WORDS BY Hamish Kilburn
Sebastian Herkner has unveiled the Zencha bathroom collection by Sebastian Herkner for Duravit. Inspired by traditional Japanese rituals and craftsmanship it combining as it does unusual above-counter basins with minimalistic furniture.
The basins and bathtub are striking, they have a rounded shape that opens into a graceful, outward- curving edge. These dual-walled sanitary objects made from DuraCeram and DuraSolid are paired with modular, geometric bathroom furniture. The furniture is made from materials such as wood and a very tactile ribbed, textured glass, it provides plenty of storage space and is extremely pleasant to the touch. “I’ve always wanted to develop a bathroom series for Duravit,” said the designer from Offenbach. He can now take his place in the rollcall of renowned designers such as Philippe Starck and Cecilie Manz who have designed collections for this German manufacturer.
Striking & delicate: the design
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the house and is increasingly becoming a place of retreat and ritual. With its balanced shapes, colours, and materials, Zencha appeals to all our senses. The inspiration for the design came from handmade ceramic teacups that the designer discovered in Japan. Their gentle, organic shapes are designed as cambered rectangles, bulbous at the bottom and taper upwards with an elegant curve. The materials used are appealing both visually and to the touch, with basins manufactured from DuraCeram. This material enables above-counter basins to be created with an extremely thin rim which are still robust and easy to care for. The bathtubs have a pleasantly warm feel and elegant matt aesthetic and are seamlessly manufactured from DuraSolid.
The straight lines of the furniture design creates an intriguing contrast to the organic sanitary objects; complementing the collection’s subtle material and colour concept. The outstanding design feature here is an elegant frame just six millimetres thick, creating a uniform shadow gap that lends the furniture a graceful and effortless feel. “You can only manufacture technically sophisticated solutions like this with consistent quality if, like Duravit, you have your own manufacturing facilities, corresponding expertise and high levels of craftsmanship,” said Herkner.
Multi-faceted & functional: modular furniture elements
The Zencha furniture collection is designed in a modular fashion and can be positioned in a variety of ways, as open shelves, or drawers with push-open and self-closing technology. Combined with the above-counter basin, they create a beautiful centrepiece in the bathroom. As a storage area for everyday (bathroom) items, they offer structure to the room and imbue a feeling of gentle calm. The carcass and frame of the furniture come with an easy-to-clean surface and anti-fingerprint effect and are available in the subtle colours White Super Matt, Taupe Super Matt, and Graphite Super Matt. The cabinet fronts add a playful element and are offered in a range of variants. While the options in Natural Oak and Oak Black produce a warm and tactile effect, white plate or black textured glass introduce a degree of sensual elegance into the bathroom.
Herkner has further designed a separate mirror that emulates the contour of the round basins. Its organic form is accentuated by an all-round LED strip, and the light is turned on and off via a sensor on the bottom edge of the mirror.
The sanitary objects made from DuraCeram® consist of two differently shaped above-counter basins: a curved square measuring 420 x 420 mm and a rounded rectangle measuring 550 x 390 mm – with or without a tap panel – in White, White Satin Matt, Grey Satin Matt, and Anthracite Matt. The square variant of the above-counter basin with its ceramic cover is a particular talking point in the bathroom and is covered by Duravit’s lifetime warranty. It can be combined with toilets from a range of Duravit lines.
Bathtubs with a pool-like feeling
The shape of the square version of the free-standing bathtub, made from DuraSolid® and measuring 1,250 x 1,250 mm, is drawn from the square above-counter basin. Bathers are invited to immerse themselves into the deep water, an experience reminiscent of a Japanese Onsen bath. The bathtub is available in two compact versions measuring 1600 x 850 mm and 1800 x 900 mm, optionally with the air whirl system integrated into the base for a gentle massage effect.
The Zencha collection combines delicate shapes with high-quality, sustainable materials such as PEFC-certified woods. It comes in a wide range of variants and its shapes, colours, materials, measurements, and equipment options can be individually configured for various interior design settings. Both the sanitary objects and the furniture are manufactured at Duravit’s production facilities in Hornberg and Schenkenzell in the Black Forest and are finished by hand. Surfaces and edges of the furniture are painstakingly sealed to be water-resistant and are impervious to splashes and high humidity. Optimum stability of the tall cabinets is ensured via 8mm-thick rear walls that are bonded in a milled groove. Sebastian Herkner, who spent over four years working on the project and made several site visits with his team, said: “Duravit represents tradition as well as expertise in the design and technical sectors.”
Duravit is one of our Recommended Suppliers and regularly features in our Supplier News section of the website. If you are interested in becoming one of our Recommended Suppliers, please email Katy Phillips.
Highlights from Surface Design Show 2022