If there’s one thing that never ever goes out of style it is classic design. It’s all in the name. Classic is timeless. It’s now and it’s forever.
Classic design is defined by its simplicity, by its clean lines and elegant aesthetic. And no one understands this better than one of contemporary design’s most established and exemplary practitioners, Marcel Wanders.
Bursting onto the international scene in the mid 90s with his Knotted Chair, the man once dubbed ‘The Lady Gaga of Design’ by The New York Times established his own studio in 2000, before also co-founding the groundbreaking studio Moooi the following year, acting as its product designer, owner and art director.
At the Marcel Wanders practice in Amsterdam, Wanders is the creative lead of a studio that specialises in product and interior design that acknowledges and embraces the past, while forging new futures. Supported by Gabriele Chiave, the Wanders studio has long been noted for the respect it bestows on diverse cultures and histories, while being unique and utterly of the now.
It’s a design language that is at once personal, while also a catalyst for where we are today – the post-postmodernist era. To create bathroom ware that sits at the apex of this juncture, a collaboration between Marcel Wanders and Laufen is a match made in ceramic heaven.
Breaking the mould
But this is an interesting avenue for Wanders – one of the world’s most successful designers, but also one sometimes known for highly patterned and colourful work. With the New Classic Collection, Wanders is navigating another of his passions – the one that wants to strip back, to create beautiful but functional designs that eschew waste and extravagance in favour of sleek minimalism and longevity.
Wanders says he was drawn to a collaboration with Laufen, a traditional Swiss brand, by its combination of pragmatism and constant drive to evolve and innovate. This example of dualism is matched by another or, as Wanders describes it, the unification of “two major design trends: emotional Italian design from the south and the northern tradition of design precision and clarity”.
And if anyone understands duality and contrast, it’s Wanders, the designer who has given us the sparse, utterly pared back minimalism of a product like his Long Light, but at the opposite end of the spectrum, the colourful and far more detailed contours of his range of Delft Blue Vases. Then to completely confound, surprise and delight he’ll throw in an undeniable blast of busy brilliance and whimsy with a product like his Monster Carpet, Nest Sofa or The Killing of the Piggy Bank.
So how would such a creative mind approach the New Classic Collection – Laufen’s high end range of bathroom ceramic products and frame furniture? In exactly the same way as he and his eponymous studio approach any new project – with an open mind and an embrace of the new and innovative. In this case, it’s by utilising Laufen’s groundbreaking ceramic, SaphirKeramik, here being seen for the first time in such iconic and classic designs.
Launched by Laufen just seven years ago, this material is regarded as harder and with a greater flexural strength than vitreous or fireclay ceramics. The secret is the addition of the naturally occurring mineral corundum, a component of sapphire in alternative modifications – hence the name. SaphirKeramik is also insensitive to abrasive cleaners and mechanical abrasion, which makes its application in bathroom settings a brilliant solution.
Its extraordinary properties enable a thinner and sleeker design, previously impossible in sanitary ceramic products, along with a more simplified structure.
And if any adjectives typify ‘classic’, surely ‘sleek’, ‘simplified’ and ‘sustainable’ fit the bill…
Is it possible to create bathroom ware and furniture that is “romantic” and “more subjective”? Apparently, it is. Marcel Wanders and Laufen have just done it.
The New Classic Collection includes a wide range of washbasins, toilets and furniture, along with a bathtub – all echoing each other in lines and curvature. With an oval mirror recalling Wanders’ brilliant O seating solution and even a toilet brush holder that reflects the sweep of the WC bowl it sits beside, this is truly a cohesive and aligned collection, elevating the bathroom to a place that marries simple functionality with quiet elegance. A room where class and classic come together…
To find out more visit www.laufen.com.au