For AXOR's new "Places" campaign, photographer Tom Hegen took spectacular aerial shots - here in Iceland.

Cherished places

"Places", the new AXOR campaign, approaches special places in the form of impressive images. Head of Marketing Anke Sohn and photographer Tom Hegen explain us in our interview just what history and stories have to do with luxuries and why the Black Forest will always play a role for AXOR.
by Fabian Peters | 5/7/2020

The new "Places" AXOR brand campaign portrays places and people that stand in a special relationship to one another and AXOR. The first level of the campaign, entitled “Places of Memory”, presents those places most cherished by the designers with whom AXOR collaborates, such as Jean-Marie Massaud, Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby or Phoenix Design. The second level, “Places of Origin”, presents the workshops used by the specialist craftspeople who bring their skills to bear to create perfectly individualized AXOR fixtures. The third level “Places to Be” highlights hotel projects where the interior designers realized a concept with the help of AXOR products.

Fabian Peters: How did the idea for AXOR’s new “Places” campaign come about?

Anke Sohn: When I started out in this job a year ago I felt it important to prompt people to start thinking about what the term “luxury” means nowadays – after all, the AXOR products are all positioned in the premium segment. I believe that our definition of luxury has changed emphatically in recent years. Take, for example, time, experiences, individuality, history, they are all values that have meanwhile become status symbols.

In what form does the new campaign reflect this insight?

Anke Sohn: I knew that as a brand we had a great many different stories to tell. Because we have from the outset collaborated the most important star designers – but also because we as a corporation are firmly rooted in our native countryside, the Black Forest. In other words, we wanted to create a campaign that addresses people and places. Starting from this underlying consideration we eventually ended at the notion of “Cherished Places”. And when we started discussing the topic with the designers with whom we collaborate, we were ourselves surprised by just how many great stories there were.

Tom Hegen’s spectacular aerial photographs for a key element in the “Places” campaign. How did the collaboration come about?

Anke Sohn: We were on the lookout for a photographer who had a lot of experience with aerial photography. Our agency suggested we go with Tom. When we then met in person, it was quite literally “love at first sight”. I am truly thrilled with his images – incidentally, I don’t just mean their aesthetic quality, but also the way he tackles each theme artistically that is legible in each image.

The "Places of Origin" part of the campaign documents the craftsmanship of the specialised workshops with which AXOR collaborates.
For the shootings for "Places of Origin" Tom Hegen travelled to small family businesses in the Black Forest.

Tom why do you opt so often for aerial photos?

Tom Hegen: The central theme in my work is actually always the interaction between people and nature. The aerial photographs are in this regard essentially a means to an end. Only a view from afar often lets you discern how drastic human interventions in our habitat, our environment, are.

What fascinated you in particular about the AXOR project?

Tom Hegen: I was taken from the very beginning by the multifaceted nature of the concept. We then together advanced the idea step by step and eventually came up with a result that really makes me very happy.

How do you take your aerial photos?

Tom Hegen: I’ve just about used everything for my shots: aircraft, helicopters, balloons, and drones. It always depends on where I am and from what height I want to photograph. When I took images of the Arctic, for example, I relied on an airplane because what I wanted was scale and great height. I produced the shots for AXOR using various different photographic means.

While you worked all over the world for the aerial shots in “Places of Memory”, you chose to portray the crafts workshops in “Places of Origin” by video.

Tom Hegen: For the individualized bathroom fixtures in the “AXOR MyEdition” series, AXOR collaborates closely with specialist crafts workshops. For these “Places of Origin” myself and a camera team spent a whole week moving all around the Black Forest and visiting these places. The owners and staff are often real masters in their discipline who have in many cases acquired their skills down through the generations – be it in woodwork, stone dressing or leather processing. The idea was to make sure this human side to things really took price of place in the videos.

AXOR is itself closely bound up with its ‘hometown’ of Schiltach in the Black Forest. Did that play a role when developing the campaign?

Anke Sohn: It most certainly did! For me, Schiltach is a bit like a microscopic version of the big wide world – the tranquil village in the Black Forest with a world player namely Hansgrohe Group at its heart – where all the big names in design and architecture come and go. That constellation of remoteness and cosmopolitanism crops up on numerous occasions in the “Places” campaign. What counts here in Schiltach is that things feel genuine. Now that stance, that feeling, is what we really wanted to express in the “Places” brand campaign. The fact that we succeeded possibly has to do with the where the campaign was devised and then developed, namely here in Schiltach.

Wild coast in Wales - cherished place of the designer duo Barber & Osgerby
Phoenix Design dreams of Lake Baikal.