snarkitecture explores LAUFEN's manufacturing process with milan design week installation

snarkitecture explores LAUFEN's manufacturing process with milan design week installation

from the raw clay to the finished ceramic product, LAUFEN tells the story of its manufacturing process at milan design week 2019 through an installation by new york-based studio snarkitecture. titled MATERIALMESSAGE, the work plays with the various stages of the material, conveying a sense of the process that goes into each product. ‘the project was inspired by our visits to the LAUFEN production facility in basel,’ explains snarkitecture. ‘seeing the simplicity and beauty of the raw materials being transformed into beautiful, precise objects has a magic quality to it.’

all images courtesy of LAUFEN



MATERIALMESSAGE occupies the entirety of teatro arsenale, a building in milan’s historic center that dates back to 1272. upon entering the theater, visitors are immersed in canyon of contrasting surfaces. to the left, 198 tons of raw clay have been used to create an organically-formed mountain, while to the right, 701 LAUFEN washstands in SaphirKeramik have been configured to form a monumental three-dimensional construction.

701 LAUFEN washstands have been configured to form a three-dimensional construction



while walking through this man-made ravine, visitors are made aware of the differences between the raw material — an imposing grey mass — and the finished industrial product — refined, identical, and perfectly smooth. ‘our goal with a project like this is to draw attention to both the underlying qualities of the original — in this case the rawness of the clay and the precision of the ceramic washbasin — and present them in an unexpected manner that is at once familiar and unknown,’ snarkitecture continues.

the finished industrial product is refined, identical, and perfectly smooth



to underline these contrasts, snarkitecture conceived an illuminated scenography with a passage leading to a secondary installation of two other important protagonists: a large vat of vibrant slip, a mixture of clay and water, representing the first passage of the process of ceramic workmanship, and a video projection that reproduces sequences, sounds, and images of the manufacturing process.

the basins contrast the raw clay material, displayed as an imposing grey mass



‘the term innovation has many meanings, and all of them become fundamental for us at LAUFEN,’ says alberto magrans, senior managing director LAUFEN. ‘beyond our extensive focus on a technological plane, we believe it is important to grow along a path of multi-level research, interaction with stimulating creative counterparts, cultural influence open to a wide spectrum of the world of design and the arts. collaborating with eclectic personalities and visionary artists like snarkitecture gives us an opportunity to look at our history, our experience in a new perspective, to live it through new codes of interpretation, with constant reference to our true identity.’

a large vat of vibrant slip, a mixture of clay and water, is placed at the center of the room



‘one of the more impressive things about the production process of LAUFEN is how much it relies on the skill and technique of the people that produce it,’ adds snarkitecture. ‘many people — especially those outside of the world of designing and making things — don’t give so much thought to how the objects and buildings in our world come to be. it’s easy to look at a basin or a toilet and imagine that it’s automatically made by a robot somewhere, but in visiting the LAUFEN factory it was impressive how much the final product relies on a human eye and touch.’


as part of fuorisalone 2019, MATERIALMESSAGE remains on view at teatro arsenale, inside the city’s 5Vie district, until april 14.

a video projection reproduces sequences, sounds, and images of the manufacturing process

snarkitecture has conceived an illuminated scenography

the configuration of washstands forms an interior landscape

MATERIALMESSAGE remains on view at teatro arsenale until april 14, 2019



project info:


design: snarkitecture
in collaboration with: LAUFEN
location: teatro arsenale, via cesare correnti, 11, milan
on view until: april 14, 2019

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