How would an apartment look like if it was inspired by a painting of Karel Appel? Well, something like the one that follows! Dutch Architectural office DUS Architects recently designed the interior of the Karel Appel House which opened its doors in May 2010. The concept of the house is inspired by the idiosyncratic works of Karel Appel, who was characterized in his paintings by his phrase: “I start from my matter- the paint and the canvas.”
The Karel Appel House is based in the East of Amsterdam, Netherlands; it combines short stay apartment housing with a boutique museum which operates in collaboration with The CoBrA Museum and Royal Academy of Visual Arts. The project is a tribute to “the famous avant-garde CoBra painter Karel Appel who was born in the Dapperbuurt and started his international painting career there.” Appel’s paintings and sculptures were distinguished by the vibrant and bold colors used. The interiors of the residence (walls, floors, ceilings and steel walls), follow the same color palette as his paintings; they have been treated as if they were a blank canvas waiting for intense colors to be placed on them.
The renovation of the house called for the creation of six room studios rather than a regular scale apartment. The floor plan was opened by bringing down the walls and placing additional steel walls. The rooms are flexible and could easily be used for multiple purposes in different ways; the inhabitant can sleep, dine, cook or even have a guest sleep over. The rooms have been designed by DUS Architects in such a flexible manner that the “short stay furniture” fits exactly, while it has been designed to be adaptable and compact. With this solution, the architects have designed mini apartments while utilizing maximum space.
The communal spaces of the residence distinguish their identity by keeping the walls in white, while the colored walls, ceilings and floors emphasize the more private parts of the residence. “Specific openings in the steel walls enhance the coloured coulisse-effect between the different rooms and stimulate multiple use.” For instance, a dresser in one room can concurrently be used as a bedside table for the adjacent room, making use of the cut-out in the steel wall. The furniture is easily transformed and furthermore, the steel wall acts as a surface which can be altered at all times by the usage of industrial magnets which assist in creating a unique canvas which exhibits works of art. The simple lighting transforms the walls which are otherwise seen as the canvas. One bulb hanging carefully in the middle of each room creates shadows and brings life to the steel wall canvas; it creates intensities and transforms the function of the lamp to a reading lamp.
The artists who will reside within the residence are second year students of the Dutch Royal Academy of Visual Arts; Appel himself is a graduate of the Academy. The artists can take advantage of the living space for eleven moths while on the twelfth month the studios are transformed and operate as an exhibition space for works to be displayed. “The Karel Appel House is a project by DUS architects for client de Key / Principal in collaboration with the CoBrA Museum and the Royal Academy of Visual Arts.”
About DUS Architects//
The architecture of DUS goes beyond building. To DUS, architecture has social significance. DUS thinks of architecture as a craftsmanship, as they see great importance in having direct contact with the people for whom they build. DUS is a fellowship founded by three partners, Martine de Wit, Hans Vermeulen, and Hedwig Heinsman. DUS is a member of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects (BNA).