Friday, 1 April 2011

Reading between the slim-lines

At ISH Laufen introduced new ceramic which is stronger than fireclay, allowing Andreas Dimitriadis of Platinumdesign Studio to create precise lines and slimline sanitaryware. He talks exclusively to Kitchens & Bathrooms News about how he used this material to create Palace and Living Square ranges

Looking at the two ranges you’ve designed for Laufen, they share similar characteristics but are both very different. Can you explain the design concepts behind them?
The main design trend is slimness. It is a big trend. If you look at the iPAD, the latest model has 30% less thickness. So people are really attracted by what is possible if you have slimmer and I would say a smarter appearance. [The suite] should be something which is part of the bathroom, not sculptural and it should be integrated into the bathroom. It should enhance the overall value of the bathroom and not dominate it.
Palace is something which is driven by emotional aspects in my opinion. It features soft, very elegant shapes and also follows the trend of slimness.
We’ve followed the slim trend with Living Square. It’s a square shallow, slim one-piece basin with a cabinet underneath. It was, in the past, really difficult to create with ceramics as there were problems with precision. But now there are new possibilities in production. This has got better and could change again, so we get from 40mm thickness to perhaps 20mm. It is the perfection of getting a one piece basin together with furniture. This is, in my opinion, the main idea of Living Square. It is something you can use as part of the architecture.

Which came first your thoughts of the slimness trend or Laufen saying ‘we’ve got a new ceramic’?
[laughs] No. We’ve worked together for a very long time. I was also involved in Living Style, which was at that time – about eight years ago -  measured 50mm thick. It looked very slim at that time. But we felt there was something happening in fashion trends and we had to adjust this.

What design process do you use to create the ranges?
We shape them out of foam not just modelled on computer. We really try to find a shape by moulding the foam and see is it functional enough, is it emotional enough, is it easy to clean, and is it deep enough? It is all about experience and finding out what is the perfect shape.

How long did it take to create the product ranges?
All this was started 12 months ago. Normally it takes 18 months to two years to create a range.

What idea are you particular proud of in both collections?
I like the open spout on the faucet very much because I’ve never seen anything like this in the Laufen collection. It is so natural. I like it because you experience the water earlier, you can see it coming out of the faucet and it’s not just falling out of the end. It’s the optimal design for this product

The full interview appears in the May issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.

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