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.
The Laufen Forum sits alongside the company's headquarters and acts as a showroom and visitor centre.
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.
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.
The building is almost entirely windowless but the central events area is lit by skylights punched into the roof.
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.
The production of the pieces still involves many manual processes and a thorough understanding of the nuances of the material.
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.
The Living Square collection (above) by Stuttgart designer Andreas Dimitriadis of Platinumdesign has a shallow basin and sharply defined edges that require precise moulding.
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.