"When we design a space, it's like designing an object – it has to be appealing but has to have some sense of performative function too", Joel Booy says when describing his and his partner Kate's idea for their upcoming Das Haus installation.

Studio Truly Truly began working on their commission in June this year after imm Cologne's creative director Dick Spierenburg spotted their design for lighting brand Rakumba at last year's fair and brought them on board.

Joel and Kate showing their ideas to creative director Dick Spierenburg

"Like everything in the design world, it was a combination of being in the right place and showing the right thing. We had a new lighting collection for Rakumba that was showing at imm last year, and we also created the stand."

"The guys at imm Cologne had to walk past that stand every day, and it was part of the way that they found us. But we then got a call and they asked if we'd be interested."

Fast forward two months – Kate and Joel have already developed their idea for Das Haus, and are in the stages of creating prototypes. It's important to them that visitors understand it isn't a futuristic vision of living, but more a personal ideology, developed from their brand's identity but also the way they live inside their own home.

A visualisation of Studio Truly Truly's Das House installation

Instead of walls and barriers, the duo will opt for soft materials and screens to create partitions between each area. A kitchen will become the focal point of the installation but will be opened up towards the dining area – allowing guests to remain part of the conversation, despite maybe being in a different section of the house.

At a time where many city dwellers finding studio apartments to be the only affordable accommodation, this seems like an important statement.

The studio's Bole vases. Photography by Alexander Popelier

Studio Truly Truly previously collaborated with IKEA to create the PS sofa

"For us, we're looking at the way people increasingly blend work and home. It became less about a living room, but what kind of atmosphere you want to create in that specific area. For example, there's no workspace – but there are task chairs around the dining table. There are very few walls, and the walls that are there are made of fabrics."

"Thinking differently about how you place things becomes very important, it makes a big difference as to how you can live in these open-plan spaces."

On the left, the studio's Typography lighting system and on the left, their Daze table

Das Haus was staged for the first time in 2012, with the first installation designed by Nipa Doshi and Jonathan Levien. In 2013, the Italian product designer Luca Nichetto introduced the next iteration, 2014 saw Danish designer Louise Campbell create a low-tech place of calm. At the 2015 edition of the fair, Rossana Hu and Lyndon Neri challenged traditional home life rituals, Sebastian Herkner did away with barriers in his 2016 Haus, while Todd Bracher was brought on board in 2017. which trade fair visitors could experience in Cologne in 2017, drew its inspiration from paring down to the essentials. The most recent designer to take over was Czech designer Lucie Koldova, who transformed “Das Haus” 2018 into an experiment of various lighting compositions.

For 2019, Joel and Kate will create what they describe as a "balancing act" of pieces and spaces. Furnishings will showcase the studio's experience across both collectable and mass design markets.

"The way we work isn't solely about mass production. We have a sofa with IKEA, but we also make stuff with a gallery, and we have a process in our design in which we want it to be functional but based on material research and expression."

Abide vessels, created by Studio Truly Truly for the Dutch Invertuals group exhibition, 'Advanced Relics' in Milan, April 2016.

"The whole house for us is a big balancing act, it's one massive composition. Whatever we put in that space, those things have to interact with each other."

Das Haus will be on show at imm Cologne, from 14 to 20 January 2019.