Kettal VDL Pavilion

Biorealism is back, thanks coronavirus!

It’s not a new fashion trend, it’s Richard Neutra’s theory of merging the built and natural environments and it lives on in the VDL Pavilion.

One of the few positive upshots of coronavirus is the resurgence of biorealism: a concept that encourages the synergy between architecture and wellbeing. Coined by modernist architect Richard Neutra all the way back in the 1930s, this design giant was clearly a visionary.

This thinking culminates in Richard’s iconic VDL House: designed and built in 1932, burned in a fire and rebuilt as the VDL Research House II in 1963, this time as a father and son project. On top of this second version of the house a low-slung pavilion was designed to take in the surrounding views. Unsurprisingly, this icon of modern design still holds relevance today, almost 100 years later and is open for public viewings.

In its third incarnation, The VDL Research House II has seen a revival thanks to leading European outdoor furniture brand Kettal. The brand has partnered with Richard’s son Dion (whom he built the 1963 house with) to release replica pavilions (and penthouses) that are available to purchase through Kettal.

Named after Richard’s early patron, Dutch industrialist Cees H. Van der Leeuw, the premise of the VDL house then, and Kettal’s Pavilion now, is that it takes the psychological and biological sciences into account to cultivate architectural solutions that are good for our health (stay with us).

Richard made use of large sliding doors that incorporated nature into the building as though the outdoors were another room – novel, considering how much this ethos is part of contemporary architecture today. He also used a prominent horizontal line to draw the eye outward, beyond the built structure itself. Furthermore, he incorporated water into his Pavilion to echo a nearby lake and invite the play of light and reflection into the interior.

While respecting all of the house’s original design details, Kettal have updated it with innovative construction methods and materials that make the most of 21st century technology.

Feeling flush? You can buy your very own VDL Pavilion here or look for local stockists here. Choose from the original as well as updated aluminium colours.

The original VDL house now serves as a monument to environmental design whilst Kettal offers its VDL Pavilion as a means to connect once again with nature. Doesn’t an iconic modernist pavilion sound like just the right space to dispel the lockdown blues?

WORDS: Mila Crewe-Brown
PRODUCTION: J-P de la Chaumette