„It’s all about the refinement of function“

An interview by Thomas Edelmann with Michael Sieger of Sieger Design.

Dornbracht is known for its excellence in the design of bathroom fittings. Following the adaptation of the Tara Classic as a single-lever mixer and as a professional fitting for the kitchen, you have now subsequently designed three new fittings. What is the concept behind this product offensive?
The objective is to offer options from a variety of ambitious designs in quality fittings in the kitchen as well, as tastes and individual styles are different. We are usually concerned with functional design in the kitchen.

Why is the design of kitchen fittings now moving more and more into the foreground?
The growing awareness of the bathroom as an ambitiously designed living area and this being reflected in the design of newbuildings or renovations had claimed our attention. For some time now the kitchen has also been receiving general interest again. It is in the process of being transformed from a service area at the margin of domestic events to a central area where communal cooking takes place and friends meet up and chat. This development has latterly also had the effect of bringing about a greater demand for well-designed products.

Do you design for a specific type of client?
We focus on clients who are interested in design. But preferences differ even amongst lovers of design. Some may prefer a rounder form, while others a more angular form and both expect appropriate options for their kitchen. The three new fittings ranges each act as an icon in themselves, as design highlight of a kitchen, harmonising with corresponding elements, such as handles and surface finishes.

What are the differences in the three lines Elio, Maro and Lot?
Lot and Maro are distinguished by their modern angular design whereby Maro, by virtue of its radius, to some extent incorporates a transition to Lot, the most abstract form of the three. Elio on the other hand most closely approximates the image that is conjured up when you think of an archetypal kitchen fitting. Basically we develop our models primarily from basic geometrical shapes, thus increasing the level of acceptance and also achieving longevity.

Kitchen fittings have always been of a functional nature. A kitchen fitting has a different spout; it may be extensible or swivelled from one basin to the other. Why does each one have such a wide variety of options?
This is because of the different requirements. Some clients swear by this type of functional detail, while others can easily do without it. One might say, I would like a lever mixer and to operate everything with one hand, this is practical. Anyone using mainly cold water in the kitchen may prefer a two-valve or three-hole fitting. We meet these demands with our products. On the functional side the Elio alongside the Meta.02 is the most extensive range with many variations: with or without extensible spray and separate rinsing spray, with free-standing mixer on the fitting base. The Elio series basically offers the greatest amount of functional options.

Are they connected in any way to the other Dornbracht fittings?
They are. We want to offer a wide range of kitchen fittings similar to the scope we offer in the bathroom area. With the Tara we had very successful cylindrical features; Dornbracht’s current hit – the MEM – by contrast is rather angular in design. Only the requirements in the kitchen are different. Whereas in the bathroom it is a question of a new culture, a new ritual in use, in the kitchen the function is more in demand. For this reason, in the kitchen we are not working with a cascade spout, for instance, but with square fittings all with an incorporated aerator.

What consequences did the differences between the two worlds, kitchen and bathroom, have on design?
The differences could be even more distinct in the future. The technical requirements of kitchen fittings are more demanding than those of washstands. In the bathroom, the shower and bathtub have more complex functions than the washstand, which is after all mostly only used for washing hands and cleaning teeth. In the kitchen, on the other hand, I fill the sink to wash salad and perhaps I might even use a small washbasin just to get a spoonful of water to stir into a sauce.

What fitting do you use today in your kitchen?
The Tara Classic Professional with single-lever mixer and profi spray set. I had the Tara Classic and then when the Professional version came on the market I exchanged it. However, I didn’t want to drill an extra hole into the marble slab and so decided on the integrated spray option.

What changes will characterise design in the near future?
Just as in the bathroom, the priority in the kitchen will also be refinement, at least as far as fittings are concerned. In the bathroom it is more a matter of refining pleasure and experience, but in the kitchen, it is about refining function and specialisation. Together with Dornbracht we have the opportunity to concentrate consistently and extensively on developing appealing technical solutions.

If you look a little way into the future, what will the water sources or fittings look like in twenty years?
I think electronics will have a greater role to play in fittings. This will make them more precise and easier to control. Due to the scarcity of natural resources the economical use of water will be a subject that even our generation will be concerned with. In the bathing area this will lead to a change in design in the next ten years. The medium of water will become precious and therefore we will also design fittings to be more valuable and costly.