“The hand is faster than the head”

Interview Matteo Thun & Mike Meiré

Matteo Thun, as an architect you approached Dornbracht with a concrete design for a fitting. What was the idea behind GENTLE?

Matteo Thun: Our principle idea behind the design consisted of simplicity, lightness, speed and durability. GENTLE offers an excellent price performance ratio and still allows enough space for customization. The new series is ideal for the hotel industry, but can also be implemented quickly and easily in private bathrooms.

How are the fitting and the targeted private consumers characterized, and what vision inspired you with the design?
MT : GENTLE is relaxed and self-explanatory. Private consumers prize the unexcited nature and the clear-cut lines, which allow plenty of room for their own individuality.

Mike Meiré, as Brand Director you have decisively shaped the image of the Dornbracht brand. How does a design like GENTLE fit into the overall image, into the Dornbracht product range and product history?
Mike Meiré: People who conscientiously reflect on our everyday culture now look less for a traditional perception of luxury, but increasingly for something sensible. Nowadays, design is no longer exclusively a luxury and a means of self-expression, but increasingly a self-evident, qualitative aspect of a product with convincing functionality. Normality, credibility and durability now account more than ever for a product’s attractiveness. Dornbracht is broadening the range of shapes without losing sight of the basic values and principles “pithiness, proportion, precision”.

A question for both of you: what significance does the sense of touch have for you in relation to a particular surface and its shape? What is the importance of things that we cannot necessarily see, but can sense or feel through touch? And what role does this play in the case of GENTLE?

MT : Goethe once said: “Grasp with your eyes, look with your hands.” The material and the shape are incredibly important for my work – they appeal directly to our senses and immediately generate a sense of well-being. For me, wood is an essential element in architecture and design; it corresponds to people’s desire for materials that convey more a sense of “high touch” than “high tech”.

MM : More and more, we are moving away from the industrial society. Every day we see ourselves increasingly as members of a knowledge society. Information is becoming the raw material for economizing our attention. As part of this daily information management we look for the necessary balance in our craving for the tangible. The physical perception and its visible form serve as a kind of compensation for the digitalization of our lives. For GENTLE , the rule of thumb is: the hand is faster than the head. True experience is of insurmountable value. The fitting as a sensuous tactile item that asks to be touched. A fitting which nestles up to you and which lends the architectural context, the bathroom in particular, a certain softness.

In what kind of architecture and in which context do you see references to GENTLE? What current architectural trends are suited to GENTLE?
MT : We have a lot of experience in hotel construction and are also currently developing different hotel concepts. In addition to various luxury concepts, we are working on a project with very aggressive pricing conditions, namely a student block in Germany, which is based on a container construction method. Here this construction method signifies a small revolution, as the construction period is reduced from two years to just a few months. At the same time, the building can be extended and can, if the amount of space required changes, be moved to another location at any time. Furthermore, the student can choose from various interior designs. GENTLE is ideal for this – it can be integrated quickly, easily and in a custom manner.
MM : GENTLE can be incorporated perfectly into a light, open architectural language defined by clear-cut lines and haptic materials such as wood, fabric, glass and ceramics. Urban typologies with evocative qualities. GENTLE helps the collective memory find a modern home.