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Norwegian studio redesigns Laufen headquarters in Switzerland

The Norwegian transdisciplinary studio Snøhetta has redesigned the Laufen Forum located in Laufen near Basel, introducing a new brand experience at the Swiss bathroom manufacturer's headquarters. The official opening was on Wednesday, 12 June.

Both Laufen and Snøhetta are united by their common commitment to resource-saving and long-lasting solutions in architecture and design. Commissioning the redesign of the Laufen Forum in Switzerland to an architectural firm which has placed sustainability in architecture and a sensitive approach to landscape and resources at the centre of its work since its foundation, was a conscious decision. The careful handling of raw materials in production and the efficient use of water in Laufen bathroom products formed a common foundation for the project.

Clay and brass, essential materials for ceramics and fittings, prominently feature in the entrance area of the new Laufen Forum. A wall and reception desk made of rammed earth and flanked by an imposing brass wall provide a sensory experience upon entering. These materials, with their tactile qualities, symbolize the project's focus on the interplay of raw materials, technical know-how, and product aesthetics.

Matter, interpreted as both material and meaningful significance, is central to the Laufen brand experience, elegantly embodied in the various spaces of the Laufen Forum. Visitors are welcomed in the Greeting Space, where the defining materials of clay and brass highlight the essence of the brand. Progressing into the Matter Space, an event and discussion venue, they encounter a refined expression of Matter as both physical substance and thematic focus, enriching the experience within the Forum.

The contrast between archaic originality and innovative sophistication is the basis of the concept for the new brand presentation, which Snøhetta developed together with Laufen. This joint multidisciplinary project was not just about architecture, but also about a new way of communicating and understanding the brand universe.

'It was important to us that the core of the Laufen brand was the focus in the newly designed Laufen Forum. The essence of Laufen is represented by the tension between materiality, design, and technical perfection,' states Patrick Lüth, managing director of Snøhetta Studio in Innsbruck.

A light terrazzo floor, colour-coordinated with the exposed concrete of the curved, two-storey building, provides a neutral backdrop for curated product displays designed with natural clay plasters and paints. In these niches, visitors can experience the tactile qualities of Laufen's bathroom products, from washbasins and toilets to matching furniture, faucets, bathtubs, shower trays, and accessories. Each bathroom collection is presented with signature colours.

The product display on the upper floor is a little more playful: a wealth of Laufen products can be found on industrial shelves. Visitors can arrange and combine products from various collections on movable racks, allowing for interactive exploration and testing of product combinations. This hands-on exhibition provides new opportunities to understand and experience the bathroom living space.

More information:
Snøhetta Studio
[email protected]

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