ISH 2013 Wrapup – Faucets

Part 3 of my report on ISH 2013 from Frankfurt, Germany.

Although this year seemed a little down on exhibitors and overall showing a conservative approach to new design, there were still many standouts.  Some companies, notably Dornbracht, eschewed new shapes and finishes for a focus on useability and electronic aids.  I concentrated on trends within the design envelope.

Laufen Faucet with Top SurfaceFirst up is this faucet by Laufen and Kartell, which I mentioned briefly in my report on fixtures last week.  Similar to a faucet by Starck, there is a flat surface on top for storage of bathroom items.  Above it is naked… and here:

Laufen faucet with Kartell tray surface…seen from the side with the polycarbonate Kartell “caddy” on top.  I really don’t like this piece too much; if you consider the caddy moveable, what if you or somebody else puts a bar of soap on top of the naked faucet – and then you want to put your caddy on top?  The soap will leave residue on the bottom of your caddy, if you put it there next.  Also, I don’t like the “business end” of the faucet being hidden.  I like to see where the water will be coming from.  I would rather see Kartell make little caddies that fit into spaces on the lavs perhaps, or on the mirror, accessories or something along the side.

Chrome Mixer Faucet at ISH 2013Above is a nice design, with the square base and round lever language perhaps being in slight conflict.  Below are two faucets I noted the shape of, only because they look like things I have been developing for my client.  I didn’t note the makers.

Gold Faucet Chrome Mixer Faucet

These were not the only pieces similar to some ideas I had.  It isn’t easy coming up with something completely new of course.  Next, a nice shower set in white.  Colors (instead of plated surfaces) were down a little this year, but there were still some very nice examples.

White Shower SetI think the sharp vertical edges of this design lend itself to powder coating, as opposed to plated finishes.  The edges will be very hard to get right if plated, as the polishing of the brass/zamac is critical and usually done by hand.  The thickness of the powder probably hides any flaws.  It was quite crisp, however.

Now that I have mentioned colors, a company called Treemme is next.  These faucets were by far the coolest new designs I have seen this year.  There were wall mounts, lav mixers and a clever two-handle lav top faucet.  Designed by Emanuel Gargano, Marco Fagioli and Giampiero Castagnoli.  Just stunning.

5mm Faucet Info Board 5mm Faucet in Black by TreemmeI love the matte black finish.  I will need these for my bathrooms at home.  Above is the two-handle version – the mixer is very similar.  The other offerings from Treemme were also fantastic:

White Faucets by TreemmeI had been sketching things like this last year for my faucet project, but I thought… no, too radical.  Ha!

Another great faucet by TreemmeA different take on 5mm, and a lovely one.  I will need one of these too, for my powder room on the first floor.  Also shown were these high arc faucets, similar to some designs I saw from Ritmonio a few years ago.  The thin spout is just great.

Great Faucets from TreemmeHere are some other powder coated faucets, these by Steinberg.  I like the adventurous palette of color.  If you are going to go paint, why not get very creative?

Series 240 Powder Coated faucets by SteinbergLastly, here was an “industrial chic” style faucet from Waterworks/THG.  This was the only sign of the industrial/factory trend I saw at the show.  This trend is completely saturated in North America and I’m glad to see it is not very prevalent in Europe.  That said, this was probably focused on America, being Waterworks.  Interesting piece but not my cup of tea.

THG Retro-style faucet for WaterworksI finished up my trip to Germany by heading northwest on Deutsche Bahn, to visit my friends at SieMatic.  It is easy to then fly back home from Amsterdam, which gives me some time to take in some strolls along the canals in Jordaan and Centraal.  Of course, I walked my favorite street again, Langestraat.  This alley-type street is just amazing.  I love how there is no sidewalk, the houses are pretty much at grade level, and the height and width proportion is just right.

Langestraat, AmsterdamThis walk was early in the morning on my way to the airport.  I singled out a house, one of many, that I love.  Can I move in?  Maybe just for the summer?

Langestraat House, AmsterdamI wonder if my current neighbors will mind if I paint my red brick rowhouse in black?

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ISH 2013 – Part 2 – Fixtures

Continuing my report from ISH 2013, the Bathroom Experience show in Frankfurt, I’ll focus on fixtures that caught my interest.  First up, some lavatory basins.

This is a free-standing design by Flaminia.

Flaminia Swirl Lavatory Basin Flaminia Swirl Lavatory Basin

I like the detail of the swirl.  I’m not sure what type of material this was molded in (white matte Corian-like), but it was well done.

Laufen collaborated with Kartell for a collection which had plastic modular shelves and a faucet which had an integrated caddie-shelf.  More on the faucet on my next installment (part 3) but here was the lavatory from this collection.  A nice asymmetric shape, very cubic.  The faucet being very round and the lav being square… I thought this could have a bit more integration in concept but perhaps we’ll look at that criticism closer in the next installment.

Lavatory by LaufenSquare Lav by Laufen

Here is another design from Laufen, this one I think in steel.  I rapped the side and it made a tinny sound, so that is all I am going on.  I love the thin edge at top.

Laufen Lavatory BasinAlape does steel basins too – a company I respect a great deal.  I didn’t get any photos of their designs this time… oh wait yes I did:

Alape Stand at ISH 2013

I like the basin display above.  The selection of wood/laminates was on-trend and the quality and design solid if not exciting.Alape Lavatory

A free-standing lavatory from Zuchetti.  I love integrated towel bars and heightened functionality.  I think we could take this further, showing where/how the soap is used.  Come to think of it, having no flat surface here, this might be better for a powder room or a commercial (boutique-type) space?  Not sure where this type of columnar lav works best.

Molded Lavatory

This is one of those stands I forgot to note the manufacturer’s name.  This was a very nice, white matte finish lav with great proportions and scale.Smooth Molded BasinOn to some baths.

Duravit had a large stand, well-attended as usual.  There were some new pieces by Stark and Sieger Design, but this simple bath caught my eye.  I like the soft but elemental shape.Duravit Bath

A trend in Europe is to have baths up on pavilions.  I really like this as there is a chance to bring more materials in, it gives some accessibility to the bath (easier to get in/out), and also the chance for storage underneath.  Here are some pavilion-type installations:Universal Access Bath

This is from a company called Bette; this was very thin enameled steel.  The edge of the fixture is flush to the edge of the millwork.  Very nice detail.Enameled Steel Deck Bath

Vitra had a large display.  Some of their product was displayed behind veils, and consequently, nobody was paying attention to it.  This was a very well-proportioned bath.Vitra Bath

Something from Burgbad.  I like the “collar” design on the backrest.Bath

Another “collar” bath, this one by Laufen.Laufen Bath

A very large bath by Antonio Lupi.  One person would get lost in here.  Invite a friend!Bath by Antonio Lupi

This was my favorite bath of the show.  Faraway by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba for Zuchetti.  This was released in 2009 but I have never seen it before.  Love the shape, proportion, detail.  The wide edge is seductive.  Zuchetti is always a highlight for me.Zuchetti Bath by Ludovica and Palomba

The last bath pic is actually first I took when entering the show.  I love these sharp-edge Corian-type matte finish fixtures.  The deck would be great for a small TV or candles, etc.

Flat Edge Bath

The next round will show my faucet highlights.  As I mentioned in the first installment, the scale of this years ISH was down a bit.  There were some nice innovations in faucets, however, and since I have been working on a faucet project I was keyed in pretty close to the trends on shape and finish.  I saw some new designs which looked a lot like some things I have been working on, which is maybe not too surprising.  Maybe I’ll show some of my sketches in comparison.

ISH 2013 – The Bathroom Experience Show in Frankfurt (part one)

Just back from ISH in Frankfurt, Germany.  I also used the short time in Germany to visit SieMatic to discuss our ongoing showroom projects around the world.  A snowstorm in Frankfurt cut my trip short by one day so I had to shotgun the tour of the 5-hall bathroom show in one jet-lagged day.  I was mainly concerned with faucets, vanity cabinet ensembles and baths; here are some quick highlights.

First up are some vanities by Sanijura, a French company located near Geneva in the eastern part of the country, owned by Kohler.  I visited this factory and worked with the company years ago when working with Kohler in the Cabinet Division.  It looks like they have come a long way and I was impressed with the design and workmanship.

Saninjura Vanity CompositionI like the integrated towel bar and the colorway is very fresh.

Sanijura VanityThis ensemble shows the ongoing trend of mismatched, randomized cabinet configurations.  Next up was a company called Burgbad, from Germany.

Pressed LavatoryThis lavatory basin is molded from some sort of acrylic, like it came from one sheet of material and was folded or pressed into shape.  Very minimal and elegant, although I wish the wall color was more interesting or in more contrast.  This all-in-one bathroom pavilion was clever, with the adjacent tall cabinets part of the composition.  I like the integrated TV above the bath.

Burgbad Bathing PavilionVisible Wall StudsSupporting the tall cabinets and the other displays was a metal stud system that the company made visible on the backs.  I should have asked about it – it looked very clever.  I don’t know if it is something proprietary to the company or if it is some sophisticated European wall system.  There was a name on it – Viega.  I will have to search around for this system.

This next cabinet system was one of my favorite designs from the show.  I forgot to note the company who made this!  Anyway, the cabinets are made from laminate, but are lacquered on the fronts.  The seam (see below) is quite good.  This is an adventurous detail and it comes off quite good.  A very, very nice idea which eliminates the need for a separate radius edge side panel.

Lacquer vanity cabinet with radius edgeDetail of inside edge:

Half Laminate/Lacquer DoorNext up, a nice vanity composition with a clever, angled towel bar integrated into the countertop.  I didn’t get the name of this company either.  It is a very well-known maker but I just didn’t note it down – darned jet-lag!

Vanity System ISH 2013Detail of the towel bar.

Integrated Angled Towel BarTo me, these types of details make/break your concept.  I do not like walking around the room with dripping hands or face hunting for my towel.  I would love something similar in the kitchen…

Some designs from Kohler.  I don’t know if this is available in Kohler Germany only, but there were some nicely-detailed vanity systems.  I worked on some concepts for Kohler years ago which were very much like this.  I’m glad to see they are continuing the modular cabinet ideas.  This was called Terrace, and it was similar to the Robern Box Logic series I did 10 years ago…

Kohler TerraceThe white oak drawer accent is very nice.  Here is a detail on the “Box Logic” area on the mirrored cabinet:

Kohler Terrace Shelf SystemThe Kohler stand was a little cold and without much style.  I think they could use some brand differentiation.  This wall was a little better – just a little color, anything really.

Kohler Terrace Vanity System

Next up is a variation on the curved/integrated wall basin idea from Antonio Lupi.  Last year they showed a basin that “peeled” away from the wall, from the top down.  The face of the basin is then skimmed over with joint compound and painted to look as if the design was actually peeled away.  It is lit with LED from above.

Curved Lavatory by Antonio LupiI don’t like this much.  It is too much of a one-line joke.  If you are walking around with those wet hands looking for your towelbar… well, I guess it is not functional enough for me.  Domestic bathroom furniture should look as it works, not be a parlor trick.

Next up: some mirrored cabinets from Keuco, the master of medicine cabinets.  Nothing too innovative this year.  In fact, there was not much innovation in general at this show.  In years past there have been fabulous concepts of lifting doors, articulating features… my bet is that these cool ideas are very expensive to produce and this world economy is not supporting lavish designs at the moment.  Here was one articulating design, with the mirror section and integrated light moving in concert.

Keuco Articulating light and mirrorA mirrored cabinet.  The big news from anybody doing mirrors was the way the lighting is integrated, something we worked very hard on at Robern.  LED has made this much more elegant.

Keuco Mirrored bath cabinetA mirrored cabinet from Burgbad.  Very flashy and maybe a little too much so.

Burgbad Mirrored CabinetAll those highlighted acrylic edges were making my head hurt.  Or was it the aforementioned jet-lag?

This trip came with delays from every mode of transportation I used.  The snow delay, normally awesome German trains were late on each occasion (which means missed connections, which could be disaster if you get on the wrong train), and the flights back were not without hiccup.  Still worth the trip, however!

Next installment of ISH2013 I will cover faucets, lav fixtures and baths.