On the occasion of the 3daysofdesign, Copenhagens's leading annual design event for design enthusiasts from around the globe, Laufen Bathrooms presented “A Curated Art Show. What?”.
This is the title of a traveling exhibition, who was created to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Laufen. It is shown at the Swiss Embassy, being part of an exhibition designed by Alfredo Häberli, putting together various companies from Switzerland for this single moment.

Laufen is proud to build on the foundations of tradition and skills passed down through generations, recognizing the true value of knowledge and history. At the same time, the company is firmly rooted in the present, consciously taking stock of the past in order to channel resources and energies into constant evolution. To this end, Laufen makes choices with an eye toward innovation, in pursuit of ever higher standards of quality and aesthetics, forging into the future with an advanced, enterprising attitude.

The first Laufen kilns started working 125 years ago when expert hands shaped the material with great skill and delicate sensitivity. Even today that material and those hands are the true reference points of the company, constants in all its ceramic manifestations, bridging the gap between past and future.

A Curated Art Show. What? is the title of this traveling exhibition, which has been  created to celebrate the anniversary of Laufen. It made its debut in March at the German Architecture Museum (DAM) in Frankfurt, before becoming a highlight during Milan Design Week in April and will now be shown the first time here in Copenhagen at the 3daysofdesign.

The concept is based on a three-dimensional platform of art, a collection of high-tech, abstract, and crafty objects. Added to the artistic element, parts of the sculptures have been produced using new technologies, some of which are making a world premiere in ceramics. Its future orientation made Laufen explore new manufacturing methods such as digital modelling and fabrication in different materials, working closely with an international network of universities, research institutes and academic spin-offs.

This exhibition of seventeen objects white in white document the essence of the Swiss bathroom specialist Laufen - its reference points, beliefs, aspirations, values and milestones, translated from abstract to figurative, from handmade to digital fabrication in vitreous China, SaphirKeramik, coated cand, LCC, varia resin and plaster.  The resultant landscape of differently executed objects, formally autonomous, but forming a strong statement to the fascinating material ceramic.

Curated by Beda Achermann, the exhibition includes sculptures by personalities from the world of art, architecture, and design, including atelier oï, Stefano Giovannoni, Konstantin Grcic, Alfredo Häberli, Benjamin Dillenburger and Michael Hansmeyer, Toan Nguyen, Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, Patricia Urquiola, Nissen Wentzlaff and Peter Wirz. They have been asked to interpret, in a symbolic way, the key words that define the identity of Laufen and the essence of its success.

Water, for example, is a fundamental element for Laufen, without it would be impossible to make ceramics, to craft the products and to put their design into practice. To represent its value and the company’s particular accent on responsible use of this resource, Toan Nguyen has made a vase in glazed and sintered SaphirKeramik, reproducing a drop of water in an abstract way.

atelier oï was assigned the task of interpreting innovation in the area of materials, a crucial value of Laufen from the outset of its history. The most remarkable result of this research and experimentation is SaphirKeramik, a unique ceramic material that permits a new expressive and functional language based on advanced material properties. To represent it, atelier oï has made the cross-section of a sapphire crystal, ultra-strong, precise, essential, minimalistic and refined – it embodies the qualities of SaphrKeramik. This is the first 3D printed piece of high performance ceramics entering the world of Design and Art. The 3D print process has been developed by cooperation partner, Lithoz, an academic spin off who were the first company to process high-performance ceramics. The very first steps in 3D printing has Dr. Fischer, Laufen’s Research Director, undertaken when working with TU Clausthal in 2008 to create the world’s very first functional 3D-printed toilet. It was built and processed in a scale of 1:10 from Laufen’s own vitreous china suspension. To discover the full potential of the materials and explore new manufacturing methods such as digital fabrication, Laufen closely work with an international network of universities, research institutes  and academic spin-offs.

By Studio Flag (Bastien Aubry & Dimitri Broquard), and closely connected to the previous work, the sculpture entitled Robots portrays the cliché of a robot, shaped, scanned and 3D printed with sand and lacquered with glossy white paint. Thanks to robotics, Laufen has been able to insert automated processes in its production and distribution facilities. And thanks to such evolutions, over the years the company has reached an industrial dimension, boosting production numbers while at the same time improving quality.

Trained architects Benjamin Dillenburger ( ETH Zurich) and Michael Hansmeyer (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) who focus on digital fabrication aiming to create architecture, have designed an impressive sculpture for the exhibition. Developed at the chair for Digital Building Technologies (ETH Zürich) it symbolises the interaction between culture, art and design, which has always been approached by Laufen as a structural part of the company’s DNA, as is borne out by the assiduous participation at the Venice Biennale and Art Basel, and the organization of the Architecture during Art Symposium in Basel.

Handmade is the title of the work created by Bastien Aubry & Dimitri Broquard of the studio Flag. Made with clay shaped by hand and air dried, it represents the role of the human being in the crafting of ceramics in a very figurative and vivid way, a role that has changed over time yet still remains fundamentally the same even today.

These works and the other artistic creations in the exhibition are arranged on a large platform with a length of 6 metres, allowing visitors to observe them together and to grasp their intrinsic connections.The resultant landscape of differently executed objects, formally autonomous, but forming a strong statement to the fascinating material ceramic.
Ceramic is seen as one of the most interesting materials to cope with challenges of the 21st century - it is for its mechanical properties and for its sustainability.

Laufen will keep its orientation torwards experimentation and openness to new visions while developing more innovative materials, work on their properties and finding new applications; learns and explores by closely observing or fostering research and development activities around ceramics and their appliances also in other industries.

A Curated Art Show.What?
14 March 2017 VERNISSAGE
DAM – Deutsches Architekturmuseum, Frankfurt/Germany

4 / 9 April 2017
LA POSTERIA,  Milan Design Week, Milan/Italy

1 / 3 June 2017
3 Days of Design, Copenhagen/Denmark

Next dates coming up:

13 / 18 June 2017
Design Miami/Basel_Basel/Switzerland

16 / 24 September 2017
London Design Festival_UK

29 September / 8 October 2017
Vienna Design Week_AT

7 / 10 December 2017
Design Week Miami_USA



Further information

A long-standing partner of “Salon Suisse”, an official Swiss contribution to the Venice Biennale organised by the Swiss cultural foundation Pro Helvetia, Laufen also sponsored in 2016 the Release Architecture — Incidental Space issue of ARCH+, co-edited by Christian Kerez & Sandra Oehy, which sheds light on the theoretical background of the contribution of the Swiss Pavilion.
As part of the Architecture during Art Symposium, an annual symposium inaugurated by Laufen and held at the same time as Art Basel, the participants met up again in Switzerland to exchange ideas. The keynote speakers were Christian Kerez and Benjamin Dillenburger, who took part in the implementation of Incidental Space as Professor of Digital Building Technologies in the Architecture Department at ETH Zurich.
Fascinated by the topic of additive manufacturing, Laufen first spoke in Zurich to Prof. Dillenburger, Prof. Hansmeyer from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and Mr. Christen, of the firm Christenguss, and then headed to the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) in Berlin. Talks with Prof Günster (BAM), Dipl.-Ing. Mühler (TU Clausthal) and Prof. Dillenburger (ETH) are planned for the future.

Dr. Fischer, Laufen’s Research Director, first worked with TU Clausthal in 2008 to create the world’s very first functional 3D-printed toilet. It was built and processed on a scale of 1:10 from Laufen’s own vitreous china suspension.
Its complex component geometry is built from ceramic suspension by way of layer-wise slurry deposition (LSD). The ceramic layers are solidified by selective laser sintering (SLS).
In this state, sanitary ceramic components can undergo regular glazing, decorating and sintering. These components look no different than those parts which are produced conventionally.

The Atelier oï Saphirkeramik sculpture displayed in this exhibition was produced using a 3D print process developed by our business associates at the company Lithoz. Lithoz is a worldwide leader in innovation, and was the first company to process high-performance ceramics in a 3D print process with extremely high density, resistance and the utmost in precision. The finished parts boast the same material characteristics as those of conventionally produced ceramics.
Their patented technology is based on the selective mask exposure of a photosensitive resin containing homogeneously - dispersed ceramic particles. During structuring, a green body - a composite of ceramic powder and an organic polymer matrix - is created. Photopolymers form the basic structure of the component, and serve as a binder between the ceramic particles.
The photopolymers are then removed by pyrolysis during debinding, and the ceramic particles are thickly sintered in the concluding sintering process.

Generative or additive manufacturing is an automated process for producing three-dimensional objects from 3D CAD datasets, without the use of tools. 3D printing is based on the layer building principle. One often refers to an “additive” process because the material is added one step at a time. Although 3D printing has been around since the 1980s, it has only just started to be used industrially with sustainable high-performance or silicate ceramics during the last few years.


CONTRIBUTING DESIGNER in alphabetical order

Beda Achermann and his team manage to successfully merge art and commerce: With their network of internationally renowned photographers and artists they produce highly collectible publications and advertising.
Trained architects who focus on digital fabrication aiming to create an architecture that defies classification and reductionism.
They explore unseen levels of resolution and topological complexity in architecture by developing compositional strategies based on purely geometric processes.

Bastien Aubry and Dimitri Broquard are based in Zurich, Switzerland. The focus of their work focuses essentially on art and cultural projects. In addition, both designers teach at art schools in Switzerland.

The expressive form of designer and architect Stefano Giovannoni virtuously play with the symbols and metaphors of the subconscious and fascinate with their narrative qualities.

The designs of Konstantin Grcic are characterized by careful research and a great passion for technology and materials.

Alfredo Häberlis’ designs unite tradition and innovation, joy and energy. His work is strongly influenced by his early childhood in Argentina, as well as by his curiosity and studies of everyday life.

A keen sense of the trends and developments in society and the environment is a characteristic feature of the designer Toan Nguyen.

“How can a building ensemble grow, how will it change and what are the constants that create identity and ensure spatial quality?” These questions guide and define the credo of Laufen Forum architects, the Basel based Nissen Wentzlaff.

Diversity is the hallmark of the Swiss Atelier oï, from La Neuville by Lake Biel. With playfulness and joy, Aurel Aebi, Armand Louis and Patrick Reymond question established norms.

Italian design: the versatile architects and designers Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, have made an international name for themselves.

The designs of Patricia Urquiola are unconventional, emphatic, and experimental, blending humanist sensibilities and technical expertise – qualities that also inform her work as an architect.

Design of the human touch: this is the credo of Vetica, with headquarters in Lucerne. Designer Peter Wirz and his inter-disciplinary, international team regard themselves as ideas people.


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Media contacts
Béatrice Rüeger
Laufen Bathrooms AG
+41 61 765 71 11

Daniela Sarracco    
EVDS public relations
+39 0283241965


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