Precision meets sensuality

As part of this refinement, Dornbracht introduces a new, galvanic finish: CYPRUM is a rose gold hue created with fine gold and copper.

It underscores the growing importance of copper and rose gold hues in the interior and fashion areas. The name 'CYPRUM' is a term of art, derived from the Latin 'cuprum', and means 'copper'.


The Copper Age
Petra Schmidt

Copper has truly begun a triumphal march among our designers. The impulse came from British designer Tom Dixon back in 2005. During the furnishings fair in Milan, he had numerous specimens of his spherical 'Shade' lamp suspended from the ceiling of the superstudio, to the delight of the visitors. And copper has been a firmly established element of modern interiors ever since. Philipp Mainzer, designer and owner of the well-known e15 furniture label, used the metal to impressive effect for his 'Habibi' side table in 2008. Well-known British architect David Adjaye also holds the material in high esteem: joining up with Turkish luxury brand Gaia & Gino and Swarovski, he has designed copper vases and bowls lined with glass crystals.

Particularly astonishing about the newfound love for copper is that, during the last century or so, designers had shown nearly no interest in this non-ferrous metal at all. Copper was long underappreciated and was scarcely used after Art Nouveau. And yet it has a plethora of positive properties: it is an outstanding conductor of electricity and heat, and it has anti-bacterial properties as well. A relatively soft metal, it is easy to shape. And left untreated, over the years it develops an impressive patina.

Nevertheless, since the dawn of the modern era in design dating back to Bauhaus, preferences have tended instead towards silver-coloured metals and finishes, such as stainless steel, chrome or aluminium. In the early days of Bauhaus, for designers such as Marianne Brandt and Wilhelm Wagenfeld it was entirely natural to work with copper, brass and silver to create unique specimens with high craftsmanship, yet before long the famous re-orientation towards industry came along. The founding director Walter Gropius called for a turn away from the crafts, from 'romantic working methods' in the Bauhaus school.

And industry came to rely upon metals that could be produced rationally and economically, such as aluminium and steel. By the late 1920s, chrome-plated steel tubing, of the kind used by Mart Stam or Marcel Breuer in their well-known seating designs, became the fashionable material for use in living quarters. And silver remained. Now, for the past nearly 90 years, the precious metal is the identifying colour for modern design in all areas of everyday life: silver as the skin on the streamlined motor vehicles of the 1930s, silver lustre in the fashions of the 1960s under the influence of the moon landing, and of course the silver-coloured aluminium casing on today's Macbook and iPad.

The transformation was particularly fundamental for fittings in the bathroom and kitchen as well. Stainless steel and chrome, in combination with finishes in enamel and porcelain, stood for functionality, easy-care properties, and above all for hygiene, but also for cool rationality and austerity.

Now, with copper, the tides have turned towards this metal with the warm gleam. Copper appears to combine all of the symbolic properties that were lacking in the modern-style interior: warmth, intimacy and a craftsman's involvement with the material. So when today's furniture and interior designers introduce copper to the bathroom, kitchen and living room, they do so with more than the usual play of trendy colours and materials in mind. Instead, this shift serves as a reference to a time when there was still no gulf between the crafts and design, and when designers themselves worked on one-off creations in workshops like the ones of the Bauhaus school. The shift is a sign of a longing for the old 'romantic working methods', for special one-off creations and authentic materials. And for the warm, luxurious glow of times long past.