As building processes becoming increasingly complex, architects need to adopt a more structured approach to their work. This includes collaborating closely with manufacturers who are capable of doing justice to individual project specifications. Prime examples of this can be seen in two buildings that bathroom manufacturer Laufen helped design: the new company headquarters of Scott Sports in Givisiez, Switzerland; and a residential project on the site that once housed the Battersea Power Station in London. In both cases the company’s bespoke service came into play enabling architects and designers to conceive and plan tailored solutions for the bathroom.
The Scott headquarters is the work of architecture office IttenBrechbühl which designed the building not only for office use but also included public and private areas. For example, the manufacturer – which is renowned for its products from the areas of skiing, motocross and cycling – wanted a showroom where visitors could try out the newly developed Scott bikes. Another point to consider was that many of the almost 600 employees cycle to work, engage in sports during their lunch breaks, and then take a shower on site. In order to cater both to the high numbers of visitors and the needs of employees the architects installed 44 sanitary rooms in the new headquarters complete with changing rooms, lockers, showers and even a bike-wash facility. The design and building process involved was digitally planned with building information modeling (BIM) for which Laufen supplied the relevant data.
The bathroom manufacturer’s digital know-how also proved beneficial when it came to how the sanitary areas can be used – thanks to the company’s own “Digital Public Bathroom” concept. An example of this is the infrared regulated concealed self-closing tap “Twintronic” for washstands that is not only operated intuitively and touch-free but is also easy to clean. The same principle is employed for the “Showertronic” shower settings and the “Lema” urinals. Moreover, there are many options for regulating the technology integrated into the fittings and urinal: For example, the preset functions can be reprogrammed to suit individual preferences either manually, via a sensor or using the relevant app. In particular with the washstand faucets the sensor range, maximum water flow time, and overrun time can be individually adjusted. In addition, the fittings and urinals can be organized and managed singly or in respective product groups.
However, Laufen not only offers suitable concepts as regards digital technology but also in the analog world, such as a customized washstand made from the “Sentec” mineral material which was purpose-developed and specially made for the Scott headquarters. “With this project the client was particularly taken with the purist and streamlined design of the washstands. The customized solution meant we were also able to integrate soap dispensers and paper towel holders into the washstand eliminating the need for additional supports on the walls,” says Tima Kamberi, who was responsible for the project at IttenBrechbühl.
Laufen also demonstrated its ability to tackle and master complicated situations in another project involving a residential building on the former site of Battersea Power Station in London. For the building, designed by the architecture offices dRMM Architects and SimpsonHaugh, Laufen collaborated with Deba, a German corporation Deba that makes prefabricated bathroom units and delivers the bathrooms complete with all electrical and sanitary fittings ready for installation to the key supply companies. As a result, this greatly reduces installation time and construction procedures on site.
In this case, the different dimensions of the prefabricated bathrooms owing to the different apartment footprints meant the sanitary products installed needed to be adjusted. Laufen therefore produced 96 different versions. Each of the 1,241 prefabricated bathrooms was fitted with a wall-mounted “Kartell by Laufen” toilet and a customized “Sentec” washstand – and over half the bathrooms were also fitted with "Marbond" shower trays. In this way Laufen has contributed to one of the largest urban renewal projects in Europe and demonstrates that individual solutions are also feasible in large, complex projects.