Cologne, Germany — The intersection of architecture, interior design and the American lifestyle will be part of the focus at Das Haus, a design event held each year at the 2017 IMM Cologne home furnishings show.
Created by a different designer for each show, Das Haus has been interpreted by design professionals from London, Venice, Copenhagen, Shanghai and Offenbach. For the 2017 show, Todd Bracher, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based graduate of the Pratt Institute and the Danish Design School in Copenhagen, will present what show officials call a “bridge between the U.S. and Europe.”
“For the design, I started thinking about what makes an American home, what it means to be American,” Bracher said during a telephone interview from his studio. “Then I started to realize that I wanted to create the culmination of five mentalities that have influenced me — Denmark, Milan, France, England and the U.S. — and how they intersect with the work I do.”
Bracher’s synopsis of each area includes familiar references. He says Denmark design is “about honesty, driven by weather.” Milan is attributed with poetic elements, an approach that is almost intellectual, according to Bracher, while France has “an elegance to furniture and design in general, one you see in fashion and food as well.” For England, he offers a nod to individuality and contrasts it with the U.S., which he describes as “a little more about market, less personal.”
“This is not a cutely styled home,” Bracher said. “When I was first approached about designing Das Haus, I told the show organizers that they would not get what AD says you should have in a house.”
Noting that many people are “sort of forced to live within a legacy” of a home, Bracher said he wanted to blur the lines between the zones within a residence. He also wanted to be careful to approach the project without injecting his own opinion about living spaces into the mix.
“If you bought a home that was built ten years ago, you will usually have a dining room, but maybe that dining room can be a home office,” Bracher said.
The resulting plan features a sustenance room, a resting room and a hygiene room. Bracher says “the kitchen is the living room is the dining room,” noting that he separated the sleep and hygiene areas from the common space.
“It’s a mind, body, spirit reference,” he says. “In the sustenance room, there is one giant surface in the middle and shelves all around that hold all of the things needed to sustain life. In the resting room, you might sleep or meditate. And the hygiene space is outside because showering outside, in natural surroundings, is an amazing experience.”
Although a conceptual representation, Das Haus also highlights approaches to interior design that can be incorporated into any surroundings, Bracher said. However, he points out that the approach is not necessarily a minimalist one.
“We don’t need 100 pieces of furniture. But if you have 100 things around you and they are all meaningful, then that works.”
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Prior to her role with Designers Today, Cindy attended markets as both a consumer home furnishings editor and interior design client. She has written about the design industry for more than 15 years and still finds editorial inspiration in every corner of the world, from Italian villas to Atlanta urban lofts to country escape tiny homes.