Design in dialogue

Laufen space Berlin spotlights the collection – like Toan Nguyen's new series "LUA" – and creates exciting contrasts.
by Judith Jenner | 4/7/2023

A new art gallery? From the outside, the Laufen space on Berlin's Kantstraße leaves room for interpretation. The team of the Swiss sanitary brand has deliberately not provided it with furnishing suggestions, but has let the products express themselves. On the occasion of the official opening ceremony, the washbasins, taps and bathtubs partly look like objects of art. That's because the Berlin floristry studio Anatomie Fleur has staged them with the help of plants in the front part of the L-shaped room. From a bathtub, ferns sprout. Tropical blossoms rise from washbasins. Behind them, a video installation flickers across the LED wall with images of Casa Albero, a brutalist lost place near Rome.

It is contrasts like these that make Laufen space exciting. As in Milan, Vienna or Prague, the company chose an authentic location that captures a bit of the city's soul. In Berlin, it's the ground floor of a typical Wilhelminian style building with creaky wooden floorboards that has been changed very little. Anaïs Röschke, Head of Events and Networking, reports how the showroom was actually ready and waiting in 2020 and the big opening party fell through due to the pandemic. Konstantin Grcic, who moved his studio from Munich to Berlin in 2018, essentially designed it with a single piece of furniture that takes up all the space: a wide backlit metal shelf extends to the back of the room. Visitors can walk around it like in a library and thus gain ever new perspectives on the products. Grcic, who created the "VAL collection" for Laufen, among others, designed the shelf as a kind of "archive in which the maximum variety of Laufen products becomes visible". The front part of the shop nevertheless leaves enough free space for readings, debates and exhibitions.

Dialogue instead of representation is the idea behind Laufen space, according to Birgitta Homburger from Studio Homburger. Under the title "Material Matters", she created a series of events that aims to open up the view beyond products with discussions and impulse lectures on topics such as the circular economy and environmentally compatible business models for design and architecture. The first event is planned for Gallery Weekend Berlin on 28 April 2023.

Toan Nguyen shared his approach to working with Laufen sapphire ceramics at the opening. The French designer created the "INO" series, among others, from the extremely thin yet resistant material. A recent discovery is his "LUA" collection, which was launched last year at the Salone del Mobile.Milano and is characterised by timeless lines based on an oval basic shape. The complete series consists of washbasins made of sanitary ceramics in different sizes, bathtubs, WC bowls and its own fittings. It can be combined with the "LANI" furniture series, also designed by Toan Nguyen, whose cabinets and mirrors also match other Laufen products.

The Berlin Laufen space presents the brand's product range, but does not serve as a sales outlet. Instead, according to Anaïs Röschke, the exhibition will "highlight the collection", which is intended to be used for discussions with architects, interior designers and end customers. With its event programme that goes beyond the brand's own horizons, the venue is an enrichment for Berlin and its architecture and design scene.

Laufen Space

Kantstrasse 29
10623 Berlin

Opening hours on request
Phone: 0049 30 – 85607760