Milan
Moderator: Andreas Grosz & Dr. med. Oliver Herwig, KAP Forum for Architecture & Urban Development
Welcome: Dr. med. Petra Hesse, Director MAKK, Cologne
Place: MAKK, Museum of Applied Arts, An der Rechtschule, 50667 Cologne
Registration: KAP FORUM

RURAL UPLIFT
Ritter Schumacher Architekten, Chur

Exhibition: 5 October – 21 November 2019
Opening: Friday, 4 October 2019, 6:30 pm
Location: Aedes Architecture Forum, Christinenstr. 18–19, 10119 Berlin
Opening hours: Tue-Fri 11 am-6:30 pm, Sun-Mon 1-5 pm and Sat, 5 October 2019, 1-5 pm
The architectural office of Ritter Schumacher is based in Chur, located in the eastern Swiss alpine canton of Graubünden. The traditionally close relationship between the city and the surrounding region has shaped the holistic, integrative working approach of Jon Ritter and Michael Schumacher.

The exhibition provides insight into their firm’s planning strategies for rural development in Switzerland. Using their work in the municipality of Churwalden as an example, it shows how a series of precise structural interventions in the rural context has set in motion a consistent, sustainable process of the area and is driving its future development.

Central to the work of the office is to activate the surrounding rural areas through targeted interventions, while working in close dialogue with the municipal administration and users to make the villages and communities more attractive - both for the local population and tourism.

The Swiss municipality of Churwalden lies along the pass road from Chur to Lenzerheide and depends on ski and hiking tourism. The linear village structure developed historically along the main traffic axis. The village is being revitalized in an impressive way through the addition of several functional buildings, where new summer recreational activities will complement the well established ski tourism. Carried out in successive steps, Ritter Schumacher’s projects have been specifically designed for this location and involve all local stakeholders, are leading to the formation of a new, striking town center. The architects’ contribution to development and planning goes well beyond their design expertise. They also act as planning consultants and project developers, initiators of participatory processes, catalysts, while acquiring users for the additional proposed functions in the area.

‘Portal Churwalden’ Gondola Lift/Restaurant
The first new element contributing to Churwalden’s development was the new valley station (2015). It includes a restaurant and viewing platform, while functioning as the entrance building to the Lenzerheide Arosa ski resort. The building’s strategic placement led to a reorganization of the existing local structure. Its expressive design and skillful mix of functions create an unmistakable identity.

Pradafenz Campground
For the redesign of the campground, including the administration and service building (2016), Ritter Schumacher were inspired by the design language of camping trailers with their diverse interior fittings and rounded wheel arches. The building’s striking architecture houses a wide range of services for the campground in Churwalden - used by tourists and locals alike.

Churwalden Bus Terminal/Supermarket
The construction of new buildings in the village center, led to an increased demand for a better public transportation network. This resulted in the Bus Terminal (2017), which was built at the suggestion of the architects as a mixed-use structure, and also functions as a supermarket. This new urban component is located directly on the main thoroughfare and marks the access road to the valley station. The terminal’s contemporary construction using timber, a typical building material in the area, also fosters a sense of local identity.

This was followed by additional structures in the immediate vicinity: a dome-like roof of wooden shingles covers a marble run (2018) which was donated by tennis player Roger Federer, and a tower-like residential building (2018). While an ensemble of new apartment buildings complements the towns striking new center with the creation of a public square, to be completed in 2020.

Exhibition
In the elaborately designed exhibition installation, the urban development process and the projects in Churwalden are explained in detail. These are complemented by further buildings which illustrate the firm’s creative range. Ritter Schumacher received numerous awards for their commitment to the community of Churwalden, including the Award für Marketing + Architektur for the Portal Churwalden in 2016, as well as the Award für Marketing + Architektur and an honorable mention by the Prix Lignum, both for the bus terminal in 2018.

About
Ritter Schumacher is one of the leading architectural firms in Graubünden with offices in Chur, Zurich, and Vaduz/Liechtenstein. The interdisciplinary team consists of architects, technical drawers, interior designers, project managers, site managers, and specialists in the fields of 3D visualization, graphic design, administration, and marketing. In addition to a large number of office and residential buildings, the firm’s multifaceted oeuvre focuses on buildings for research, education, tourism, and infrastructure, as well as revitalization projects, mainly in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. A project for a school for the arts in Liuzhou, China is currently under construction.

More information
www.aedes-arc.de
Speaking at the opening
Dr. h.c. Kristin Feireiss Aedes, Berlin
Rascha Osman Embassy Councellor / Head of Cultural Division, Swiss Embassy in the Federal Republic of Germany
Ulf Meyer architecture journalist, Berlin
Jon Ritter and Michael Schumacher Ritter Schumacher AG, Chur

Bauhaus Tour in Krefeld – Architects' Tour

The Velvet and Silk City and the Bauhaus? Mies van der Rohe buildings, the museum Haus Lange Haus Esters and finally the Krefeld Pavilion by Thomas Schütte, initiated by Christiane Lange, MIK project (Mies in Krefeld). First-rate Bauhaus discoveries for our group of 25 architects. The conclusion after a day's visit to Krefeld and a dinner on the Rhine with a view of industrial architecture and the Uerdingen Rhine Bridge: Come back and once again experience the discoveries Christiane Lange and her project team showed us. Our strong recommendation: visit the traces of the Bauhaus members in Krefeld and let yourself be inspired.

Comment of a participant:

"Thomas Schütte's pavilion and the filmic account of what connects the Bauhaus and Krefeld are truly magnificent. A highlight in the Bauhaus year 2019, which is not exactly lacking in retrospectives. In the Schütte Pavilion, visitors can experience and comprehend with their senses what minds and energies the Bauhaus idea brought forth and in what diverse and wide-ranging ways their craftsmanship and artistic work have continued to have an effect – far beyond the actual Bauhaus and the all-destructive Nazi and war period.

This forges a bridge to the present day, creating a golden thread that must be taken up. Bauhaus for the future!"

100 years, but absolutely not out of fashion:
Discover the Bauhaus in Krefeld.

 

Explorations in the Velvet and Silk City: Bauhaus and Silk Industry at the Krefeld Pavilion by Thomas Schütte – Exhibition: "Alternative for Living" at the art museums Haus Lange + Haus Ester

The Bauhaus in Krefeld? One rather thinks of the Bauhaus as being located in Weimar. It moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925 and was closed in Berlin in 1933. And Krefeld?

The city on the Lower Rhine, known for its former velvet and silk industry, is more closely linked to the Bauhaus than most people know.

In an exhibition venue specially set up for the "100 years of bauhaus" anniversary, the walk-in sculpture Krefeld Pavilion by artist Thomas Schütte, documentary films tell the history of the Bauhaus and its connection to the silk industry localised in Krefeld. The exhibition, which is based on most recent research findings, sheds light on the background of this more than 40-year-old connection and the work of 25 Bauhaus members who lived, learned, and worked in Krefeld.

In a short introduction, Christiane Lange, initiator and curator of the project, introduces its development and the curatorial concept. More than 40 exhibitions and projects in North Rhine-Westphalia commemorate the founding of the famous reform school. This also includes the villa ensemble of Haus Lange and Haus Esters, known well beyond the state borders, which is situated just a short walk from the Krefeld Pavilion. They deal with the topic of "Alternatives for Living".

How did we live in the past, how do we live today, and how will we live in the future? These questions are examined in the famous ensemble. The Bauhaus icons by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, commissioned by the industrialists Hermann Lange and Josef Esters from Krefeld, become an experimental discussion platform as well as a think tank and manufacturing laboratory.

PROGRAMME

Carpet Concept and KAP Forum invite you to a surprising Bauhaus tour through the textile city of Krefeld.

Start:
Friday, 14 June 2019. Meeting point: Museums Haus Esters and Haus Lange. Wilhelmshofsallee 91-97, 47800 Krefeld, Germany Time:
3:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Conclusion:
from 7:00 p.m. onwards at Ristorante La Riva, Dammstrasse 18, Krefeld-Uerdingen (on the Rhine)

Start: 3:00 p.m.
• Individual journey to Krefeld. Meeting point: art museums Haus Lange / Haus Esters
• Visit to the museums Haus Esters and Haus Lange with guided tour of the garden. Wilhelmshofsallee 91-97, 47800 Krefeld, Germany, phone: +49-2151-975580.

approx. 4:30 p.m.
• Visit to the exhibition: Bauhaus and Silk Industry at the Krefeld Pavilion by Thomas Schütte

Walk from the museums to the park:
300 m, passing private residences dating from the Bauhaus period. Information: The Krefeld Pavilion by Thomas Schütte has a floor area of 200 square metres. It was implemented by RKW+, Düsseldorf on behalf of Projekt MIK e.V. Lars Klatte, architect and managing partner of RKW+, will be present.

7:00 p.m.
Conclusion: Ristorante La Riva, Dammstrasse 18, Krefeld-Uerdingen (on the Rhine) – www.la-riva.net

Direction + Organization:
Andreas Grosz, Head of KAP Forum für Architektur + Stadtentwicklung
Thomas Trenkamp, Managing Partner, Carpet Concept
Inken Herzig. Grosz-Herzig. Architektur-Kommunikation.

Speaker:
Christiane Lange, Projekt MIK e.V. – www.projektMIK.com

Further Information on the subject:

1. Haus Esters and Haus Lange: The two neighbouring residences designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe on behalf of the silk manufacturers Dr. Josef Esters and Hermann Lange from Krefeld can quite rightly be described as icons of modernism. The two-storey houses built in the late 1920s are named after the clients, Haus Esters and Haus Lange. With their cubic sections pushed into each other and the characteristic flat roofs, they are regarded as prime examples of classical modernism. They were built at about the same time as Villa Tugendhat in Brno and the world-famous Barcelona Pavilion, which were also designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
2. The Krefeld Pavilion building sculpture by artist Thomas Schütte – one of the most spectacular and unique projects of the Bauhaus year.

The Krefeld Pavilion building sculpture by world-renowned artist Thomas Schütte is a temporary building, a walk-in sculpture. It was implemented on behalf of Projekt MIK e.V. by RKW+ Architektur and constructed by Krogmann Ing.-Holzbau GmbH.

The Krefeld Pavilion is part of the curatorial concept of the exhibition Bauhaus and Silk Industry.

"The decision to ask an artist to create a design for the exhibition site was very conscious," explains Christiane Lange, "it is to be understood as a tribute to fine arts, which made the development of the Bauhaus possible and, as a decisive source of inspiration, shaped the thinking and perception of the protagonists in Krefeld. In addition, it can be interpreted as deliberate irritation to counter the clichéd appropriation of the Bauhaus."

In his group of models, Schütte has been dealing with architectural forms for decades. Hereby, the Bauhaus and its architectural idea do not play a role for the artist.

At the cradle of the Bauhaus

Carpet Concept renovated an old Bauhaus ensemble at the cradle of the Bauhaus near Weimar. This is where the textile soul of the company is at home: the Carpet Concept carpet factory. A cultural building that has been carefully built up and is being newly acknowledged on the occasion of the 100th Bauhaus anniversary.

In 2019, Germany celebrates the founding of the Bauhaus 100 years ago, the legendary art school founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius, whose avant-garde ideas made it a pioneer of classical modernism.
It will be one of the central cultural events of the year, illustrating the unique triumph that this idea originating in Weimar achieved in architecture and design.

Carpet Concept has been influenced by the ideas of the Bauhaus school since its foundation 25 years ago. After breaking through the barriers between art, industry and craftsmanship, the company followed the guiding principle of creating a new textile architecture. Münchenbernsdorf used to be an important centre of the carpet industry and had six weaving mills. Five of them were shut down. What has remained is the Carpet Concept carpet weaving mill, today located in a renovated ensemble and employing 60 people. Innovative materials and surprising carpet collections secure the future.

Carpet Concept started the careful restoration of the Bauhaus ensemble, which is considered an exception today with its production halls, interiors, and characteristic red brick façade. In addition to the production area, there are sample and storage areas, a showroom, a congress and acoustics centre, and insights into the company's cultural commitment. A museum makes the history of weaving tangible. An exhibition that has attracted nationwide interest presents the collection of old GDR tapestries. There are also congress areas, which stand for top-class architecture and design events, and a weaving kitchen. Not least because cooking is understood as just as creative and sensual a process as weaving itself.

In 2019, Carpet Concept is therefore also celebrating the Bauhaus anniversary. Its cultural roots, which are characteristic of the company and whose great innovative power is based not least on breaking through the barriers between art, industry, craftsmanship, and science, still shape the appeal of the term "Made in Germany" worldwide today.

The Bauhaus weavers

Carpet Concept weaves carpets in a Bauhaus ensemble. In Münchenbernsdorf, a design by the famous but not undisputed Bauhaus weaver Margaretha Reichhardt was once created. Several exhibitions in Thuringia are now devoted to her.

Whether at the loom or camera lens: women had a lasting influence on the famous Bauhaus. It is still hardly known that they contributed to shaping the Bauhaus to a considerable extent. The first woman among the Bauhaus masters to become famous was weaver Gunta Stölzl. "All new! There is nothing inhibiting about my outward life, I can shape it as I please," she rejoiced in 1919, studying under Gropius.

In that year, Walter Gropius had opened the State Bauhaus and proclaimed: "Every respectable person whose talent and previous training is considered sufficient by the Master Council is accepted as an apprentice, regardless of age and gender.
In the first semester, he already saw more female than male applicants. Many women finally seized the opportunity that had been denied them until then – to attend an art academy. That is why many of the young women who began their studies at the Weimar Bauhaus had already completed an apprenticeship.

This was also the case with Margaretha Reichhardt, who trained at the Staatlich-Städtische Handwerker- und Kunstgewerbeschule ("State-City Trades and Arts and Crafts School") in Erfurt from 1921 to 1925 and began her studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau in 1926.

She also became a successful weaver, specialised with Gunta Stölzl, and became a freelancer in her weaving mill from 1930. In the summer of 1931, she earned the Bauhaus Diploma No. 54.

Margaretha Reichhardt was not undisputed. It was said that she and fellow students hatched a plot against Gunta Stölzl and harassed her due to her Jewish husband. As a result, Gunta Stölzl left the Bauhaus, as did Margaretha Reichhardt. Margaretha Reichhardt then set up her own small manufactory in Erfurt. Later on, she moved to a traditional house, which today is considered a first-rate cultural-historical monument and offers interesting exhibitions in the Bauhaus anniversary year.

Just an hour's drive from Erfurt, in the Thuringian town of Münchenbernsdorf, a company is also dealing with the Bauhaus weavers. Carpet Concept has been producing sustainable carpets in a carefully renovated Bauhaus ensemble for 25 years. The guiding principle of the Bauhaus has been implemented here since the company was established: with the synthesis of architecture, craftsmanship, and art, the company has created carpets that have meanwhile won over 120 renowned design awards. Carpet Concept also produced a carpet with the design by the famous Bauhaus weaver Margaretha Reichhardt: woven and made available for an exhibition of the Thuringian Design Centre. A close relationship with the Bauhaus still characterises Carpet Concept today: the search for the potentials that can be derived from the Bauhaus heritage for the 21st century and point to a sustainable future.

Visit:

Bauhaus venue
Margaretha-Reichardt House
Tel. +49 361 7968726
Am Kirchberg 32
99094 Erfurt

The Reichardt House in Erfurt with its original workshop was redesigned for the Bauhaus anniversary year and is one of the most important Bauhaus sites. Margaretha Reichardt set up her own textile workshop here after receiving her Bauhaus diploma in 1931 – first at the Severihof, from 1939 in Erfurt-Bischleben. House, workshop (including two original Bauhaus looms) and the garden are now a first-rate cultural and historical monument. The workshop in the basement houses several properly functioning handlooms, which Christine Leister, a student of Reichardt, uses today to demonstrate the art of handloom weaving, but also to produce fabrics according to historical models.

Opening hours
Visit and demonstration of the art of hand weaving by appointment under +49 361 7968726 or 49 361 655-1640.

Exhibition in Erfurt
Four Bauhaus Girls: From Apprenticeship to Life
Gertrud Arndt / Marianne Brandt / Margarete Heymann / Margaretha Reichardt

How was it possible for young women trained at the Bauhaus to establish themselves as independent designers in the 1920s and 1930s? The exhibition focuses on four artists and shows how their creative work developed. The works represent the important Bauhaus trades of photography, metal, ceramics, and textiles.

Angermuseum Erfurt, Anger 18, 99084 Erfurt
Phone +49 361 655-1651
until 16 June 2019

Red Dot Award 2019 for Eco Roc

The new carpet from Carpet Concept made of Jacquard fabric impresses with its three-dimensional surface and receives the renowned Red Dot Award 2019 in the Product Design category.

"The winner is" – The Red Dot Award 2019 in the Product Design category goes to the new product Eco Roc from Carpet Concept. Eco Roc was only presented at Orgatec four months ago, but is already experiencing enormous demand.

The reason for this is the unparalleled design using extremely hard-wearing jacquard fabric and its three-dimensional surface. They shape the new and distinctive characteristics of Eco Roc. The jacquard patterned flat-weave carpet strikingly reveals the technique used to create it.
The environmentally friendly and durable CSR product is already being installed in work and hotel areas. Here, it impresses with excellent sustainability, comfort and durability values, which are designed for use in areas subject to heavy wear and tear. With its new colour worlds and different formats, it offers boundless possibilities for individualising rooms and creating retreats or creative labs. The eco-friendly production process makes Eco Roc a resource-saving classic. Acoustically equipped, it helps to create an optimal, health-promoting balance in open-plan configurations. Eco Roc is available as broadloom and carpet tile in various colour shades.

 

CSR reporting:

Corporate Social Responsibility - since its foundation in 1993, Carpet Concept has consistently pursued the goal of constantly developing new and more sustainable products and manufacturing processes for the recycling of its products. From an early stage, Carpet Concept took advantage of the opportunity to use recycled products and implemented this with the manufacturer Aquafil, among others. Since 2011, Aquafil has been collecting meandering fishing nets in the oceans and has established a worldwide collection network. In a specially developed regeneration system, the nylon material is recovered from the fishing nets and processed into yarn. With every tonne of collected marine waste, Carpet Concept can produce around 1,000 square metres of carpet.

 

Red Dot Award:

This year, the jury received entries from 59 countries. All submitted products were individually evaluated by an independent and international jury over several days. More than ever, the Red Dot Award: Product Design stands for one of the most renowned evaluation procedures for good design and innovation.

"Passion for interior design can be felt"

Carpet Concept presented the 11th INsider Award in Cologne

Yesterday, the INsider Award, the most prestigious interior design prize, was presented for the eleventh time in Cologne. "This award strengthens our position in architecture as a whole," describes Moritz Köhler from Studio Komo, Stuttgart, who came first in the INsider Award 2018. "It honours an industry in a special and continuous way that otherwise always has to argue strongly about its value and price."

"We initiated the INsider Award 2008 out of conviction," reports Thomas Trenkamp, Managing Partner of Carpet Concept, at the festive award ceremony. "We didn't just want to talk about floors, we are interested in architecture and the passion for this subject."

Moritz Köhler was awarded for his virtuously planned working environments as well as for the design of new catering areas. His holistic approach, which includes the graphics of a project as well as the formation of a name, was convincing. 

With his approach to interior design, Georg Thiersch from Büro eins:33, Munich, was also able to convince the expert jury, which awarded him second place of the INsider Award 2018. Creating architectural brand quality, rethinking exhibition design or retail concepts are the focal points of the studio, which was recently ranked among the top 50 agencies in the German creative industry. 

Annika Wegener from ESTHET Innenarchitektur, Hanover, was quickly chosen as the third prize-winner. The young interior designer and trained carpenter stands for customized design concepts and particularly for sustainability, which she focuses on in her work to improve coexistence and consumer behaviour in society.

The festive award ceremony of the INsider Award 2018 took place in the historic Sancta-Clara-Keller in Cologne and was opened by the patron and INsider Award winner of 2016, Robert Piotrowski.

 

About the INsider Award:

The INsider Award was initiated by Carpet Concept in 2008 to honour the best personal achievement in interior design every year. The award aims to find the outstanding interior designer of the year. In the run-up phase, the patron and the readers of AIT/AIT Dialog nominate the participants of the INsider Award.

At a three-day conference (held in Lisbon in 2018), the nominees present their work and their personal approach to interior design to each other and then choose the winners from among themselves. This selection process gives interior experts the opportunity to present their work and perspectives on interior design and to engage in discourse with colleagues.

NEO at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2019

Comfort for every room: NEO, the new tailored carpet from Carpet Concept.

Premiere for the new tailored carpets from Carpet Concept. Architects, designers, and other interested people from over 100 countries visited the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair from 5 to 9 February. On more than 70,000 square metres of exhibition space, the Carpet Concept stand was considered a favourite.

With NEO, the innovative company is presenting a special collection – the tailored carpets are produced in an environmentally friendly way and were therefore in sustained demand at the most important trade fair for Scandinavian design.

With its free shapes, NEO makes for new configurations in lounge and living area as well as offices. In combination with armchairs and small tables, casual islands are created that provide a new homely feeling with very little effort. As a modular system, the new solitaires match the Carpet Concept tiles and broadloom carpets in terms of colours and textures. Innovative products for the trend towards natural, uncomplicated, and healthy living

Premiere for NEO

Forms of living are changing, so are carpets. With NEO, Carpet Concept and the interior designers of Raumkontor developed new formats: individually tailored carpets with free shapes that are reminiscent of pebbles or moss surfaces and have clear edges. Street style for the floor. NEO always fits in: new arrangements in the lounge, living area, hotel, or office. Because progress thrives on innovation.

With a clear edge: NEO 1
Individually tailored for creative statements: latex accentuates the edging. A cool fashion material that was brought to the carpet. NEO 1, a handmade, minimalist carpet. A casual statement that shows a clear edge and adds highlights.

Congenial non-adjustment: NEO 2
Free shapes make statements. Whether casual arrangement or islands in a room: NEO 2 are unadjusted components for real life. With its new design vocabulary, Carpet Concept is developing a real innovation for living environments.

The NEO collection from Carpet Concept is produced in an environmentally friendly way and designed for expansion.

100 creative ways for the room: As a modular system, the new solitaires correspond to tiles and broadloom carpets in terms of colours and textures.

Premiere for NEO at the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair.
Visit us from 5 to 9 February 2019 - Booth A18:21

“Create and Connect”

Carpet Concept supports three-dimensional sculpture developed at the University of Wismar.

Following the main theme of Domotex 2019, "create'n'connect", an unusual, daily growing framework was created at the "connect it3" stand of the University of Wismar.

Over the course of the trade fair, visitors had the opportunity to continuously develop an interactive sculpture made of carpets from Carpet Concept like a growing cell by linking isosceles triangles. Sarah Strenge, an interior design student, had come up with this extraordinary idea. Carpet Concept supported her with a total of 100 m² of carpet from the collections Ply Rips, Cube, Lay, and Isy Rips as well as two ready-made woven velour products.

Orange cable ties provided stability between the modules. This allowed the textile triangles to be tilted along their axes at will to create three-dimensional sculptural forms and shapes.

Under the motto of "Analogue – Interactive – Together", Sarah Strenge's project, accompanied by Prof. Oliver Hantke, attracted numerous visitors to the stand. Every day, they playfully tried out new combinations of shapes and materials that resulted in an exciting and individual structure.

DARING MORE ADVENTURES

“VORDENKER” SERIES – NATHALIE DE VRIES INSPIRES WITH HYBRID THINKING AT THE MAKK IN COLOGNE.

The newly renovated lecture hall of the MAKK in Cologne was bursting at the seams. Approximately 250 guests followed the lecture given by Nathalie de Vries as part of the VORDENKER series initiated by the KAP Forum and Carpet Concept, specialist for acoustic rooms and sustainable carpets. Under the title of "Hybrid/Experiments", the co-founder of MVRDV demonstrated the potential of multifunctional buildings and planning.

"Is the city a laboratory?" asked the architect rhetorically – and immediately gave the answer: "Urban spaces must condense, optimize, intermingle. We want a better, more livable city." This was also a rejection of Adenauer's election campaign slogan in the 1950s – no experiments. It is quite astonishing that the outgoing professor at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf (she is moving to Delft) could not find any examples of hybrid and multifunctional buildings in Germany – nor could her students.

 

Nathalie de Vries gave a one-hour lecture on the significance of hybrids in her own work. But what is a hybrid? It is about new, networked thinking, conceptual and free of barriers. There could be a third room, built for private use and yet completely public, a house so openly designed for very different users with very individual needs. This sounded a bit like postmodern theory, similar to what Wolfgang Welsch advocated in his "Perspektiven für das Design der Zukunft" ("Perspectives for the Design of the Future") published in 1990: "The classic-modern maxims of expression or transparency are losing their significance and are being replaced by strategies of contrast, invention and paradox. Only they take into account our "chaotic" world full of overlaps and instabilities. Disturbances and hybrid formations correspond to postmodern life experience."

A radiant sign of change is the Markthal in Rotterdam (https://www.mvrdv.nl/projects/markethall/). A hybrid of public space and intimate retreat, big gesture, big underground garage, and big thinking. The apartments stacked on both sides lean towards each other and form a barrel vault under which public life and togetherness take place: protected from the weather and perfectly accessible.

 

With each new project, the liberating element of hybrid thinking was condensed – from the Ku.Be House of Culture and Movement in Copenhagen (https://www.mvrdv.nl/projects/KUBEhouseofmovement/), a place where people from 1-101 years of age can come together, to the proposal of a greened and decelerated Schiphol Airport (2. place, www.mvrdv.nl/projects/schiphol-airport-terminal-a), an urban planning project in Seoul (https://www.mvrdv.nl/projects/seoul-skygarden), and residential buildings such as "The Valley" (https://www.mvrdv.nl/projects/valley) – vertical living landscapes in Amsterdam that look as if the architects had poured acid onto a polystyrene block, but actually calculated optimal angles for balconies and apartments with the help of computers. "Living in high-rise buildings – we as lowlanders still have to learn that," said the architect and won over the audience one more time.

 

So why don't we build houses that contain everything within themselves right away, asked architect Nathalie de Vries quite rightly – and it sounded like a call for disposing of a few building regulations files. In the end, she gave some indications of what she so aptly described as "shallow": the ability to allow hybrid forms from the outset, such as at the threshold of office space and rented apartments, the rededication of which may not be as difficult as often experienced: higher ceiling heights than usual, an active, open ground floor with shops and public facilities, and a few undefined areas.

Hybridity actually means "doing a little more of everything" and "going outside". So, get up from the desk and from the comfortable sofa and get out to where life is happening, socialise, be ready to share ideas.

Are we not hybrids ourselves, the architect asked at the end – and numerous guests agreed.

 

Text: Dr. Oliver Herwig & Andreas Groß
Photographs: Studio für Gestaltung