Laufen Elevates Bathroom Fixtures with High-Tech Ceramics
A cutting-edge material allowed Laufen and the studio of Marcel Wanders to bring forth the perfect blend of sleek, modern aesthetics and timeless sculptural beauty.
Crafting an innovative line of premium products that goes beyond conventional market offerings can be challenging, but sometimes, the fusion of two distinct visions leads to an exciting outcome.
“The long lifespan of ceramic, although advantageous, comes with a burden—the design also needs to sustain time. We wanted something quintessential. The bathroom products would need to be timeless, both in quality as well as aesthetics ,” says Marc Viardot, Laufen’s Director of Marketing and Products.
For its New Classic Collection, which debuted as a concept at the 2018 Salone del Mobile in Milan and won the 2019 iF Design Award, Laufen tapped renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders and his team, including creative director Gabriele Chiave.
Since revolutionizing the market in 2013 with SaphirKeramik, a malleable yet durable ceramic material with an ultra-slim profile, Laufen further perfected the fourth-generation incarnation, making it even more versatile. “Given Marcel Wanders’ bold style and reputation for inventive ways of using materials and technology—and Laufen’s experience working with the Dutch Design label Marcel Wanders on a bespoke bathtub for the Mondrian Doha in 2015—the company felt confident that the design team was ideally suited for the New Classic Line,” says Viardot.
With The New Classic collection, Laufen, the iconic Swiss brand extends its legacy through Marcel Wanders’ reimagining of premium bathroom furnishings, including washbasins, bowl washbasins, toilets, a bidet and bathtub, faucets, mirrors, accessories and furniture. “The line reinterprets classic elegance by incorporating contemporary silhouettes, with nods to Neoclassical sculpture, evoking a sense of harmony, balance and proportion,” says creative director Gabriele Chiave.
Laufen’s SaphirKeramik proved to be the ideal material, because it allows for extremely thin walls while being highly resilient.
“We can do four-millimeter-thick single walls; normally, ceramic is 10-12 millimeters, and then you usually do double walls with a big radius of six to eight millimeters, but here we can go to a radius of one to two millimeters,” explains Viardot. “The flexural strength is double than that of normal ceramics. It’s comparable to steel but with all the attributes and benefits of sanitary ceramic.”
“Working on The New Classic collection also represented an opportunity to focus on the archetypical, holistic and romantic aspects of bathroom fixtures,” says Gabriele Chiave “for example, the ergonomic soaker tub’s fluid, graceful lines and generous proportions evoke the old-world presence of a vintage claw foot, with a modern twist.”
With more than 40 pieces, The New Classic collection represents one of the largest Marcel Wanders has ever done. “You can really see The New Classic anywhere for any kind of person, from hospitality to residential, from a palace to a loft apartment in New York,” says Gabriele Chiave.
“Our products, made of the SaphirKeramik material, look modern and timeless at the same time. I believe it’s our responsibility to design products that please the eye— today, and in 20 years. We’ve incorporated that principle in this collection” says Viardot.
*All images courtesy Marcel Wanders