An international shopping mall had its basement flooring redone, resulting in the interior designers working on this project being awarded with a first prize.

As part of the Orgatec trade show in Cologne, the first prize of the German Interior Architecture Award 2014 went to kplus konzept GmbH for their project Open Space, which was installed in 2013 in the basement of shopping mall Köln Arcaden.

Awarded only every four years, this sought-after recognition by the German Association of Interior Architects (BDIA) has to date honoured eight outstanding innovative projects. “This award plays a big role in presenting the public with the quality and the comprehensive range of services of interior designers,” says BDIA President Vera Schmitz.

Interior designer Bettina Kratz, BDIA Member and Managing Director of kplus konzept GmbH, feels that this project has been the highlight of her career to date: “It is with great joy and pride that I accept this award,” she says. “Together with my husband, joint CEO Markus Kratz, and our great team of interdisciplinary specialists, we were able to instil a tremendous amount of passion and commitment into the Open Space project and the integrated Pop-up Store concept.”

Two other winners, in addition to 26 projects, were also awarded prizes along with the “Open Space” project, and published in the highly anticipated book, “Excellent Interior Design”.

Success lies in the detail

“Open Space” describes a living, continually changing and evolving spatial structure in which improvisation, low budgets and creative imagination are no longer mutually exclusive. Ready-made and uniform store designs are out. Trendsetting is the joint development of start-up companies and interior designers, enabling people to engage in creative ways and finding processes that ensure an up-to-date, temporary design view. This results in a compelling concept that optimises a formerly difficult spatial situation and keeps opportunities for future development open.”

The Association of German Interior Architects finds it of paramount importance to honour excellence in the field of interior design. It particularly emphasises the artistic, social and cultural aspects of interiors that form part of the built environment in terms of their unique performance attributes for the benefit of society. The adjudication process demonstrated the contribution interior designers can make in these sectors.

The “Open Space” in the basement of Köln Arcaden is far more than just a shopping mall. Planning for Open Space in the basement of the Köln Arcaden included a complete side arm, which was divided into three zones:

1.    Directly in the marketplace – the Smart Concept Stores comprise small units for tenants wishing to make use of changing rooms while offering flexible product ranges.
2.    The event kitchen in the centre of the market square; and
3.    The third zone: the event areas in the middle of the mall for workshops or “MakerLabs” or promotional activities supported by the mall’s tenants.

With regard to this project, the Master Pop-up Store was of great excitement and interest to the highly motivated, new entrepreneurs who, together with the team of kplus konzept, were able to develop the shop of their dreams.

This project has also taken into consideration how sales, events and promotions are interwoven. The tenants’ façades are open, creating a common space experience. Contents are mixed and a marketplace feeling is born. The event kitchen is at the heart of the Open Space – the meeting place in the neighbourhood situated in Kalk, a city district of Cologne.

More about kplus konzept GmbH:
•    kplus konzept designs exciting worlds of experience for retail, hospitality and healthcare. For big retail destinations the team has developed trend concepts such as the “Open Space” in the basement of the Köln Arcaden, the multisensory “Home of 5 Senses” in Mönchengladbach and interior design themes in the sophisticated urban development scheme “Höfe am Brühl” in Leipzig (all with mfi – Unibail-Rodamco Group).
•    Founded in Düsseldorf in 2005 it is run by interior designer Bettina Kratz and her communication designer/photographer husband Markus Kratz. The team of 20 employees comprises interior designers, communication, product, 3D and web designers as well as writers and photographers.

For more information visit www.kplus-konzept.de