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The Great Indoors 2013

Maastricht was the setting for this year’s The Great Indoors featuring a host of student projects and amazing awards ceremony in which Dutch contenders i29 took home a prize for the third time in a row. 

By Cassandra Pizzey / 21-11-2013

Organized by Frame magazine, and two Maastricht institutes, Marres House for Contemporary Culture and Bureau Europa, Platform for Architecture, The Great Indoors is a biennial which now marks it’s fourth year. The theme of this year’s biennial was The Nature of Things in which sustainability, longevity and reuse play an important role. 

Awards are presented in four categories including Show & Sell, Serve & Facilitate, Relax & Consume and Concentrate & Collaborate. 

And the winner is…for the third time i29 walked away with an award for best interior design. Their Social Workplace in Den Hoorn features coloured-coded islands that dictate the various functions within the office and eliminate the need for walls. According to the jury report: “This enforces the humane design concept that people should not be placed in boxes.” The interior of Combiwerk (currently under construction) will feature 250 different second-hand chairs, giving each employee their own sense of security. The offices will be used as a career centre for those with special needs, all kinds of skills can be tested within the space such as cooking, cleaning and packaging. 

Other winners were El Equipo Creativo for their restaurant interior which combines traditional Peruvian weaving looms with exquisite dining, Churtichaga+Quadra-Salcedo Arquitectos whose design for a cinema in a disused slaughterhouse in Madrid is anything but grim and OHLab which created a series of golden boxes for a jewellery shop in Mallorca.  

A large part of The Great Indoors was taken up by the student programme. Students from seven academies around Europe were invited to participate in the programme. They were assigned a mentor and together asked to develop a strategy for an existing company and a little bit of budget. The schools then presented their ideas to a panel of judges, comprising the nominees of The Great Indoors Awards, and a winner was picked. 

The lucky group – who win an expenses-paid trip to the Salone del Mobile in Milan – was the Design Academy Eindhoven for De Ridder led by Agata Jaworska and Jeremy Jansen. Their project is an Exhibition concept aimed to help out the gallery holder with her daily tasks. The team invented a series of pets, embodied by industrial-looking objects. These objects each have their own function such as a beamer, speaker and greeter. The jury was impressed by how well the team had listened to their client’s brief and how the project fit within the overall theme of The Indoors Awards. 

Other student projects included a mix between printing studio and social hub: Print and Coffee. Here, a team from the ABKM Maastricht led by Bas van Beek combined the voyeurism of a live printing studio with the possibility to co-create and have a cup of Joe on the go. A large disused – yet breathtaking – building just out of the city centre housed a new concept for fashion boutique owner Kiki Niesten. Together with Matylda Krzykowski students of UHasselt created a crisis store where customers were led through a series of sensory spaces ending in what could be the future of fashion, design your own. Another project led by Rianne Makkink with students from the University of Applied Sciences, Düsseldorf for client Seats2Meet looked at a disused loft space as collective workspace. An interesting framework was provided by the Railway station where the jury was asked to become a member and Makkink’s style could be recognized in the multiway furniture created for the project. 

The judges of the Great Indoors Awards are: Edouard François (FR) (Director Maison Edouard François, Paris), Beatrice Galilee (UK) (Writer and Chief Curator of 2013 Lisbon Architecture Triennale, London), Fabrizio Gallanti (IT) (Associate Director Programs at Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal), Christien Meindertsma (NL) (Designer, Rotterdam) and Lyndon Neri (CN) (Founding Partner of Neri&Hu Design and Research Office, Shanghai and Design Republic, Shanghai), chaired by Valentijn Byvanck (Director Marres) and witnessed by Saskia van Stein (Artistic Director Bureau Europa) and Robert Thiemann (Director and Editor-in-Chief of Frame magazine).

Main image: i29
Other images: 1. i29 2.-6. Student projects ©

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