Laufen Swiss Architecture tour

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Dezeen promotion: last week, Dezeen attended an architectural tour of Basel and Zurich organised by Swiss bathroom brand Laufen that included a trip to their concrete showroom designed by Nissen Wentzlaff Architects.

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The tour featured viewings of buildings by established Swiss architects including Herzog & de Meuron and new projects by upcoming practices such as EM2NStump & Schibili and Buchner Bründler.

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You can see photos on our Facebook page from Basel and Zurich and a podcast featuring interviews with many of the architects will appear on Dezeen soon.

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The Laufen Forum sits alongside the company's headquarters and acts as a showroom and visitor centre.

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Its curved exterior form was inspired by one of Laufen's most popular product ranges and was cast from concrete in a similar way to the production of ceramics.

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The interior of the Forum is designed to encourage a flow of movement, guiding visitors through the display of products before returning them to the entrance via a sweeping staircase.

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The building is almost entirely windowless but the central events area is lit by skylights punched into the roof.

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The tour also included a visit to the production facility on the same site as the Forum and headquarters, where the company has been producing wash basins, bidets and toilets for almost 120 years.

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The production of the pieces still involves many manual processes and a thorough understanding of the nuances of the material.

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Laufen collaborates with many leading designers on its product ranges including IlBagnoAlessi One (above), designed by Stefano Giavannoni, which features a wave-like form washing over the shelving unit.

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The Living Square collection (above) by Stuttgart designer Andreas Dimitriadis of Platinumdesign has a shallow basin and sharply defined edges that require precise moulding.

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The Palomba Collection (above) by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba has recently been expanded to include a double-basin version featuring asymmetric 'fingerprints' sunk into a 1600mm flat surface.

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