BATHROOM & KITCHEN TODAY02 Feb 2023
German Design Award: Zencha wows expert jury
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Hornberg, Germany – Zencha complete bathroom range by Sebastian Herkner and Duravit awarded “Gold” in the “Excellent Product Design – Bath and Wellness” category at the German Design Award 2023.

Above-counter basins with a gentle outwards slope and generously proportioned bathtubs meet minimalist furniture – and win over the jury at the German Design Award 2023. The Zencha complete bathroom range by Sebastian Herkner is inspired by traditional Japanese rituals and craftsmanship. “The bathroom is the last place of offline refuge in the home. A place where the user takes center stage and can focus on the inner self. It allows for a moment of deceleration and concentration – in the same way as a tea ceremony. These were useful metaphors for my studio as we approached this design,” said Sebastian Herkner. This idea is most clearly expressed by the extraordinary above-counter basin and the freestanding bathtubs: slightly bulbous at the base, the refined curve tapers upwards to a subtle, outward-slanting edge. The linear, minimalist furniture sets a harmonious contrast, rounding off the designer bathroom with an elegantly effortless look.

Making a ritual out of routine

“Ultimately I’m a customer myself, I have certain requirements in terms of how my bathroom should look and what I value. What matters to me is that each of my designs has a sense of purpose. In an age of overconsumption and excess waste, I see my responsibility as taking a respectful approach to handling resources, time, and energy,” said Sebastian Herkner, describing the origination process of Zencha.

“We spent a good three years working on Zencha. This involved an ongoing process of constant interaction. Taking your time is important when it comes to a complex product line like Zencha. Our main concern was to elaborate every detail to perfection. The delicate design of the storage furniture, for example, took a lot of development effort by Duravit.”

The washbasins, which are available in four colour variants – gloss and matt – each underline the pared-down elegance of the design. Combining them with the modular Zencha furniture creates an individual and balanced interaction between the ceramic washbasin and matt lacquered carcass. The fronts of the vanity units and tall cabinets come in a range of different feels, textures, and colours for an individual material mix. The free-standing bathtub in particular is an open invitation to take some time out and take care of yourself. The mirror, also designed by Sebastian Herkner, completes the iconic bathroom series. Its round, organic contours reflect the shape of the washbasins and are accentuated by an all-round LED strip. Zencha’s perfectly conceived design concept transforms the daily bathroom routine into a ritual.

When designers’ dreams come true…

“I’ve always wanted to develop a bathroom series for Duravit,” said the designer from Offenbach. He can now take his place in the roll-call of renowned designers such as Philippe Starck and Cecilie Manz who have already designed collections for the German manufacturer.

He struck the jackpot with his very first complete bathroom range: Gold in the German Design Award. “It’s a brilliant affirmation for my team and me, as was the entire cooperation with Duravit. When you’re working on a new design, your main focus isn’t on the desire to win an award with it. It’s more about designing something unique and meaningful. For this effort to be rewarded with the German Design Award is naturally extremely gratifying,” said Herkner. He won over the jury with his special sense of shape and colour, material and texture. “With Zencha we definitely succeeded in designing something new for Duravit – that was exactly what we aspired to do. An understated design language, with strong emotional and sensual accents, an appreciation of authentic materials, and three colour styles,” said Sebastian Herkner, summarizing Zencha in closing.