As part of our ceramic focus this month, we are looking into how this material can be pushed forward and be used in more advanced ways in design, and there is no better example of this than the SaphirKeramic that Laufen created in 2013.

We interviewed Emma Mottram, Marketing Manager at Laufen to find a bit more about this innovative product…

laufen sapphir

What is SaphirKeramik?

SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material, which possesses all the hygienic advantages of traditional bathroom ceramics, but is thinner, more defined and extremely robust. Its special properties are down to the addition of corundum, a colourless component of sapphire, founded through years of research and development by Laufen. Since its launch in 2013 SaphirKeramik has become a favourite material of many architects and bathroom planners, as it allows for a new design language with bathroom ceramics, unachievable in the same way with more conventional ceramic material.

Strong and malleable, SaphirKeramik allows the creation of wafer-thin, yet 4-5 mm robust walls and tight-edge radii of just 1 to 2mm while retaining the traditional production process. Its slender profile renders it space-saving, lightweight and environmentally friendly. Rigorous testing has revealed that its flexural strength is equal to that of steel.


How the SaphirKeramik idea come about?

Laufen is renowned for maximising the creative potential of ceramic materials and has a long heritage of innovation and expertise in ceramics. It was the result of many years of development and testing, to create a new material that would enable Laufen’s designers to really push the boundaries of bathroom design.


Can you tell us a little bit about the development process?

Laufen uses a thinner ceramic body and a simpler structure to reduce the weight compared with conventional ceramic. The benefits are manifold: lower raw material costs and energy consumption in production and transportation.  The result is clear to see – ceramics with thin, almost live edges: living square bowls designed by Andreas Dimitriardis, the graphic lines of the washbasins in the Kartell by Laufen collection designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba, the amazing textures on trays and washbasins in the design series of VAL by Konstantin Grcic and the razor blade sharp shelf of the INO washbasins designed by Toan Nguyen. In total the SaphirKeramik collections count 37 unique and highly innovative basin designs.

Laufen_SaphirKeramik_Grcic production_04

What is the future for SaphirKeramik? / How can you see the material being pushed?

Laufen continues to stretch the material’s limits by exploiting its super-fine forms, not only to create exquisitely detailed textures and patterns but also by engineering the innovative material to increase its maximum size – a 120 cm-long washbasin in SaphirKeramik is the largest to date. The brand also continually innovates by  collaborating with established designers to create new collections using the material. Sonar, the new Laufen collection created by designer Patricia Urquiola, takes its design concept from the energy and dynamism connected with the natural phenomenon of sound waves and will be launching in the UK later this year.


Laufen believes that the full potential of SaphirKeramik has not yet been fully exploited, and with this innovative material we will see many more exciting developments in the future. Can’t wait! 

See more from Laufen on their Design Insider Directory profile page 







About Alys Bryan

Alys is a knowledgeable design editor who is focused on instigating conversations, both online and in-person, with industry experts which challenge, educate and advance the commercial interior sector. Her training and 15 years of professional experience as a furniture designer for the commercial sector makes her uniquely placed to lead Design Insider as Editor
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