20 July 2024, 15:53
By Victoria Noakes Jan 17, 2017

Todd Bracher – simple contemporary living

Das Haus – Interiors on Stage is a design installation featured each year at the German interiors exhibition imm cologne, where an influential designer is provided with a chance to comment on modern-day living through a simulation of a residential house combining architecture, interior design and furnishings. Renowned US designer Todd Bracher has been chosen to create the installation for the 2017 edition of the international event.

Established in 2012, imm cologne’s Das Haus – Interiors on Stage installation is hosted on an open stage measuring around 240m² at the international furnishing show. Taking the form of an imitation of a residential house, its layout, furnishings, decor and architectural elements change each year in line with the plans of a new designer chosen by imm cologne.

The project focuses on contemporary furnishing trends in addition to the aspirations of the public and social change. It aims to address pressing issues such as how to make the most of the living space and what function the home should have in an increasingly fast-paced and evolving society, offering the designer a space in which to answer these questions.

The end result is a fully integrated interior design which makes use of thoughtfully-chosen furniture, colours, materials, lighting and accessories. The concept should be future-oriented as well as practical, functional and original. The installation gives the designer an opportunity to present their unique style in addition to making a personal statement on contemporary living.

This year, Todd Bracher, a leading name in the US design scene, will create the installation at imm cologne. Born in New York in 1974, Todd studied Industrial Design at the city’s prestigious Pratt Institute, and completed a Masters in Interior and Furniture Design at the Danish School of Design in Copenhagen. Todd also lived in Europe for 10 years, learning the inner workings of the design industry.

In 2007, Todd founded his own studio in Brooklyn, New York, and works as a design strategist and creative director, collaborating with leading design brands from around the world, including Cappelini, Fritz Hansen, Herman Miller, Humanscale, Issey Miyake and Swarovski. His work is characterised by a quest for functionality, whilst offering solutions to problems of contemporary life and work.

Todd has a fascination with science combined with appreciation for human needs, and feels it is his role as a designer to identify solutions that make life easier for people whether at work or at home. “Design is not about my opinion. It should be about truths and have meaningful impact on both the end user and the business that is providing those solutions,” he states.

Todd’s Das Haus project features clear architectural design and moments of sensory surprise, whilst reconfiguring the elements of home living, with varied but overlapping zones which are designed and furnished to meet modern-day needs. Under a floating roof are two interwoven but contrasting frames – one a large space surrounded by bookshelves as walls and a semi-transparent shell, the other a black cube over which a ball seems to hover as it emits a moonlight glow.

Todd turns the concept of a conventional sequence of rooms on its head and into a vision of intertwining zones – one for dining, one for rest and one for hygiene. The aim here is to almost build a bridge between American-style open-plan living and the traditional European style.

“The home in many ways has been slow to evolve while life is rapidly evolving. It is curious how if you buy a home today that currently exists, it carries with it a legacy of function that belongs to the individuals who the home was built for, or the culture it was built for. It is a challenge in my opinion to adapt homes for contemporary life so we live how we need to for our lives, not for lives from 50 years before if they are no longer relevant,” Todd says.

By deconstructing the concept of home living into its component parts and assembling it anew, Todd translates the basic human needs of sustenance, rest and hygiene into elemental spaces. In this, he achieves his goal of creating an intuitive, straightforward project, reducing things to the essentials and leaning towards functionality. However, at the same time, the installation still manages to exude a sense of elegance due to the inspiration it takes from nature.

For Todd, the near future is set to be an interesting time for the evolution of the home, as it becomes part of our personal experience more than ever before.

“The next generation will be led by the smart home, meaning that personalisation will happen at an architectural level and not simply through decorative means. For example things such as light control – sun and artificial – and acoustic and physical adaptations based on a particular need at a particular time will become more widely used. I feel that scientists such as anthropologists and psychologists will be part of establishing the tools that measure modern needs, whilst designers will implement them,” he concludes.

Visitors to imm cologne – held from 16th-22nd January 2017 at Koelnmesse in Cologne – can view Todd’s Das Haus installation in Hall 2.2 at the exhibition.

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