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10 years of Saphirkeramik

How a LAUFEN invention changed the world of sanitary ware

Ten years ago, LAUFEN developed the new material Saphirkeramik, which revolutionised the sanitary branch with thin bodies, tight curves, and slim lines. Now our invention is celebrating its anniversary.

With Saphirkeramik, LAUFEN set a genuine trend in bathroom design. This is because Saphirkeramik is an innovative ceramic that comes with all the hygienic advantages that traditional bathroom ceramics have, but is significantly thinner, more defined and extremely robust. The addition of the mineral corondum, a colourless sapphire component, brings out its distinctive characteristics, and LAUFEN brought it to market maturity over the course of several years of research and development. Since its first launch, Saphirkeramik has become a favourite among architects and bathroom planners, as it permits an entirely new design language with ceramics in the bathroom, which is not achievable using conventional ceramics.

LAUFEN’s Saphirkeramik is a very hard and bend-resistant ceramic, which – for the first time in bathroom design – permits both very thin, yet extremely robust ceramic walls as well as defined edges. Tight edge-radii of 13 mm are possible, where for traditional ceramics 7–8 mm are the norm. The term Saphirkeramik is similar to that of sapphire glass, known for being used for wrist watches, and which also becomes a particularly hard material when corondum is added.

But Saphirkeramik doesn’t only allow a more precise and leaner design language, it yields functional and ecological advantages, too: with less material, Saphirkeramik washbasins, for example, provide more functional space. Saphirkeramik handles drinking water just as hygienically and securely as traditional ceramic does and, like this, can be fully recycled. The lower material intensity, which in part arises due to the simplified structure of the ceramic components, provides further advantages in terms of environmental protection and sustainability, because less energy and fewer raw materials are used in the firing, production and transport of Saphirkeramik.


Meanwhile, LAUFEN has acquired considerable experience with the innovative ceramic and has entrenched numerous bathroom products from Saphirkeramik firmly in its repertoire of products. Design collections like VAL, Kartell • LAUFEN, SONAR, INO and THE NEW CLASSIC feature ceramics from the special material. Thanks to Saphirkeramik, the cult collection ILBAGNOALESSI, too, sports an entirely new look in 2023. LAUFEN created the design line in 2002 with the Italian design factory Alessi and its designer Stefano Giovannoni. With new Saphirkeramik washbasins in addition to ceramics, bathroom furniture, and mirrors in new, fascinating colours, Giovannoni has conjured after 20 years another rung on the evolutionary ladder for his collection, which offers entirely unique bathrooms still now.