Designer portrait: Gabriele Chiave with a mirror from the new Laufen collection "The New Classic"

Rendezvous of the classics

At the ISH 2019, Laufen celebrates not only the official premiere of the spectacular new collection “The New Classic” by Studio Marcel Wanders – but into the bargain both Konstantin Grcic and Patricia Urquiola have added some noteworthy designs to the series they have created.
by Fabian Peters | 3/8/2019

“It feels to me as though this collection has always existed. It no longer seems as though we designed it at all,” says Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director at Amsterdam design studio Marcel Wanders and responsible for designing the series “The New Classic” for Laufen. In truth Chiave and his team have achieved a truly Herculean task over the last two years: They have created a product range that spans everything from bathtub to faucet, from bidet to bathroom furniture for the Swiss sanitary producer, and they have translated all of these into a harmonious formal vocabulary that fully meets the formulated goal of creating “The New Classic”. In particular the delicate S-curve featured as a leitmotif throughout the collection gives rise to innumerable classical associations – from ancient ogee to Art Deco sweep. And it is also this curve which lends “The New Classic” immense versatility. “You can dress the program up in a white tie or everyday attire,” as Gabriele Chiave puts it.

Gentle swing: An S-curve runs through all elements of "The New Classic".
For the ISH 2019 the collection "The New Classic" was staged in an elegantly weathered palazzo.

He already clarified what he means by that at the Laufen stand for the Salone del Mobile 2018, where the manufacturer staged a preview of the first pieces from the collection. The delicate white porcelain was exhibited in a luminous blue room – a form of presentation that emphasized the modern timelessness of the design. For the ISH 2019, Laufen has now had the series photographed in a historical palazzo, with the historical continuity of the shapes of “The New Classic” striking the eye much more strongly in the stately rooms. Central to the effect of the collection is the use of sapphire ceramic, the great ceramic innovation by Laufen that allows for the thinnest of wall strengths. It makes worktop washbasins have the feel of porcelain tableware.

The faucets designed by Studio Marcel Wanders for "The New Classic", with their sober forms, form an antithesis to the ceramic products.

In contrast to the “The New Classic” series with its sensational shapes, “Navia,” Laufen’s new shower toilet, hides its true qualities on the inside. “Navia” is the “little sister” of the “Riva” model, which Laufen introduced last year. The “Navia” is also characterized by the genuinely innovative aspect that saw its global debut in “Riva”: All of its electrical components are hidden inside the ceramic body. Peter Wirz, who was also responsible for “Riva,” has created a shower toilet that is ideally suited for use in confined spaces or in the realm of the hotel or catering industry. Compact measurements and attractive pricing work in “Navia’s” favor in this field. Unlike with “Riva,” where the features are controlled via an elegant stainless steel rotary button on the hinge of the lid, it is possible to use standard lids with “Navia” because here, the controls are placed on the ceramic part. Both models are identical in many ways when it comes to their technical aspects, even though the entry-level model dispenses with some functions, such as for example the so-called “lady shower”.

"Navia" is the name of the new, compact shower toilet from Laufen.

Two collections with which Laufen caused a stir in recent years will see significant additions to the family at the ISH 2019. Konstantin Grcic is expanding the series “Val,” which he has designed, by three new basins. In this way, Grcic is addressing the oftentimes neglected question of how functional and aesthetically pleasing wash areas may be created even in the smallest of spaces. His answers follow the logic of good product design yet don’t lack esprit. Formally especially appealing is a hand wash basin with a slanted front edge. However, this design element is no end in itself: It serves to preserve the user’s freedom of movement in confined spaces in spite of making room for a repository to the side of the basin. Grcic has further designed a basin that may be freely adjusted in terms of width. A further wash basin with an extremely reduced depth is also available both as a single and a double vanity. Furthermore, Grcic has also designed towel and toilet paper holders for the collection. The new additions to the “Val” series are manufactured using Saphirkeramik just like the existing products.

Compact washbasin by Konstantin Grcic from the "Val" series.

The same holds true for the additions to the series “Sonar” by Patricia Urquiola. The designer also addresses compact vanity solutions. The result: individual and double basin vanities that require minimal space. The collection was further expanded by a toilet and a bidet, as well as a free-standing bath tub made from the material Marbond. On the outside, the tub features the characteristic wave relief, which we know from Urquiola’s earlier designs for “Sonar”. Accessories available for the series are a catch-all and an attachable backrest. The designer has also newly expanded the series by items of bathroom furniture. The metallic-matt cubes offer additional storage, and look absolutely dashing in doing so.

Patricia Urquiola has added furniture, washbasins and a WC to the "Sonar" series she designed.

Yet Laufen has not only turned its attention to the premium product lines, but also rigorously overhauled two classics from its mid-price range. Peter Wirz has thoroughly refreshed his long-seller “Pro,” in the Laufen product range since 2005, in formal terms, while also transposing the design into a new ceramic material. New bath tubs and shower trays will also be presented at the ISH 2019. For his series “Palace,” which is used extensively in the hospitality sector, Andreas Dimitriadis has designed a new vanity that is only 45 centimeters deep and features very delicate lines. As part of so-called “Slim Packs,” Laufen offers it in different widths in combination with the respective fitting cabinet from the furniture collection “Base”. In addition, a new faucet will be launched on the occasion of the ISH, which will also be available in a touchless version. Another new addition to the “Palace” collection is a rimless toilet. And a further long-seller will be given new impulses at the ISH: The pioneering collection “Kartell by Laufen” by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, which Laufen presented at the ISH 2015, will in the future be available in three different geometric patterns.

At the ISH in Frankfurt, you will find Laufen in Hall 3.1, Booth B51

The new washbasin from the "Palace" series by Andreas Dimitriadis and the vanity unit from the "Base" bathroom furniture collection