During the 56th edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Laufen takes 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. 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.
“Every once in a while, a form will emerge that never loses its originality.”
Some forms remain special forever. They become part of a canon of forms, loved and celebrated for too long to surprise, yet eternally unique, and much too beautiful to ever be considered standard. The result is a classic which never fades — always at the cutting edge of technology, and gorgeous for eternity.
Design: Stefano Giovannoni, wall-hung WC, IlBagnoAlessi One, 2002 Polymers and silica sand, binder jetting (powder bed 3D printing), in ltrated and painted 25 × 19 × 17cm, Producer: Christenguss AG
“A quirky and unusual animal is the symbol for the cleansing ritual.”
Its porous skeleton provides it with the unusual ability of soak- ing up water and then releasing it again. It is perhaps the oldest hygienic tool, and along with water often the only one: the sponge. Functional, it cleans and caresses at the same time and is soft to the skin. It is not uncommon to nd one in our tool box — for we also use sponges to clean ceramics during production.
Already during production, therefore, we see the triad of basin, water and sponge: the most original source of cleanliness, the perfect package, tradition and inspiration as one.
Design: Studio Achermann. Natural sponge in dipped and sintered SaphirKeramik, 15 × 22 × 27 cm Producer: Laufen Bathrooms AG, Gmunden factory
THE SEARCH FOR NEW VISIONS
“Time only goes in one direction. But we give it form.”
Tomorrow is a question: What will we be able to accomplish? It challenges our willpower: How good can we be? Which new technologies can help? To us, progress is a neverending process, a step that is bigger on some days, much smaller on others.
Because the future is not a time that comes, but a path one must take. A path we want to take. To provide the answers ourselves. In all that we do.
Design: Patricia Urquiola
A mix of polymer cast ance ceramic, binder jetting (powder bed 3D printing), in ltrated, 5 × 19 × 19 cm, Producer: my3dworld GmbH
COMPLETE BATHROOM SOLUTIONS
“Everything begins with cleanliness. It is the start and the nish.”
With water came bathrooms, and with bathrooms, the begin- nings of a whole new movement: in the middle of rst half of the 20th century, the installation of bathrooms was accompanied by a plea for hygiene and cleanliness. Today, this concept is so obvi- ous that we cannot fully comprehend the impact it had at the time, especially if we consider that trends have long since made rejuvenation the leading topic when it comes to bathrooms. Bathrooms have gone from an almost shameful, hidden, ideally space-saving, functional space to a room that is harmoniously integrated into the open oor plans of a living space.
Design: Konstantin Grcic
Polymers and silica sand, binder jetting (powder bed 3D printing), in ltrated and painted in ltriert und lackiert, 145 × 80 × 57 cm, Producer: Christenguss AG
“True teamwork is not a deal. It is a culture.”
The connection between a commercial product and creative de- sign is rarely obvious. No form follows function rule, no brie ng and no order can con dently provide the grandeur that designs need if they are to become relevant for generations to come. What it takes is open-mindedness, and the courage to collective- ly explore new avenues until the goal is reached. This is the cul- ture of cooperation we encourage.
Design: Alfredo Häberli
Grinding ball, coated, glazed and sintered SaphirKeramik, 8 × 6 × 50 cm Producer: Laufen Bathrooms AG, Gmunden factory
“Trusting one’s own strengths: When everything we know converges onto one point, ideas emerge
which can simultaneously solve many challenges.”
Everything new. Better. Faster. The invention of a process that casts ceramic under pressure didn’t just arise from a single step, it involved several di erent steps wrapped into one. Pressure casting made surfaces smoother, rmer and more pristine. It shortened production times, not only the casting itself, but also because pressure-cast objects can continue to be processed im- mediately after casting. Suddenly, moulds no longer had to be replaced after a few hundred uses, but only after twenty or even forty thousand. Sometimes progress happens in leaps and bounds, and everything converges in a single concept.
A new division was formed — Kelapor. The pressure casting process is still used today and marketed all across the planet. What began as a simple idea forged a new reality: how people work, what they produce — an approach that has found its way into countless apartments and homes through- out the world.
Design: Pressure casting mould Laufen
Varia Resin, milled section of casting form, cut, lackered, 75 × 45 × 16cm Producer: KERAMIK LAUFEN AG, Pressure casting mould production, Laufen Factory
“We can’t take credit for the mountains. But everything else of which we are proud, we develop one step further every day.”
LAUFEN is not only a company; it is a community in the canton of Baselland. It is our home. And it is a commitment: as far back as the Middle Ages, ceramic was made here. It is a tradition we will carry into the future. Absolutely local, perfect for this very spot. We are people of Baselland. And Swiss. In all that we do, always and gladly. With an eye on the whole world, but with our feet on the ground, as ambassadors of a tradition and claim. A claim for Swiss quality and precision — the art of engineering.
Design: Peter Wirz
Fine reclay, cast by hand using a shaped mould, glazed and sintered, 20 × 84 × 23 cm Producer: Laufen Bathrooms AG, Gmunden factory
“The missing element —
the consummation of our labour.”
Water is life. It represents purity, health and relaxation. Water is the element which allows our objects to function, which makes them useful and turns them into the luxury amenities o ered by modern bathrooms. In 1890, Swiss households gained access to the general water supply. No other event has been more vital to the development of LAUFEN, for without it the company would not be in existence today. Our ideas and designs always take into consideration the texture, temperature and power of water: both how we use it and the possibilities of conserving it — along with longevity, this is our contribution to sustainability.
Design Toan Nguyen
SaphirKeramik, plaster mould produced from a shaped model, cast by hand, glazed and sintered, 50 × 35 × 35 cm
Producer: Laufen Bathrooms AG, Gmunden factory
“Strong roots ensure one can continue to grow. From Switzerland to the world.”
Limits are self-imposed: On the one hand, LAUFEN is a Swiss company. On the other hand, it has always been connected to the outside world — via its partners and production sites in Central Europe.
As early as 1952, LAUFEN also began to produce wall and oor tiles in Brazil. From that time, long before the era of frequent yer miles, the company’s director started commuting between the two continents. An inevitably cosmopolitan spirit set in, with the company forging alliances and taking over pro- duction sites in
Austria and the Czech Republic. Since 1999, the company belongs to the Spanish group Roca. Its heart remains Swiss. But its thinking is global.
Design: Ludovica + Roberto Palomba
Fine reclay, cast by hand using a shaped mould, glazed and sintered, 78 × 55 × 35 cm Producer: Laufen Bathrooms AG, Gmunden factory