Duravit and Phoenix Design have been working together for years on innovations for the bathroom. \"Good design is like a puzzle – there are lots of requirements from completely different directions – the task is to take these and create a cohesive whole.\" With Caro, Pura Vida and P3 Comforts, the two partners of many years' standing have certainly made a good job of it.
When Andreas Haug, born in 1946 in Heidenheim, met Tom Schönherr, born in 1954 in Stuttgart, at Hartmut Esslinger's Frog Design in 1982, they felt an immediate and instinctive affinity. So it was only logical that they would go on to found their own design label Phoenix Design in 1987. They both studied at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart. Right from the start, they designed a wide variety of different products for the sanitary industry, such as Hansgrohe, Laufen, Axor and Duravit. However, their ideas were also well received in other industries and by other brands. They created many unique pieces for Loewe, Zeiss, Huawei and Lamy. The Stuttgart-based design office always focuses on modern, clear lines and charges everyday objects with emotion to make them covetable items.
From the beginning, its own academy has promoted young talent. The Phoenix Design Academy regards itself as a design laboratory for creative experiments and concepts that, free from restraints and customer orders, gives shape to non-commercial projects and develops completely new design aspects. In this creative environment, experienced designers and young, talented people meet to design the world of tomorrow. Andreas Haug and Tom Schönherr have already been honoured with the Lucky Strike Award for their life's work, as well as with the German Design Award "Personality" for their body of work.
Award for outstanding design quality - Caro
red dot award - PuraVida
Good Design Award - PuraVida
Grand Designs Award - PuraVida
iF Product Design Award - PuraVida
Gold for Good Design (DDC) - PuraVida
iF Product Design Award Gold - P3 Comforts
iF Product Design Award - P3 Comforts
How do you approach the challenge of designing a new product?
It all starts with the analytical phase, then the creative process and, finally, intuitive form finding. The main part of the work is always to observe and to detect needs. In fact, the final product usually looks nothing like the initial sketch. When designing, you have the chance to try out different variants and sometimes you can be surprised at what you find. That’s crucial to the creative process. For example, we like to work with polystyrene models as they enable a great degree of abstraction. This approach helps us to keep our overall goal in view. Some things are just not possible on paper.
Is good design about taking risks?
We experiment a lot. However, the aim is always to create a design classic. Products that will stand the test of time and reflect people’s needs. All around us, life is becoming more hectic and people are looking for somewhere to retreat, for security and calm. We try to keep this in mind when designing our products. I think it's unreasonable to follow short-lived trends. As designers, we have, in many ways, a great responsibility. This extends, among other things, to material resources, the utilisation of production capacities and solutions for our customers’ serial product lines. It also applies to visual design approaches that, at the end of the day, have to fit a wide variety of different architectural settings – and appeal to many users. We are not interested in short-term trends.
Phoenix and Duravit have been working together successfully since 1993. How would you describe the collaboration?
Duravit product development has always focused on high quality and timeless product design. The developments are highly complex and are the result of teamwork since they cannot be achieved by one person alone. In the sanitary area in particular, details are extremely important. Duravit requires nothing less than maximum quality and practicality, which makes collaboration very demanding. However, critical comments are welcome as taking these on board is the only way to achieve high-quality and innovative bathroom solutions that can also satisfy discerning design juries and become bestsellers.