As you all know, I am working with luxury bathroom brand Duravit this year as a brand ambassador. Hopefully, you’ve already read my first introductory post about the brand and also seen the showroom tour that I did for Clerkenwell Design Week. There was even a little video so do make sure you have a nosey at that.
Following feedback from those two posts and from my social media posts, it became really clear which of Duravit’s luxury bathroom ranges you all wanted to know more about. I wasn’t at all surprised by your choice as this range is my favourite too.
So today we are going to take a closer look at the beautifully elegant Luv collection, which took its inspiration from a bowl filled with water standing on a table. We will also hear from the designer herself, the inimitable Cecilie Manz, the first and only female designer to have created a bathroom collection for Duravit.
Manz is a renowned Danish designer who was named Designer of the Year in 2017 in Denmark.
She studied at The Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and also attended the University of Art and Design in Helsinki as an exchange student. Then in 1998, a year after graduating, she set up her own design studio.
Her work features in the permanent exhibitions at the MOMA in New York and The Design Museum in Copenhagen. She has worked with many big named brands (see the end of the post for examples) and her designs now feature in households around the world.
In this interview, we get an insight into her design process, where she takes her inspiration, how her family’s business has influenced her work and how all of this has played a role in the creation of the Luv Collection for Duravit.
Your design style can be categorised as simple and timeless. Can you tell us about some of your personal favourite timeless designs?
Chairs are a good example because we can all directly feel their design quality – after all, we spend many hours a day sitting on them. I have eight completely different chairs around the desk in my studio and each has proven it’s timelessness one way or another. I usually sit on the same one, a classic chair by Kaare Klint, the grandfather of Danish design. It’s not actually my style, but I inherited it from my grandmother and used to sit in it as a child. I like that.
What is your approach to designing a classic? How do you ensure your designs can outlast eras and fashion?
You can’t design timelessness, because only time will tell which product and which design has the staying power for people to still regard it as a thing of beauty after many years. There is no sure-fire formula for that. So, as a designer, all you can do is treat each design task as a stand-alone project and give it your best shot.
Can you tell us about your design process?
My design process always starts with a roll of drawing paper, my favourite ruler and a pen. Sometimes I start with a task I set myself, sometimes I have a 20-page briefing and I ask myself: What is the personality of this product? What’s the basic idea inherent within it? What’s at its core? And then I start to draw.
Where do you find your inspiration?
That’s both easy and difficult to answer because I’m like a sponge that is constantly absorbing and filtering textures, surfaces, colours and shapes. And some of this finds its way into my designs sooner or later.
You have already designed tables, speakers, lighting and fabrics and have won many renowned awards for them. However, Luv was your first design with ceramics. What attracted you to this particular project?
I like to work with and for companies that are specialists in a given area, and Duravit is a proven expert in bathroom ceramics. What’s more, ceramics are part of my personal history because my parents ran a small porcelain factory in the countryside where they produced household ceramics and handicrafts. So I grew up among potters’ wheels and kilns and would earn part of my pocket money by helping out in the factory.
Is there anything in LUV that you have picked up from your parents?
I spent many hours next to my father watching him try to create a perfect curve in a plaster mould. And it really did have to be perfect – after all, the mould was ultimately used to mould many, many bowls. And today, it is exactly the same for me: the perfect shape is something I spend a long time getting right. Although I do have another inspiration in a pebble that has polished into a round shape by the tides and the sand. Nature has given it an exceptionally aesthetic shape, and there is also a piece of that in Luv.
Where is the pebble from?
From the Baltic coast. We have a small holiday home by the sea and when I walk along the beach, I can’t help but collect pebbles that have been shaped by nature. I know a lot of other people who do the same because they simply cannot resist this natural beauty. And that is the precise feeling that I wanted to convey with Luv.
Top Left: A1 ultra-portable bluetooth speaker, B&O Play, 2016
Top Middle: Mingus Pendant Light, Lightyears, 2012
Top Right: P2 highly portable bluetooth speaker, B&O Play, 2017.
Bottom Left: OBJECTS Pouf by Fritz Hansen, 2016.
Bottom Middle: Spectra stack of vases, Holmegaard, 2007.
Bottom Right: Workshop Chair, Muuto, 2017.
I’d love to hear your opinions on this luxury bathroom range? Is the Luv collection calling your name?