LAUFEN – When Konstantin Grcic was challenged by Swiss brand Laufen to design a washbasin collection using a unique, strong and malleable material SaphirKerami, the outcome was Val. The story of this product range is detailed in our book Goods 2.

Against the concise pattern of the coloured stoneware tiles, the graphic washbasin with its subtle textures has an especially significant effect.

Val was launched in 2015 after years of intensive research and development of the innovative ceramic material by the sanitary-ware manufacturer. Laufen challenged the Munich-based designed Grcic to develop a contemporary washbasin.

The lightweight and environmentally-friendly SaphirKeramik offers the promise of limitless freedom to explore a new material in such a traditional domain is just what got Grcic hooked in the project. ‘The prospect of working with SaphirKeramik gave the project an extra edge,’ he says. ‘We agreed that we wanted to challenge things, nothing was impossible to try.’

At Laufen’s production plant, fine dust is blown from the washbasin before glazing.

Ceramic prototypes were an important part of the development of the collection, as they facilitated the evaluation of the various initial designs’ impact on clients, and allowed the team to explore the material to its fullest and create a successful finished product in a short period of time. One of the issues found with the prototypes, for instance, was that there were too many design elements and so the designer and producer decided to simplify the designs and refine their main features.

Only a completely sealed, perfect glaze will meet Laufen’s high hygiene, function and aesthetic standards.

According to the designer, one of the main challenges in the development of Val was bringing out the key innovative characteristics of the material – precision, thin wall thickness and small radii. The turning point was the decision to explore the surface of the product, creating patterns with a fine definition, thus demonstrating the capabilities of SaphirKeramik.

Ahead of the collection’s release, prototypes presented in Milan were displayed on a workbench in an ambience of production.

The final result is a range of seven washbasins and two trays, boasting rectangular and circular shapes created as simple, functional and architectural forms.

Photos courtesy of Laufen


This product features in Goods 2, with a full description of the manufacturing process utilising the unique ceramic material to craft the designer washbasin. This book is currently for sale here: We are now working on the next edition. If you have an interesting story to tell about an iconic project, we’d love to hear from you! Please get in touch: