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A la Fresca

Das Haus 2020 by MUT Design merges indoors and outdoors.

Photos by MUT Design; Koelnmesse

With the interpretation of the “Das Haus” design event by design team MUT Design, the international Interior Business Event imm cologne hosted a highly architectural creation once again in 2020. The Spanish creatives presented a visionary living concept in which the inside of the house is turned to face the outside.

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 – and the world beyond.

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

But the pavilion was constructed in the sun-drenched landscape of Valencia; it was instead showcased at the heart of the international Interior Business Event imm cologne from 13 to 19 January (Hall 3.1). With their abstract approach, the designers from Valencia have succeeded in making an aesthetically persuasive and – thanks to their notion of a hybrid space – hugely appealing statement in support of a living concept that unites architecture and nature, indoors and outdoors, opportunities for privacy and communal living.

“A la fresca” – 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.

Architecture of longing as a vision of the future

Set in an open landscape and enclosed by a large glazed façade, Das Haus by MUT Design would be a perfect holiday home. But restricting this architectural concept to 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 by MUT Design takes this idea to extremes with its architectural design, which 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.

Outdoor living as an interior design concept: indoors is outdoors

“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, the patio has been shaded inner courtyard that forms 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 towards the outside. 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 by MUT Design will be a little disconcerted as they search for the boundary between the indoors and outdoors – they 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,” says Alberto Sánchez of MUT Design, summarising the concept.

The Spanish design team has therefore not only brought a piece of nature into the home – they have moved home life itself outdoors. “A bathroom in the open air exerts an immense fascination,” says Eduardo Villalón. “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.”

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.

The architectural concept: removing the boundaries in space

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 – 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,” explains Alberto Sánchez and Eduardo Villalón.

Lifestyle: an aesthetic of freedom and warmth

To bring the outdoor way of life into the interior of their concept for the home, Das Haus by MUT Design 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 ... a blend of a modern, rustic style and minimalism.

Event + Exhibition, Furniture, Garden + Terrace, Installation + Public art, Kitchen + Bathroom, Lifestyle, Lighting Design, Object + Accessory, Product

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