Following bathrooms beyond practical spaces being explored in the latest Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, we take a look bathroom brand Laufen’s The New Classic, designed by Marcel Wanders, which launched a few years ago as something unique yet timeless for designers wanting to add personality in their wellness areas.
Innovation in the hotel bathroom space has progressed rapidly and one particular area that has seen huge progress is in the materials used to create bathroom ceramics.
SaphirKeramik is one of the latest, globally significant innovations from Swiss manufacturer Laufen. This revolutionary, ceramic material reaches its exceptional hardness blended with corundum, a colourless mineral, which is a component of sapphires. This gives SaphirKeramik a flexural strength equal to that of steel. Yet it has the potential to be wafer-thin, giving designers almost infinite freedom to experiment – and tear up the rulebook of bathroom design.
SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined and extremely robust. Its special properties are down to the addition of corundum, found through years of research and development by Laufen. Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has become a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, as it allows for a new design language with bathroom ceramics, unachievable in the same way with more conventional ceramic material.
Strong and malleable, SaphirKeramik allows the creation of thin, yet 4-5 mm ultra strong walls and tight-edge radii of just 1 to 2mm while retaining the traditional production process. Its slender profile renders it space-saving, lightweight and environmentally friendly.
The development process
Laufen uses a thinner ceramic body and a simpler structure to reduce the weight compared with conventional ceramic. The benefits are manifold: lower raw material costs and energy consumption in production and transportation.
The result is clear to see – ceramics with thin, almost live edges: living square bowls designed by Andreas Dimitriardis, the graphic lines of the washbasins out in the Kartell by Laufen collection designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the amazing textures on trays and washbasins in the design series of VAL by Konstantin Grcic and the razor blade sharp shelf of the INO washbasins designed by Toan Nguyen.
Pushing the boundaries of innovation
Laufen continues to stretch the material’s limits by exploiting its super-fine forms not only to create exquisitely detailed textures and patterns but also by engineering the innovative material to increase its maximum size – a 120 cm-long washbasin in SaphirKeramik is the largest to date. The brand also continually innovates by collaborating with established designers to create new collections using the material.
Most recently, Laufen commissioned the Dutch star designer Marcel Wanders to create The New Classic collection, in view of the outstanding reputation he has established worldwide with his extravagant style and innovative use of materials and technology. For Laufen, he had all the credentials required to fashion a new contemporary design language utilising its SaphirKeramik material. The outcome is characterised by soft, gentle feminine curves reminiscent of the opening petals of a flower, alongside angular, masculine elements. In view of the tension generated by this approach, the distinctive presence of The New Classic is regarded as unprecedented in the sanitary ware segment. To allow bathrooms to be fitted out completely with The New Classic, Laufen has assembled a very broad and versatile collection, including stunning washbasin bowls made from SaphirKeramik.
Here is the Product Watch Pitch that Jon Bond, Head of Projects at Laufen and Roca, presented recently to an audience of designers, architects and hoteliers at Hotel Designs LIVE:
Elaborate attention to detail
To match The New Classic bathroom collection, Laufen also created a range of accessories from SaphirKeramik. Among the items are a wall-mounted shelf, soap dish, toothbrush holder, toilet brush holder and an elegant oval mirror with the novel distinction of being framed in SaphirKeramik.
According to Marcel Wanders, “For the first time, the ultra-modern SaphirKeramik has been moulded into a classic and iconic form. This lightweight yet resilient material gave us the unique opportunity to celebrate the beauty of fine porcelain with our elegant, soft lines.”
As well as being a Recommended Supplier, Laufen was a Product Watch Pitch partner at Hotel Designs LIVE, which took place on May 11, 2021. The next Hotel Designs LIVE will take place on August 10, 2021
Main image credit: Laufen