Aesthetic appeal and environmental accountability struck cords of harmony in kitchen and bath design at the 25th anniversary of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and NYCXDesign Week.
Water was the driving passion behind many products, but it was designer Philippe Starck’s revolutionary new faucets for Hansgrohe that hit the high-water mark.
The company unveiled its Axor Starck Organic Collection in its Lower West Side showroom. Starck’s mildly debauched look and self-deprecating humor belied his serious concern for the world’s freshwater supply.
“When we are speaking about saving water, we are speaking about saving life,” he said. “The next war we shall see will be about the water. We shall have less and less safe water.”
Twenty years ago, Starck’s thoughts were focused on paring faucet design down to the absolute minimum. “This revolution was about clean, bringing things to the bone, to the essence, to the right symbol, the right meaning,” he recalled.
The result was an earlier line of faucets for the German manufacturer, which he counted as a success. “We had success with that, and now it’s done,” he said he thought. But he found his thoughts returning to the subject.
“In the forest in the spring ... it is a very incredible, strong, sexy energy, and you know nothing can stop this energy,” Starck said. “I have tried to capture the strength of this.”
It took 31/2 years to come up with the faucets’ design and the technology to manufacture them, he said. “Everything in nature is driven by economy. So we can say this product has the organic way of thinking in its DNA.”
Consumers waste thousands of gallons of water a year waiting for it to reach the right temperature. These faucets save water and money by having a preset on the top. The “on” and “off” is a simple twist of the tip, and there are two pressures: standard (or startup) and boost.
The idea of combining organic and eco-conscious design in kitchens and baths seems to be contagious. Duravit, another German company, showed off its ideas for a sustainable but stylish future with a great space-saving shower on display in the Manhattan showroom. The mirrored doors open to form a square and fold into a corner when the shower is not in use. The shower fixtures are hidden on the wall behind the doors. It’s a brilliant use of space. Also in the showroom was Duravit’s handsome Esplanade bathroom that debuted in 2011. At the Jacob Javits Center, Duravit was showing its newest Happy D bathroom. The wall-mounted sink has two drawers under the basin that pull out to full extension.
“The new Happy D2 incorporates an updated, very modern profile to a product range that has been a classic in the industry,” said Robert Matuska, vice president of national sales for Duravit. “We match the exterior design with the newest in flushing technology and internal glazing techniques to produce a toilet that is not only a timeless look but also includes a highly efficient, low-water-consumption performance.”
Devon & Devon, a family-owned company in Florence, Italy, gets its inspiration from classic bath design and updates the classics for modern lifestyles. It offers a range of products and looks, from deco to classic to contemporary. The furniture fair was the first time it had exhibited in the United States.
Nameek’s showed its playful side with the painted Scarabeo bucket sink, which comes in a number of designs. Sinks, tubs, toilets and bidets were on display in a variety of styles.
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