The Woman Behind BLANCO’s Award-Winning Designs
Over her 20 years at sink and faucet manufacturer, Brigitte Ziemann has honed her design ethos, feeding her creativity with endless curiosity.
Brigitte Ziemann, head of design at BLANCO, works with small teams of product managers, technicians, and salespeople at every step in the design process to ensure innovative technical solutions.
All images courtesy BLANCO
Brigitte Ziemann has headed the design team at German sink and faucet manufacturer BLANCO since 1995, where she has been dedicated to bringing innovative technical solutions to product design, earning her recognition from critics and international design competitions such as Red Dot and iF design awards. While many kitchen manufacturers look to big design names to help bring vitality to their brands, BLANCO has remained loyal to the expertise of its in-house team of designers. As a result, over her 20 years at BLANCO, Ziemann has been able to hone her design ethos to overcome standardization and maintain constant creativity.
“When designing, it is necessary to consider certain standards regarding the production process, materials and refinements,” Brigitte Ziemann explains. “Because of this, it’s sometimes challenging to come up with new ideas. But if, as a designer, you never stop being curious, then you will be able to create the really clever solutions.”
“Good design also requires interdisciplinary thinking,” Ziemann adds. “So we link our in-house design team with all relevant business areas which are involved in the product development process.” This emphasis on small teams and close ties brings designers together with product managers, technicians, and salespeople, allowing the design team to “attend to the process from the very first idea until market launch.”
Sketches show how a BLANCO faucet design is derived from the curved profile of a crane’s wingspan.
But when it comes to looking out for the newest and showiest trends, Ziemann is not as enthusiastically receptive. “Personally, I love keeping things easy and clear and maintaining a certain kind of independency in design.” Ziemann explains. “We take the freedom of developing creative ideas beyond the current market requirements.”
So although she stays current on developments in design and culture, Ziemann’s design process focuses much more on the demands rather than the fashions of contemporary lifestyles. A particular concern is the almost pervasive lack of household space. “Affordable living space—especially in urban areas—is getting scarce, so the need for multifunctional rooms is growing.” Ziemann says. For BLANCO, this realization has translated into kitchen furnishings that blend in with the interior and with technical equipment that is cleverly hidden.
Lately, Ziemman has been looking to designs that are capable of serving and facilitating multifunctional rooms, to address the pervasive lack of household space.
“Another interesting trend,” Ziemman points out, “is that people are actually taking more responsibility for a healthy environment and are therefore buying more long-lasting products.” BLANCO’s own commitment to environmental stewardship has them always looking into the future, anticipating consumer needs and technological developments.
When asked what she sees in the field’s future, Ziemann is quick to respond. “Customization as an idea is becoming very popular,” she says. “It will be interesting to see what impact the field of 3D printing will have on it. If there’s one thing that is certain, it’s that the kitchens of the future will be unique.”