Das Haus

Installation for IMM Cologne

It started with a conversation about how you define the home and the vision came together, drawing on a fragmented collage of memories, real and imagined. This is Doshi Levien’s dream of the perfect home, uniting very plural points of view. Das Haus is all about domestic activity and redefining traditional spaces, re-structuring the house into functional areas, eating, sleeping, bathing, dressing, socialising and working. The relationship between these spaces is crucial; making the transitions and connections from each area is an essential aspect of Doshi Levien’s design. Their project challenges clichéd notions of what is a bedroom, kitchen or bathroom. Every part of the house is connected and redefined. This is very much an urban space, inspired by cities that team with life like Tokyo or Mumbai and houses that develop over time, absorbing different identities and influences. Das Haus is an evocative space, sensual and layered, rooted in reality but closer to the notion of a perfect house, one that is never complete. Ultimately Das Haus is an optimistic and positive vision for the future.

Das Haus was a temporary installation however there are pieces that were made as prototypes for the project that are now in production. The ‘Chandlo’ dressing table is  available to buy at BD Barcelona. The ‘Manzai’ dining table original prototype is available to buy directly from Doshi Levien.

‘Chandlo’ dressing table

‘Manzai’ dining table

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Doshi Levien’s vision of a perfect house is rooted and enmeshed in the socio-economic fabric of its urban neighbourhood. This is not a stand-alone house to be admired as a monument from the outside, but a space that is sandwiched between other buildings and reveals different aspects of itself depending on where you arrive from. In this sense it is inspired from mixed use neighbourhoods of Shanghai, Mumbai, Tokyo or Rome. Doshi Levien worked with intersecting volumes of the kind you might find in industrial buildings to create fragmented spaces. They were thinking of walls of different degrees of transparency and frames with mesh-like coverings, rather like Indian jaalis.

A space for dressing is also a space to curate and celebrate clothing and other personal treasures, displayed in a large transparent display box. Central to the space is Doshi Levien’s new dressing table for BD Barcelona, which like the house escapes the restrictive notion of what should go where.

Art is an essential and integrated component for Das Haus. A large multi media mural by graphic designers Pony explored the whole ethos of the house, revealing all the different areas, and illustrating how they come together. Part utility space, workspace, part shop; this draws on the fluid proximity of all these elements on the streets of Tokyo and Mumbai. So there is room here for home maintenance, to make useful things and encouraging creative engagement. This space is also for selling to the neighbourhood through a large opening in the wall, an opportunity to combine commercial and domestic spheres. Unlike most houses, there are no defined spaces for children here, acknowledging that children rarely observe boundaries, instead follow their curiosity.

Escaping the traditional notion of the dining room, Doshi Levien designed ‘manzai’, a large table in the central courtyard, a place that is private and protected from the elements, an ideal place for eating. Plants and herbs provide a link with the kitchen. In the courtyard there is also a pipe for showering outdoors, washing feet and watering plants. This is an inner world. In this house, you really do face inside from wherever you happen to be, towards the courtyard where the dining table is and all the activities of the house converge.