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Imm 2017: a tour to discover an unknown Cologne by Mike Meiré
Places, atmosphere and events not to be missed during Imm Cologne and Passangen, according to one of the most interesting creatives in town
New Tendency at Meiré und Meiré factory, in Cologne's Ehrenfeld neighbourhood. Credit: Alexander Sander @ Meiré und Meiré
Left: Mike Meiré and his brother Marc, founders of the Meiré und Meiré agency. Right: December lamp by New Tendency, re-interpreted by Meiré und Meiré
Left: Click shelf by New Tendency at the Meiré und Meiré factory. Right: Meta table by New Tendency at the Meiré und Meiré factory
The Ludwig Museum, in Heinrich-Böll-Platz. @ Lee M.
The MD bar, founded by artists David Ostrowski and Michail Pirgelis
Passagen, Cologne's design week 16–22 January, 2017. @ Wolfgang Burat
The MAKK, Museum für Angewandte Kunst Köln dedicated to decorative arts. © Photo: Constantin Meyer Photographie
Set-up of the Full House exhibit: Design by Stefan Diez, until June 11 at the MAKK. © Photo: Constantin Meyer
View of the Cologne Cathedral from the Hohenzollern bridge. @ Dieter Jacobi / KölnTourismus GmbH
No guide is better than Mike Meiré to discover Cologne's secrets during Imm 2017 and Passagen (until January 22, 2017). Art director, designer, artist and curator, he is one of the most explosive creative minds in town. In 1987 he founded the agency Meiré und Meiré, together with his brother Marc. In 2016 he was awarded the Kölner Klopfer prize of the Köln International School of Design, and he recently redesigned the iconic lamp December by New Tendency, with which he collaborates.
We asked him all there is to know about visiting Cologne in the best way, so our tour was guided by the tips of a proper insider.
Why did you choose to live and work here?
Cologne in my hometown, I feel rooted here, and I like to come back here after traveling the world to pursue clients and projects. It is also the ideal place for my creativity: a haven that allows me to focus on my work. And it is a melting pot of different cultures that reflects well the spirit of our time. Furthermore, it is well connected to other European and overseas cities, thanks to the international airport Cologne/Bonn, not to mention its inspiring museums, such as the MAKK or Museum Ludwig, and important fairs like Art Cologne, Cologne Fine Arts, lit.Cologne, and Imm Cologne.
Tell us of Cologne's atmosphere.
I feel that there is always an air of change, which is essential for creativity. Art, music, and design re-invent themselves constantly, especially during Imm Cologne and Passagen, with its many exhibitions and events. Cologne is often considered culturally disadvantaged, but in my opinion this is the ideal condition to surprise, give inspiration, and keep creativity alive.
Talking about inspiration, where do you find yours?
Anywhere, it is not a conscious effort. For me the archetype of think thank is our factory. A work — and life space, considering how much time our partners spend here. But it is also an exhibition area, workshop, studio, and sometimes a location for parties. I like the way this place makes everything possible and stimulates new experiences. It's a kind of magic.
What do you love the most of your town?
One of my favourite places is the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood, where our agency has been located for almost 15 years. I like its industrial charm and continuos renewal. A former working-class area turned into a hub with many studios, galleries, bars, and shops. But I also like the Belgian quarter, where I live with my family. It is very close to the centre; I recommend it for a walk, especially if you are in Cologne for the first time and you don't have much time. There is a special atmosphere.
Suggest some special places.
The Belgian Quarter is full of nice shops and restaurants. For fashion I like Haimat, where you can find selected pieces by Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons, Issey Miyake, and other amazing designers. And I love the MD bar, founded by artists David Ostrowski and Michail Pirgelis. Another place where to eat and drink is Pure White Food in Antwerpener Straße. Excellent food and relaxed environment.
What shouldn't one miss during imm Cologne? My must-sees are the exhibition Full House: Design by Stefan Diez, at the MAKK. I have to mention the New Tendency's exhibition, which takes place at our agency. Their new designs are presented at the Meiré und Meiré factory together with some of my pieces.
Your upcoming projects?
My next work is for the cover of the Brand Eins magazine's February issue, dedicated to marketing. But 2017 is a special year, with an important anniversary: on January 20, my brother and I will celebrate our agency's 30th anniversary. One of my most personal projects is to push more the concept of Meiré und Meiré, and to move into a special architecture. We are thinking about a new building, still in Ehrenfeld, but totally different from our current factory. It will be a difficult farewell, to be honest. But it would fit well with Cologne's spirit of change I mentioned before.
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