Design Under 35: The Hansgrohe Group Reflects on the Best of the Last 35 Years

We're celebrating our 35th anniversary by asking leading practitioners to share their picks for the most important design work since 1981.

An Axor faucet from the August 2010 issue of Metropolis, which Philippe Grohe points to as one of his favorite Metropolis issues.

Photography credit Hansgrohe Group


We’re celebrating our 35th anniversary this month by looking back at architecture and design at all scales over the past 35 years. We asked leading practitioners, as well as sponsors of our 35th anniversary party, to share their picks of the most important design work since 1981.

We spoke with Philippe Grohe, Vice President Design Management at Hansgrohe SE, about some of his favorite design moments and icons of the past 35 years—as well as his expectations for emerging trends in the next 35.

Philippe Grohe, Vice President Design Management at Hansgrohe SE answers our questions about iconic design during the past 35 years, below.

Photography credit Hansgrohe Group


What is the most important work of the last 35 years? Why?

Philippe Grohe: The “Salon d’Eau” in 1994 designed by Philippe Starck, Axor, and Duravit. It was a milestone in the development of the bathroom from a mere hygienic space into a living space. The idea of a free-standing bathtub, hardwood floors, and reduced taps was revolutionary in the early 90s. As a result, the first Axor Starck collection became an iconic collection for us that is successful to this day. It was the start of a very strong design partnership that celebrates more than 20 years of innovations and has resulted in many collections over the years.

Who is a design icon that you’ve admired from the past 35 years? Why?

PG: Hartmut Esslinger, founder of FROG Design. When he founded the famous design agency in the late 1960s out of the Black Forest here in Germany, it was with the vision of emotionalizing product design. As a child, I was building toys in his workshop while he was working with my father Klaus on what would later become the TRIBEL, one of our most important milestones because it was the first multi-spray hand shower that came in different colors.

What do you expect from emerging trends in the next 35 years? Why?

PG: I expect the trend towards nature in the bathroom to continue with organic design elements and natural materials appearing more and more frequently. On the contrary we are witnessing digitalization, Smart Home solutions, making their way into all living areas—even the bath. It will be interesting to see how these two very opposite trends will gain widespread acceptance with the consumer.

What was your favorite Metropolis issue from the last 35 years? Why?

PG: We love them all, but are partial to the August 2010 issue. The “Axor Water Dreams” editorial so eloquently tells what we have been able to achieve with Axor on the non-project side. It doesn’t just touch the projects on the surface, but examines them coherently, which is how they should be seen.

Categories: Industrial Design, Sponsored

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