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Black Forest hansgrohe

Alice Blackwood takes a side-trip to Germany, before the bright lights of Milan.

Black Forest hansgrohe


April 12th, 2010

The lead-up to Milan has been a fascinating week, and almost totally non-Milan related.

German bathroom company hansgrohe has played perfect host, touring myself and a group of Australia design media around their huge factories and headquarters, based out of Shiltach, in the Black Forest in Germany.

We are now living and breathing the brand, which has a fascinating history of research, development, production – and even a little sibling rivalry (hansgrohe was founded by two brothers who later split to head up their own companies, known today as Grohe and hansgrohe).

Did you know, for instance, that hansgrohe was the first company to invent the ‘Bottle Trap Waste’ plug system (that is, the plug in your sink which can be pushed down and pulled up via a lever – much like the sink plugs you find on airplanes!) – this was patented by hansgrohe in 1917.

Other fascinating facts include their department of specialists, who spend their working days investigating new ways to create new spray types.

We even had the pleasure of meeting with Phillippe Grohe, who’s the head of hansgrohe’s luxury brand, Axor. Phillippe, who has collaborated with Phillipe Starck, Antonio Citterio and – more recently – Patricia Urquiola, had lots of interesting things to say on the future of bathrooms.

Last decade, he says, it was all about fitness, and looking forward the focus is very much on wellness, and this is integral to current and future of bathroom design.

According to Citterio, who produced the ‘Axor Citterio’ and ‘Axor Citterio M’ ranges with Axor, you only need 30 seconds to get clean, but it’s not about getting clean, it’s about feeling different… and this really sums up the philosophy and thinking behind Axor’s, and also hansgrohe’s, work.

Anyway, enough from me. Tune in over the next couple days for updates on my trip to Bisazza’s headquarters in Vincenza, Italy, and the first days of Salone del Mobile… Milano!!

Stay tuned, for more updates from our roving reporter.

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