“Remember that, in the beginning, you will be the only person who believes in your ideas. Visionaries are loners before they are recognised. However, in the end, they are the people that we most admire” These words, taken from Can Bordoy’s values
manifesto, come to mind when we read about Helmut Dornbracht, who in 1969 took a decisive step in the bathroom fittings world by creating the first collection that added design to technology to functionality, forever changing the concept of a bathroom. Helmut confessed, “They laughed at us at first.” Many years later, after being recognised as the first luxury bathroom fitting, we met up with Dornbracht’s Spanish marketing director, Esteve Barenys, who talks to us about water in its most glamorous form.
Dornbracht, like Can Bordoy, has had a great influence on the world of architecture, design and the concept of luxury. Tell us more about this.
From its very beginning, Dornbracht has opted for a bidirectional relationship with the world of architecture and interior design, both in taking nourishment from architectural and interior design trends when designing products and when looking for solutions, as well as how these products and solutions help the architect with their project development. For the launch of our latest collection, called VAIA, we relied on four international architects and interior designers, one of whom is Neri & Hu, who is highly regarded across the world. We gave them one of our fittings, and from this they have developed a bathroom concept and a selection of materials that combine with this fitting. We have then been able to offer these solutions and sources of inspiration to the architects and interior designers who use our products.
Can Bordoy’s values manifesto states that “In the beginning, visionaries are lonely people before they achieve recognition” Something similar happened to Helmut Dornbracht, founder of the brand, when he said that “In the beginning, they laughed at us before realising that we had created the first luxury bathroom fitting.”
In 1969 we released our first fitting collection, Edition 2000, aimed at people who were looking for a more premium product. Until then fittings were purely functional and it was at this time that we decided to take a step forward in the bathroom world. At the time this was not valued, but our desire to move forward was proven to be a success.
Another key moment was in the 80s, when technology, use and functionality were becoming less important and people started to opt for design products. Dornbracht presented the Domani collection by Siger, which is the studio that designs all of our
products, and this collection was the first that added design to functionality and technology. It is a very iconic collection, as it is the first that clearly wagers on a designed product, at a time when nobody dared to produce something like this. From
this moment on the design has been present in all our products, beyond functionality
In the same way that Can Bordoy recuperates traditions and styles from another era, you are also inspired by archetypes and functionalities that may seem outdated and you reinterpret them (as is the case with the Hand Mixer). Is reviving classic products one of the keys to your success?
We place our faith in timeless products. All of our product’s designs are based on five pillars, which we call the five P’s: Precision, Performance, Proportionality, Progressiveness and Personality. These five factors, which are related to how water flows out of the tap, allows each collection to have a specific personality, they are products that do not follow fashion. These five design principles, allied with technological innovation, provide the base on which Dornbracht relies on when manufacturing a product.
How was your collaboration with Can Bordoy born?
From the beginning, both OHLAB (Can Bordoy’s architects) and the property itself had very clear objectives for their project, and they saw us as a clear partner. Let’s say that Can Bordoy and Dornbracht were destined to meet each other. Both partners have made a great commitment to their mutual collaboration.
We have installed Dornbracht’s most successful collection in Can Bordoy’s suites. The collection is 25 years old and it still remains our most popular range. The collection’s distinctive touches fit like a glove in Can Bordoy. In the spa, we have installed our best shower range, which combines design flourishes with a feeling of total relaxation
Can Bordoy is committed to the environment in which the building is set and has a deep respect for the nature that surrounds it. You also have a strong awareness regarding the responsible use of water as a vital element. Tell us about your sustainability projects.
Dornbracht is highly committed to the environment, and this is reflected both in the materials that we use to manufacture the products, made from 100% recyclable material, and in the use of a brass alloy with which we prevent lead coming into contact with the water. In the manufacturing process, we have managed to reduce by 70% the water used to manufacture the products, and our top range showers are designed to use a rational amount of water in order to achieve the effect we are looking for. We have offices in Asia, the USA and Europe, and our products are available worldwide.
For Dornbracht, water is not just a precious asset that should be used responsibly. You have elevated it to the category of luxury, merging sustainable employment with the artful and choreographed way that water flows and falls from Dornbracht’s fittings. What are your thoughts?
Dornbracht is characterised by the different water outlets that it offers. Our showers emulate the way that water flows in a natural habitat. Our products are divided into three different ranges: AquaPressure, Bliss and Kneipp.
AquaPressure is a water pressure system that is based on traditional Chinese medicine and pressure points. Kneipp is a therapy that is based on the water element, where the application of hot water relaxes the muscles and the application of cold water improves circulation, tightens the skin, and reduces wrinkles. The contrast of hot and cold water enables a state of mental relaxation that calms the body. These water flow elements: waterfalls, rain effect, jets and pressurised water, are designed to emulate nature.
Bliss products recreate the effects of meditation in body and mind. Our latest shower range on the market is Aquamoon. It has 4 different water outlets that generate the effect of being in a forest or a jungle including the rain effect where water drops randomly from different directions. There is also the 360-degree waterfall option that creates the sensation of taking a bath while you are in the shower.