Between dream and reality
"Our attempt was to set a reminder that after all, we are humans – an integral part of nature, and we have needs that ask for tactile and sensual experiences," is how Gabrielle Hächler describes Andreas Fuhrimann Gabrielle Hächler Architekten's approach behind the design of the Laufen virtual space. In this way, Laufen aims to provide a platform where the boundaries between the digital and physical worlds become blurred. Accordingly, it was important to the architects to address sensory impressions such as touch and smell, but also philosophical issues such as the transience of objects and spaces. "The beauty within the physically built space is the visible factor of time. On the contrary, the virtual design keeps identical. Time does not change what has been built in the digital. However, it is getting dated still, but more due to shifts within the socio-cultural landscape," Andreas Fuhrimann comments.
In this way, Laufen takes account of the fact that the way we produce, display and archive products, information or experiences has been fundamentally changed by the Internet. The Laufen virtual space therefore makes it possible to experience a new interplay between space and product in the form of abstract collages, drawing on architectural storytelling that Gabrielle Hächler and Andreas Fuhrimann have already developed for Laufen's stand designs at trade fairs such as Salone del Mobile 2018 in Milan and ISH 2019 in Frankfurt am Main. "It was relevant to us, to follow a certain continuity from Laufen booth designs to the virtual presentation. Previous booth designs have already been an exaggeration of reality, featuring surreal elements. A presentation of an enraptured yet glamorous world of bathrooms. A dream-like landscape in physical space and further considered in the virtual dimension," explains Gabrielle Hächler. To achieve this, the two worked with Swiss-born, New York-based interior designer Annabelle Schneider, who also implemented the visualizations and narratives.
In each of the four rooms of the Laufen virtual space, there is a selection of products from the new "Kartell by Laufen" collection. At the same time, set pieces from nature and remnants of the consumer age form dream-like landscapes embedded in urban space, a desert or a forest at night. They convey brand-relevant as well as poetic and socio-cultural messages that are integrated spatially, atmospherically and acoustically in the form of soundscapes and short surreal quotes. In addition, there is an artists' space where Laufen presents three limited edition silkscreen collages by Swiss artist Monique Baumann, of which three "Kartell by Laufen" products are an important part. Different weather and lighting conditions, as well as the integration of day and night scenarios, will additionally create various multi-sensory touchpoints. Laufen's new virtual space thus becomes a digital experience where visitors can immerse themselves in a dream-like world and experience the company's bathroom collections in a new way. At the same time, they embark on a journey of discovery that arouses curiosity while addressing fundamental social issues.