Bathrooms aren't getting bigger; good design
is about "optimising the space"

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Milan 2014: Marc Viardot of Swiss bathroom brand Laufen explains the concept behind two installations by Konstantin Grcic and Toan Nguyen, which showcased the company's new slimline SaphirKeramik product in Milan (+ movie).

SaphirKeramik basin by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen
SaphirKeramik basin by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen

"Bathrooms have changed a lot in the last ten to fifteen years," says Viardot, director of marketing and products at Laufen. "They have become relevant in interior design, lifestyle and architecture magazines."

SaphirKeramik basin by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen
SaphirKeramik basin by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen

He continues: "But actually the bathroom has not changed when we speak about dimensions. The average size of a bathroom has increased by less than one square metre in the last 20 years. That means we are still facing the same situation - the need of optimising the space."

SaphirKeramik tray by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen
SaphirKeramik tray by Konstantin Grcic for Laufen

Viardot claims Laufen's new ceramic material, called SaphirKeramik because it contains an aluminium oxide found in Sapphires, can be formed much thinner than traditional ceramic.

SaphirKeramik basin
SaphirKeramik basin

"SaphirKeramik allows us to make super-slim walls," he says. "In traditional ceramic you have wall thickness of 8-10mm. [With SaphirKeramik] we can go down to 3-4mm."

Konstantin Grcic's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen
Konstantin Grcic's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen

Laufen presented two installations showcasing the material at Salon del Mobile in Milan this year – a range of basins and trays designed by Konstantin Grcic and an interactive piece by Toan Nguyen.

Konstantin Grcic's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen
Konstantin Grcic's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen

"Konstantin was working strongly with textures," Viardot says. "Today we show three different wash basins as well as two trays that are not necessarily sanitaryware pieces. They could be used even outside the bathroom."

Toan Nguyen's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen
Toan Nguyen's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen

Nguyen produced just one piece, a basin with a blade-like shelf running through it to show off the slimness of the material. Visitors were confronted with video of themselves shot from multiple angles when they approached the basin.

Toan Nguyen's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen
Toan Nguyen's SaphirKeramik installation for Laufen

"We show a scenographic performance installation where the visitor and the user is in interaction with the product," says Viardot. "The importance is to touch the SaphirKeramik to really appreciate the slimness and to understand that it is real ceramic."

Marc Viardot, Laufen's director of marketing and products
Marc Viardot, Laufen's director of marketing and products

The music featured in the movie is a track called October by UK Producer Jo Noon. You can listen to the full track on Dezeen Music Project.