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Laufen tells its story: 125 years of continuing success, on a path to the future.

04 /09 April 2017_ Posteria_ Brera Design District_ Milan Design Week.
Laufen is proud to celebrate its 125th anniversary with two unique projects that narrate the history of the company in an intense, original way.

For the FuoriSalone, Laufen also presented many new products, based on collaboration with the most outstanding designers on the international scene.

During the 56th edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Laufen took part in Design Week with  grand style, choosing the fascinating spaces of the Posteria, in the heart of the Brera Design District, to celebrate an important anniversary and to amaze visitors with an exhibition and installation featuring all of the company’s latest creations and recent bespoke products.

This year represents a remarkable milestone for Laufen, the 125th anniversary of the company’s founding.

To mark this achievement and to narrate the passion that has always driven the firm, Laufen has made a special short film, a “company movie” directed by Marc Comes, shown in a premiere during the FuoriSalone.

Laufen has always been proud to build on the foundations of tradition and the skills passed down from generation to generation, recognizing the true value of this know-how, and its history is studded with episodes that prove this. 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 on innovation, in pursuit of constantly higher standards of quality and aesthetics, forging into the future with an extremely advanced, enterprising attitude. The first Laufen kilns transformed clay into ceramic 125 years ago, and 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 manifestations, bridging the gap between past and future.

The short film brings these themes to the fore, in a special tribute to all the people who are part of the company and contribute to its success. It is a story told through images, an eloquent cutaway view of Laufen production. Direct, incisive, the film zooms in on the quality of the workmanship, the design, the interface between craft and industry. It delves into fascinating, complex details generated by countless passages through glances, hands and tools, each gauged to produce an impeccable final result.

“Milestones. Curated Art Show. What?” meanwhile, is the title of the traveling exhibition that made its debut in Frankfurt in March, created to retrace the history of Laufen and to celebrate its anniversary. Set up for the occasion at the centre of the main space of the Posteria, the show curated by the studio Acherman required the collaboration of around 20 personalities from the world of art, architecture and design, including atelier oï, Stefano Giovannoni, Konstantin Grcic, Alfredo Häberli, 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. They have all applied their creativity to make a single ceramic work, using various techniques, including innovative 3D printing technology. The results are three-dimensional sculptures that reflect profound thinking and references to world-famous artists like Fischli & Weiss, Brancusi, Giacometti or Armleder.

Water, for example, is a fundamental element for Laufen, without which 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 high-performance material that permits a new expressive and functional language. To represent it, atelier oï has made the cross-section of a sapphire crystal with 3D printing, a piece that is ultra-strong, essential and refined, embodying the qualities of SaphrKeramik.

Handmade is the title of the work created by Bastien Aubry & Dimitri Broquard of the studio Flag. Made with clay shaped by hand and dried in the air, 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.

Also by Flag, 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 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.

A pioneer of 3D printing and a professor at the ETH in Zurich, Benjamin Dillenburger has created an impressive sculpture for the exhibition, symbolizing 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 Art Symposium in Basel.

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.

After Frankfurt and Milan, the exhibition “Milestones. A curated Art Show. What?” will also be presented in Copenhagen, London and Miami, and at the prestigious Laufen Forum, the company’s showroom.

Along the wings of the room, there are also spaces set aside for the individual designers and their respective creations.

The largest area is for Patricia Urquiola, who presents SONAR, a new collection of washstands and bathtubs. The brilliant, award-winning designer has been assigned the task of reinterpreting SaphirKeramik in order to launch the generation SK 3.0. Besides exploiting all the high-tech characteristics of the material, SONAR manages to introduce a third dimension and to bring dynamism to the traditionally smooth, continuous outer surfaces of washbasins and bathtubs. An unexpected tactile effect, an elegance that embraces contrasts, with innovative, decorative design: SONAR is the result of a painstaking creative process aimed at formulating a remarkable balance between looks and functional quality. The installation reproduces a landscape of solid blocks of different finishes, with panels in natural iron framing the space. Black, with details in galvanized gold and shiny glass, the panels take their cue from the style of the Laufen Bathrooms showroom in Madrid designed by Urquiola. Two artistic partitions made with fluorescent tubes surround two sides of the display space.

Two zones focus on VAL, by Konstantin Grcic, with new pieces that expand the collection, including a perfectly circular bathtub and a completely new series of taps. Grcic continues to explore the possibilities of this collection with its forceful architectural lines and eloquent geometric design, as an expression of the potential and beauty of SaphirKeramik.

KARTELL BY LAUFEN, in the wake of great success and a continuous trend of growth, is widening its range with a greater focus on interior design. Various new items have been designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, including new countertop and built-in washstands, a complete series of furnishing complements, an expanded colour palette, a bathtub and a series of three geometric motifs developed to decorate and personalize the column washstand already in the collection.

Peter Wirz has designed the RIVA shower-toilet, the most surprising of all the new developments from Laufen, and a design that has won many prestigious prizes. A masterpiece of Swiss engineering, it combines elegant design with the most advanced technology in the area of hygiene and cleanliness, setting a new standard of luxury.

Together with Riva, visitors can also admire INO, the collection in SaphirKeramik created for Laufen by Toan Nguyen, in a contemporary reinterpretation of soft classical forms. Understated lines, very thin and continuous surfaces, comfortable and organic design, for an effect of exceptional harmony and lightness.

The exhibit itinerary in the spaces of the Posteria concludes with some images of the Mondrian Hotel in Doha, Qatar, with interior design by Marcel Wanders. Laufen has been directly involved in the making of this large luxury hotel, supplying and customizing all the products for the furnishing of the bathrooms of the 270 hotel rooms. In this important bespoke project, the highly acclaimed Dutch designer has worked closely with the in-house research and development division of Laufen.

Laufen thus demonstrates its versatility and ability to operate on multiple levels, through design, in collaboration with external creative talents and professionals, developing custom solutions to bring out the best in any architectural context: further confirmation of Laufen’s orientation towards experimentation and openness to new visions.

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


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