For 20 years now, Axor, the designer brand of Hansgrohe SE has been developing alternative visions for the bathroom as a living space. “In this regard, the focus is not primarily on the products, but on providing additional scope for creative development, for breaking down established behaviour patterns, and for conducting an open, interdisciplinary dialogue,” says Philippe Grohe, Head of the Axor brand. Axor continuously engages in this dialogue with various internationally renowned design partners, which from now on also include the Swedish design trio Front, and the Japanese design studio Nendo. Following on the heels of Phoenix Design, Jean-Marie Massaud, Patricia Urquiola and the Bouroullec brothers, Front and Nendo now present their own personal Axor WaterDream. “Within our overall understanding of the use of space, the interaction with water, and the multifaceted individual needs of people, we focused specifically on the shower this time, interpreting it anew with Front and Nendo,” Philippe Grohe, the grandson of the company’s founder Hans Grohe, explains.
Living and showering: back to the origins
The invitation to re-think the shower produced two installations that couldn’t be more different from each other: whereas Nendo draws inspiration from an emotional living space outside of the bathroom, Front explores the technical origins of the water installation. Despite operating within different cultural contexts, the visions developed by the two design studios have one thing in common. Both present new archetypes in a charming and captivating manner: light and water pathways are re-interpreted in surprising and unconventional ways, and longestablished functional and spatial separations between the living and bathroom spheres are challenged.
Front: a visual appreciation of water pathways
The Axor WaterDream created by Sofia Lagerkvist, Charlotte von der Lancken and Anna Lindgren allows us to experience the path water takes in its most original form. “Front show how something that is normally hidden from view can become a visually appealing and valued spatial construct,” says Philippe Grohe. “We used our personal perception of the shower and showering to draw attention to the technology behind the wall, which is often concealed,” explains Charlotte von der Lancken. “It was important for us to foster an awareness of what is the most archetypal aspect of the bathroom – the installation itself.” “For this reason, we played around with the most elementary components that are used to bring water to us – pipes, valves, couplings, and funnels,” adds Sofia Lagerkvist. With a simplicity that is characteristic of Scandinavian design, Front present their Axor WaterDream as an homage to artisanry and to the aesthetics inherent in technology and installation.
Nendo: is it lamp or is it a shower?
In his Axor WaterDream Oki Sato, the creative brain behind the Japanese design studio Nendo, playfully indulges in artful shifts and transformations of concepts and meanings. “My aim was to combine what is most archetypal about the living space, the lighting, with water, so as to give the shower an enhanced sensuous dimension in a way we have not yet seen before. The result is something that is not just a shower, nor just a lamp, but a hybrid – a magic trick with light and water that is available day after day,” says the 35-year-old Sato. “The natural comingtogether of light and water is freed from spatial constraints: what traditionally took place in separate rooms – reading under a lamp in the living room, taking a shower in the bathroom – can now be experienced free from spatial allocations or confinements,” Philippe Grohe concludes.