For 20 years now, Axor, the designer brand of Hansgrohe SE, has been developing alternative visions for the bathroom as a living space, re-thinking the shower and searching for new archetypes. Continuously engaging in this dialogue with various internationally renowned design partners, Axor has invited Japanese design studio Nendo to present their own personal Axor WaterDream. I had the great privilege to attend the exclusive unveiling of this project launched at Hansgrohe SE ‘s headquarters in the Black Forest a few days ago.
Above – (Always smiling!) Oki Sato seating besides his Axor “WaterDream” – Portrait © Flodeau
In his Axor WaterDream, Oki Sato, the creative brain behind the Japanese Tokyo/Milan-based design studio Nendo, playfully indulged in artful shifts and transformations of concepts and meanings.
He drew inspiration from an emotional living space outside of the bathroom and dreamt about an object combining a lamp and a shower.
Blurring the lines between design and art, Oki Sato’s WaterDream poetically mixes up the archetypes of the lampshade and the shower by presenting a unique shower head incorporating an actual light source with water streaming from the edge of the shade/ shower head – Photo © Flodeau
“My aim was to combine what is most archetypal about the living space, the lighting, with water, so as to give the shower an enhanced sensuous dimension in a way we have not yet seen before.
The result is something that is not just a shower, nor just a lamp, but a hybrid – a magic trick with light and water that is available day after day,” says the 35-year-old Sato.
“The natural coming-together of light and water is freed from spatial constraints: what traditionally took place in separate rooms – reading under a lamp in the living room, taking a shower in the bathroom – can now be experienced free from spatial allocations or confinements,” Philippe Grohe concludes.
Ceiling lamp shades / shower heads in action, with Oki Sato and Philippe Grohe soaking wet! – Photo © Flodeau
Ceiling shower heads – Axor WaterDream by Oki Sato – Photo © Flodeau
Floor standing lamp / shower – Axor WaterDream by Oki Sato – Photo © Flodeau
Detail of the shower fixture that mixes up a shower head and a lamp shade – Axor WaterDream by Oki Sato – Photo © Flodeau
Detail of the shower fixture – Axor WaterDream by Oki Sato – Photo © Flodeau
Oki Sato seating besides his Axor “WaterDream” – Portrait © Flodeau
The invitation to re-think the shower produced another installation by Swedish Design Studio Front who explored the technical origins of the water installation (discover the coverage with Front’s Axor “WaterDream” installation here).
Despite operating within different cultural contexts, the visions developed by the two design studios have one thing in common.
Both present new archetypes in a charming and captivating manner: light and water pathways are re-interpreted in surprising and unconventional ways, and long-established functional and spatial separations between the living and bathroom spheres are challenged.
“The focus is not primarily on the products, but on providing additional scope for creative development, for breaking down established behavior patterns, and for conducting an open, interdisciplinary dialogue. Within our overall understanding of the use of space, the interaction with water, and the multifaceted individual needs of people, we focused specifically on the shower this time, interpreting it anew with Front and Nendo.” Philippe Grohe, Head of the Axor brand and grandson of the company’s founder Hans Grohe.
Axor WaterDream by Oki Sato – Photo © Flodeau
Axor successfully realises “Designer Visions for Your Bathroom”. In cooperation with Axor, leading product designers, architects and interior designers develop their vision for the bathroom as a living space. The Axor collections offer a great number of unique and sustainable solutions to create personalised bathrooms of the highest aesthetic and technological levels.
To date, Axor design partners include Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Antonio Citterio, Front, Jean-Marie Massaud, Nendo, Phoenix Design, Philippe Starck, and Patricia Urquiola. They all contribute towards making life in and around the bathroom a little more meaningful and beautiful.
The Axor brand is headed by Philippe Grohe, grandson of the company’s founder Hans Grohe.
The Shower World at Hansgrohe’s headquarters- Photo © Flodeau
Hansgrohe’s Headquarters in Schiltach, Germany – Photo © Flodeau
+ Continue reading and discover the rest of the story with Hansgrohe’s New Axor “WaterDream” Installation with Swedish Design Studio Front.