The UK launch of the new Antonio Citterio collection for Axor sees the introduction of a range that brings a timeless mix of contemporary and classical style to the bathroom…
Italian designer Antonio Citterio has not become one of the world’s most respected furniture designers through brash, attention-seeking design. Instead, his understated and sometimes muted styles have gone on to become massive sales success stories for the likes of Inda, Flexform, Flos, Kartell, Arclinea and Vitra.
His collaboration with luxury bathroom brand Axor stretches back to 2003 with the launch of the original Axor Citterio range. Citterio M followed in 2006, and now he has unveiled his latest design for the company Axor Citterio E.
The fixtures from the range are characterised by a balanced contrast of smooth shapes, clean lines and precious surfaces. Soft and slender mixer handles reflect the collection’s broader design, as with the single lever mixer with its modern and upright joystick handle, or the 3-hole mixers with their classic cross-handles. There are 37 products within the collection in total, intended to share a visually appealing and harmonious look that complements a variety of styles, from art nouveau to modern urban.
“The result of this most recent collaboration is the ‘essence of luxury’,” said Citterio. “The products are not only characterised by flexible implementation, but also by exceptional ease of use and a pleasant touch and feel.”
Citterio says that easy volume and temperature control is an important feature of the collection – from washbasin to bathtub and shower mixers. In their archetypal shapes, the various handles of the thermostat modules allow the user to intuitively grasp their functions: the cross-handle controls water volume and the cylindrical thermostat handle controls the temperature. In hotel bathrooms, a two-way diverter clearly indicates which shower head is currently in use. In addition, Hansgrohe’s Select Thermostat technology, through a simple push of a button and clear icons, allows separate control of hand, side, and overhead showers. In the bathtub, users can switch from the bath spout to the hand shower by pulling on a clearly labelled lever – even with soapy hands.
“We’ve kept things simple,” said Citterio. “The user shouldn’t have to learn a whole new set of behaviours in order to use the bathroom, whether in a hotel or their own. It should be intuitive.”
“It’s important to use digital technology and home automation where it is really needed. To use it everywhere for the sake of it is just a joke. For me, if I can just make something work by turning the handle, why would I need sophisticated computer technology to achieve the same thing? It’s just too much.”
Like other products from Axor’s range, Citterio E can be customised. Special customer requests are handled by the in-house Axor Manufaktur – a manufacturing division that individualises standard products. Products from the Axor Citterio E collection for example, are available in six scratch-resistant PVD-treated surface finishes, polished or brushed chrome, gold optic, rose gold, black chrome, nickel or bronze.
Citterio is quick to point out however, that the emergence of Citterio E does not make his previous designs any less relevant: “Whilst it’s true that this is an evolution of previous designs, it doesn’t mean that the other products become ‘old’. They are still being produced and sold and that is an important element of this evolutionary process.”
It is a quest for timelessness that drives much of Citterio’s creative output. “When you use a tap that I have designed, or when you are sitting on a sofa or other furniture I have created for other companies, I want it to feel that it could just as easily have been designed yesterday or 10 years ago. I don’t work for ‘trends’ and I’ve always managed to stay out of that cycle.”
“Besides, it takes two years to design a product like Citterio E, and another two years to develop and manufacture, so with a four year production period it has to be viewed long-term and not just on short-term trends or fashions.”
Alongside Citterio E, Axor has also launched its Citterio-designed Universal Accessories. The twelve components feature clean lines and generous surfaces, along with smooth contours and soft curves. Materials such as chrome-plated metal, mirrored and white glass make the elements durable and easy to clean. The accessories have also been designed to harmonise with several Axor fixture collections and various bathroom décors.
“Accessories have a significant effect on the overall appearance of a room,” said Citterio. “They are an essential part of its décor. When I design something, I strive to create products that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. For instance, bars inside the shower function which as a support for other accessories and serve as towel bars outside the shower.”
Usability remains king for Citterio, but he adds that key to achieving this in his latest designs for Axor is teamwork. “We are all really working together. There are so any people involved in a product like this and that demands a high level of competency and also respect for each other.
“Design is a part of the industrial process – it’s not an add-on. It has to be considered as an integral part of creating even the most simple of products.”
Axor | www.hansgrohe.co.uk/axor
Antonio Citterio | www.antoniocitterioandpartners.it