saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin by toan nguyen for LAUFEN
saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin by toan nguyen for LAUFEN
jun 01, 2014

saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin by toan nguyen for LAUFEN

toan nguyen designs saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin for LAUFEN
image courtesy of LAUFEN





responding to an invitation from LAUFEN – leader in the field of producing porcelain sanitary ware – to explore the possibilities of its saphirkeramik technologies in the form of a washbasin concept, toan nguyen draws on the archetype of the fundamental bathroom element as the foundation of his design; translating its proportions into a wall-mounted vessel with a shelf incorporated into one side that expresses the material’s ability to yield thin, yet incredibly strong shapes. 

saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin toan nguyen designboom
displaying the way in which the washbasin is mounted to the wall
image courtesy of LAUFEN





saphirkeramik is known for its ability to render the thinnest of ceramic walls that measure minimal thicknesses of 3-4mm, and radii of 1-2mm. this is made possible through the addition of corundum – a transparent mineral found in sapphires – into its composition, proving a flexural resistance comparable to that steel. taking this into account, nguyen realized that he could in fact reduce the dimensions of his original proposal, slimming it down so that it still maintained liberal proportions, such as the 45 cm deep bowl.saphirkeramik wall-mounted washbasin toan nguyen laufen designboom
toan nguyen’s wall-mounted washbasin
image courtesy of LAUFEN





thanks to saphirkeramik, nguyen’s model sees the french-born designer stripping down the typically wider edges employed in generously-sized washbasins, by putting more focus on lines and surface, than actual volume. toan nguyen says of saphirkeramik:it’s dense and strong yet very fine, its lines very precise. it’s like traditional ceramic in that it’s hygienic and shares the same production processes – moulding, glazing and firing. but, while it’s recognizably made of ceramic, it’s also modern, and very high-performance. its thin walls provide the opportunity to create very graphic, minimalist shapes.’


the initial presentation of nguyen’s design was presented at the 2014 salone del mobile, where designboom met up with the now milan-based creative to discuss the development process and working with LAUFEN:


toan nguyen on designing with LAUFEN’s saphirkeramik
video © designboom





I wanted it [the washbasin] to be an object that doesn’t shout for attention or look extreme. yet my washbasin is discretely innovative. when I designed it, I wanted to eliminate all unnecessary elements – the thickness, volume and visual weight. I wanted to create a washbasin reduced to its essential form and simple lines.’ – toan nguyen

toan nguyen wall mounted washbasin laufen designboom
view of the 45cm deep design’s thin profile
image courtesy of LAUFEN





LAUFEN debuted saphirkeramik in 2013 with the ‘kartell by LAUFEN’ collection designed by ludovica and roberto palomba; conceived in collaboration with kartell, which is known for its expertise and groundbreaking use of polycarbonate plastic in the manufacturing of furniture products. for 2014, alongside nguyen, konstantin grcic has envisioned wafer-thin washbasins that consider saphirkeramik and its properties in a more understated way through surface design. both nguyen and grcic’s ideas will be expanded upon by LAUFEN, testing the limits of saphirkeramik to redefine the way in which ceramic sanitary ware is designed.

toan nguyen laufen wall mounted washbasin designboom
top view of the washbasin with side shelf
image courtesy of LAUFEN


toan nguyen wall mounted washbasin laufen designboom
displaying the wafer-thin ceramic walls of the design
image courtesy of LAUFEN

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