Studio Truly Truly on Their Vision for “Das Haus” at This Year’s imm Cologne

Metropolis spoke to the emerging design duo Studio Truly Truly about their practice, products, and design for the Cologne fair.
imm cologne das haus interior studio truly truly

Launched in 2012, the annual Das Haus installation program invites a guest of honor to develop a residential house concept that evokes a vision for the future of domestic life. Past participants have included Louise Campbell, Neri&Hu, and Todd Bracher. Seen here is Studio Truly Truly’s design for this year’s show. Courtesy imm Cologne


There’s a rich tradition of revolutionary model home concepts challenging the status quo. In the late 1960s, for example, radical Italian architect Joe Colombo designed the controversial Roto-Living System interior, which mirrored rapid societal shifts and questioned standard definitions of space. At imm Cologne in 1970, Danish designer Verner Panton broke convention with his highly immersive and psychedelic Visiona II installation. Now, thanks to imm Cologne’s annual Das Haus concept interior, such provocations are a regular occurrence, with emerging design duo Studio Truly Truly receiving the coveted invitation to design this year’s iteration.

Rotterdam-based Studio Truly Truly is led by the Australian duo Kate and Joel Booy, who have captivated many in the design industry since their firm’s formation in 2014. Both are trained as graphic designers and have worked with mediums ranging from textiles to furniture, lighting, and now, interiors. They operate with a rigorous attention to detail, function, and clarity, though underlying their approach is a deep appreciation of research, experimentation, and materiality. These elements, when combined, spawn fresh and witty results. Metropolis spoke with the Booys about their Das Haus installation and how it represents their practice.

imm cologne das haus interior studio truly truly

With the blank slate of a 600-square-foot booth, each year’s Das Haus designer determines the installation’s layout and structure while also choosing materials, colors, finishes, furniture, and accessories. Courtesy imm Cologne


Metropolis: What are some of the fundamental ideas behind your Das Haus design?

Kate Booy: In this project, specific spaces are not divided based on traditional definitions or functions but, instead, on different moods. We both considered the fluidity of how and where people work, eat, and consume entertainment today; how the boundaries between these different activities continue to blur. In this regard, visitors can adapt to the space in their own way.

Joel Booy: We centered the installation around an open kitchen because we feel that it should be a space you want to spend time in. Our vision for a perfect home is not about speed or accomplishing a lot of tasks within a given time but rather breaking away from the demands of the outside world, relaxing, and doing things with intention. It’s about taking mundane activities and giving them the value of something worthwhile.

Describe the materials you used in the installation.

JB: Clad in a yellow-acid-glazed lava-stone tile, kitchen surfaces are divided on different levels. Some can be used for food preparation and others for sitting. There are almost no walls in the space. Instead, we used a series of semi-translucent and mirrored screens to delineate certain areas that can change to accommodate different public or private activities.

KB: Toward the back of the installation, we added a reclusive space that is enclosed by a wall of hanging plants. In other parts, we used rattan and oak. It was important for us to inject warmth throughout to balance the more surprising and abstract elements of our concept. We wanted to make those ideas relatable through the tactility of recognizable materials.

imm cologne das haus interior studio truly truly

Studio Truly Truly developed its Das Haus installation—on view until January 20—by delineating different areas based on various moods. Courtesy imm Cologne


That sounds like an incredible richness of materials. Why such a diversity?

KB: We start all of our projects with the same approach that is based on our genuine fascination with the topic at hand. When we decided to explore a new technique or have a set brief in mind, we go all in—research and experiment with different possibilities until it makes sense to us. As reflected in Das Haus, we are materialists through and through.

JB: Regardless of where a design is destined to go, it needs to be able to communicate its purpose clearly. If it looks comfortable, it needs to be comfortable. We balance this guiding principle, which is more of a reminder than a hard line, with the ability to introduce abstraction.

In particular, lighting is where it all comes together for us. It’s a medium that allows us to be both technical and expressive. In Das Haus, we were able to showcase the full range of applications of the new Typography Lighting System, developed with Australian brand Rakumba. Working in different media is a harder road to trek than specializing in just one area, when it comes to communicating what we do. The thin red line that defines our practice will become clearer the longer we’re around.

imm cologne das haus interior studio truly truly

The Australian-born, Rotterdam-based duo developed the home concept around a central kitchen; the surrounding spaces easily transition from private to public functions. Courtesy Pim Top


Ultimately, how does this project reflect your practice?

JB: Our work encompasses a lot of different areas, not only in terms of expertise but also in terms of different types of markets. On the one hand, we can develop a project like the Column V and VI light for the collectible market. We have the freedom to invest time and money in new manufacturing technologies and luxurious materials.

On the other hand, we can develop a sofa for the IKEA PS collection based on a set price point and production constraints. The advantage of Das Haus is that we’re able to combine [these two] different facets of our work.

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Categories: Interiors