I’ve been looking at some of the hottest new sink and faucet designs and there has been a bounty of new designs coming from all corners of the globe this year. From traditional styles to sleek contemporary looks and everything in between, there are some pretty fantastic designers putting out gorgeous sculptural products that are as much art as they are fixture.
Kitchen and bath designer Susan Serra, CKD, Susan Serra Associates, Inc., recently attended a multi-day seminar at Brizo, a high-end faucet manufacturer. Not only was she introduced to a fantastic new collection of products the designers behind the products were on hand to discuss their design inspirations. Says Susan “They talked about travel through Europe and other locations to observe just plain old design that was unrelated to faucetry. They studied the color, shape and form of ironwork, architecture and more. They talked about the challenges of going from design sketch to presentation to the engineers charged with implementing the designs. Sometimes, the designs flowed into plan seamlessly and at other times, they were told they were completely nuts!” I asked Susan which faucet was her favorite and she selected the Floriano which is, in fact, my own favorite as well.
I asked Judd Lord, Director of Industrial Design for Brizo where the inspiration for this fabulous bathroom faucet came from and he shared that the Floriano was inspired by a dying flower in a vase. While walking the 2002 Highpoint furniture show, Lord noticed all “these cool vases and flowers in them” used to bring life to the furniture displays. After a couple of days, of course, the flowers began to wilt and it’s that wilting shape that went into his sketchbook. Said Lord, "You're in there looking at the furniture but it really hits you that the flowers and the organic shapes in them were really setting off the room. Modern shapes paired with biomorphic forms and shapes really set the room off."
Lord had observed that in most kitchens the eye moves along linear paths, drawn horizontally by cabinets and counters, vertically by the lines in the refrigerator, everything flat. “What made a lot of those rooms pop would be the beautiful bowl of fruit on the counter, or this wonderful vase on the counter. It was those types of things you noticed were really making the room. They weren't the immediate stars." Keeping in mind that Brizo sees itself as fashion for the home, Floriano became like an accessory piece to complement an outfit. "It truly was that bracelet or that cool pair of shoes that really set off the ensemble." Functionality was never far from the design, either. "We spent a lot of time working on the head of that wand. Didn't change too terribly much from the original sketch. We worked that wand so that it felt really good in your hand."
On the other end of design spectrum is Brizo’s Loki faucet. Winner of the Adex Platinum award for design, the Loki’s stunningly simple form is sure to wow fans of Scandinavian design and minimalism. It’s amazing that the Floriano and the Loki come from the same design house.
Germany’s Blanco manufacturer of high end sinks and faucets released the Ronis kitchen sink in 2010. The Ronis’s round shape and accessories makes it a cook’s dream. This award-winning sink includes an accessory tray that floats in the inside rim of the sink, a glass cutting board and two round stainless steel bowls. Blanco’s innovative MicroEdge technology gives the sink a flushmount look with without the price. This sink has won the international iF award for design. “The RONIS is the ultimate party companion,” states Blanco’s Tim Maicher. “This is a sink without limits. A real entertaining sink for real people. It has so much more depth and functionality than your average bar sink offers. In a small apartment – it could actually be the kitchen sink for people who have a passion for entertaining. It’s large enough to accommodate everyday use, and the integrated cutting board and bowl bridge saves precious counter space when prepping for a party or just for dinner.”
Also from Blanco is Levos pull-out faucet from their group of Steelart© artisans. This faucet features both soft curves and hard lines, which makes it a great choice for any modern or transitional space. The stainless steel body construction comes in either polished chrome or stainless steel.
Brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec of France were inspired to create a unique design for their Axor Bouroullec collection of bathroom fixtures for Axor, the designer brand of Hansgrohe International. Their view is that the customer should be free to mix and match the various elements-faucets, sinks and accessories-into any configuration they wish. Allowing the customer to play a partnership role in creativity and function is a unique notion, one not often seen in the bathroom category. Say the Bouroullec brothers “Our project was to create solutions for a large variety of situations, spaces and habitats. The result is a comprehensive collection of 85 items including different sorts of basins, mixers and solutions for the bathtub and the shower areas that can be arranged freely according to one’s needs.”
Designers like Judd Lord and the Bouroullec brothers take inspiration from many sources, both natural and man made. This holistic approach to design-the marriage of form and function-turns the everyday into fine art.