Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Splashy Style an Eco-Consciousness in Baths and Kitchens Surfaces at the Furniture Fair and Design Week in New York

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Splashy Style an Eco-Consciousness in Baths and Kitchens Surfaces at the Furniture Fair and Design Week in New York

Article excerpt


The confluence of aesthetically appealing with environmentally accountable solutions for kitchens and baths produced a flood of colorful, creative designs in New York last month. It was the 25th anniversary of the International Contemporary Furniture Fair and NYC X Design week.

Water was the driving passion behind many products, but it was designer Philippe Starck's revolutionary new faucets for Hansgrohe that hit the high-water mark.

The company unveiled its Axor Starck Organic Collection during a VIP reception in May in its Lower West Side showroom. Mr. Starck's mildly debauched look and self-deprecating humor belied his serious concern for the world's fresh water supply.

"When we are speaking about saving water, we are speaking about saving life. Right now some are dying because they have no water. Some have poison water, and they will die. The next war we shall see will be about the water. We shall have less and less safe water," he said in a strong French accent.

The idea for Axor Starck Organic came from the designer's own sense of mortality. "Because I have become old now, I have been thinking about life," he joked.

Twenty years ago, his thoughts were focused on paring faucet design down to the absolute minimum. "This revolution was about clean, bringing things to the bone, to the essence, to the right symbol, the right meaning," he recalled.

The result was his earlier line of faucets for the German manufacturer, which he counted as a success. "We had success with that and now it's done," he thought. But he found his thoughts returning to the subject.

"In the forest in the spring ... it is a very incredible, strong, sexy energy and you know nothing can stop this energy," Mr. Starck said. "I have tried to capture the strength of this."

It took 31/2 years to come up with the faucets' design and the technology to manufacture them, he said. "Everything in nature is driven by economy. So we can say this product has the organic way of thinking in its DNA."

Consumers waste thousands of gallons of water a year waiting for it to reach the right temperature. These faucets save water and money by having a pre-set on the top. The on and off is a simple twist of the tip, and there are two pressures: standard or start-up and boost.

The idea of combining organic and eco-conscious design in kitchens and baths seems to be contagious. Duravit, another German company, showed off its ideas for a sustainable but stylish future with a great space-saving shower on display in the Manhattan showroom. The mirrored doors open to form a square and fold into a corner when not in use. The shower fixtures are hidden on the wall behind the doors. It's a brilliant use of space. Also in the showroom was the handsome Esplanade bathroom from 2011. At the Jacob Javits Center, Duravit was showing its newest Happy D bathroom. …

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