A bit of Swissness … Laufen bathrooms
Laufen is a Swiss based company, started in 1892 and in 1999 it became part of the Roco group. The statistics about the group are fairly amazing; the Roca Group has 18,700 employees in 135 countries and is now the number 1 bathrooms products manufacturer in the world with a 12% market share in the UK – Laufen manufactures over 4 million pieces of sanitary ware every year. All very impressive on paper – but what about the products …
The day started with a history of the toilet through the ages – fascinating but maybe a bit graphic at times! We then learnt about the manufacturing method which showed both the care they put into the products and also the innovation in their manufacturing process – lots of robots and automation. A very interesting fact is that all Laufen products are glazed completely – if you’ve ever laid in the bath and and seen the unfinished surface of a cheap basin you will appreciate just how important this is.
After lunch we learnt all about Swissness, a state of mind that encompasses many things including design, accuracy, practicality, simplicity and functionality. The products are all expected to meet very high quality control standards, this was demonstrated in the manufacturing process that sees every piece checked by hand.
We then toured the showroom and got to have a really good look at all the products. The Paloma collection stood out as a personal favourite, the shape of the pieces relates to pebbles and they are beautifully designed. I am planning to use this for a residential project we have just started specifying.
The Laufen Pro range is a good, mid range collection that offers well designed pieces while keeping an eye on price. There are also many options and sizes for the fittings, the wash basin is manufactured in 4 sizes from 450mm up to 650mm wide, with fitting options that include countertop, built-in, drop in or bowl. You can have it with a pedestal, wall hung or fitted into furniture – this range is really flexible!
One interesting collection but definitely one not to everyone’s taste is Mimo. If you want to furnish your daughter’s ensuite in pink bathroom furniture this might be a great choice but for most of the market it is probably too fashionable, though the black option is easier to use. The range Florakids though is fantastic for kids, and a good choice for the commercial sector to use in nurseries. Rounded shapes and bold colours make this a great range for children – the caterpillar mirror is pretty fun too!
If you want to experience Laufen swissness take a trip to The Forum, their showcase visitor and presentation centre based in Switzerland. The building is a unique piece of contemporary architecture created in concrete in an otherwise chocolate box Swiss town. The building contains no windows and is cast in concrete as one piece with the shape replicating a typical ceramic product made by the company. The Forum has fully functioning bathrooms allowing you to experience their products before you buy, I want to go and have a steam bath! If you can’t travel to Switzerland Laufen and Roc will be opening a new gallery in London later this year designed by Zaha Hadid.
Other innovations unique to Laufen include a ceramic hidden overflow where it is integral to the waste so has no unsightly holes that become dirty and unhealthy. Laufen also offer the option of a cistern liner for your WC, a simple invention that eliminates condensation from the cistern but also reduces the noise when a cistern refills … a god send when using a WC during the night. All the seats of their WC’s clip off for easy cleaning, and if you have the Laufen Clean Coat applied cleaning becomes even easier. All these things are simple inventions but they are what really sets the company apart from cheaper suppliers.
Laufen products are only available through their distributors network, you won’t find them in B & Q or your local builders merchant so I highly recommend you find a distributor or speak to us – I think I will be using them for all our projects now, the quality speaks for itself.