in the shift from physical to digital, swiss brand LAUFEN launches a virtual space that aims to mold the two together. ‘LAUFEN virtual space’ is an immersive experience where you can explore the company’s bathroom products in four colorful, collage-like ‘rooms’. 


the idea behind the project is to provide a more human interaction than typical online platforms, which have both been propelled in popularity as well as into ubiquity due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. this has caused senses, such as touch, smell and personal relations, to be neglected. however, the virtual space is designed to tell a story, transport emotions of the user, and take people on a journey through different scenarios and products. the experience aims to create the feeling as if strolling through a physical LAUFEN booth at industry events of the past.

LAUFEN launches immersive virtual showroom with four surreal spaces
the desert room

images courtesy of LAUFEN



blurring the boundaries between physical and digital, the LAUFEN virtual space was conceived by swiss architects gabrielle hächler and andreas fuhrimann, who have previously worked with the brand to create LAUFEN booths for many global events including salone del mobile 2018. the creative duo use architectural spaces for storytelling, enhancing this expertise to build immersive, interactive and highly experiential spaces virtually. the architects teamed up with annabelle schneider, a swiss-born and new york-based experiential interior designer, to bring the rooms to life with further visuals and narratives. sound designer carlo peters then developed the soundscape for each virtual environment.




DESERT TO FOREST: four NATURE-INFUSED spaces to explore


LAUFEN virtual space comprises four distinct themes: urban, desert, forest, and artist. once inside each room, a moving collage of videos and images begins, accompanied by a layered soundscape. various elements pop up on the screen including cars, animals, and snappy quotes, such as ‘DON’T JUST INNOVATE, PROVOCATE’. the experience feels both futuristic and retro, surreal and real, and kind of like an old video game. all the while, visitors to the virtual space can click at the bottom of the page to browse bathroom items from the new kartell by LAUFEN collection that populate each room.

LAUFEN launches immersive virtual showroom with four surreal spaces
the urban room



the first set is the urban room, which LAUFEN describes as ‘a platform of hope and reflection’. the collage before entering the room features industrial elements, a city at dusk, a flock of birds, a UFO, and an unknown figure in a gas mask. the room itself seems open to the elements as if it’s been abandoned; fluffy clouds of smoke occupy the scene and a puddle of water reflects the surroundings. the sound created for this space is otherworldly and even a little bit dystopic.

LAUFEN launches immersive virtual showroom with four surreal spaces
the desert room



next up is the escape from abandoned city life to the desert. in this virtual room, a bird crows, water pours, a car drives across the landscape, and what sounds like a banjo starts to play. with its rust-red mountains and cacti, this environment evokes a warm, down-to-earth atmosphere. even a frog comes to say hello at the end. 

LAUFEN launches immersive virtual space with four surreal rooms
the forest room



from the vast plains of the desert, visitors to LAUFEN virtual space will next find themselves immersed in a mysterious forest. the hoots of an owl and rustling leaves underfoot make you feel as if you’re the one wandering through the woods, watching a herd of deer, discovering mushrooms, and seeing a snail appear from its shell. against the forest backdrop, layers of code bring a technological element while orange and mustard-hued LAUFEN pieces create a welcome color contrast. 

LAUFEN launches immersive virtual showroom with four surreal spaces
the artist room



the final space is the artist room, and it showcases LAUFEN’s collaboration with artist monique baumann. this virtual experience reflects baumann’s tactile collage style, sharing a glimpse into her techniques of making, deconstruction and new assembly. the swiss-based artist uses three different pieces of art applied to three kartell by LAUFEN ceramic products, which are available in a special limited edition.


to discover the surreal showroom, visit the LAUFEN virtual space website here.



project info:


name: LAUFEN virtual space

brand: LAUFEN

idea & concept: gabrielle hächler / andreas fuhrimann architects
concept, content design and visualization: annabelle schneider

sound design: carlo peters

website concept, design and development: henkelhiedl