marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins

marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins

INTERVIEW with marcel wanders on LAUFEN collaboration


LAUFEN reunites with its longtime collaborator, Marcel Wanders, to reimagine ‘The New Classic’ ceramic washbasins. Unveiled at Milan Design Week 2023, the Dutch designer employs elaborate three-dimensional embellished patterns to bring a new life to the sinks’ immaculate white Saphirkeramik – the Swiss bathroom company’s elegantly thin, yet resilient ceramic material. The outcome is a collection with a subtly artistic charm and a hint of the fantastical.


Give me fantasy! Fantasy is a word that should be living in the design world. It should be around us. It’s typically a matter of how designers can do something interesting, different, or beautiful. Now, fantasy is a word that should also be in that range.says Marcel Wanders in his conversation with designboom on LAUFEN’s The New Classic collection.

marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins
LAUFEN reunites with Marcel Wanders to reimagine ‘The New Classic’ ceramic washbasins (pattern: Cosmopolitan)

all images courtesy of LAUFEN



Established in 1892, LAUFEN (see here) has ascended in the sanitary ware manufacturing industry by combining material research and strategic design partnerships. A significant moment came in 2013 with the introduction of its Saphirkeramik: a material developed by the Swiss company that achieves remarkably thin profiles while maintaining a high degree of durability.  As Marcel Wanders reinvisioned The New Classic collection, the Dutch designer embraced the opportunities enabled by this technologically advanced medium.


On working with the material in The New Classic, Wanders notes that, ‘it’s very special because it seems invisibly innovative. It looks like ceramic, but it’s really super ceramic. As we use Saphirkeramik [in the collection], we are able to do something that looks beautiful, is high quality, and very strong. So, in a way, its qualities are kind of hidden.’

marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins
since 1892, LAUFEN has created a niche in sanitary ware manufacturing with its material research and strategic design partnerships (pattern: Cosmopolitan)



Revisiting the award-winning washbasins 


Upon its initial release in 2019, The New Classic had earned a prestigious iF Design Award for its elegance and form. In this first phase, Marcel Wanders focused on the overall meaning and profiles of the pieces, while in the relaunch of the collection, the designer has come back to enrich the washbasins with a series of bespoke, bold patterns, typical of his design language. 


‘When we returned to the project, LAUFEN and I had this idea to not work with colors, but instead, with a three-dimensional surface. The result is created with a really intricate technique that allows for a very subtle, decorative structure or movement without being overly ambitious… It’s a way to differentiate and create another story,’  says Wanders as he describes the evolution of the washbasins.

marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins
in the 2023 relaunch of the collection Wanders enriches the washbasins with a series of bespoke, bold patterns (pattern: Bohemian)



Three dynamic patterns write a fresh story


The washbasins are renewed with three distinctive patterns: Cosmopolitan, Bohemian, and Ornamental. When bathed in light, delicate, recurring shadows create a mesmerizing play across their surface, visually revealing the sink’s geometric intricacies. Cosmopolitan reflects an architectural and sophisticated essence, featuring intertwining and echoing arches. Meanwhile, Bohemian takes on a more untamed complexity, showcasing swirling elements that narrate a captivating story across the ceramic. Ornamental introduces a repetitive series of hexagonal, floral-shaped elements that harmonize eclectic and traditional influences. 


‘LAUFEN can now speak to a different audience. Maybe it’s more international? Or even a little bit more romantic,’ exclaims the designer.

marcel wanders reignites LAUFEN’s ‘the new classic’ collection with patterned washbasins
Cosmopolitan, Bohemian, and Ornamental create a mesmerizing play of shadows across the ceramic surfaces (pattern: Cosmopolitan)



This collection’s durability is twofold: there’s the material robustness that comes from its patented Saphirkeramik body and then there’s the longevity that was designed into its form. In revamping The New Classic, the designer and LAUFEN seek to produce something that can endure the test of time, whether that be shifting styles or high-stress environments. 


Wanders remarks that, ‘the whole idea of newness is fundamentally challenging. In my work, I start in the past and bring it to the future to expand the time zone that an object lives in. I seek to situate my work between my grandmother and my grandchild. That’s the space for my work. I’m trying to make things feel recognizable. A feeling like, “I know this from a good place. It brings me back to that good place.”’


the Saphirkeramik body of the sinks are able to achieve durable and elegantly thin profiles (pattern: Ornamental)

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