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3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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Living room of the future is a disappointment

Dirk Kloosterboer

10 January 2006 – From 21 January, the exhibition ‘Just in – The Dutch living room re-designed’ will be on show in the Zuiderkerk. News from Amsterdam went to see the exhibition in Rotterdam, where it could still be visited.

The internet and cheap airplane tickets cause the relation between ‘home’ and the rest of the world to change. The living room is not just a private space, but also a means for people to express and present themselves. What does this all mean for the living room of the future?

The Netherlands Architecture Institute put this interesting question to ten designers. They were requested to design a living room of 3.2 x 6.0 x 2.7 meter, the minimum measurements of a living room according to the regulations of the Dutch government.

If you expect an exhibition that is fun to look at, you may be in for a disappointment. The designs are based primarily on ideas.

Concrete hung large prints of images such as Andy Warhol’s portrait of Marilyn Monroe on the walls. According to the bureau, this illustrates how copyright loses its meaning in the internet age. It also illustrates how ‘the youth of today’ create their own world, which may change from day to day.

Ramin Visch hung up a curtain which divides up the room when a button is pushed. This is supposed to respond to the fact that a living room can have multiple functions in between private and public.

The odd one out is Jan des Bouvrie. He wants to ban all means of communication and other technology from the living room, to make way for family life. Above the table hangs a replica of Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters, to show “that in the past even at a poor family’s dinner table there was more coziness and more sharing than is the case today”. One almost fears that this is meant seriously.

Most living rooms at the exhibition make a somewhat uninspired impression. Were the financial means provided to the designers – a thousand euro – insufficient? Did the rooms suffer from the wear and tear of visitors walking through them for four months? Or is it because the designers first of all wanted to present a concept, and then by way of illustration threw together a living room because this happened to be the assignment?

‘Just in – The Dutch living room re-designed’, from 21 January in the Zuiderkerk, Zuiderkerkhof 72. The exhibition will be open Mondays to Fridays from 09.00 - 16.00 hrs and Saturdays from 12.00 - 16.00 hrs. Admission is free. Photo: 'Tussen Gordijnen', Ramin Visch, Photo Alifil.

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