Swiss Luxury Returns to American Markets

Laufen fixtures in the Kimpton Hotel Palomar, Washington D.C.

The Swiss are known across the globe for their high-quality exports—gems, watches, chocolate, cheese, and more. And now we can add bathroom fixtures to the list. Or, as Laufen would call it, bathroom culture.

Founded in 1892, Laufen is internationally renowned for manufacturing precision and dedication to forward-thinking design. The company re-entered the U.S. market in 2005 after exiting in the 1990’s and has been assembling an impressive dossier of high-profile projects for the past 12 years.

Laufen's fixtures for New York City's 56 Leonard were designed by the Herzog & De Meuron team. 

In that time, the luxury real estate market has seen an unprecedented boom and the demand for bespoke design elements grows louder every year. Laufen has heard that call and answered with products by design luminaries like Patricia Urquiola, Konstantin Grcic, and Toan Nguyen. A bevy of recent major U.S. projects feature the company’s offerings, including the boutique hotels Meliá Innside in New York City and the Kimpton Palomar Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“We have a passion for engagement and developing relationships with clients,” says Stephen Barry, CEO of Laufen U.S.A. “A large part of our success in the American market has been cultivating strong relationships with both suppliers and specifiers. We were able to secure high-profile projects like the 56 Leonard Condominiums and the Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami through working collaboratively with rep agencies, supply partners, and design professionals.”

Miami's Hyatt Centric South Beach features Laufen fixtures designed by Ludovica and Roberto Palomba.

For now, Barry sees creating a sustainable base of supplier and specifiers as Laufen’s main goal in the U.S. To do that, he needs to let people know who they are. “We’re a lot of things,” Barry says. “We’re enthusiasts of the creative world, we’re professionals with a team of over 2,000 employees, and we’re innovators preparing for the design revolution.”

Laufen’s unique SaphirKeramik material is one example of the company’s design innovation. Described by Barry as an “emotional solution,” SaphirKeramik is an innovative ceramic material. Made by infusing corundum into the ceramic, the material is incredibly hard and rigid, allowing for daringly thin designs. Because SaphirKeramik can get so thin, it dramatically frees up counter and floor space in the bathroom. It’s light on the environment, too, with all the materials being 100% recyclable and requiring less energy to produce it.

A Laufen sink made with SaphirKeramik.

Now that’s a Swiss creation that is sure to stick around stateside.

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