Leading the way with student collaboration

Laufen has teamed up with industrial design students from Basel's Academy of Art and Design (HGK) on a project aimed at developing innovative applications for its SaphirKeramik material.

During their third semester, the students will work on proposals for bathroom products in response to Laufen’s brief calling for designs that utilise SaphirKeramik’s unique properties.

This revolutionary material gets its incredible strength from corundum, a mineral also found in sapphires, which enables the manufacture of sanitary ware featuring slender profiles, tight radii and refined detailing.

With support from HGK professor Sven Adolph and the Laufen Bathroom design team, the students will be encouraged to conduct a thorough design process resulting in products that demonstrate exciting forms and intelligent functions.

The project was initiated in September, when the students visited Laufen's design and production facilities to gain a first hand insight into the manufacturing process and capabilities of SaphirKeramik.

During the visit, Laufen Design and Product Manager Ceramics, Alain Reymond, gave a presentation explaining the history of the company and its past innovations, leading up to the development of SaphirKeramik.

The presentation also outlined the technical qualities of the material, which have already been exploited by German designer Konstantin Grcic in a series of basins featuring finely textured surfaces, and in French designer Toan Nguyen's collection of basins with smooth continuous outlines.

The students will present their designs at the Laufen Forum in January, when an international panel will select the top three outcomes. The best product will then undergo further refinement before being produced in SaphirKeramik.

Sven Adolph said: “The Academy of Art and Design frequently collaborates with industry partners such as Laufen, and these projects allow students to gain a first hand insight into the multi-layered complexities of real-life business. They have the opportunity to forge connections with a renowned brand, which can be essential for their future careers and is a huge motivator.”

Alain Reymond said: “The corporate culture of Laufen is characterised by openness for creativity and design. From our point of view, it is very important to promote creative talents and to support them on their way into professional life. This collaboration offers young designers the opportunity to work for the first time with the industry under real conditions, whilst offering Laufen new perspectives and inspiration on design."

The project with HGK follows closely behind Laufen's recent involvement with students in November as sponsor of the American Institute of Architects' UK student charrette at the Roca London Gallery [click here]. This one-day design competition invited teams of students to develop a new identity for the Chelsea Design Quarter, using civic art, architecture and public spaces as wayfinding.

Photo: Copyright ©Samuel Lodetti HGK_FHNW


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