Architect Rem Koolhaas Designed an Enormous Paper House for Prada’s Latest Runway Show

When visitors took their seats for the Spring 23 Prada runway present on Sunday, they discovered that they had been sitting on chairs manufactured from sturdy cardboard planks. The seating was organized inside a mock home, with outsized doorways and window cutouts all through, and massive white sheets of paper hanging from the ceiling. The flooring, brown and easily textured, appeared destined for the recycling bin. The entire thing seemed like an architect’s mannequin blown as much as monumental dimension.

The set was the newest collaboration between Prada and Rem Koolhaas, the 77-year-old Dutch architect. Since 2004, Koolhaas has masterminded the conceptually wealthy areas during which Miuccia Prada exhibits her work, an intriguing partnership between two of essentially the most influential designers of their respective fields. Mrs. Prada is an mental whose collections invite loving contemplation, and Koolhaas, who has designed well-known buildings just like the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, intends for his areas to do the identical. Over the course of his 18-year partnership with Mrs. Prada, whom he met in 1999 when she requested him to revamp her shops, Koolhaas and his agency OMA have utilized rigorous creativity to the runway. Collectively, they’ve: created modular and dispersed seating preparations to query the entrance row pecking order; projected faux commercials behind the catwalk; and created a number of the COVID period’s most immersive and shocking video-show units.

Courtesy of Prada

Every week earlier than the present, Koolhaas, together with OMA challenge architect Giulio Margheri, allowed GQ a uncommon peek into their artistic course of—which, as they described, basically runs in parallel with Mrs. Prada’s (and now Raf Simons’s) personal. Earlier than Koolhaas and Margheri started engaged on the Spring 23 area, they had been instructed that the themes of the season had been “naivety, childhood and ease,” as Margheri put it in a Zoom name. Which is how they discovered their method to paper, the duo defined in a follow-up e mail: “Paper is an easy materials, nevertheless it permits us to articulate an intention; it’s the fundamental floor onto which we specific our concepts. On this challenge we wished to discover its qualities as an architectural component, nearly like youngsters would give form to their creativeness.”

Like Mrs. Prada, Koolhaas sees his artistic follow as intimately related to politics and social actions. Using humble and 100% recyclable supplies this season, he mentioned, grew out of a “explicit sort of resistance to luxurious.” Which could appear ironic, contemplating the fashions strode out sporting trim wool suiting and tiny leather-based shorts which can retail for a lot of hundreds of {dollars}. However Koolhaas isn’t within the enterprise of promoting garments; he’s within the enterprise of, as he and Margheri put it, “conveying a temper, projecting a mentality.” They elaborated: “We’ve all the time shared with Prada a sure resistance to waste within the design of the present areas…Now, greater than ever in latest occasions, the thought of luxurious finds itself at odds with the rising prices of gas, meals and development supplies. In a world the place aggression is turning into more and more current, we wished to create an area that conveys softness and modesty.”

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