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

Judith Zeng

When guests took their seats for the Spring 23 Prada runway show on Sunday, they identified that they had been sitting on chairs manufactured of sturdy cardboard planks. The seating was organized within a mock home, with outsized doors and window cutouts through, and monumental white sheets of paper hanging from the ceiling. The flooring, brown and efficiently textured, appeared destined for the recycling bin. The entire thing appeared like an architect’s design blown up to monumental dimension.

The established was the hottest collaboration in between Prada and Rem Koolhaas, the 77-calendar year-aged Dutch architect. Given that 2004, Koolhaas has masterminded the conceptually wealthy areas in which Miuccia Prada reveals her get the job done, an intriguing partnership between two of the most influential designers in their respective fields. Mrs. Prada is an intellectual whose collections invite loving contemplation, and Koolhaas, who has built popular structures like the CCTV Headquarters in Beijing, intends for his areas to do the exact. In excess of the course of his 18-yr partnership with Mrs. Prada, whom he achieved in 1999 when she questioned him to redesign her shops, Koolhaas and his company OMA have utilized arduous creativeness to the runway. Alongside one another, they have: created modular and dispersed seating preparations to concern the front row pecking buy projected faux ads behind the catwalk and developed some of the COVID era’s most immersive and surprising video-present sets.

Courtesy of Prada

A 7 days ahead of the display, Koolhaas, together with OMA task architect Giulio Margheri, authorized GQ a exceptional peek into their inventive process—which, as they explained, in essence operates in parallel with Mrs. Prada’s (and now Raf Simons’s) possess. Just before Koolhaas and Margheri started doing work on the Spring 23 space, they had been explained to that the themes of the season ended up “naivety, childhood and simplicity,” as Margheri put it in a Zoom phone. Which is how they uncovered their way to paper, the duo stated in a observe-up e-mail: “Paper is a very simple substance, but it permits us to articulate an intention it is the fundamental floor on to which we categorical our strategies. In this job we wanted to investigate its features as an architectural factor, pretty much like little ones would give shape to their imagination.”

Like Mrs. Prada, Koolhaas sees his artistic practice as intimately linked to politics and social actions. The use of humble and 100% recyclable materials this time, he stated, grew out of a “particular type of resistance to luxury.” Which may well feel ironic, thinking about the products strode out putting on trim wool suiting and tiny leather shorts which will retail for quite a few countless numbers of bucks. But Koolhaas isn’t in the company of marketing outfits he’s in the enterprise of, as he and Margheri put it, “conveying a temper, projecting a mentality.” They elaborated: “We’ve normally shared with Prada a selected resistance to squander in the structure of the demonstrate spaces…Now, a lot more than at any time in new occasions, the thought of luxurious finds alone at odds with the soaring expenses of gas, food items and building materials. In a globe exactly where aggression is starting to be more and more current, we preferred to generate a place that conveys softness and modesty.”

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