Design & Innovation

Built for sustainability: have a clear environmental conscience with bathroom furniture from LAUFEN

The bathroom is the place where we connect with ourselves at the most quintessential level – this is where we clean our bodies, minds and souls, and where we cultivate our closest relationship with water as an element of nature.

Anyone who plans, builds and uses a bathroom with designer products from LAUFEN expects unique aesthetic appeal, the finest quality and functionality for everyday use – and also production processes that are both responsible and sustainable. This applies not only to ceramic products but also to the fittings, taps and furniture from the Swiss manufacturer that bring comfort and quality of life as well as ample storage space into the bathroom.

When people spend time in a bathroom, they want to enjoy feeling clean, safe, comfortable and carefree – whilst confident in the integrity of their purchases. At LAUFEN’s concepts for its designer furnishings simultaneously focus on climate justice, environmental compatibility and social responsibility – from the choice of materials and the production methods through to delivery, usage and recycling. The company is aware that this is a long-term, sustainable process that constantly requires adaptation and ongoing development.

Does LAUFEN use sustainable wood materials?
LAUFEN invests great efforts on the quality and traceability of its bathroom furniture. This is why it only makes use of wood materials that originate from European cultivation and are certified by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification Schemes). These certifications guarantee sustainable and responsible forestry without overexploitation or uncontrolled deforestation. In addition, LAUFEN uses a high percentage of recycled wood for its wood composite materials. These policies substantially reduce logging and guarantee the high quality of the furniture.

Is bathroom furniture from LAUFEN free of health risks?
More than any other room in a house, the bathroom is associated with health and wellbeing. This is why LAUFEN believes it is so important that its own products should ensure a healthy indoor climate. Bathroom furniture by LAUFEN complies with European limits on formaldehyde emissions as tested and certified by CATAS, an independent testing and analysis laboratory for the wood and furniture sector. It also conforms to the strict American CARB2 limit for formaldehyde (Final Rule on the Airborne Toxic Control Measure to Reduce Formaldehyde Emissions from Composite Wood Products) and the requirements stated in the EU Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH).

How does LAUFEN ensure sustainable and socially responsible production?
LAUFEN believes that sustainable production requires the most harmonious balance possible between the interests of people, environmental considerations and economic factors. To achieve this, all bathroom furniture from LAUFEN is manufactured in Central Europe – including its high-quality components. This ensures production that meets the European regulations on environmental and workforce protection. LAUFEN and many of its suppliers are also certified to ISO 14001, which defines high requirements for the implementation of an environmental management system.

As part of the international Roca Group, the LAUFEN company follows an ambitious roadmap aimed at permanently reducing its CO2 emissions to zero. In line with this objective, its production facilities also opt for power from renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic and hydropower systems. As part of the Group, moreover, LAUFEN has committed to the UN Global Compact – the world’s leading initiative for responsible corporate governance to promote an inclusive and sustainable global economy. In order to achieve the targeted standards, the Compact defines ten principles regarding human rights, labour, the environment and the fight against corruption.

Does the packaging of bathroom furniture from LAUFEN help to protect the climate and save resources?
Where possible, LAUFEN only uses 100% recycled cardboard to package its bathroom furniture. Cardboard is resilient and stable; unlike polystyrene, it can easily be reutilised in a recycling loop. It consists of regenerative raw materials, it allows space-saving storage at low cost, and it contains no microplastics whatsoever. Pre-assembled furniture is packed entirely without polystyrene – resulting in annual savings of around 28 tonnes of polystyrene (2018 figure). Frequently used components are delivered in reusable containers.

How do transportation and logistics impact the ecological balance of LAUFEN bathroom furniture?
Bathroom furniture from LAUFEN is manufactured to order – and, therefore, in response to demand. This avoids overproduction and wastage of resources. Just-in-time production and continuous optimisation of supply chain management reduce the need for storage space, leading in turn to lower energy consumption. Transport distances are kept short thanks to Central European production sites and leading-edge inventory management logistics.

What part is played by design and lifetime?
As well as the choice of materials, production processes and transportation, factors that impact the ecological footprint of LAUFEN bathroom furniture include design, durability, and recyclability. Design and development work ensure that LAUFEN’s bathroom furniture has timeless aesthetic appeal, is permanently flawless and can be used for many years – because almost nothing contributes more to sustainability than a service lifetime spanning many years.

Collaboration with internationally renowned designers such as Marcel Wanders, Patricia Urquiola, Konstantin Grcic and Toan Nguyen results in furniture collections of timeless elegance that defy short-lived fashion trends and lose none of their appeal even after many years of use. High-calibre processing and finishing of the furniture ensures that it meets the necessary standard of robustness. Materials used in production include stable, 18 mm-thick composite wood panels with protective top layers of resource-saving real wood veneer, durable lacquer laminate or a multi-layer, polished lacquer finish. These surfaces can be kept clean with no effort, so they remain impeccable and beautiful for lengthy periods.

LAUFEN’s high-grade fittings, with integrated soft close and 3D adjustment, are manufactured in Europe; they too, perform their function reliably throughout their long lifetimes. And in the event that something does need to be repaired, LAUFEN keeps an extensive range of spare parts in stock to give the item of furniture many more years of life.

What solutions does LAUFEN offer for condensed living environments?
In its mission statement, LAUFEN interprets sustainability as comprehensive responsibility for economically, socially and ecologically viable development across all generations. This means that LAUFEN also recognises the spatial dimension of sustainability – because as the global population continues to grow, the consumption of living space is bound to increase as well. One solution to this problem is known as “condensed living space”: examples of this approach include the ingenious use of existing living areas to save space, and new concepts for residential accommodation such as “tiny houses”. With this aspect in mind, LAUFEN’s furniture portfolio includes many functional solutions that make optimal use of the available space in the bathroom with no need for compromises on comfort or design.

Can bathroom furniture by LAUFEN be disposed of and reutilised without problems?
Disposal of bathroom furniture from LAUFEN at the end of its lifecycle presents no problems. Many of the components can be reused, because the multiple utilisation of resources is a key aspect of sustainability. For instance: wood veneers are 100 percent recyclable because a natural material is involved here. Furniture foils can also be reutilised to manufacture plastic pipes for sanitary and electrical applications – so closed-loop recycling is implemented in the bathroom. LAUFEN is constantly working on new possibilities for complete reutilisation of resources: in the best-case scenario, multiple recycling loops will give bathroom furniture not just one lifetime, but many.