If you’re confused, as I frequently am, about the relationship between, say, Hansgrohe and Axor, perhaps a publishing analogy will help (I know it helps me, anyway). In much the same way that Bantam-Dell is an imprint of Random House, so too is Axor a separate brand under the over-arching aegis of Hansgrohe. Or, as Hansgrohe rep Matt Young put it last year at the HD Expo, “Axor is our designer brand... we can hit the high end penthouse of any major hotel.” This is to say that the Axor name bears the unmistakable mark of masters like Urquiola, Starck, and Citterio, each of whom have authored their own Axor bathroom suite of products. The existing collections take on the tinge of novelty just now, however, as the curtain opens on this year’s ISH in Frankfurt am Main, “the world’s biggest showcase for innovative bathroom design, energy efficient heating and air-conditioning technology and renewable energies.”
Electronic Wall Mixer. Designed by Hansgrohe and Axor.
Slim, Slick Styling Gets Smart
Of particular interest at this year’s show... recent updates to the Axor Citterio and Axor Uno2 Collections. Both of these lines already have the aesthetic angle covered: the first tends toward a classical appearance—long lines and a rectilinear profile create an attractive luxuriousness, an appealing compromise, a “rich harmony between angle and curve”; the second is ultra slim and superlatively contemporary: thin spouts, subtle curves, and long lean lines create a minimalist’s visual feast. Never one to be outpaced by technology’s incessant thrum, however, Hansgrohe has incorporated a magician’s touch into their latest: electronic wall mixers for both the Citterio and Uno2 lines. These wall-mounted faucets feature seamlessly integrated sensors, thus facilitating a hands-free operation that’s not only more hygienic and energy/water efficient, but also super cool.
Imagine the hypothetical “automatic” faucet in the hypothetical public restroom. Now make the mixer a premium design by a premium designer, re-locate it directly on the wall for a clean and minimalistic look, transfer it into the privacy of your own home bath, throw in a good dose of “Eco-Smart” Technology (with short on/off intervals that save copious amounts of water), and you’ll have some sense of this auspicious Axor innovation. But no one sums this up better than Hansgrohe themselves when they assert that these new mixers represent the dawn of an enhanced affinity between the “smart faucet” and high end A&D: “They show just how closely linked exclusive design, functionality and technological expertise are at Axor... we have developed an intelligent solution that combines sensor technology and our wall mixers’ exclusive design.”