34 35 oLiver Conrad designer and founder of OC Möbel Objekte OC Gestaltung Oliver COnrad designer learning frOm nature that s impOrtant tO me the designer Oliver Conrad is an architect and trained carpenter he founded his studio OC gestaltung in 1990 and launched his first furniture collection in the same year he has been working with villeroy Boch for many years initially developing tableware projects signs of Character visited the designer at his creative studio in the renovated Obermüllerhaus in düsseldorf s medienhafen and talked to him about his new designs for Bathrooms Wellness the future of the bathroom and the new my nature product line Mr Conrad how do you see the development of the bathroom We are following two parallel trends On the one hand we have the merger of the kitchen and living room as a public area and on the other hand the merger of the bathroom and bedroom as a private area however the problem is that although the bedroom and the bathroom are moving closer together it s actually the architecture that is holding things back Our bathrooms are actually too small if a bathroom is just eight or ten square metres in size i can t transform it into a wellness oasis the problem is often the size of the bathrooms How large does a bathroom have to be in order to serve as a living area some architects used to say that we don t need more than six square metres today it s quite the opposite if you today plan 15 square metres things start to be fun if we are to meet today s requirements we actually need a 20 square metre bathroom But reality is somewhat different What do you think of the idea of technology in the bathroom i think it s going to catch on big time But to some extent we have too many possibili ties as a brand and as a designer we have to be selective for example led lighting if i give you a remote control that allows you to set 4 million lighting atmospheres in your bathroom you ll throw it aside after ten min utes What do we actually need a functional light that we can switch on and off forget the atmospheric lighting it is up to us to offer the user the right products sound is also a key area and will become increasingly important You mean sound in the sense of acoustics Yes acoustics the bathroom used to be a reverberative room and we are now starting to ask ourselves what sound it can absorb and muffle i need loose materials textile objects or furniture that can absorb the sound and we have to make sure that it all fits together afterwards and we re not planning a space to put the scented candle the bathroom used to be a purely practical room for washing and taking a bath or shower that was it today we are spending much more time in the bathroom and also pamper ourselves there it s all about wellness today a bar of soap that doesn t do wellness isn t sold any more Your previous designs are very abstract reduced and cubic Your Pure Stone line that Villeroy Boch is currently showcasing is al most narrative or metaphorical Are you remaining true to yourself not at all and that s what s interesting i have an innate grid in my head and it s taken me a long time to break away from it i ve always made very straight lined things and then out of nowhere i suddenly designed a sphere and i can t even say why i did it i just had to design something round and so that s what i did this shift can be seen in our sketches for my nature too Ceramic material gives you the geometric lines and the delicate aspect on the one hand and the rounded sweeping quality on the other because this is also what you find in nature the natural doesn t always have to be curved have you heard of pyrite pyrite is a naturally occurring mineral it has a completely cubic structure You might not believe that it s natural but pyrite really is like this nature is both and you can find this dualism in the ceramics and furniture of my nature learning from nature is a huge area and i believe it s an important one So are you an advocate of the right angle and the cube We used to talk furniture and furniture is always made up of joined surfaces since we ve been making ceramics we have had to rethink because we don t have any problems with edges anymore rather we work with a single piece as a product designer working with ceramics you are in theory shaping a piece of clay and that s very interesting i simply have a piece of clay throw it on the table and start shaping it i knead it and don t have any problems with edges because the material is the same throughout so i simply create the design in my head not on the computer as everyone thinks no i sit down in the mornings and think about what i can make i start by kneading a piece of clay in my head and then i sketch it that s how i created pure stone We couldn t build the washbasin on the computer it had to look like a stone that has been hollowed out during the course of 4 000 million years however with my nature we wanted this delicate thin feel

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